U.S. to have to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ till 2018 – analyst

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The fact that Foreign Policy magazine has declared Russian President Vladimir Putin last year’s most influential figure in global politics, business and public affairs means “the so-called ‘Putin factor’ will play a significant role in the foreign policy of the United States for the next five years,” a Russian political scientist said. “Foreign Policy is […]

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State Duma to review calls for dissolution

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – January 10, 2013) An initiative for the State Duma’s dissolution accumulated more than 100,000 signatures, forcing the lower house of parliament to discuss it. However, the deputies must consider the opinion of 60 million people who supported them during elections, said State Duma Deputy Speaker and Deputy Head of the United Russia […]

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Protests, Political Pressure on Media Behind Rise of ‘New Russian Journalists’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 8, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-protests-political.html) The rise of a new generation of independent journalists in Russia who use technology to report directly to their audience and who are not shy about declaring their interest in promoting civil society is an entirely natural response to the increasing government restrictions on the official media […]

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Russia Takes Pause After Incredible Year of Discoveries and Disappointments

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 1 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 7, 2013) Early January is a period of partying and hibernation in Russia. Yet, this pause also provides an opportunity to reflect on the incredible ups and downs of the past year. Designated by the Kremlin as a year of return to […]

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NEWSLINK: Speak up: Moscow introduces ‘Hyde Parks’ for public gatherings

Gorky Park file photo

(Speak up: Moscow introduces ‘Hyde Parks’ for public gatherings – January 7, 2013) Pro-Kremlin Russia Today reports that areas are being designated at two Moscow parks for demonstrations, requiring advance notification to authorities. Click here for full article: http://rt.com/politics/moscow-demonstration-special-parks-484/

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Analyst: Alleged stability apparent source of Putin’s top Foreign Policy rating

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – A Russian analyst has argued that this year Russian President Vladimir Putin will keep the leading role in global politics attributed to him by Foreign Policy magazine, which declared Putin the world’s most influential political, business and public figure in 2012. “The fact that President Putin is recognized as the most influential person of the […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian patriarch says religion law must not go too far

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Russian patriarch says religion law must not go too far – Reuters – Alexei Anishchuk – January 6 – click here for full article) In the aftermath of the Pussy Riot prosecution, Reuters covers the Russian Orthodox reaction to Russia’s law on anti-religious offenses: Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a long-standing ally of President Vladimir […]

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TRANSCRIPT: News conference of Vladimir Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru –  December 20, 2012) Kremlin.ru December 20, 2012 News conference of Vladimir Putin Moscow Vladimir Putin’s news conference took place at the World Trade Centre on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment. Over 1,000 Russian and 200 foreign journalists were accredited to cover the news conference. Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels and Radio Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations […]

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NEWSLINK: USA to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ after magazine power ratin – pundits

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

[USA to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ after magazine power rating – pundits – BBC Monitoring/Ekho Moskvy Radio – January 4, 2013 – no open link exists to this product] Ekho Moskvy Radio addresses what it terms Foreign Policy magazine’s move to call Russian President Vladimir Putin the world’s the most powerful person, including the fact that the magazine actually listed […]

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2012 in Review: Russia Turns in on Itself

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Voice of America – Russian Service Crossfire – Donald N. Jensen – January 3, 2013) Russian state has struggled unsuccessfully since 1991 to reconcile ­three disparate, somewhat contradictory sources of legitimacy.  It portrays itself as democratic, but the trashing of the 1990s by the Putin regime deprives the current system of a founding myth.  During the Putin era there have […]

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[Putin] Merry Christmas greetings

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 7, 2013) Vladimir Putin wished Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens a Merry Christmas. The message reads, in part: “Over the centuries this holiday has brought us the light of faith, hope and love. It unites us around traditional moral values that play a special role in Russian history and are the backbone of our society. Christmas […]

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NEWSLINK: A revolution in space but calmer streets at home; Pundits predict a loss of momentum for the protest movement at home and see little scope for improvement in relations with the West

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(A revolution in space but calmer streets at home; Pundits predict a loss of momentum for the protest movement at home and see little scope for improvement in relations with the West – Russia Beyond the Headlines – Artem Zagorodnov – January 4, 2013 – click here for google cache version of article) Russia Beyond the Headlines takes a look […]

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Putin’s New Year’s Address Prompts Speculation About His Health

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 3, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s video address on Monday night ­ – his first such address in four years after returning to the presidency in May ­ – has already become a hit on the Internet. But while some may have been impressed with the president’s warm words, others were more focused […]

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NEWSLINK: You’re a Mean One, Mr. Putin; Was 2012 the year Russia’s president finally lost it? – Anders Åslund

Vladimir Putin file photo

[Foreign Policy – Anders Åslund – December 28, 2012 – http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/28/Putin_orphans_Russia_crackdown] Anders Åslund examines the state of Russian politics, characterizing it as marked by repression, anger and a realization of a need for change but lacking a grasp of effective alternatives other than personal flight: … I have not found the mood in the Russian capital so depressed since the […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin’s Artful Jurisprudence

File Photo of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

[Putin’s Artful Jurisprudence – The National Interest – William Partlett – January 2, 2012 – http://nationalinterest.org/article/putins-artful-jurisprudence-7882] Writing for The National Interest, William Partlett examines aspects of rule of law issues in post-Soviet Russia within the broader context of Russian political and economic power, including unfolding developments under the Putin regime(s). First recalling some of the events of 1993: AT 8:00 […]

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Russia’s three most important events in 2012

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Pravda.ru – Oleg Artyukov – December 29, 2012) Pravda.Ru asked representatives of parliamentary parties and experts to name three, in their view, main events that took place in Russia’s political life in 2012. It is worth noting that most of our interviewees, regardless of their views and party affiliation, named the same events. Although, of course, there are differences in […]

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[Putin] New Year’s Address to the Nation

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Kremlin.ru – December 31, 2012) Moscow PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Friends, We are saying goodbye to 2012 which becomes history. This was an important year for our country. I would like to sincerely thank you all for your efforts, your work and achievements, your trust and support. In these moments, we are particularly aware of the fleeting of time, […]

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2012: the year the Kremlin lost control of the script

Kremlin Aeriel View file photo

(Peter Pomerantsev – www.opendemocracy.net – December 28, 2012) Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer. For many years, he sold British programmes to the Russian TV industry. He now lives in London. Throughout the Putin heyday, Russian political discourse was invented, manipulated and owned by a handful of Kremlin spin doctors. Over the last year, that changed. Though they failed […]

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Amendments might be made later to anti-Magnitsky Act law – Russian Justice Ministry

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – In the future, amendments could be made to the law on measures against people responsible for human rights abuses against Russian citizens, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on Friday, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said. “The practice will show in the future whether some adjustments should be made, and if yes, we will do […]

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Putin Implores Cabinet to Act

Kremlin Aeriel View file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – December 28, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Thursday commanded the Cabinet to make good on his costly campaign promises, in a sign that he may be unhappy about how they are being fulfilled. This is the second time that Putin highlighted his intention to get the Cabinet to keep his word, after […]

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Russian Government Officials to Commute by Helicopter in 2013

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – December 28, 2012) President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are likely to swap their armored limousines for helicopters next year, as the city center will be equipped with several landing pads, head of the presidential affairs office Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday. The pads might appear on the territory of the […]

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Russia’s 2013: Macbeth, or the Comedy of Errors?

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Daniil Kotsyubinsky – www.opendemocracy.net – December 28, 2012) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg 2012 started in a huge upsurge of opposition activity: street protests, marches, arrests and imprisonments. A year later the scene is much calmer. Daniil Kotsyubinsky considers the future for the opposition, and does not find what he sees particularly encouraging The […]

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History Repeated Itself as Farce in 2012

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – December 28, 2012) Two hundred years ago this month, the miserable shreds of Napoleon’s Grande Armee shuffled out of Russian territory, thanking their lucky stars they had made it safely home and vowing never, ever to try that again. Those sentiments were shared by survivors of this year’s re-enactment of the Battle […]

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NEWSLINK: In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

[In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You – wired.com – Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan – December 21, 2012 – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/russias-hand/all/] Wired.com reports on Russian security services spying on citizens, with the Russian legal system deeming citizen activities such as opposition protests to be extremist and a justification for surveillance: On November 12, the Russian Supreme Court okayed […]

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Poor State of Housing Services Could Be Next Rallying Point

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 27, 2012) Calls for honest elections and President Vladimir Putin’s removal might attract the urban middle class to rallies, but it is rusty pipes and the poor state of the utilities sector that might persuade thousands of disgruntled citizens of all classes to march in the streets. The possibility that higher […]

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Most of Russians like Putin’s answers at Dec. 20 press conference – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Interfax – December 27, 2012) The Dec. 20 press conference by President Vladimir Putin caught the attention of more than half of Russians. Thirty-four percent watched the press conference live, either fully or partially, and 18% learned the main points from news programs. Forty-eight percent did not follow the presidential press conference, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) told […]

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Putin’s Start Points to Authoritarian Rule Through 2018

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Voice of America – James Brooke – December 24, 2012) MOSCOW ­ Vladimir Putin’s six months back in the Kremlin may say a lot about his next six years. In May, angry protests greeted Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin for a third term as president of Russia. On inauguration day, Putin’s motorcade swept through eerily empty streets of Moscow, […]

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Navalny Hit With 3rd Criminal Case

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 26, 2012) A third criminal investigation was opened against opposition leader and anti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny on Monday, with the Investigative Committee claiming he stole money from a political party in 2007. The committee said in a statement that Allekt, a company headed by Navalny in 2007, had received 100 million […]

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NEWSLINK: Top 10 events in Russian politics in 2012

Map of Russia

Russia Beyond the Headlines sets out its list of top news stories for 2012: 1. The presidential election … 2. Medvedev’s Cabinet … 3. United Russia’s new leader … Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev swapped jobs ­ and not only in public office … 4. Strident new laws … 5. Protest actions …

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NEWSLINK: Vladimir Putin gives big news conference in tough debate with journalists

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

[Vladimir Putin gives big news conference in tough debate with journalists – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – December 21, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/606821.html] Itar-Tass covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent marathon press conference. Putin reportedly claimed he had not read a recent Duma bill banning U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans, and allowed that the Duma was responding emotionally to the […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian lawmakers back adoption ban in row with U.S.

Russian Orphanage file photo

[Russian lawmakers back adoption ban in row with U.S. – Reuters – Alissa de Carbonnel – December 21, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/21/russia-adoptions-idUSL5E8NL4FK20121221] Reuters covers the Duma’s support for a ban on U.S. citizens adopting Russian children, as well as a ban on U.S. nonprofits funding Russian democratization nonprofits, in retaliation for Congressional efforts to hold Russian human rights abusers accountable: Russia’s […]

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Why Good News Is Bad News in Russia

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times – December 21, 2012) State Duma Deputy Oleg Mikheyev from the Just Russia party came up with an original idea to lift the spirits of people depressed by all of the bad news they face every day from the country’s leading media […]

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Russians have more confidence in authorities’ ability to make their life better – poll

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – December 20, 2012) The approval ratings of Russian leaders grew in December after a minor decline in November, Levada Center told Interfax on Thursday. It held a nation-wide poll on Dec. 14-17. The approval rating of President Vladimir Putin stood at 65 percent in December, as against 63 percent in November and 68 percent in September, the sociologists […]

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Putin Focuses on Domestic Issues in ‘Tepid’ Address

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first state-of-the-nation address after returning to the Kremlin earlier this year, delivered Wednesday, outlined a broad strategy for domestic development, offering no major policy updates and avoiding foreign policy issues almost entirely. At times, the speech implicitly acknowledged demands articulated by opposition activists over the past year, but it did […]

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Putin accuses opposition of lack of agenda

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin has accused Russia’s opposition of destructive ambitions and a lack of constructive agenda. “They should have their agenda, their proposals for solutions to problems that face the country. In this sense, I very much expect that, after the law on the freedom of registration of political parties comes out, political struggles will […]

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Putin Shows He’s Back in Business

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – December 21, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signaled a return to the classic days of his presidency by presiding over a 4 1/2-hour news conference, which at times resembled a call-in show as reporters from the country’s far-flung regions scrambled to pass personal messages to the head of state. The […]

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TRANSCRIPT PART II: News conference of Vladimir Putin [continued/earlier part in JRL #225]

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

[Click here for Transcript Part I] (Kremlin.ru – December 20, 2012) Moscow QUESTION: Mr President, I am Alexander Kolesnichenko from Argumenty i Fakty. I am an adoptive parent myself, and regardless of the foreign policy context I considered the amendment passed by the State Duma yesterday to be outrageous, inadequate and, sorry, cannibalistic. The people who have passed this law […]

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Putin: Protesters should not be sent to prison

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com –  David Burghardt – December 20, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not believe that those who participate in mass protests should be sent to prison, but added that anyone who resists police authority should be punished. “I don’t think that participation in a mass protest, even if it was held in breach of […]

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Putin defines himself as democrat demanding order, observation of laws

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin disagrees with the claims that he has built an authoritarian system in Russia. “I think we have ensured stability as a mandatory condition of development. I think this is extremely important. Yet I cannot call this system authoritarian; I cannot agree with this thesis,” he told a grand press conference on Thursday. […]

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Putin Pictured in Hell on The Economist Cover

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – December 20, 2012 – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/putin-pictured-in-hell-on-the-economist-cover/473430.html) The cartoon’s accompanying article, which is presented as a travel guide, says the quickest way to hell is by constantly committing major sins without giving in to feelings of remorse. President Vladimir Putin was pictured in hell on the cover of The Economist‘s last issue for 2012, floating along in a fiery […]

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Corruption customary for Russia but must be fought resolutely – Putin

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

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) – Corruption is customary for Russia but the government still has to combat it, President Vladimir Putin told a Thursday press conference. “Speaking of the anti-corruption fight; this is one of our problems and a customary one,” he said. Putin told reporters a historical anecdote: Peter the Great ordered Prosecutor General Pavel Yaguzhinsky to execute thieves […]

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TRANSCRIPT PART I: News conference of Vladimir Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

[Click here for Transcript Part II] [Fuller Russian transcript and video here http://kremlin.ru/news/17173] (Kremlin.ru – December 20, 2012) Moscow Vladimir Putin’s news conference took place at the World Trade Centre on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment. Over 1,000 Russian and 200 foreign journalists were accredited to cover the news conference. Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels and Radio Mayak, Vesti FM and […]

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Russian Ex-FM Kudrin to Take Over USAID’s Job

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), cash-strapped due to a recent restrictive law on foreign funding, may get much needed support from an organization led by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, he said on Tuesday. “There’s currently a shortage of support foundations in Russia, and we’re filling that niche,” Kudrin said about his Civic Initiatives Committee. […]

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Bill Seeks to End Election of Governors

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 19, 2012) A bill that could once again abolish direct gubernatorial elections, which were reinstated this year, was submitted to the State Duma on Tuesday by members of the majority United Russia party. Popular elections of governors were discontinued following the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, when Vladimir Putin, early […]

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Kudrin Lashes Out at Medvedev’s Cabinet

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – December 19, 2012) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Tuesday castigated Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet as inefficient, but he rejected speculation that he would come back to the government in the near future. Despite praising Medvedev’s personal contribution to the 18-year process of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization during […]

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Anti-western rhetoric stopped international financial center in Russia – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – Anti-western rhetoric has stopped the establishment of an International Financial Center (IFC) in Russia, former finance minister and now chairman of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, said. Instead of dialogue between the authorities and the public, legislation is being passed that is hitting protestors. One myth is the assertion that almost all civil activity […]

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Try being constructive: When protesters on municipal councils ‘get in the way’ of democracy

Map of Russia

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News – Dec. 17, 2012) I should say something about the latest anti-government protest ­ how about 2,000 people showed up to the first white-ribbon demonstration that failed to get City Hall authorization, but… snore. The rallies have disintegrated into a mere tribute […]

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Russian Pundits Blame Lack Of Clear Agenda For Wane In Protest Movement

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(RIA Novosti – Dec. 17, 2012) The decision of the Russian opposition Coordination Council to hold off on mass rallies until spring 2013 is a sensible one in view of the wane in protest activity, political analysts told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti on 17 December. Meanwhile, the managing director of the independent Levada Centre pollster, Lev Gudkov, predicted a […]

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No ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia – Security Council Chief

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Foreign forces trying to spark “a color revolution” in Russia won’t succeed, Russia’s Security Council chief said in an interview published Tuesday. “There are no grounds for ‘color revolutions’ in Russia and we will not permit those scenarios to develop in our country,” Nikolai Patrushev, security chief and longtime ally of President Putin, told […]

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Pride of the nation: Searching for a new national idea, the Kremlin hedges its bets on patriotism

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – Dec. 17, 2012) On the day that President Vladimir Putin called the nation to patriotism last week, Josef Stalin, wearing his recognizable overcoat against the frost, had a lot of “foreign stuff” to gripe about. “How can you talk of patriotism?” he said, puffing on a smokeless pipe as he stood at […]

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