Peskov confirms Putin promised human rights activist Alexeyeva to consider pardoning ex-senator Izmestyev

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva to consider the possibility of pardoning former senator Igor Izmestyev, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Yes. The president said that it is possible and that it will take time,” Peskov told Interfax, when asked whether Putin had indeed promised it. During the president’s […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Interethnic Relations meeting

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – July 20, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations in Yoshkar-Ola. Implementation at regional and municipal level of the State Ethnic Policy Strategy until 2025 was the main item on the agenda. The Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations was established in 2012 to enhance state policy in this area. The Council is made […]

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Free Russia Forum Outlines What a Post-Putin Russia Must Do to Rejoin Civilized World

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 20, 2017) The Free Russia Forum, a group of opposition politicians and analysts, says that a post-Putin Russia can only rejoin the civilized world if it operates under the principles of the primacy of law in all spheres of life. Otherwise, it will be “impossible” to build a law-based state and […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Politics of Russian Nationalism. Vladimir Putin as Centrist.” – Public Seminar/ Richard Anderson

Kremlin and River

“Vladimir Putin rules Russia because he is a centrist.  Since the Soviet dissolution in 1991, strange bedfellows in a coalition that combines communists with tsarists have urged reunification.  They are opposed by a few democrats, who urge Russians to content themselves with those 1991 boundaries. Americans certainly should understand why people anywhere feel safer in a larger state that aggressively […]

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Like Putin, Russians Don’t have ‘Image of the Future,’ Shelin Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2017) The report earlier this week that “the Kremlin still has not succeeded in thinking up an image of the future on which Vladimir Putin can run in the 2018 elections” (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/07/kremlin-still-unable-to-come-up-with.html) is exceptional under Russian conditions, Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin says. But behind it is an even deeper problem, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Half of Russians see hardest crisis times still ahead” –  bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Almost half of Russians (45%) believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ for them as the crisis unwinds, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).   Russia’s economy is recovering from its two-year recession and GDP growth is gathering momentum, putting in 3.1% growth year-on-year in May. Industrial production is recovering too, up […]

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NEWS RELEASE/TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Lyudmila Alexeyeva

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 20, 2017) [Photos here http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55105] Vladimir Putin congratulated human rights champion and public activist and Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva on her 90th birthday. Before leaving for a trip to Yoshkar-Ola, the President visited Ms Alexeyeva at her home and presented her with a bouquet of flowers and an engraving depicting a view of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 19, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we will discuss an issue of great importance for practically every Russian family – how we can use information technology to improve access to medical care and medicines. But first, I would like to ask Mr Manturov to […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Is Vladimir Putin’s big collapse coming soon? Author Richard Lourie talks about how Putin’s failure to wean Russia off oil will destroy the nation’s economy” – Salon/ Richard Lourie / Carrie Sheffield

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

(Salon – July 18, 2017 – from: salon.com/2017/07/18/watch-is-vladimir-putins-big-collapse-coming-soon/) “Salon Talks sat down with Richard Lourie to discuss his book, “Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash.” Lourie argues that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will collapse, just as Imperial Russia did in 1917 and the Soviet Union did in 1991. He cites the Russian president’s failure to move the nation’s economy from […]

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Kremlin Still Unable to Come Up with Future for Putin to Run On, Vedomosti Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 17, 2017) An article in today’s Vedomosti suggesting that the Kremlin has not been able to come up with “an image of the future” which Vladimir Putin can use in the upcoming presidential elections has sparked widespread comment in the Internet that perhaps this means that “Putin doesn’t have a future” […]

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Russia Leading ‘Assault’ on Freedom of Expression – HRW

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2017) Russian authorities have clamped down on Internet freedoms and introduced “invasive” surveillance” online, under the pretext of fighting extremism, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published today. The report criticizes Russia for unjustly imprisoning dozens based on their activity online and for introducing new laws that give the government tools […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, opposition grows as fear of the state fades” – PBS Newshour

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(PBS Newshour – July 15, 2017 – transcript at: pbs.org/newshour/bb/putin-faces-growing-opposition-lead-4th-term/) “While Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to seek a fourth term next year, the country’s largest anti-government movement in recent history continues to grow. For the final installment of NewsHour’s six-part series “Inside Putin’s Russia,” special correspondent Nick Shifrin reports on the movement and one of its main leaders.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Visit to Lebedinsky GOK. (excerpts)

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Kremlin.ru – July 14, 2017) [Complete transcript here http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55052] On the eve of Steelworker Day, Vladimir Putin visited the Lebedinsky GOK ore dressing plant that is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and watched the launch of the third sponge iron production shop. The President visited the viewing platform of Lebedinsky GOK, learned about the production process and observed the launch of […]

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Anti-Corruption Protests Didn’t Make Navalny More Popular – Poll

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 17, 2017) Highly publicized anti-corruption protests organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny in June did not increase his popularity, the news outlet RBC reported Monday. Citing an unpublished report by independent pollster Lavada Center, RBC said the percentage of respondents who recognize Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Fund that he leads remained unchanged from March […]

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Interfax: Distortion of history always used as anti-Russian weapon – Putin

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

GUBKIN, Belgorod region. July 14 (Interfax) – The distortion of history as a way of fighting Russia has been used always, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As for the distortion of our history – that, as you know, has existed almost always. Throughout our whole history,” Putin said at a meeting with workers at the Lebedinsky GOK iron ore mining […]

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Putin Offers Revisionist Spin on Ivan the Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 17, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced support for an alternative version of the history of Ivan the Terrible, last week, in which the first Russian tsar did not kill his son. At a meeting with workers of the Lebedinsky Mining and Processing Company, Putin said the version in which first Russian tsar killed […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “The deadly risk of standing up to Putin” – PBS Newshour

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

(PBS Newshour – July 13, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/deadly-risk-standing-putin/) “What can happen to you if you oppose the Kremlin? There is a high mortality rate among prominent critics of the Russian government, which some say is emblematic of how President Vladimir Putin runs the country. As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick Schifrin […]

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Russian investigators say Nemtsov not killed over religion

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – July 13, 2017) The Russian Investigations Committee has ruled out the theory that opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered on religious, rather than financial grounds, its spokeswoman has said. “During the investigation there was an analysis of the testimonies of suspects Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev on how they committed the murder of Boris Nemtsov on grounds of […]

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Yavlinsky on Nemtsov’s murder trial: we never learned mastermind’s name

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. July 13 (Interfax) – The trial of the killers of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has left too many questions to say that their punishment is proportionate, Chairman of the Yabloko party’s Federal Political Committee Grigory Yavlinsky said. “There is no trust in either the trial over Boris Nemtsov’s murder or the judgment. Too many doubts and questions remain. […]

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Any Successor of Putin Likely to Be a Dictator Unless Society Gets Organized, Pastukhov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 12, 2017) The current attacks on Aleksey Navalny that suggest he will become a dictator if he manages somehow to defeat Vladimir Putin reflect the utopianism of the Russian intelligentsia and its failure to understand that anyone who succeeds the current Kremlin leader is likely to be one as long as […]

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Medvedev actively involved in regional election campaign – press secretary Timakova

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. July 13 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s press secretary Natalia Timakova has dismissed as untrue a report by the newspaper Vedomosti, which claimed that United Russia chairman Medvedev has not joined the election campaign and has not been visiting regions which will have a gubernatorial election in September. The newspaper explained the “meager activity” of Medvedev by […]

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Could Putin Be Ousted the Way Khrushchev Was – and for the Same Reason?

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 11, 2017) Most Russians today associate Nikita Khrushchev with the thaw, de-Stalinization, and the opening of more comfortable five-story apartment blocks; but they did to forget that he was removed from power by his colleagues because he ran the country in a hands on way, intervening in some of the smallest […]

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Why Russian Officials Want to Control the Social Sciences; In authoritarian regimes, the social sciences are the most vulnerable to state interventions

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times/Kennan Institute – themoscowtimes.com –  wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Irina Olimpieva – July 11, 2017) Irina Olimpieva is a senior researcher at St. Petersburg Center for Independent Social Research On June 23, the Board of Trustees of the European University in St. Petersburg accepted the resignation of the rector, Oleg Kharkhordin. The EUSP is a private Russian university operating as a […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Inside Russia’s propaganda machine” – PBS Newshour

Kremlin and River

(PBS Newshour – July 11, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/inside-russias-propaganda-machine/) “For years, the Kremlin and the media it controls have waged a multifaceted information (and disinformation) campaign inside Russia and pointed at its perceived adversaries, including the U.S. As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach Fannin report on the information […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Pride, patriotism and how Putin helped redefine what it means to be a ‘true Russian'” – PBS Newshour

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

(PBS Newshour (public television) – July 10, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/pride-patriotism-putin-helped-redefine-means-true-russian/) The new Russian identity is a combination of religion, old Russian traditions and rediscovered patriotism. It helps explain how today’s Russians think, how President Putin acts and why he remains popular. As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach […]

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NEWSLINK: “EDELSTEIN IN MOSCOW” – Jerusalem Post

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein made history in Moscow yesterday. For one of the former USSR’s most famous refuseniks – Prisoners of Zion – to address Russia’s parliament 30 years after his release from the Siberian gulag is nothing less than another Russian Revolution vis-a-vis world Jewry. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “What Russians Want From Their President; The country’s voters may have just one request for their next president: maintain the status quo” – Moscow Times/ Alexei Levinson/ Levada Center

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… One such survey that the Levada Center conducted in June asked which types of domestic and foreign policies the Russian people would like the future president to pursue. …”

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Issue of Putin’s nomination as candidate in 2018 presidential elections not yet on Kremlin agenda – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. July 6 (Interfax) – The issue of Vladimir Putin’s nomination as a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections is currently not on the Kremlin agenda, presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. “This issue is not on the Kremlin agenda. It just doesn’t exist yet,” Peskov told reporters on Thursday, responding to a question as to whether Putin will run […]

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Putin Likely to Run as Independent in 2018 Election

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 6, 2017) President Vladimir Putin will likely run as an independent candidate in presidential elections next year to capitalize on his widespread public support, news outlet RBC reported, citing three sources close to the Kremlin. Running as an independent would allow Putin to position himself as a candidate for all Russians, taking advantage of […]

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Russian government extends counter-sanctions till end of 2018

EU Map

MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a resolution extending the ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food, the governmental website said in a report on Wednesday. “The ban on imports of certain types of agricultural products, raw materials and food originating from the United States, EU member countries, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin made a lot of promises to Russians on his call-in TV show. Now, he’s delivering.” – Washington Post/David Filipov, Natalya Abbakumova

“… The event, called ‘Direct Line,’ is carefully staged to show that Russia’s head of state, who probably will  seek a new six-year term next March, understands his people — and can solve their problems — better than ­anyone. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Will Russia’s Only Opposition Leader Become the Next Putin?” – New York Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“In the wake of the impressive street protests in Russian cities on June 12, you may wonder what can be expected next from the Russian opposition. This is one of those rare cases where a political prediction can be guaranteed: There will be no news from the opposition before mid-July. On June 12, Russian authorities sentenced the opposition leader, Aleksei […]

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Kremlin’s Claims about Economic Growth Rest on Three Weak Reeds, Russian Experts Say

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2017) Independent Russian economists say that claims by Moscow officials concerning the supposed growth in Russia’s GDP do not correspond to reality, Russian experts say. Instead, they reflect some statistical sleight of hand, the low base from which any change is calculated, and even the anomalously cold weather of recent […]

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Russia Sticks to Conservative $40 Oil Forecast for 2018 Budget

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 29, 2017) The Russian government is sticking to its conservative assumptions for oil prices as it drafts the budget for the next three years, relying mainly on domestic borrowing to finance the deficit in order to preserve its rainy-day funds. Oil prices are running above the government’s $40-a-barrel forecast, but growing supply […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with leader of the Russian Federation Communist Party (KPRF) faction in the State Duma Gennady Zyuganov. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zyuganov, we are meeting for one of our regular sessions to discuss your activities. As you know, I recently met with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and with [A Just […]

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TRANSCRIPT: The President congratulated Foreign Intelligence Service staff and veterans on the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal intelligence

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2017) Vladimir Putin visited the headquarters of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) to attend a gala event devoted to the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal intelligence. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, colleagues, I would like to congratulate all current staff and veterans of the Foreign Intelligence Service on the 95th anniversary of Russian illegal […]

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Putin’s Next Spectacle

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 28, 2017 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-transcript-putins-next-spectacle/28583415.html) The Kremlin needs a new distraction. Russia’s rulers need a new story to tell. Vladimir Putin needs a new bright shiny object to wave in front of the Russian people. And if recent experience is any guide, Putin’s next spectacle, the Kremlin’s […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the bureau of the Russian Engineering Union and the League for Assisting Defence Enterprises of Russia

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

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the bureau of the Russian Engineering Union and the League for Assisting Defence Enterprises of Russia. During a meeting on the development of machine building and the military industrial complex at the Kalashnikov Concern. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to welcome […]

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Moscow Media Report that West Wants to Dismember Russia Dismissed by Russian Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 26, 2017) On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. [excerpt re: NGOs]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Valentina Matviyenko: Mr President, we also organised public hearings on a subject that was long ripe for discussion. We simply gave this discussion a formal framework through these hearings on the inadmissibility of interference in Russia’s internal affairs. We know how […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin Seduced Oliver Stone – and Trump” – New York Times/ Masha Gessen

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

“Watching four hours of Oliver Stone interviewing President Vladimir Putin of Russia is not a lesson in journalism. Mr. Stone is an inept interviewer, and he does not get Mr. Putin to say anything the world hasn’t heard from him before. Watching the interviews for entertainment is a questionable proposition, too: The four-part series contains many dull exchanges and even […]

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Summer 2017 reading on Russia: 5 must-read books for those who seek to understand the country’s past and its present

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

By Pavel Koshkin (pkoshkin.russia.direct@gmail.com). Pavel Koshkin is a contributor for Forbes-Russia magazine and the deputy editor of International Desk at RBC Daily, a Russian independent newspaper. He is the former editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, an English-language analytical media outlet that suspended its activity due to various challenges. With Russia celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, here are five […]

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Russian Youth aren’t the Revolutionaries the Kremlin Fears or the Opposition Hopes For, Olshansky Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 22, 2017) Given the large number of young people taking part in the March 26 and June 12 demonstrations, many in the Kremlin have expressed concern and many in the opposition have expressed hope that young people now constitute a revolutionary force. But those fears and hopes are misplaced, Dmitry Olshansky […]

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Putin says stopped learning physics, chemistry to become intelligence officer

Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said he decided to become an intelligence officer back in his school years and even visited the KGB to ask for advice. “I was a student of the Institute of Technology’s chemistry school but developed a different inclination and decided to join the security services. I came to a KGB reception […]

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Putin, Depersonalized: What Does Oliver Stone’s Film Reveal About Russia’s Leader? In “Putin Interview”, the ordinary and casual moments are the most compelling

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – June 21, 2017) American filmmaker Oliver Stone has faced intense criticism since the release of his 4-hour “Putin Interviews” earlier this month. Critics have assailed Stone for giving a platform to the Russian president and asking softball questions. But the controversial film, currently being broadcast on Russian state television, has its intriguing […]

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Not Just A Putin Problem

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 21, 2017) [Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-not-just-a-putin-problem/28570823.html] “Krym Nash” was just the beginning. Crimea is not the only place and Ukraine is not the only neighbor where Russia has territorial ambitions. And this is not just a fixation of Vladimir #Putin and his cronies, but […]

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Thirty Percent of Russians Now Identify as Muslims, New Survey Finds

Russian Mosque file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2017) Thirty percent of Russians now identify as Muslims, according to a new survey by the ZoomMarket marketing agency, just 12 percent fewer than the 42 percent who say they are Orthodox Christians. Some 18 percent say they are atheists, with all other denominations in the single digits. Thus, three […]

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Rosatom: Climate’s new best friend; As Russia’s economic crisis continues to hit budgets, the country’s state nuclear corporation is going green to raise funds on the international level.

Russian Nuclear Power Plant

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Slivyak – June 21, 2017) Vladimir Slivyak is the co-chair of the Russian environmental NGO Ecodefense and has been taking part in UN climate change talks since 1995. The recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum was widely covered by the Russian media, partly because of the eye-catching debates in which president Vladimir Putin himself took part. In […]

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