Kasparov ‘Refrains’ From Returning to Russia Over Bolotnoye Case Fears

Older File Photo of Garry Kasparov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 6, 2013) Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion-turned-political-opposition-stalwart, told a news conference in Geneva that he would not return to Russia for fear of criminal prosecution for his political activities, his website reported Wednesday. Kasparov’s announcement comes amid fears of a new wave of emigration of opposition-minded intellectuals, a fear intensified […]

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Memorial wants independent evaluation of May 6, 2012 events in Bolotnaya Square

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) The human rights center Memorial has called for an independent legal evaluation of the events that occurred in the Moscow Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012 and the trial of the people charged in the riots, which is now beginning. “We believe it is extremely important to conduct an independent legal evaluation of the […]

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The art of remaining Moscow mayor

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – David Burghardt – June 6, 2013) Sergei Sobyanin made an unexpected move by resigning as the Moscow mayor and instigating snap elections for September in order to secure the next five years in City Hall. In actuality, Sobyanin holds a solid popularity rating of well over 50 percent among Muscovites, has done a lot to […]

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Russian Scholars Wary After Top Economist Flees Country

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Howard Amos, RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) ­ When investigators summoned prominent Russian economist Sergei Guriev for questioning in February, his first thought was that his professional work could be paralyzed if they confiscated his computers and documents. “With other experts, they took everything away so they could not function,” Guriev told RIA Novosti by telephone from Paris, where […]

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Almost Half of Russian Students Dream of Emigrating – Poll

Moscow State University

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) ­ Nearly half of Russian students (45 percent) and some 38 percent of businessmen would like to leave Russia, according to a survey by the Levada Center independent pollster published on Thursday. A total of 22 percent of all respondents in the poll want to emigrate from Russia to other countries, not including […]

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Russia Dwarfs West in Intolerance of Gays – Survey

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013) ­ Russians are dramatically less tolerant of homosexuality than are people in eastern and western Europe or North America and that intolerance has risen rapidly in recent years, according to a new global survey by the US-based Pew Research Center. Of the 996 Russian adults surveyed over a two week period in March, […]

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Government Proposes New Grounds for NGO Raids

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2013) The government’s legislative commission has approved a draft amendment giving the authorities additional grounds on which to carry out unscheduled inspections of nongovernmental groups that violate Russian law, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday. According to the draft amendment, checks can be undertaken if violations are not fixed within time limits set by […]

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Soft targets

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – June 3, 2013) The departure of Sergei Guriev is ultimately an illustration of what happens when powerful institutions steadily lean toward the irrational. To recap, Guriev is an economist who co-authored a report that criticized the treatment of imprisoned tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. When Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was president in 2008-2012, Guriev […]

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Sobyanin Calls for Early Mayoral Vote

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – June 5, 2013) Mayor Sergei Sobyanin will ask President Vladimir Putin to declare early mayoral elections, the first in Moscow since 2003, in a move analysts said would help ensure Sobyanin’s election in September amid a worsening political climate for the mayor. Sobyanin said his decision was made in the spirit of […]

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Arrest of Makhachkala Mayor Seen as Sign of Changing Tide

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 4, 2013) As the fallout from the arrest of the leader of Dagestan’s capital continued on Monday, experts agreed that the event would likely send tremors throughout all of Russia. Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov, 59, was detained Saturday with the help of special forces sent by Moscow, who blocked all of […]

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Windows on Eurasia: Russia’s Future Belongs Not to the Opposition but to the Stalinized Young, Pavlova Says

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 5, 2013) The supporters of Stalin and those who want to continue his political approach have in fact “triumphed” in today’s Russia, and these people consist not of the older generation but of the young who have grown up in the course of the re-Stalinization of the country during the last […]

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News conference following the Russia-EU Summit [Putin statements]

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Yekaterinburg – June 4, 2013)  PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, The talks held at the 31st Russia-EU Summit were constructive and meaningful. We examined in detail the current issues of cooperation in trade, the economy and humanitarian sphere, as well as the improvement of the legal framework for our relations. Russia and the […]

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Russian economy minister dismayed by economist Guriev’s resignation, departure

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 31, 2013) Russian Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov is dismayed by prominent Russian economist Sergei Guriev’s decision to resign as head of the New Economic School (NES) and not return to Russia from abroad for the time being. “This is very disappointing for me. I’ve known Sergei for a very long time. We have had significant […]

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Economist [Guriev] questioned in Yukos case re-elected to Sberbank board

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tim Wall, RBTH – June 3, 2013) Sergei Guriev received the most votes after the bank said it was ‘too late’ to take his name off the list of candidates. Sergei Guriyev, a top economist who fled Russia after being questioned by investigators over a critical report he co-authored on the 2010 trial […]

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Fresh US-Russian Translation Examines TV Attitudes

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 30, 2013) Russian television has often been labeled a Kremlin propaganda tool by its critics, with the intelligence of many who take it at face value being disdained by its opponents, unlike those who rely on the internet. But an American professor, whose book on Russian TV influence was recently translated […]

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Levada Center to Reject Foreign Grants

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 30, 2013) Independent pollster Levada Center will not accept any more foreign grants while its status hangs in the balance, Interfax reported Thursday. In mid-May prosecutors issued a warning to the polling agency citing a breach of legislation passed in November which requires politically engaged NGOs that receive foreign funding to register as “foreign […]

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Market experts: Guriev situation already priced into ‘Russian risk’

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 28, 2013) Russian financial market experts differed in their assessments of the impact of the situation surrounding Sergei Guriev, the rector of the New Economic School, which came to light on Tuesday evening. They agreed that the episode could negatively affect Russia’s investment appeal, but did not think it signaled a shift in the fundamental investment […]

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Medvedev appreciates Guriev’s contribution to expert council work – Abyzov

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 29, 2013) Minister for Open Government Mikhail Abyzov expects to continue cooperating with economist Sergei Guriev who reportedly resigned from the post of rector of the New Economic School. “I am confident that our cooperation with Sergei Guriev will continue despite the decision, whether he formally remains a member of the expert council and government commission […]

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Government Advisors Protest ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, May 30, 2013) ­ A group of leading Russian economists has called on the government to reconsider a controversial new law that obliges some NGOs to register as “foreign agents,” saying it threatens to destroy the cooperation between independent experts and the authorities. The letter written by the economists, many of whom were involved in devising a […]

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In Search of Russia’s Middle Class

Moscow Protest file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – May 29, 2013) The 2011-2012 pro-democracy rallies in Russia pointed to a growing political awareness and political muscle of the country’s middle class. Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses the Russian middle class, its […]

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May poll puts Russian president’s job approval rating at 64 percent

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) The job approval ratings of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev remain high in May, with Putin’s rating standing at 64 percent and Medvedev’s rising to 54 percent from 52 percent in April, sociologists of the Levada Center told Interfax following a May 23-27 public opinion survey. Putin enjoys trust among 36 […]

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Suspicions Grow of 3rd Case Against Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 31, 2013) The abrupt flight from Russia of liberal economist Sergei Guriev after he was interrogated in connection with the case against tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has rekindled suspicions that a new criminal case could be opened against Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, who are set to be freed next year. Lawyers for […]

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Clans are marching

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Pribylovsky – May 30, 2013) Vladimir Pribylovsky is the president of the Moscow-based Panorama Information and Research Center and co-author of ‘The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin’   Russia’s ruling class is made up of a complex system of clans, constantly grouping and regrouping around their leader Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Pribylovsky explains […]

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Guriev Exit Renews Brain Drain Fears

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – May 31, 2013) Reports that prominent, liberal economist Sergei Guriev has fled to France under pressure from investigators appeared to send shockwaves through Russia’s Western-leaning elite this week, renewing fears of a brain drain amid an “invisible” wave of emigration. The departure of Guriev, a prominent economist who has advised Prime Minister […]

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Moscow Court Orders Release of Opposition-Backed Businessman

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 31, 2013) ­ Moscow’s City Court ordered the release from prison on Friday of a businessman whose freedom was among the demands of the recent opposition rallies in the Russian capital. Alexei Kozlov was given eight years in prison in 2009 for fraud and “legalization of stolen property,” or the use of illegally obtained property […]

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Head of Major College Reportedly Emigrates Under Pressure [re: Guriev]

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 30, 2013) A minister said Wednesday that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Open Government would continue to work with prominent liberal economist Sergei Guriyev despite media reports that he resigned as head of a major college and left the country under pressure from authorities. Mikhail Abyzov, the Open Government liaison holding the […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Council justifies Yukos case experts questioned by investigators [re: Guriev]

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) Russian economist Sergei Guriyev and other experts invited to prepare a conclusion on the Yukos case for the Presidential Human Rights Council did not do anything illegal, the council’s head Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax. “I do not see anything unlawful in the work done by Guriyev and the other experts invited by us to conduct […]

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‘Honeymoon’ With Opposition Over, Say Russian Pundits

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – May 29, 2013) The protest staged by the opposition on 6 May 2013 has attracted less attention than the March of Millions on 6 May last year, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 29 May, quoting an opinion poll. In an interview with the agency a political analyst said that after a “honeymoon” protests are […]

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Russia’s top liberal economist caught up in Putin purge, flees country

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – May 30, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-corruption drive that escalated last November with the dismissal of the defence minister is starting to take on the appearance of a classic 1930s-style Stalinist purge. The latest victim is Sergei Guriev, Russia’s top liberal economist and a close associate of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who fled […]

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Medvedev Learns Geology at Skolkovo as Startups Seek Their Niche

Skolkovo File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – May 29, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the Startup Village conference at Skolkovo on Tuesday, reaffirmed his commitment to the Skolkovo innovation hub following a recent embezzlement scandal surrounding the project he conceived during his presidency, and learned a bit of geology. “I never knew that Kaliningrad had commercial geo-thermal sources,” […]

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Young people should know ‘true essence’ of Bolotnaya Square protests – Smolensk governor

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – SMOLENSK, Russia, May 28, 2013) The governor of the Smolensk region has insisted on organizing discussions at local secondary schools and higher education institutions to tell students about the “true essence” of opposition rallies on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, an Interfax correspondent reported from a regional conference. “Stories are being widely told about events on Bolotnaya Square, about protest […]

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Deputy Education Minister quits amid political tensions

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – May 28, 2013) Russia’s Deputy Education Minister Igor Fedyukin announced his resignation on Tuesday, citing growing political tensions. “I hope that my departure will at least partially lower the unprecedented tensions that are [escalating] around decisions made by the ministry,” Fedyukin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. He thanked Education Minister […]

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Are we having fun yet? Why the government is telling the creative class to go play outside

Gorky Park file photo

(Moscow News – Anna Arutunyan, Editor and Correspondent at themoscownews.com – May 27, 2013) It was the best of times, it was the worst of… you get it. There is an awful lot of Pinot Grigio being consumed in Moscow this summer, the parks are filled with the same crowds that took to the streets in protest last year, and, […]

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Ibsen at the Mayakovka: Don’t Drink the Water

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – May 27, 2013) Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” has been updated for a modern audience by playwright Sasha Denisova – and you can see the results at the Mayakovsky Theater (affectionately known as the Mayakovka), as directed by Nikita Kobelev. In the politically charged atmosphere of the day, Ibsen is […]

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In Russia, Commemorative Plaque To Be Restored Amid Brezhnev Nostalgia

File Photo of Richard Nixon sitting with Leonid Brezhnev, with Third Person Standing and Leaning between Them

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – May 28, 2013) Authorities have backed a plan to return a commemorative plaque to the Moscow apartment building where Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev spent the last 30 years of his life. A Moscow City Hall committee has approved the initiative, submitted by a group of State Duma deputies. Supporters had hoped to have […]

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Moscow’s 2014 Election: Will the Democrats Unite?

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Vladimir Kara-Murza – May 23, 2013) Next year, Moscow will hold its legislative elections. Traditionally, elections in Russia’s capital city are considered a national event. IMR Senior Policy Advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza contends that the democratic opposition stands a significant change of success-but only if it finally manages to unite. Russian politics are made […]

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Khodorkovsky reiterates he has no plans to become politician

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2013) Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose current 11-year prison term expires in 2014, has reiterated he has no plans to get involved in political activities after his release. “I don’t seek a political career, something I’ve said many times,” Khodorkovsky told German newspaper Die Tageszeitung in an interview transcript which is re-posted on his […]

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Russia Changes Stance on Renewable Energy – Medvedev

Russian Hydroelectric Dam file photo

(RIA Novosti – SKOLKOVO, May 28, 2013) ­ The Russian government believes renewable energy sources have a bright future, and will review its policies toward their broader use, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday. “At the moment, the use of renewable energy sources and green energy is far from what we would like it to be. We probably use […]

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Prison or presidency for ‘Russia’s Kennedy’? [re: Navalny]

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(opendemocracy.net – Ekaterina Loushnikov – May 25, 2013) Ekaterina Loushnikova is radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov Charismatic opposition leader Aleksey Navalny is on trial in the provincial capital of Kirov, 900km from Moscow. He is controversially accused of stealing timber worth 16 million roubles in 2009; if found guilty, he will spend his next few […]

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Russia’s Top Social Network Under Fire

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – May 28, 2013) When Vkontakte.ru briefly appeared on a government blacklist of banned websites last week, it raised eyebrows. Russia’s leading social network isn’t just a place where friends connect, make plans, and share experiences. It’s also one of the main platforms the opposition has used to organize its activities across […]

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Foreign agents and pollsters: Research held hostage?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan & Kristen Blyth – May 27, 2013) Life as a pollster is hard enough. For the Levada Center, considered Russia’s only independent polling organization, life just got harder. “Imagine if someone comes to you and says, ‘I’m a foreign agent, please answer some questions,’” Levada Center Director Lev Gudkov told The Moscow News. […]

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Kudrin for PM?

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG – May 27, 2013) There has been a lot of noise about the possibility of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev being sacked and replaced by the former finance minister Alexei Kudrin. We think it will happen ­ just not yet, but possibly as soon as this autumn. Russian President Vladimir Putin is […]

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Putin says Russia needs to look back to move forward

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Interfax – May 25, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that to move forward Russia needs to look back at its traditions and roots, Interfax news agency reported on 25 May, quoting the Kremlin’s website. In a message on the occasion of the unveiling of a monument to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Germogen (Hermogenes), Putin says: “Today’s […]

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Cabinet Reshuffle Expected Sooner Or Later – Russian PM

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(RIA Novosti – BLAGOVESHCHENSK, May 26, 2013) ­ – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said dismissals are quite possible amid criticism of the Cabinet’s work and has instructed his ministers to work hard. “The government’s resignation will necessarily take place, the question is only when,” Medvedev said in the Central Television with Vadim Takmenyov program on NTV on Sunday. […]

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Medvedev Cites Putin Relationship as Reason He’ll Keep His Job

Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 27, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that his personal relationship with President Vladimir Putin is an indication that he will not be dismissed. Medvedev, speaking in an interview aired on NTV television late Sunday, sought to lay to rest speculation that his time might be short in a Cabinet facing criticism from lawmakers […]

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Putin’s Frustration Grows as Russia’s Economy Slumps

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 23, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s popularity throughout much of Russia is founded on an implicit social compact: People have given up some freedom in return for economic prosperity. Now, Putin’s authoritarian ways could be killing the economic growth that has helped keep him in power. Time and time again, Russia’s leaders have […]

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Target: Surkov

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 23, 2013) When photos of Vladislav Surkov hanging out and fishing with the powerful Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov appeared online recently, it raised some eyebrows but was viewed mainly as an odd curiosity. Kadyrov said Surkov, whose resignation as deputy prime minister and government chief of staff was made public on May […]

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Putin Says Amnesty Plan for Businessmen Needs Refining

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 24, 2013) President Vladimir Putin, who was expected during a meeting with more than a hundred entrepreneurs on Thursday to give a nod to the State Duma to draft an amnesty act freeing thousands of imprisoned business people, said the concept needed more work, Russian television reported Thursday. Putin said at […]

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Putin presses Medvedev on implementation of policy decrees

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

(Interfax – May 23, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev to work out and confirm a plan for the federal executive authorities’ work, aimed at fulfilling the presidential policy decrees signed by Putin at the start of his third presidential term in May 2012, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 23 May. Five-year plan The […]

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