Putin’s Authoritarianism Simply a Response to Archaic Localism of 1990s, Russian Analyst Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2016) Pavel Pryanikov, the editor of the Tolkovatel portal, argues that the current upsurge in authoritarianism in Russia is a response to the archaic localism separate from the state that emerged after the collapse of Soviet power in 1991, the latest turn of a cycle described by Russian philosopher Aleksandr […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Syria Map

(Kremlin.ru – December 29, 2016) Mr Shoigu and Mr Lavrov briefed the President on work to resolve the Syrian crisis, in particular, agreements reached between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and readiness to begin peace talks. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, The news has just come in that this morning, a few hours ago, an […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In 2017, Putin faces his toughest challenge: Russian pessimism; After several years of economic hardship and international pressure over its annexation of Crimea, Russia may see its lot improve next year. But most are skeptical of the possibility of lasting change” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Putin at Desk

… Most adult Russians have seen roller-coaster ups and downs in the past 25 years, from the harrowing collapse of the superstate of their birth, the USSR; to a decade of economic despair and social decay; to several years of revival under Putin that came to a screeching halt amid economic crisis and global condemnation following Russia’s annexation of Crimea […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin focuses on domestic issues in his annual press conference marathon; International relations and the showdown with the West in Ukraine and Syria got little attention this year” – bne Intellinews

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

… Putin … [began] his annual marathon press conference … with a run down of the latest macroeconomic results. In the last two events he spent more time on international relations and the showdown with the West in Ukraine and Syria, which got little attention this year. * * * Putin indirectly dismissed … speculation … Russia hacked the US […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Reception to mark the New Year

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – December 28, 2016) Vladimir Putin attended a reception at the Kremlin to mark the New Year holiday. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends. You know the events of these last few days. We therefore decided to change the New Year reception’s traditional format and give it more of a working atmosphere so that we could gather […]

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Putin still sees USSR break-up as catastrophe – spokesman

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

(RIA Novosti – December 21, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin still believes that the break-up of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe, his press secretary has said. Dmitry Peskov said while the break-up could not be reversed there was no alternative to “new integration” in post-Soviet space. “Putin still thinks that it was a catastrophe for all the peoples that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – December 23, 2016) [Video with English translation http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53573] The President’s news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24 and Channel One, as well as Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. Television channel Public Television of Russia (OTR) and its site (otr-online.ru/online/) provided live sign language interpretation of the news conference. President of Russia Vladimir […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference (partial transcript)

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – December 23, 2016) [Russian here http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53573] The President’s news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24 and Channel One, as well as Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends. Let’s begin. We have agreed with my assistant here that I will not make any lengthy opening […]

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Russians Want Fascism but Don’t Yet Have the Leader Full-Blown Fascism Requires, Ikhlov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 19, 2016) Russians, polls suggest, would like to see Russia become a fascist state but it lacks one necessary ingredient, a genuinely fascist-type leader, Yevgeny Ikhlov says. As a result, it and they may be saved not by legal structures which unfortunately Russia does not yet have but rather by the […]

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Putin’s Little Helpers

Vladimir Putin

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 19, 2016) We’re all complicit in turning Vladimir Putin the man into Vladimir Putin the myth and the legend. We’re all guilty, to a degree, of making the Kremlin leader seem omnipotent. All of us, in one way or another, have turned the leader of a country with a GDP lower than […]

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Putin briefed on election-rigging by regional officials

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

(Interfax – December 19, 2016) Russia’s election authority has briefed Vladimir Putin on violations during the last parliamentary poll, some of them “extremely serious”, privately-owned news agency Interfax reported. Breaches of the rules were identified in 23 parts of the country, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, told Putin. “And in some places these were extremely, extremely serious,” […]

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RBTH: 2016 in review: Top 5 political events

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

From the war in Syria to high-level corruption and doping scandals, here are the stories that shook up Russian politics in the past year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – December 19, 2016) 1. Intervention in Syria Although President Vladimir Putin stated in March 2016 that the operation in Syria, which began in September 2015, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – December 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin held his final regular meeting with Government members for 2016 and congratulated them on the upcoming New Year holiday. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Keeping with tradition, I want to congratulate you on the upcoming New Year holiday and say a few words about our work over this past year. […]

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Peskov: president has ‘crazy day and busy schedule’ on Monday

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

MOSCOW. Dec 19 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov has spoken about the president’s “crazy” schedule on Monday, which, besides a meeting with government officials and a meeting with businessmen before the New Year holidays, includes several international phone conversations. “The president will congratulate government officials on the New Year, he will visit cabinet members in the House […]

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Medvedev says Ulyukayev’s dismissal after losing president’s trust is not ‘guilty verdict’

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 15 (Interfax) – The resignation of former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev after he lost the president’s trust and confidence does not mean Ulyukayev has been found guilty of the crimes he has been accused of, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “The president made the decision to dismiss the former minister from his duties due to loss of […]

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RBTH: Russia’s opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny to run for president in 2018

Make the oligarchs equal to ordinary citizens, reduce the power of the siloviks, get out of Syria and Ukraine: opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny has spoken about his electoral program while internet users and political analysts have evaluated his chances. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 14, 2016) Opposition figurehead and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny […]

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Russia’s New Economic Development Minister is the Status Quo Candidate; Don’t expect former Finance Ministry official Maxim Oreshkin to rock the boat

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer – December 10, 2016) It took two weeks for President Vladimir Putin to find a replacement for Alexei Ulyukayev, the economic development minister sacked in a corruption scandal. His final choice of Maxim Oreshkin, a largely unknown 34-yearold deputy finance minister, raised a few eyebrows. “Maxim, you are a fairly young man, but […]

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In Russia, the Refrigerator is Finally Defeating the TV but Not Having the Political Impact Many Expected

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 12, 2016) For months, Moscow commentators have suggested that Russians are caught between what the Kremlin shows them on television and what they see in their increasingly empty refrigerators and predicted that eventually the refrigerator would defeat the TV and that this would have immediate political consequences. The findings of two […]

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Russian Energy Minister Says Oil Cuts to Start in January

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Annmarie Hordern – December 11, 2016) Russia’s oil producers have started preparations to meet the nation’s pledge to curb output as part of the “historic” pact between OPEC and 11 producers outside the group, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. “The first stage of the cut we will see as soon as early January,” Novak […]

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Poll: Fewer Russians Believe in Russia’s ‘Special Path’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2016) Fewer Russians believe their country has a unique, “special path” to development, a poll by the independent Levada Center has found. Only 16 percent of Russians said that Russia should have a special path and a special state apparatus for developing the country, down from 24 percent the previous year. One in […]

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Putin Caps a Turnaround Year as Rosneft Deal Beats Sanctions

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – December 8, 2016) As the U.S. and #Europe try to isolate #Russia with #sanctions, Vladimir #Putin just managed to oversee one of the biggest investments in the global #energy industry this year. The surprise $11 billion sale of shares in oil giant #Rosneft PJSC to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and Glencore […]

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Kremlin Official Admits Problems With Foreign Agent Law

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 7, 2016) First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko told members of Russia’s Human Rights Council that while the controversial Foreign Agents law on NGOs cannot be repealed, it could be improved. Kiriyenko admitted the law was problematic during a conversation with members of the council held on Dec. 6, which lasted […]

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Putin presents state awards for achievements in human rights, charity

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin handed over state awards for outstanding achievements in the field of charity and human rights activities for the first time in the Kremlin on Thursday. In September 2015, the president signed a decree establishing the award in the field of charitable and human rights activities in Russia from January 1, 2016. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – December 8, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. It is a pleasure to greet you all here at this meeting, which, by tradition, takes place on the eve of Human Rights Day. As you know, two new national […]

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Human rights council to continue attempts to improve law on foreign-agent NGOs – Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) – The Russian presidential Council for human rights will be seeking changes to the law on foreign-agent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) until it becomes workable, the Council’s chairman Mikhail Fedotov said. “We did not promise that we’d quit our attempts to improve it. We will continue these attempts until it becomes a normal, a quite workable law,” […]

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Real Arrangements of Russian Power under #Putin Increasingly like Those in #Stalin’s Times, Pavlova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 6, 2016) One of the most typical characteristics of #Russian political power is that it is unlimited because it has little relationship to the public face of the state and is not formalized. That is the case with Vladimir #Putin’s regime now, Irina Pavlova says; and it is one of “the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Constitutional Court judges

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kremlin.ru – December 6, 2016) At the Kremlin, the President met with judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in advance of Constitution Day, marked on December 12. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zorkin, colleagues, Good afternoon. I would like to congratulate you once again on the 25th anniversary of the Constitutional Court. I would like to […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin made a working trip to Chelyabinsk Region

File Photo of Russian MI-26 Helicopter in Afghanistan with MI-17 Helicopter In Background

(Kremlin.ru – December 5, 2016) The President toured the Makeyev State Rocket Centre in Miass, where he held a meeting on the centre’s activity. Vladimir Putin took part in the launch of a new production line at the Eterno Plant in Chelyabinsk, which produces advanced components for pipe systems using nanotechnology. The Eterno Plant is a joint project of the […]

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Navalny blames authorities for using criminal proceeding to bar him from elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

KIROV. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Opposition activist Alexei Navalny believes that the authorities are trying to use criminal proceedings as a way to bar him from nomination in elections. “They want to deprive me of the electoral right. If this process begins, I will again be deprived of the electoral right for three years,” Navalny said at the Kirov Leninsky […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “In Meeting, Putin Vows to Protect Artistic Freedom in Russia”

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in a meeting with film directors and artists, vowed on Friday to protect artistic freedom in the country but also said a court was right to give one director a 20-year prison term. …”

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russia sets out its policy on terrorism, nuclear war & global ties in new Foreign Policy Concept”

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries. … the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s ‘views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy’ are […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Panetta: Putin Wants To Restore the Soviet Union; The former secretary of defense has made similar remarks before, but this time he was more direct” – U.S. News

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

#Russian President Vladimir #Putin’s main interest is restoration of the Soviet Union, former Secretary of Defense Leon #Panetta said …. ‘Let’s not kid anybody,’ said Panetta, who also served as CIA director and White House chief of staff. ‘Putin’s main interest is to try to restore the old Soviet Union. … that’s what drives him.’ Panetta added of the current […]

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Putin approves Russia’s new foreign policy blueprint

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(RIA Novosti – December 1, 2016) President Vladimir #Putin has signed a decree approving #Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept, state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported on 1 December. The key points of the document, according to RIA Novosti, are as follows: USA – The risk of a war, including a nuclear war, between the leading powers is low, but the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘We’re OUTBREEDING you!’ Putin taunts West as he unveils drive to boost Russian birth rate” – The Daily Express (UK)

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

… Putin… issued an extraordinary putdown to the West as he boasted that Russia was outbreeding its rivals and unveiled new scientific measures to up the country’s birth rate further still. … plans to roll out 94 “hi-tech” perinatal centres across the country during his annual address to parliament. … Putin pledged a series of measures, from scientific to social, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin gives a Soviet-style state of the union, and some #Russian eyes glazed over” – Washington Post/David Filipov/Andrew Roth

Kremlin and River

… Putin called for better ties with the United States in his annual address … while brushing away … concerns about Kremlin interference in other countries. But the moment that went ­viral … was … Medvedev, eyes turned down, appearing to doze off. Whether the premier was napping or … checking his notes …. In a businesslike tone that recalled a Soviet […]

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TRANSCRIPT: “Joint meeting of the Council for Culture and Art and the Council on the Russian Language”

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

(Kremlin.ru – Dec. 2, 2016) Vladimir Putin is chairing a joint meeting of the Council for Culture and Art and the Council on the Russian Language in St Petersburg. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We have gathered today in St Petersburg, which has a very concentrated cultural programme these days. The International Cultural Forum is taking place […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Last chance? Putin vows – again – to bring economic reform to Russia. In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

… pledging … deep domestic reforms to wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore the country’s global reputation … Putin may be putting [his] powers to the test. … analysts say this may be the last chance to start delivering. … Putin … clearly realizes that … approval ratings depend heavily on … public […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – December 1, 2016) [Complete text in Russian and video: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53379] Vladimir Putin delivered the Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. The Address was traditionally delivered at the Kremlin’s St George Hall. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues, members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, citizens of Russia, Today, as usual in these annual addresses, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Primakov Readings International Forum

Yevgeny Primakov file photo, with William Cohen in partial profile

(Kremlin.ru – November 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin addressed a meeting of the International Forum Primakov Readings devoted to studying Yevgeny Primakov’s academic and political heritage. The International Forum Primakov Readings took place on November 28-30 in Moscow with the support of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Primakov Institute of World Economy and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Maxim Oreshkin

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – November 30, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Oreshkin, how long have you been working as Deputy Finance Minister now? Maxim Oreshkin: Practically two years. Vladimir Putin: Two years. Before this, you were… Maxim Oreshkin: Department Director at the Finance Ministry, and before that, I was in banking, at VTB and the international bank. Vladimir Putin: You […]

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Russia’s Central Bank Wants You to Believe; Governor Elvira Nabiullina has introduced her own version of forward guidance. The results are mixed.

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – November 29, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-29/russia-s-central-bank-wants-you-to-believe] When central bankers start making predictions about what they’re going to do in the future, reality often has other plans. Just ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, or Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Recent attempts at so-called “forward guidance” — telling the public how interest rates […]

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Kremlin Media Doesn’t have Long-Term or Profound Impact on Young, Surveys Show

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 28, 2016) Surveys of university-age Russians over the last decade show that these young people quickly accept the regime’s list of enemies but almost as quickly shift when the regime’s outlets do and that these shifts have little impact on the way in which young Russians view their country’s place in […]

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Kremlin announces new personnel decisions in connection with election of officials to Russian Academy of Sciences

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

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) – More personnel decisions will be made in connection with the election of officials as corresponding members and academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. “Some more personnel decisions are sure to be made,” Peskov told reporters, responding to a question as to why not all officials who were […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – November 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects to discuss support for non-resource exports and environmental development. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today we will look into measures to support non-resource exports and to improve the environmental situation in the country. We need to form a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Science and Education

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Kremlin.ru – November 23, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education. The draft National Science and Technology Development Strategy was the main item on the agenda. The President gave the instruction to draft the strategy in June 2015. The Education and Science Ministry was responsible for drafting the document and the Centre for […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Kommersant: “Russians think their country should become ‘a great power'”

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

“The majority of Russians assume that the country will be a great power in the future and are ready to accept hardline policies for the sake of order in the country, according to a survey by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Most people are more concerned about personal problems than those of the state, however.”

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Russian Communications Expert Says Kremlin Is Hacker-Proof

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2016) The Kremlin’s vital information systems are impervious to hacking, according to Sergei Plugotarenko, director of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications. In an interview with the state-run TASS news agency, Plugotarenko explained that the Kremlin’s systems are divided into separate tiers, external and internal, with the latter housing critical information which might […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia’s economic line after minister’s dismissal to remain unchanged – view” [Andrei Kostin]

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

“The dismissal of Alexei Ulyukayev from position of the economic development minister would not affect the country’s economic line, VTB’s CEO Andrei Kostin said ….”

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Kudrin’s 13 Points about What Russia Must Do to Overcome Its Backwardness

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 21, 2016) At the conclusion of the All-Russian Civic Forum, Aleksey Kudrin, the head of the Civic Initiatives Committee, outlined his ideas about what Russia needs to do over the next 20 years to avoid disaster and return to modernization and democracy. Znak’s Dmitry Kolesev has organized them as 13 theses. […]

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