Higher School of Economics shrugs off reports on its involvement in new Russian constitution drafting allegedly contracted by Khodorkovsky

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) – Russia’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) said that it has nothing to do with any drafting of the new Russian constitution allegedly ordered by former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “The National Research University Higher School of Economics is out of politics and does not engage in personal projects of any participants in the political process,” […]

» Read more

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

» Read more

Ex-minister joins Putin’s economic policy advisors

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 30, 2016) Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been appointed deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council, Interfax news agency reported. The decree to this effect has been published on the Russian presidential website, Interfax noted. Earlier, Kudrin became head of the Centre for Strategic Research think-tank, Interfax added. He told reporters at the time […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economic Pain Reveals Limits to Putin’s Power” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin

Pikalevo, about three hours east of St. Petersburg, and the rest of Russia are now mired in the country’s longest recession since … Putin came to power at the end of 1999, with the World Bank warning … that the nation’s poverty rate would increase this year to 14.2 percent of the population, “undoing nearly a decade’s worth of gains.” […]

» Read more

Nearly Half of All Russians Now Say They Can Live without Relying on the State, Sociologists Find

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 27, 2016) Given everything that has occurred in Russia over the past five years, few have noticed what can only be described as “a quiet revolution”: the percentage of Russians who say they don’t need to rely on the state has increased from 34 to 44 percent, with an ever rising […]

» Read more

Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions the City’s Future

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Vanina – April 29, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/moscows-chief-architect-envisions-the-citys-future/567455.html] For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript square across from Moscow’s beating heart. It was an occasional meeting point for anti-regime protesters, a space to get across to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully lit Scandinavian oasis […]

» Read more

Public support for Putin’s job performance remains at 82%

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Interfax – April 27, 2016) Eighty-two percent of Russians are satisfied with the work of Vladimir Putin as Russian President; 17 percent are not, the Levada Center told Interfax after an April survey. The indicator remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year: in January and March, 82 percent were content with Putin’s performance, in February – 81 percent. […]

» Read more

Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir: “In Russia, young Communists see moment to vie for power. Under the impact of economic crisis and impatient with ‘mutant capitalism’ dominated by Kremlin cronies, younger members of the Communist Party say they could provide an alternative to ‘Putinism.'”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo » Read more

NEWSLINK Russia Direct/Marina Obrazkova: “Making sense of Russia’s strange new choice to defend human rights. The appointment of new human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova has provoked a mixed reaction within Russian society in part because she is a former law enforcement official and a conservative politician who supported a series of controversial laws”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo » Read more

Interfax: Putin calls ‘media attacks’ a reaction to the consolidation of Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – April 25, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that media attacks on Russia were the reaction to the country’s strengthening, its capability to protect own interest. “You are right, this is surely the reaction of our opponents (let’s call them this way) to the consolidation of the country. It’s just that such a player, who is independent, sovereign, […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

» Read more

Putin Badly Needs a Domestic Plan

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 22, 2016) The Russian government has approved a sober, and sobering, economic forecast for the next three years. The country’s prospects look so joyless that President Vladimir Putin may finally start listening to the mainstream economists who have stuck with him despite his unconcealed preference for a huge public sector tempered with […]

» Read more

Russians Will Stop Supporting Putin Only When They See His Weakness, Yakovenko Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2016) Given the longstanding servility of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin can be deprived of popular support only by showing how weak he in fact is, according to commentator, something that requires the opposition within Russia to unite and the West to reduce to a minimum any contacts with him. […]

» Read more

RBTH: Can two political émigrés foment a revolution in Russia from abroad?

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

With half a year remaining before parliamentary elections in Russia, not only the Russian government but also its opponents have intensified their activities. In London two millionaires are open in their support for a revolution in Russia. But instead of undertaking concrete action they are waiting for the government to make mistakes. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

» Read more

Former Prime Minister Kasyanov Stifled by Both Kremlin and Allies

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Daria Litvinova – April 22, 2016) Sitting on a deep leather sofa in his office, Mikhail Kasyanov looks much like he always has. There’s the same no-nonsense demeanor, the expensive suit and his smooth, deep voice. He has an almost aristocratic style of talking, heavy and bureaucratic. He is a man who made […]

» Read more

On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016) You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And […]

» Read more

Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

Russia Regions Map

Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground. (opendemocracy.net – Badma Byurchiev – April 21, 2016) Badma Byurchiev was born in Kalmykia in 1973, and has worked as a journalist since 2003. He currently works […]

» Read more

Hard Work vs. Magic

Kremlin and River

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Kennan Institute. Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – April 19, 2016) Russian officials still refer to “conditions for doing business” or “quality of governance” when discussing the country’s economic performance. But the lack of gravitas in these conversations is palpable. Russia’s official economic policymakers command an excellent understanding of the country’s economic problems, […]

» Read more

Russians’ Approach to Politics Inconsistent and Paradoxical, Sociologist Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 20, 2106) New polls showing more than half of Russians regret the demise of the USSR (vestikavkaza.ru/news/Bolee-poloviny-rossiyan-sozhaleyut-o-raspade-SSSR-opros.html) and that 40 percent of Russians do not believe the state is meeting its obligations to them (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=57172AB41357E) have attracted a great deal of attention. But a third survey conducted by Irina Vorobyova of […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK European Council on Foreign Relations/Nikolay Petrov: “Putin’s downfall: The coming crisis of the Russian regime.The current trajectory of the Russian regime is unstable and without dramatic change it will crumble within the next year, according to a leading Russia specialist”

Vladimir Putin » Read more

Interfax: Positive attitude to Lenin in Russia tops 50% – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – April 20, 2016) The share of Russian citizens who positively assess the historical role of Vladimir Lenin has grown from 40 percent to 53 percent in the past ten years, the Levada Center told Interfax. The opinion was mostly voiced by pensioners (67 percent), Russians older than 55 (66 percent), people with primary education (59 percent), people with […]

» Read more

Russians Spend Half Their Incomes on Food For First Time Since 2008

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2016) For the first time since 2008 Russians are spending more than half their monthly income on food, as falling real incomes force them to buy only basic necessities, a study published Tuesday revealed. In February, Russians spent 50.1 percent of their earnings on food products, including alcohol and tobacco, according to the […]

» Read more

Growing Number of Russians Think State Has Failed in Duties to Citizens – Poll

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 20, 2016) The number of Russians who believe the state is failing in its duties to citizens has increased to 39 percent from 28 percent a year ago, but analysts think the dissatisfaction is unlikely to affect the outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections significantly, poll results reported Wednesday indicated. The […]

» Read more

RBTH: Why are Russians so eager to talk to Putin in person?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

A constant feature of Vladimir Putin’s reign as Russian leader, his “Direct Line” TV phone-in may appear to be inconsistent with his image as an inaccessible ruler. But the president’s annual Q&A session is merely a modern-day incarnation of an ancient tradition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEORGY BOVT, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 19, 2016) The author […]

» Read more

Government report on its performance in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Government.ru – April 19, 2016) “The Government of the Russian Federation <…> shall submit to the State Duma annual reports on the Government’s performance, including on issues formulated by the State Duma.” (Constitution of the Russian Federation, Article 114, Claus.e 1, Subclause “a”). Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Naryshkin, Ms Matviyenko, members of the State Duma, colleagues, The Government performance report I […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Will the Putin Regime Crumble? Foreign Affairs’ Brain Trust Weighs In.”- Foreign Affairs

Putin Descending a Staircase

… the May/June 2016 issue of Foreign Affairs … deals with Russia’s future. … we approached dozens of authorities with deep specialized expertise relevant to the question at hand, together with a few leading generalists …. Participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with a proposition and to rate their confidence level …. : Vladimir Putin will […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “An Earful for Vladimir Putin in Latest ‘Direct Line’ Call-In Show” – Wall Street Journal/Stephen Sestanovich

Kremlin and River

The discussion had a darker undercurrent. The system is rigged, many said, and those who have power abuse it. … Putin was asked why more political parties aren’t permitted so that United Russia faces some meaningful competition, and why … Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, whom … Putin supports, is allowed to threaten political opponents with assassination. … Putin heard how […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia. Down But Not Out. Part I.” – Foreign Affairs/Maria Lipman, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, Katie Allawala

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, a constructive diplomatic actor and a serial military aggressor—sometimes all at once. The only constant has been surprise, as the zigging and zagging has left outside observers, and even many Russians, scratching their heads. […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out.” – Foreign Affairs [issue table of contents with links]

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Foreign Affairs foreignaffairs.com May/June 2016 issue Putin’s Russia Down But Not Out https://www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2016/95/3 [There is limited access to free articles] Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern Stephen Kotkin Russian Politics Under Putin The System Will Outlast the Master Gleb Pavlovsky Russia’s Constrained Economy How the Kremlin Can Spur Growth Sergei Guriev The Revival of the Russian Military […]

» Read more

Putin Swears Off Stimulus as Policy Mix Moves Toward ‘Orthodoxy’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 17, 2016) It was by no means the showstopper of President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in with Russians, complete as it was with digs at the U.S. and justice dispensed on live television. Two days after Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina urged reforms and warned against the “big illusion” of using inflation […]

» Read more

Were the Panama Papers Planted? Who Cares.

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) Last week, a respected Russia scholar in the U.S. speculated that the Kremlin might be behind the so-called Panama Papers, the big dump of data about offshore accounts that has implicated several countries’ officials in shady dealings. And on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia blamed the U.S. for the […]

» Read more

Fifteen Characteristics of Russian Propaganda

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 18, 2016) Russian propaganda makes use of so many techniques to succeed that Moscow novelist and commentator Elizaveta Aleksandrova-Zorina performs a useful service by listing in an article in “Gazeta.ru” 15 of its favorite and, it should be said, effective methods (gazeta.ru/comments/2016/04/14_a_8178095.shtml). These include: A black and white division of the […]

» Read more

Government incomes: Abyzov pulls into first place in 2015

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

MOSCOW. April 15 (Interfax) – Open Government Affairs Minister Mikhail Abyzov, the only member of the government on the Forbes list of billionaires, pulled ahead of other members of the government in terms of income last year, thanks to a near doubling of his own earnings and a decline for his main competitor, Alexander Khloponin. Abyzov and his wife had […]

» Read more

Former Finance Minister in Line for Top Position at Putin’s Think Tank

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 13, 2016) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been offered a senior position at Russia’s main think tank on economic policy and may participate in the development of a new economic strategy for the Kremlin. On Tuesday, Kudrin announced he would accept an offer to take a senior position at Russia’s […]

» Read more

What I Learned On Russian Television

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – April 15, 2016) I learned a lot more about the poor quality of Russian dairy products yesterday than I would care to know. I also learned that wages aren’t being paid, people can’t afford to buy medicine or pay utilities bills, that schools, kindergartens, and hospitals are being closed, that […]

» Read more

VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Direct Line with Vladimir Putin (transcript concluded)

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – April 14, 2016) Direct Line with Vladimir Putin was broadcast live on Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels, and Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. During the live broadcast that lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes, the President answered 80 questions out of the over 3 million that were received. [Video of complete broadcast with […]

» Read more
1 2 3 51