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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NEWSLINK: Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial.

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial. – Christian Science Monitor – By Fred Weir – October 30, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1030/Prospect-of-show-trial-stirs-some-Russians-memories-of-Stalinism) The Christian Science Monitor reports on concerns by some onlookers […]

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NEWSLINK: ‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(“‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev” – Russia Today – October 31, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/love-dead-human-error-654/) Pro-Kremlin Russia Today reports on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s criticism of Soviet Dictator and Mass Murderer Joseph Stalin, and Medvedev’s critique of those nostalgiac for the Stalin era: It is safe to be a Stalinist when you know that […]

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Russian Puzzle: Change Inevitable, Evolution Impossible, Revolution Implausible

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org –  Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 197 – Pavel K. Baev –  October 29, 2012) The Moscow rumor about President Vladimir Putin’s health problems appears well-informed and confirmed by several cancellations of long-scheduled visits and by the postponement of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, but it is remarkable how little […]

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Critics Fear Wide Reach of New Anti-Treason Bill

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

MOSCOW, October 31 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) – The new anti-treason bill approved today by Russia’s upper house of parliament has prompted concern from experts, academics and human rights advocates, who say it could be used against almost anyone. “I see a lot of people around me who are experts and journalists who have become cautious, and who are becoming […]

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The game is afoot: Following a kidnapping and torture allegations, political tensions have escalated

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 29, 2012) When Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov was released from the Investigative Committee on Friday after being charged, he seemed more baffled than relieved. “The investigators are playing some sort of game,” he tweeted ominously. A week after his fellow activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev, was kidnapped in Kiev and claimed he […]

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Putin to Avoid Call-in Show Format in 2012 – Newspaper

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti)-Russian President Vladimir Putin will this year avoid a live call-in show that has been held annually for the past 10 years, a leading Russian business daily quoted Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying. “There will be no call-in show this year,” Peskov told Kommersant, adding that the president would field questions “in a different format.” […]

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Putin Squares Off with Valdai Experts on Economy, Pussy Riot

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Andrei Zolotov, Jr. – October 26, 2012) If there had been any expectations among Russia watchers of “a new Putin” coming back to the presidential office after the elections, they must have been finally put to rest after the Russian president’s meeting on Thursday with a group of political scientists and economic experts known as the Valdai […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin’s Russia: back in the USSR; The president’s crackdown will do nothing to tackle the source of his problems: a corrupt and unreformable system of government

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Putin’s Russia: back in the USSR; The president’s crackdown will do nothing to tackle the source of his problems: a corrupt and unreformable system of government – The Guardian (UK) Editorial – October 29, 2012 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/28/vladimir-putin-russia-crackdown-protest) The Guardian (UK) in an editorial accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating repression unseen since the Soviet Union, despite his supposed public […]

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Vladimir Putin’s ever-decreasing circle of friends

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Daniil Kotsyubinsky – opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky is Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg – October 25, 2012) President Putin’s popularity has been dented by the open opposition of two celebrities, hitherto ardent supporters: Lyudmila Narusova and Kseniya Sobchak, respectively widow and daughter of his former political mentor, Anatolii Sobchak. A real stab in the back and evidence […]

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Prokhorov Trades Business for Politics

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 29, 2012) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced at a weekend congress of his new Civic Platform party that he is quitting business to enter politics full time, and delegates overwhelmingly elected him as their leader. Prokhorov, 47, said he would place his fortune, estimated at $13.2 billion by Forbes magazine, in a […]

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Opposition Coordination Council doesn’t view itself as alternative parliament

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – October 28, 2012) The Opposition Coordination Council, whose members were elected a week ago, should consider itself not an alternative parliament but a working body of the opposition movement, says Andrei Piontkovsky, a prominent journalist and a member of the bureau of the opposition group Solidarity. “We have no right to declare ourselves an alternative parliament or a […]

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New Coordination Council Weighs Rally and Magnitsky

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  October 29, 2012) Members of the opposition’s newly elected Coordination Council agreed at their first meeting over the weekend to stage their next rally in December and press the U.S. to expand its Magnitsky list of banned Russian officials. The opposition group, which met at a restaurant in central Moscow on Saturday, is tasked with […]

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New Putin Limo Unveiled

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Roland Oliphant – October 29, 2012) After six full years of development, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin finally has a car more beautiful than U.S. President Barack Obama’s, the ZiL auto company announced. A ZIL-4112P prototype, with a 7.7 liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission, was unveiled to federal television channels on Sunday just months after […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Valdai International Discussion Club participants

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region – October 25, 2012) During his meeting with members of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin talked about the current state of the Russian economy and scenarios for Russia’s economic development. The ninth annual conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club on The Future Is Being Made Today: Scenarios for Russia’s Economic Development is […]

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Shuvalov Denies State Boosting Role in Oil

Oil Well file photo

BERLIN, October 26 (RIA Novosti)-State-owned oil giant Rosneft’s acquisition of TNK-BP does not signify an increase in state control of the Russian oil sector, and no one in Russia is building state capitalism, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Friday. “The sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft does not represent an increase in state control of the oil sector, […]

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Russian Protest Leader Udaltsov Charged

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 26 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)-Russian protest leader Sergei Udaltsov was charged with plotting mass disorder on Friday and could face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty. “If anyone expected me to flee abroad, they were mistaken,” Left Front leader Udaltsov, 35, said as he reported to investigators for questioning. “The Putin regime will be on […]

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Economy Is Focal Point for Putin’s Foreign Expert Club

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – October 26, 2012) OVO-OGARYOVO ­ President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Thursday that he had to make a difficult choice when he approved the purchase of TNK-BP by state behemoth Rosneft, as the decision contradicts the government’s policy to reduce its presence in the economy. But he made it clear that the government had […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Russian Analytical Digest No. 118: Russia’s Evolving Political System

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2012 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> Subject: No.118: Russia’s Evolving Political System RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 2 October 2012/No. 118 Russia’s Evolving Political System To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2215 Analyses The Regime, the Opposition, and Challenges to Electoral Authoritarianism in Russia, by Vladimir Gel’man, St. Petersburg/Helsinki Russian Riot: Senseless and Ruthless or […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available.

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2012 From: Peter Lavelle <untimelythoughts.lavelle@gmail.com> Subject: Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available. Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available. [Find text here: http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin%27s%20new%20Russia.pdf] The editors Jon Hellevig and Alexandre Latsa have brought in a host of contributors that have the independence and courage to speak out against […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian Attitudes toward Putin and His System Increasingly Negative since March Vote, Study Finds

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

Russian Attitudes toward Putin and His System Increasingly Negative since March Vote, Study Finds – Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2012/10/window-on-eurasia-russian-attitudes.html Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ratings are becoming more negative: Since the Russian presidential election in March 2012, Russians have become increasingly negative about Vladimir Putin personally and about his current impact on the country, according to a […]

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NEWSLINK: More Russian Election Intrigue

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

Russia: Other Points of View – Gordon M. Hahn – October 24, 2012 – http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2012/10/more-russian-election-intrigue.html Gordon M. Hahn examines recent Russian gubernatorial, legislative assembly, mayoral, and municipal council elections across the country: Russian authorities’ at all levels in the United Russia (UR) party continued use of the infamous ‘administrative resources’; that is, using state institutions to give their party and […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Putin’s favourite monastery. The wooded island of Valaam, in a large lake in northern Russia, is a beacon for Russian Orthodox believers – among them President Putin.

Valaam file photo showing Monastery church on wooded island

From: Lucy Ash <lucy.ash.05@bbc.co.uk> Subject: BBC online stories Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 Audio slide show for “Putin’s favourite monastery. The wooded island of Valaam, in a large lake in northern Russia, is a beacon for Russian Orthodox believers – among them President Putin.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20041504

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Razvozzhayev Tells Harrowing Tale

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel, Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 25, 2012) Opposition leaders and human rights groups on Wednesday lambasted the apparent kidnapping and torture of Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev as a return to Stalinist political repression and an unprecedented escalation in the crackdown against dissenters. “Our country has entered a new era of Stalin-like repressions,” […]

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Putin’s Domestic Support Growing – Poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russia’s Cabinet are becoming more popular among Russians, an opinion poll suggests. The Levada Center, a Moscow-based opinion research group, told Interfax on Wednesday that 67% of respondents in a poll this month – compared with 63% in a survey in August – said they approved of […]

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Kremlin Disagrees With Russian Think Tank’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenarios

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo – 24 October) The report issued by the Centre for Strategic Research contains unduly pessimistic scenarios for the country’s development, which can not be accepted, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “The report is quite extensive, and gives an expert point of view, of which there are many. Of course, it will take us […]

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Senior Lawmaker Slams Think Tank’s Grim Forecast For Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – One of the leaders of the ruling United Russia party and a deputy chairman of the State Duma has given lie to a pessimistic economic forecast in a report by Russia’s Strategic Projects Center released on Wednesday, a paper that blamed the country’s alleged degradation on its leaders. “The report itself has been done not […]

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Report Shows Plunging Support for Putin -­ and Protest Leaders

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 25, 2012) Russians view the ruling elite as aggressive and predatory and believe that revolution is one of the only realistic ways to change the government, according to a report released Wednesday by an influential think tank. The report, ordered by the Committee of Civic Initiatives, a group of political and […]

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Navalny, Kasparov Win Seats in Opposition’s ‘Shadow Government’

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – October 23, 2012) Well-known opposition figures like anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and former chess champion Garry Kasparov joined lower-profile personalities like former Kremlin G8 sherpa Andrei Illarionov and political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky in a new 45-member “shadow government,” according to election results. The online election, which was extended into a third day Monday after hacker attacks disrupted […]

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Rocking the vote? The opposition’s elections have been labeled a ‘toy project’ ­ but proved to be colorful

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Yulia Ponomareva – October 22, 2012) In contrast with official polls, the transparency of the elections to the opposition’s coordination council has not been questioned by watchdogs ­ and this is beside the fact that all of the candidates faced off in televised debates. The results, however, will have little if any practical effect ­ […]

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Udaltsov Won’t Flee Russia, Lawyer Says

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 24, 2012) Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov has no intention of violating the travel restrictions that currently bar him from leaving the country, his lawyer said Wednesday. Defense attorney Violetta Volkova said that her client ­ a prominent organizer of anti-Kremlin protests ­ was under constant surveillance, Interfax reported. Explaining why Udaltsov cannot be reached […]

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Russia’s Rising Red Dawn

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, October 23 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to have sounded the death knell for the ideas of Marx and Lenin in Russia, but just over two decades on, a new wave of young and increasingly visible socialist activists are eager to hoist the red flag over the Kremlin once more. […]

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Putin Foe Udaltsov Vows to Battle Charges

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russian firebrand opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who could face up to ten years in jail over charges that he plotted to spark nationwide mass disorder, has no plans to flee the country, his lawyer said Wednesday. “On Friday, October 26th, I am planning, along with Sergei, to be at the Investigative Committee,” lawyer Violetta […]

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Analysis: Political Winter Descends on Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Voice of America – James Brooke – October 23, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR.) As gray winter skies descend on Moscow, Russians are adjusting to a political winter. Since taking office nearly six months ago, President Vladimir Putin has methodically reduced civic space in Russia by advocating new laws on […]

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MOSCOW BLOG: Liberals take off gloves in first clash with Kremlin old guard

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 24 ,2012) It was the first head-to-head clash between the young liberal team in Russia’s cabinet and the old guard Siloviki faction in the presidential administration. On balance, the liberals are seen as having sneaked a win. The battle lines have been drawn since Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appointed a surprisingly reform-minded […]

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Navalny threatens with a new “Magnitsky list” if the information on the torture of opposition activist is confirmed

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – October 22, 2012) Alexei Navalny, the founder of an anti-corruption fund, said the opposition will make a new “Magnitsky list” if the information on the torture of opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev is confirmed. “If the torture is confirmed, the Razvozzhayev case should become the first case on which we will do such serious work. We will take specific […]

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Less Than Quarter of Russians Content With Cabinet – Poll

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Only 23% of Russians polled by the Public Opinion Foundation on October 13-14 in 43 regions gave good grades to the Cabinet. Moreover, 40% spoke negatively of Cabinet operations while 11% know nothing about the Cabinet’s work. Among ministries the best marks went to the Emergency Situations’ Ministry (56% were satisfied), the Ministry of Communications […]

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Udaltsov Calls for Pickets Over Aide’s Detention

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2012) Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, who investigators suspect of plotting mass riots on Russian soil, called on supporters to picket law enforcement agencies on Thursday in support of his assistant charged in the same case. “We must struggle to free Lebedev,” Udaltsov told Interfax on Thursday, referring to his aide Konstantin Lebedev, […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia’s Putin sacks member of Medvedev’s cabinet

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

Russia’s Putin sacks member of Medvedev’s cabinet – Reuters – Gleb Bryanski – October 17, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/17/russia-putin-government-idUSL5E8LH6ZB20121017 Reuters covers a move by Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove a member of Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet: Putin signed a decree dismissing Regional Development Minister Oleg Govorun, one of two ministers he had publicly criticised last month, and replacing him with Igor […]

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NEWSLINK: After Nosediving In 2011 Vladimir Putin’s Approval Rating is (Mostly) Holding Steady

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

“After Nosediving In 2011 Vladimir Putin’s Approval Rating is (Mostly) Holding Steady” – Forbes – Mark Adomanis – http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/10/17/after-nosediving-in-2011-vladimir-putins-approval-rating-is-mostly-holding-steady/ Forbes.com looks at polls on Russian President Vladimir Putin: Now as you can see from the graph Putin is, at the end of 2012, arguably weaker than he’s ever been. It’s true that he’s previously been in the same territory in […]

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Pussy Riot and the party line: Why was Samutsevich set free? The answer is simpler than you think

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 – October 15, 2012) Sometimes, the best indication of what’s going on in Russian politics ­ and Pussy Riot is clearly a case of Russian politics ­ comes from simply reading the official line. Forget the experts and the oppositionists, just turn on the TV, curb your instinctive vitriol, and try to take […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov

Vladimir Putin file photo

Kremlin.ru –  October 15, 2012 – photo is a file photo Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region Mr Churov briefed Vladimir Putin on the results of elections held in a number of regions around the country. Local and regional elections took place in 77 regions around Russia on a single voting day on October 14. […]

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