NEWSLINK: After a year of protest, a different Russia beckons

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

[After a year of protest, a different Russia beckons – Washington Post – Will Englund and Kathy Lally – Dec. 5, 2012 – Click here for full article] The Washington Post covers the one-year anniversary of the large protests that broke out in Russia in December 2010: The political protests that suddenly began a year ago seemingly accomplished little concrete […]

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Russia’s Anti-Putin Opposition: One Year On

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, December 5 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – When thousands of Muscovites swept into the streets to protest alleged vote-rigging in favor of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party at the December 4, 2011, parliamentary polls, they revived a passion for politics not seen here for some two decades and set the scene for the greatest challenge to the ex-KGB officer’s […]

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Russian opposition figure pleased with year’s work, vows to continue protest

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 4 December) Left Front coordinator Sergey Udaltsov is satisfied with the results of the year that has passed since the start of active protests and believes in dialogue with the authorities on issues of political and social reform in the country. (Passage omitted: disputed 4 December 2011 parliamentary election led to mass public protests) “It will be […]

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Opposition Council Seeks Purpose

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – Dec. 5, 2012) “Who is in favor of fair courts? Seems like no one wants fair courts. How about early elections? Don’t you want early elections?” former chess champion Garry Kasparov asked the opposition Coordination Council regarding the main slogan to be used for a Dec. 15 protest march. “For now, we […]

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Year After First Protest, Future of Movement Uncertain

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Jonathan Earle – Dec. 5, 2012) One year ago Wednesday, tens of thousands of protesters filled Chistiye Prudy, a leafy park in downtown Moscow, in a spontaneous protest against State Duma elections that they said were rigged. The participants ­ led by students and urban, middle-class professionals ­ described the event in terms of jubilation […]

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NEWSLINK: Constitutional changes possible but not yet necessary – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

[Constitutional changes possible but not yet necessary – Putin – Russia Today – Nov. 30, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/president-state-mps-government-962/] Russia Today covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s positions on how members of the Federation Council are chosen. Click here for the full article: http://rt.com/politics/president-state-mps-government-962/

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NEWSLINK: Corruption scandals dominate Russian headlines; Allegations have involved Russia’s defense and agriculture ministries and even the space program. Some wonder whether the regime is cracking down or fracturing

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

[Corruption scandals dominate Russian headlines; Allegations have involved Russia’s defense and agriculture ministries and even the space program. Some wonder whether the regime is cracking down or fracturing. – Los Angeles Times – Sergei L. Loiko – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/02/world/la-fg-russia-corruption-20121203] The Los Angeles Times covers recently exposed corruption scandals in Russia: … the news in Russia lately has […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange

Igor Shuvalov file photo

[Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange – Itar-Tass – Dec. 3, 2012 – Russia Day to be held at New York Stock Exchange – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/587860.html] Itar-Tass covers plans to hold a “Russia Day” conference at the New York Stock Exchange: Russia Day is to be held at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday. The […]

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Putin’s Anti-Corruption Campaign May Backfire

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Frolov – Dec. 3, 2012) It may feel like hitting a political trifecta. You defang the political issue that energizes your opponents. You restore your standing with the military and please your core supporters long clamoring for the corrupt elites’ heads. You anesthetize your governing team with a fear of being on the hit […]

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Putin Sets Parliamentary Address for Mid-December

Duma Session file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Dec. 3, 2012) President Vladimir Putin told leaders of the four State Duma factions that he would make his state-of-the-nation address in mid-December. The address is traditionally held in November, but a Kremlin source told Kommersant in late October that the address might be delayed amid disputes about its content. The faction heads met Putin […]

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Pussy Riot Clip Classified as Extremist

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – Nov. 30, 2012) A city court has declared Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” video extremist, meaning that media outlets can face closure for publishing the all-female band’s famous performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Thursday’s far-reaching decision also means that hosting platforms like YouTube must remove the video for Russian users […]

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Rumors about Putin’s back are highly exaggerated, president’s ability to work unaffected – Peskov

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to participate in sports as usual and the rumors about his back problems do not affect his ability to work, the president’s press officer Dmitry Peskov said. “We continue working and intends to continue working in the same mode. He has no intention of giving up sports. Like any sportsman, […]

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A ‘Kompromat’ War Of All Against All

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – Nov. 29, 2012) Is it an anti-graft campaign? A purge of the elite? Or the start of a clan war? When police raided and searched the home of Rostelekom CEO Aleksandr Provotorov last week, it marked yet another chapter in what the Russian media has been describing as a Kremlin-backed war on corruption. The search […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to Kommersant newspaper

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(http://premier.gov.ru – Nov. 29, 2012) Question: You’ve been Prime Minister for six months now. We can safely say that the organising phrase of forming the Government is over. Earlier you had outlined seven priority areas of the Government’s work including in the short term. What have you been able to resolve at this stage and what issues remain unresolved? Dmitry […]

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Russian deputy PM says democracy depends on innovative economy

Skolkovo File Photo

(Interfax – Skolkovo, 28 November) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov has described innovative work as a priority political task because high technologies contribute to the development of democracy. “I think innovative work is a priority political task. It precedes party building, it precedes elections, it comes before everything else, because there will be no democracy without high technologies and […]

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Putin’s Repressive Power Is Tested and Found Lacking

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 217 – Pavel K. Baev – Nov. 28, 2012) A capacity for unleashing targeted repressions is crucial for the survival of authoritarian regimes, and President Vladimir Putin finds it increasingly difficult to demonstrate that he has such a capacity­or that he controls it. Health problems keep him confined to […]

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Medvedev: Repression Charges Are Pure Politics

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 29, 2012) Saying the “repressive” label given to new laws on treason and other civil issues is “a pure political tactic,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev voiced support for the State Duma’s reinstating of criminal charges for libel ­ which overturned one of his own initiatives as president. In a wide-ranging interview published in Kommersant […]

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Russia’s Leadership ‘Tandem’ Losing Appeal – Poll

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

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – The two men who form Russia’s ruling tandem – President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – have seen their credibility and approval ratings drop over the past 11 months, the Levada polling agency said on Thursday. Putin’s credibility ratings fell from 41 percent in January to 34 percent in November, and Medvedev’s […]

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Number of Russians viewing authorities as corrupt continues to grow

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Interfax – 11.29.12) Corruption in Russia remains high, and citizens are worried about it, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax on Thursday. Seventy-five percent believe that the corruption level is high or even very high. The indicator was the same in 2007-2008, the sociologists said. Sixty percent claimed high corruption in their home towns in 2007. The […]

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NEWSLINK: Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin

Empty Boardroom

(Rostelecom Is Forever in Debt to the Kremlin – Yulia Latynina – Moscow Times – Nov. 28, 2012 – Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/rostelecom-is-forever-in-debt-to-the-kremlin/472094.html) Yulia Latynina comments in a Moscow Times op-ed on alleged corruption and repercussions entangling Rostelecom, Marshall Capital and VTB Bank, yet another Russian scandal ending up in the […]

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Has the Russian opposition lost its way?

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Ben Judah – www.opendemocracy.net – Nov. 27, 2012 – Ben Judah is the author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin to be published in May 2013 by Yale University Press. He is an associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.) From the euphoria of last winter, reality has bitten Russia’s […]

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Putin’s China Syndrome

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – Nov. 27, 2012) The Moscow punditocracy has had China on its mind lately. In fact, one leading commentator even confessed to suffering from “China envy.” When the Chinese Communist Party elected the country’s new top leaders earlier this month, with Hu Jintao relinquishing power to Xi Jinping, many in Russia’s chattering classes noted how favorably […]

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NEWSLINK: Constitutional Court considering law on rallies

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Constitutional Court considering law on rallies – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – November 28, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/583381.html) ITAR-TASS reports on the Russian Constitutional Court’s review of a law on protests: Russia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday began to consider complaints filed by parliamentarians of the State Duma and opposition leader Eduard Limonov. They oppose new rules for organizing rallies and […]

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Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) [Whether Massive Prison Protest Reported]

Map of Russia

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 Subject: Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> A response to David’s request concerning the accuracy of Masha Gessen piece “In the Penal Colony. This Being Russia, A Massive Prison Protest Isn’t Being Reported”. By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova The temperatures here in Novosibirsk are currently ranging between -20 and -30.  That allows […]

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Year-old protests hit snag: Plagued by infighting and a seeming caste system, the opposition is at a crossroads

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 26, 2012) Nearly a year after a modest opposition rally against an allegedly rigged parliamentary vote sparked the biggest demonstrations Russia has seen in two decades, anti- Kremlin groups are suffering from fatigue ­ and an identity crisis. “If someone knew what to do in this situation, then [President Vladimir] Putin […]

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Medvedev interview to be broadcast live on Dec 7 – newspaper

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – An interview with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will be broadcast live on Rossiya 1 television and Medvedev will be fielding questions from journalists representing Chanel One, VGTRK, NTV, REN TV and the Dozhd television station, business daily Kommersant wrote on Tuesday. “Such interviews at the end of the year have become a tradition. The April […]

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Kashin Fired From Kommersant

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 27, 2012) Kommersant has fired opposition-minded journalist Oleg Kashin for writing too much for other media and too little for his employer, the leading daily’s editor said Monday. “An agreement has been reached with Kashin [to terminate his employment] because he practically has not worked for Kommersant for one year,” […]

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A moveable riot: The saga of Pussy Riot has one source

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 26, 2012 – Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News) I’m going to tell you a story about three pretty girls who defied the patriarchy ­ no, wait, scratch that. This is a story of deceit, betrayal and revolution. No, scratch that, too. Here’s a tale of greed, […]

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NEWSLINK: Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska – November 25, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/25/us-russia-scientist-idUSBRE8AO02V20121125) Reuters interviews Russian physicist Valentin Danilov after his release from a Siberian penal colony, where he was previously jailed on allegations of espionage.  Danilov sees little change in Russia’s political or ethical climate, blaming Russian voters at least in part: […]

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NEWSLINK: Opposition will have its protest march on December 15

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

[Opposition will have its protest march on December 15 – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – ITAR-TASS – November 26, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/581381.html] ITAR-TASS covers Russian opposition plans to hold a combined protest march in mid-December, as well as a split in alleged opposition goals: The opposition’s second meeting of the Coordinating Council managed to agree on a date of a new […]

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NEWSLINK: Medvedev won’t rule out second term as Russian president

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

[Medvedev won’t rule out second term as Russian president – Russia Today – http://rt.com/politics/medvedev-kremlin-presidency-law-569/ – November 26, 2012] Pro-Kremlin news source RussiaToday.com covers Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s wide-ranging interview with French media, including talk of his possible return to the Kremlin, his tandem with Vladimir Putin, “tougher laws,” Pussy Riot and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Click here for the full article: […]

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NEWSLINK: Medvedev says ‘does not rule out’ Kremlin comeback

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

[Medvedev says ‘does not rule out’ Kremlin comeback – AFP – Nicolas Miletitch and Stuart Williams – November 26, 2012 – click here for full article] AFP covers Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s declaration that he might seek a return to the Russian presidency: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he is not ruling out a return to the Kremlin after his […]

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Putin’s New Internet Initiative: More Money, More Problems

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

MOSCOW, November 26 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ Despite President Vladimir Putin’s newfound appreciation of the internet as a useful tool to fight Russia’s “brain drain,” experts question how fair his proposed funding scheme will actually be. They argue his new proposal to help finance online start-ups may be little more than a cash cow for government-friendly initiatives, as well […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to France Presse and Le Figaro

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(premier.gov.ru – November 26, 2012) Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Question: Good afternoon. Mr Prime Minister, you plan to visit France soon, next week. We know that you had good relations with Nicolas Sarkozy. How would you assess your cooperation with the new President of France, Francois Hollande? Do you expect any changes? Dmitry Medvedev: I believe that our relations with […]

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NEWSLINK: As ‘Foreign Agent’ Law Takes Effect in Russia, Human Rights Groups Vow to Defy It

Kremlin and St. Basil's

[As ‘Foreign Agent’ Law Takes Effect in Russia, Human Rights Groups Vow to Defy It – Ellen Barry – New York Times- November 22, 2012 – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/world/europe/rights-groups-in-russia-reject-foreign-agent-label.html?_r=0] Ellen Barry and the New York Times cover Russia’s adoption of its “Foreign Agent Law” impacting nonprofits: Workers at the human rights organization Memorial arrived at work on Wednesday morning to see a […]

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Analyst: Time of street protests gone in Russia

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Interfax – November 22, 2012) MOSCOW – The street protests that erupted in December 2011 had tapped their potential by the beginning of the autumn, said Civil Society Development Foundation Chairman Konstantin Kostin. “The story that started back in December ended in September 2012. I think the reason is obvious. The motives that encouraged people to fill the streets in […]

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Russians should learn to use internet to monitor authorities’ work – Medvedev

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Interfax – Moscow, 21 November) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev believes that the public should learn to use the internet to monitor the activities of the authorities. “The internet gives us the opportunity to express our views of various issues, to take part in discussions and the monitor the work of the authorities. It is important to learn to use […]

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Putin’s last crane returning to Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Pilot in Hang Glider Airborne Next to Flying Cranes

ASTANA. Nov 21 (Interfax) – A Siberian white crane from the project backed by President Vladimir Putin has been sent from Borovoye in the Kazakh northern Akmola region to Russia, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry reported on Wednesday. Russian ornithologists will bring the crane back home. “An Akmola regional forestry and hunting inspection officer kept the crane at his Borovoye home […]

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Investigators Refuse to Open Case Into Razvozzhayev ‘Torture’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 23, 2012) The Investigative Committee won’t open a criminal case into claims by detained opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev that he was kidnapped and tortured by security services. Instead, investigators launched an inquiry into the activist’s allegedly illegal entry into Ukraine, from where he mysteriously vanished last month. The decision was […]

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Amid Crackdown on NGOs, U.S. Group Moves Staff Out of Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – November 23, 2012) The National Democratic Institute, or NDI, a U.S. based nonprofit that promotes democratic development, has moved its Russia country director and other senior staff to Lithuania, amid an unpredictable and increasingly hostile climate for NGO workers in Russia. The organization, which is partly funded by the U.S. government, fired […]

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Russian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 21 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ The Moscow headquarters of two influential human rights groups were vandalized on Wednesday, the first day a controversial new law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) took effect. The entrances to the offices of Memorial and For Human Rights, two prominent civil rights groups headed by veteran activists, were spray-painted with the words “Foreign […]

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Samutsevich Threatens Past Pussy Riot Lawyers

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 21, 2012) Yekaterina Samutsevich, the Pussy Riot rocker released from jail last month, is thinking about requesting that three of the band’s former lawyers be stripped of their licenses, her new lawyer told Kommersant. Sergei Badamshin said in an interview published Tuesday that the past lawyers ­ Violeta Volkova, Mark Feigin […]

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RuNet: Russia on the Chinese road?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Irina Borogan – www.opendemocracy.net – November 20, 2012) Irina Borogan is a Russian investigative journalist who covers the operations of Russian security services. She is co-founder of the web site Agentura.Ru, which chronicles the services’ activities. Last year, Borogan and Andrei Soldatov co-authored The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB (PublicAffairs). […]

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Kudrin predicts Russia’s ‘evolutionary’ liberalization

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin, who today heads a nongovernmental organization called Civil Initiatives Committee, has practically ruled out the possibility of Russia resorting to a revolution to change its established political practices and argued that an “evolutionary path through increasing freedom” is more likely. “I think that there is practically no reason” to […]

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Moscow Bans ‘Political Repression’ Protest – ‘No Such Thing’

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – The Moscow authorities have refused to grant permission for an opposition rally against “political repression” that was to be held later this week on that grounds that there is no such thing in Russia. “The current law does not provide any measures used by the state for repression based on political motives,” according to […]

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Russian human rights activists boycott Law on Foreign Agents

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – November 19, 2012) Leading Russian NGOs intend to ignore the legislative amendments which require the registration as “agents of foreign influence” of non-governmental organizations with Western backing. The law will enter into force on Nov. 20, Tuesday. “I do not know a single human rights organization, which has appealed for being registered as a “foreign agent,” said Lyudmila […]

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Interview: Legendary Russian Journalist Says ‘People On Top Are Scared’

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(RFE/RL – November 17, 2012) As one of the most recognizable personalities on Russian television, Vladimir Pozner is no stranger to the spotlight. But the 78-year-old veteran journalist found himself in the midst of a controversy last month after lambasting the state of justice in the country during his popular show on state-controlled Channel One. Pozner harshly criticized the abduction […]

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Putin’s Power Stirs Russians Watching ‘Julius Caesar’

File Photo of Bust of Julius Caesar

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 18, 2012) Vladimir Putin, who has stirred up unprecedented protest to his more than decade-long rule in Russia, was not far from the minds of some watching the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Julius Caesar” in Moscow. The story of betrayal and assassination of a dictator followed by civil war, set in a modern-day […]

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Gorbachev is pessimistic about future political situation in Russia

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Interfax – November 19, 2012) Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev is pessimistic about the future political situation in Russia in the short-term perspective. When asked how he believes the situation will be developing in the country in an interview with The New Times, a Russian political magazine, Gorbachev said: “Difficult.” “I think there will be no mass repression. It won’t […]

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Blue skies, clear thinking: Russian democracy in the Cloud

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Fyodor Krashenninikov and Leonid Volkov – www.opendemocracy.net – November 16, 2012) Leonid Volkov is protest movement activist and political blogger based in the city of Yekaterinburg. In 2009, Volkov ran for and won a seat on Yekaterinburg’s city council. Together with Fyodor Krasheninnikov he co-authored “Cloud Democracy” published in Russia in 2011. Fyodor Krasheninnikov is political PR consultant, protest movement […]

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