Russian premier says nothing has changed in his relations with Putin

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(Interfax – Moscow, 13 November) [Prime Minister] Dmitriy Medvedev has said that after stepping down as president and moving to the government, his relations with Vladimir Putin have not changed. “As regards about our relations with the president – I have commented on this topic many times – nothing has changed since I went to work in the government while […]

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Despite Putin’s ‘Promise,’ Anti-Treason Law Comes into Force

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW, November 14 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A controversial law on state treason that critics fear could be used to stamp out political dissent came into force in Russia on Wednesday, two days after President Vladimir Putin told human rights workers he was ready to “review” it. The law, initiated by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and signed by […]

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Physicist Convicted of Espionage Gets Parole

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 14, 2012) Valentin Danilov, a Siberian physicist jailed on charges of espionage and treason amid a spying frenzy that swept the country in President Vladimir Putin’s first term, was granted parole Tuesday and could be freed next week. Human rights campaigners praised the ruling, saying Danilov should never have been imprisoned […]

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Controversial journalist Mamontov films defense-scandal documentary

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com –  Alina Lobzina – November 14, 2012) Controversial journalist Arkady Mamontov, best known for authoring programs accusing Kremlin-critics of being the servants of Western powers, has prepared his latest round of revelations, this time over the recent embezzlement scandal in the Defense Ministry. The state-owned federal Rossia 1 TV station aired his investigation under the title […]

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Putin Backs Russian Pension Revamp Opposed by Finance Ministry

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Olga Tanas – November 14, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a planned pension overhaul opposed by the Finance Ministry, Economy Ministry and asset managers, who warn it would curb economic growth. The Labor Ministry plan would divert taxes from future retirement plans to meet current pension payments and narrow the state system’s […]

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Brezhnev’s Children

Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon Sitting and Talking, as Nixon Gestures, with Third Man Standing and Leaning Closely Between Them

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – November 8, 2012) In many ways, the current battle for Russia’s future began 30 years ago this week. On November 10, 1982, Leonid Brezhnev died, sparking a generational change in the Soviet leadership and setting in motion an ongoing cycle of reform and reaction in Russia that remains incomplete and inconclusive to this day. The […]

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Rumors in Moscow hint that new Defense Minister Shoigu may eventually replace Putin: Andropov’s Shadow over the Kremlin Clan Feuds

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 207 – Pavel K. Baev – November 12, 2012) The Russian political class had hardly any time last week to contemplate the consequences of US President Barack Obama’s re-election for a second term or to follow the tense atmosphere at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing­it was the […]

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Billionaire Businessman Says Putin Sent “From God”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2012) Gazprom contractor and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, 60, has said that his childhood friend President Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia “from God.” Rotenberg, a longtime judo sparring partner of Putin’s who has investments in the construction and finance industries, is ranked as Russia’s 94th wealthiest man by Forbes with a personal fortune […]

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Ousted Senator Narusova laments the way Putin changed

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – November 9, 2012) Former Senator Lyudmila Narusova, widow of President Vladimir Putin’s political mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, and mother of opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak, has given an extensive interview to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Narusova was kicked out of the Federation Council last month after having voiced criticisms of the recent crackdowns on […]

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Putin Approves New Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday the new make-up of the Kremlin’s council on human rights and civil society. The reshuffle comes after a spate of resignations that began in the wake of last December’s disputed parliamentary elections and continued following Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May. “We have to […]

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Shady dealing, sex scandals and Russia’s defense crisis

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 12, 2012) When Anatoly Serdyukov, reportedly clad in a bathrobe and slippers, opened the door to a police unit raiding his former employee’s apartment, it was the tipping point for Russia’s beleaguered defense minister. But it wasn’t the only reason by far why the catastrophically unpopular defense minister was sacked last […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform

File Photo of Segei Serdyukov with Bob Gates

(Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform – The Economist – November 10, 2012 – http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21566006-firing-russias-defence-minister-may-be-setback-military-reform-reform-and-be-sacked) The Economist covers the sacking of former Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov: “Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia’s defence minister from 2007 until November 6th when President Vladimir Putin fired him, was never much of […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal

File Photo of Russian Tanks on Parade

(Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal – Reuters – Timothy Heritage – November 9, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-putin-defence-idUSBRE8A80RC20121109) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reshuffling of his top military staff, following the replacement of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov with Sergei Shoigu: Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced the chief of his military staff on Friday in a reshuffle that […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts

Map of Russia

(Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts – Valdai Discussion Club – November 8, 2012 – http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html) The Valdai Club announces that a “survey of the Valdai Club international experts point to conflicting trends in the development of Russian institutions and society.” Click here to read the full article: http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html “The text of the report both […]

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Russian opposition leader targets corruption, mismanagement in utilities

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – November 8, 2012) Moscow, 8 November: Opposition figure and blogger Aleksey Navalnyy has announced the launch of a new project, called RosZhKKh, for fighting corruption and shortcomings in the work of utilities and municipal services companies. “It is common knowledge that ZhKKh (Russian abbreviation for utilities and municipal services) in Russia is a black hole that sucks in […]

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Few Russians know about and believe in opposition Coordination Council – poll

Moscow Protest file photo

(Interfax – November 8, 2012) Only 5 per cent of people surveyed by Russian pollster FOM consider themselves to be properly informed about the opposition Coordination Council (CC), Interfax news agency reported on 8 November, citing the latest survey data. Another 19 per cent of the 1,500 respondents from 43 Russian regions said they had “heard something” about the Council […]

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Russians Have Little Interest in Politics, Doubt Their Ability to Influence National Life – Poll

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – Politics is yet to evoke interest among Russians; 66% of them pay no attention to political events, Levada Center told Interfax. Only 26% of the respondents polled in 45 regions in October gave an affirmative answer to the question if they wished to take part in political life, at least in their home region. The […]

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Confidence Ratings of Russian President, Premier Stabilize – Poll

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The decline in confidence ratings for President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which started after the March presidential election in Russia, has slowed. Their confidence ratings stood at 42-44% and 36-38% respectively in September-October, the Public Opinion Foundation reported on Thursday. The Foundation held its latest poll of 3,000 respondents in 204 towns […]

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Anti-Putin Protest Movement ‘Gaining Influence’ ­- Valdai Index

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s extra-parliamentary opposition has grown in influence since last year, according to almost 70 percent of political analysts who contributed to the Valdai Development Index published on Thursday. The Russia Development Index (Valdai Index) is an analytical initiative which grew out of the Valdai Discussion Club, and which seeks to harness the opinions of […]

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NEWSLINK: Kremlin Can’t Decide Whether Russia is Heir to the Soviet Union or to Imperial Russia, Inozemtsev Says

Romanov Family Photo

(Kremlin Can’t Decide Whether Russia is Heir to the Soviet Union or to Imperial Russia, Inozemtsev Says Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 7 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2012/11/window-on-eurasia-kremlin-cant-decide.html) Paul Goble, in Window on Eurasia, examines an argument by Vladislav Inozemtsev, head of the Civic Force Party, that the Kremlin is wrestling with how to regard Russia’s heritage in terms […]

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Think Tank Reopens Shuvalov Corruption Scandal

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 8, 2012) [think tank report here http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/HJS-The-Shuvalov-Affair-Report-4.pdf] A London-based think tank is reigniting the row over allegations of corruption against Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov with the publication of a new report Thursday. The document, produced by the Henry Jackson Society and obtained in advance of its release by The Moscow […]

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Amid Defense Ministry Shakeup, Corruption Case Grows

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 8, 2012) Sergei Shoigu officially took over his new defense minister duties Wednesday, receiving the so-called nuclear briefcase, while prosecutors announced new findings in a corruption case at a ministry agency that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Shoigu, best-known for his long tenure as emergency situations minister, […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms  – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – November 6, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1106/Russian-defense-minister-s-sacking-suggests-political-infighting-video) The Christian Science Monitor covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dismissal of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov.  […]

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The war between the president’s men

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Dmitri Travin – opendemocracy.net – November 6, 2012 – Dmitri Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies) The Russian regime may present a united front to the world, but behind the scenes the cracks are beginning to show. In the week when Putin fired a senior government member, Dmitri Travin looks at […]

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Shoigu Seen as Ideal Fit to Head Defense Ministry

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 7, 2012) Sergei Shoigu said he was surprised by his appointment to replace Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, but his combination of popularity among the public and loyalty to the Kremlin makes him a fitting choice to head one of the country’s most important government sectors. Shoigu, who entered government service […]

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Over half of Russians approve of Serdyukov’s dismissal as defense minister – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – More than half of Russians – 58% – appreciated President Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, and nearly half – 49% – approved of Sergei Shoigu’s appointment to the job, the www.superjob.ru web portal found after polling 1,600 Russians on Tuesday. Putin announced Serdyukov’s dismissal at a meeting with Shogu earlier […]

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Experts welcome Putin’s appointment of new defence minister

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Russian political experts have disagreed whether President Putin’s decision to sack Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and appoint Sergey Shoygu, governor of Moscow Region and former emergencies minister, in his place will lead to changes in military reform and major reshuffles in the top brass of the Russian Armed Forces. At the same time, most experts […]

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Kudrin Does Not See Way Back to Govt For Now

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 6 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister and current head of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, is not upset with Dmitry Medvedev, who sacked him when he was president, and does not regret quitting the government. “I will say that at the moment I do not see the conditions for my return,” Kudrin said in an interview […]

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Putin Fires Defense Minister Amid Scandal [replaces Serdyukov with Shoigu]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova and Roland Oliphant – November 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in connection with a corruption scandal and appointed Moscow Governor Sergei Shoigu in his place. Putin informed Serdyukov and Shoigu, a longtime ally who only became governor in May after serving 18 years as emergency situations […]

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The first big name falls in Russia’s anti-graft drive

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 7, 2012) On November 6, President Vladimir Putin sacked Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is accused of stealing $95m. We have been waiting for this. It’s the first time the Kremlin’s revitalized anti-corruption drive has reached into the inner circle. The sacking appears significant and already has the international press asking if […]

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Putin Faces Anti-Migrant Tide as Opponents Tap Resentment

Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – November 7, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opponents are looking to take advantage of a dip in his approval rating by latching on to rising anti-immigration sentiment. With the share of Russians wanting tighter immigration rules at the highest in at least a decade, Alexey Navalny, the country’s most-popular opposition […]

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Russians Divided Over Revolution of 1917 But Want No New Revolts – Poll

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – The Revolution of 1917 had more pros than cons, respondents told the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM). The center polled 1,600 adults in 46 regions on October 27-28. Some 27% believe the revolution spurred on social development of Russia (the indicator stood at 34% in 2002), and 21% believe it opened up a new […]

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Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article [Re: Protests]

Moscow Protest file photo

From: “William Dunkerley” <wd@publishinghelp.com> Subject: Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2012 Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article By William Dunkerley William Dunkerley is a media business analyst and consultant specializing in Russia and the former Soviet Union. An October 30, 2012 Vedomosti article titled “No Pathologies in Anatomy: Russians disbelieve that protesters meant […]

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All Politics Is Local: Rating Russia’s Regions

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 6 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ Economic progress, a clear political mandate, and good press: these are the things, according to a new report by a leading Russian think tank, that make a Russian region truly stable. It was otherwise largely unnoticed regions, such as Mordovia, that fared best in the rating, despite other ostensibly more likely contenders […]

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Most Russians against allowing revolutions – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Most polled Russians believe that a revolution cannot be allowed to take place in the country nowadays, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on 6 November. According to a poll carried out by the state-funded All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), most respondents are convinced that a revolution cannot be allowed to […]

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Is the Kremlin Writing off Middle-Aged Russians?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Paul Goble – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 201 – November 2, 2012) The Kremlin has created a new “agitation and propaganda” (agitprop) administration, which will focus on the elderly, whom the regime hopes to influence or at least keep in its corner now, and the young whom it can only hope to affect […]

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Summer is cancelled for Russia’s bureaucrats -­ but will they play ball?

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

(Mikhail Loginov – www.opendemocracy.net –  November 2, 2012- Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St. Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”.) October is Russia’s local election month, and some regions have just elected governors for the first time in seven years, part of an electoral reform designed to […]

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[TRANSCRIPT:] Vladimir Putin congratulated Russians on the National Unity Day.

Map of Russia

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2012) During the reception, Russian state decorations were presented to foreign citizens for their contribution to strengthening cooperation with Russia and developing Russian culture abroad. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky presented the decorations. Speech at a reception marking National Unity Day PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, friends. Congratulations on the National Unity Day! This […]

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Companies Refuse to Make Lenin And Stalin Banners For Russian Communists

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

MOSCOW. Nov 3 (Interfax) – Advertising agencies have been refusing to make or publish banners for Russian Communists with pictures of Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin and with Bolshevik slogans for the upcoming 95th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, a Communist leader complained. “Three banners have become the stumbling block – those with pictures of Lenin, Stalin and the cruiser […]

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New Kremlin Headache: Democracy is Alive in Ukraine and Georgia

Map of Russia and European Region of Former Soviet Union or Commonwealth of Independent States

(Voice of America – James Brooke – November 3, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR) Vladimir Putin is suffering back pains and is cancelling foreign trips and his annual November press conference marathon. He may also be suffering from a foreign policy migraine: multi-party democracy is alive and well in the […]

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Defense Spending and Policy Discussions Are Splitting the Russian Elite

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 200 – Pavel Felgenhauer – November 2, 2012) Last week, the public standing of one of President Vladimir Putin’s most powerful cohorts­ — Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov­ — was seriously undermined when Russia’s Investigation Committee (Slyedstvenny Kommitet Rossye­SKR) publicly accused the defense ministry­-controlled holding company “Oboronservis” of corruption and […]

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Putin’s Crane Flight Hurt His Back, Report Says

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 2, 2012) Fresh speculation that President Vladimir Putin has health problems was swirling Thursday, when a media report said the 60-year-old was suffering from an exacerbated back injury. The injury flared up after the president’s latest outdoor stunt when he flew a hang-glider with rare Siberian cranes, Vedomosti reported, citing […]

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Russians slightly less confident about long-term future than before – poll

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Interfax – Moscow, 1 November) The majority of Russians are trying to plan their lives (60 per cent), but mainly over the short term (43 per cent), and 39 per cent of those polled are not inclined to plan for the future, sociologists have found. Among the groups most likely to try to plan for the future are young Russians […]

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NEWSLINK: The Putin Crackdown: First he went after the punk rockers. Then the activists.

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(“The Putin Crackdown: First he went after the punk rockers. Then the activists.” – Wall Street Journal Editorial – November 1, 2012 – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204840504578087152147315198.html) A Wall Street Journal editorial calls for Congresss to pass the Magnitsky Act: Congress should get over its gridlock and pass the Magnitsky Act that bars Russian human-rights offenders from traveling to or banking in the […]

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Putin not abandoning phone-ins, will hold big news conferences – spokesman

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, 31 October) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not intend to abandon the format of “direct-line” (live phone-in conversations) and, in addition, is going to resume the practice of holding big traditional news conferences, the president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “There will be no direct line this year. This does not mean, as some mass media […]

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About quarter of Russians sure political repressions to hit country again – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – October 31, 2012) Nearly a quarter of Russians has no doubt about the emergence of a new wave of political repressions in the country, Russian news agency Interfax reported on 30 October, quoting a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM). According to the survey carried out on 21 October among 1,500 people in 100 villages and […]

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Two-thirds of Russians approve of Putin’s work as president – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Interfax – Moscow, 31 October) According to sociological surveys, Russians support the president, emphasize the need for reforms in the country and believe that there will be improvements in the political and economic life in the near future. Vladimir Putin’s work as president is currently approved of by 67 per cent of those surveyed, a third of citizens (32 per […]

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Half of Polled Russians Support Gradual Reform, One Fifth Want Radical Change

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Russians support the country’s president, stress the need for reform and believe that there will be changes for the better in political and economic life in the nearest future, sociological studies indicate. Currently 67% of Russians support the efforts of Vladimir Putin as president while 32% don’t and the rest are undecided, Interfax was told […]

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Inquiry Begins Into Razvozzhayev’s Abduction – Human Rights Activists

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – An inquiry into the abduction of Russian opposition figure Leonid Razvozzhayev in Ukraine has begun, Moscow Public Oversight Commission head and Moscow Helsinki Group member Valery Borshchev said. Commission members again visited Razvozzhayev at the Lefortovo detention facility on Wednesday. “A detective has been assigned to investigate the abduction. Razvozzhayev has met with him,” Borshchev […]

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Senators Pass Treason Bill Affecting International NGOs

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 1, 2012) The Federation Council on Wednesday passed amendments to the law on treason that could make it possible for law enforcement officials to target people collaborating with international organizations. The changes, which were passed by the State Duma earlier this month, were approved by 138 of 166 senators, despite appeals […]

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