Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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Russians, Their Guns And the State

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 29, 2016) U.S. gun enthusiasts live in constant fear of the federal government confiscating their weapons. For Russian gun owners, such a fear may be about to become a reality. On April 14, President Vladimir Putin, announced the formation of a new National Guard, and declared one of its key fuctions […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with members of Legislators’ Council

Tauride Palace file photo - adapted from image © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons

(Kremlin.ru – April 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Legislators timed for the Day of Russian Parliamentarianism and the 110th anniversary of Russia’s first State Duma. The meeting at the Tauride Palace is attended by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and speakers of regional parliaments. President […]

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Ex-minister joins Putin’s economic policy advisors

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – April 30, 2016) Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been appointed deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s Economic Council, Interfax news agency reported. The decree to this effect has been published on the Russian presidential website, Interfax noted. Earlier, Kudrin became head of the Centre for Strategic Research think-tank, Interfax added. He told reporters at the time […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economic Pain Reveals Limits to Putin’s Power” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin

Pikalevo, about three hours east of St. Petersburg, and the rest of Russia are now mired in the country’s longest recession since … Putin came to power at the end of 1999, with the World Bank warning … that the nation’s poverty rate would increase this year to 14.2 percent of the population, “undoing nearly a decade’s worth of gains.” […]

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Putin’s Decade-Old Dream Realized as Russia to Price Its Own Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eduard Gismatullin – April 27, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of realizing a decade-old dream: Russian oil priced in Russia. The nation’s largest commodity exchange, whose chairman is Putin ally Igor Sechin, is courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goal is to increase revenue from Urals crude […]

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Can Putin and Poroshenko agree on sending peacekeepers to the Donbass?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said he would be willing to send a police mission to Ukraine’s war-torn Donbass region. Earlier, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had expressed his desire to deploy armed OSCE observers in the area. But are the leaders not speaking of different things even though their statements may sound similar? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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Public support for Putin’s job performance remains at 82%

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Interfax – April 27, 2016) Eighty-two percent of Russians are satisfied with the work of Vladimir Putin as Russian President; 17 percent are not, the Levada Center told Interfax after an April survey. The indicator remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year: in January and March, 82 percent were content with Putin’s performance, in February – 81 percent. […]

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Interfax: Putin calls ‘media attacks’ a reaction to the consolidation of Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – April 25, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that media attacks on Russia were the reaction to the country’s strengthening, its capability to protect own interest. “You are right, this is surely the reaction of our opponents (let’s call them this way) to the consolidation of the country. It’s just that such a player, who is independent, sovereign, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

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Putin Badly Needs a Domestic Plan

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 22, 2016) The Russian government has approved a sober, and sobering, economic forecast for the next three years. The country’s prospects look so joyless that President Vladimir Putin may finally start listening to the mainstream economists who have stuck with him despite his unconcealed preference for a huge public sector tempered with […]

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Russians Will Stop Supporting Putin Only When They See His Weakness, Yakovenko Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2016) Given the longstanding servility of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin can be deprived of popular support only by showing how weak he in fact is, according to commentator, something that requires the opposition within Russia to unite and the West to reduce to a minimum any contacts with him. […]

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NEWSLINK European Council on Foreign Relations/Nikolay Petrov: “Putin’s downfall: The coming crisis of the Russian regime.The current trajectory of the Russian regime is unstable and without dramatic change it will crumble within the next year, according to a leading Russia specialist”

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RBTH: Why are Russians so eager to talk to Putin in person?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

A constant feature of Vladimir Putin’s reign as Russian leader, his “Direct Line” TV phone-in may appear to be inconsistent with his image as an inaccessible ruler. But the president’s annual Q&A session is merely a modern-day incarnation of an ancient tradition. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEORGY BOVT, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 19, 2016) The author […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will the Putin Regime Crumble? Foreign Affairs’ Brain Trust Weighs In.”- Foreign Affairs

Putin Descending a Staircase

… the May/June 2016 issue of Foreign Affairs … deals with Russia’s future. … we approached dozens of authorities with deep specialized expertise relevant to the question at hand, together with a few leading generalists …. Participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with a proposition and to rate their confidence level …. : Vladimir Putin will […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Earful for Vladimir Putin in Latest ‘Direct Line’ Call-In Show” – Wall Street Journal/Stephen Sestanovich

Kremlin and River

The discussion had a darker undercurrent. The system is rigged, many said, and those who have power abuse it. … Putin was asked why more political parties aren’t permitted so that United Russia faces some meaningful competition, and why … Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, whom … Putin supports, is allowed to threaten political opponents with assassination. … Putin heard how […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia. Down But Not Out. Part I.” – Foreign Affairs/Maria Lipman, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, Katie Allawala

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, a constructive diplomatic actor and a serial military aggressor—sometimes all at once. The only constant has been surprise, as the zigging and zagging has left outside observers, and even many Russians, scratching their heads. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out.” – Foreign Affairs [issue table of contents with links]

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Foreign Affairs foreignaffairs.com May/June 2016 issue Putin’s Russia Down But Not Out https://www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2016/95/3 [There is limited access to free articles] Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern Stephen Kotkin Russian Politics Under Putin The System Will Outlast the Master Gleb Pavlovsky Russia’s Constrained Economy How the Kremlin Can Spur Growth Sergei Guriev The Revival of the Russian Military […]

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Putin Swears Off Stimulus as Policy Mix Moves Toward ‘Orthodoxy’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 17, 2016) It was by no means the showstopper of President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in with Russians, complete as it was with digs at the U.S. and justice dispensed on live television. Two days after Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina urged reforms and warned against the “big illusion” of using inflation […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to journalists’ questions following the Direct Line

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – April 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with journalists and answered their questions following the Direct Line. Question: Was it not daunting to face so many serious problems and pressing questions? President of Russia Vladimir Putin: No. Question: Why do you say that? Vladimir Putin: This is my work, what my colleagues and I are expected to do. You […]

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Were the Panama Papers Planted? Who Cares.

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) Last week, a respected Russia scholar in the U.S. speculated that the Kremlin might be behind the so-called Panama Papers, the big dump of data about offshore accounts that has implicated several countries’ officials in shady dealings. And on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia blamed the U.S. for the […]

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Former Finance Minister in Line for Top Position at Putin’s Think Tank

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 13, 2016) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been offered a senior position at Russia’s main think tank on economic policy and may participate in the development of a new economic strategy for the Kremlin. On Tuesday, Kudrin announced he would accept an offer to take a senior position at Russia’s […]

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What I Learned On Russian Television

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – April 15, 2016) I learned a lot more about the poor quality of Russian dairy products yesterday than I would care to know. I also learned that wages aren’t being paid, people can’t afford to buy medicine or pay utilities bills, that schools, kindergartens, and hospitals are being closed, that […]

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Putin doesn’t expect Western sanctions to be lifted soon, says Russia to keep countersanctions in place

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin does not expect the Western sanctions to be lifted from Russia in the near future. “I don’t think our partners will decide to lift the restrictions and limitations from our country in the near future,” Putin said during a Q&A session on Thursday. “Even though the Minsk Agreements on southeastern Ukraine […]

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Direct Line with Vladimir Putin (partial transcript)

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – April 14, 2016) Direct Line with Vladimir Putin was broadcast live on Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels, and Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations. During the live broadcast that lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes, the President answered 80 questions out of the over 3 million that were received. Valeriya Korableva, reporter at Channel […]

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Putin’s annual Q&A session set for April 14

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Interfax – April 11, 2016) The Russian president will hold his annual televised question and answer session officially known as “The Direct Line with Vladimir Putin” on April 14, the Kremlin press service said. President will speak directly with people from around the country and answer their questions on the country’s life and the international situation. People can also call […]

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Putin: Obama ‘Personally’ Invited Russian President to Nuclear Summit

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 8, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. President Barack Obama had “personally” invited him to attend the nuclear summit held in Washington last week, but he declined over insufficient prominence offered to Russia at the event, and Moscow’s complaints about implementation of a disarmament deal. “Yes, I was invited, and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Truth and Justice regional and local media forum

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – St Petersburg – April 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the third Truth and Justice regional and local media forum. The media forum is organised by the Russian Popular Front and focuses on topical issues in regional life, the development of independent Russian journalism, and international issues. The forum participants include journalists from all around Russia, bloggers, […]

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RBTH: Putin announces creation of National Guard for Russia

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

A series of important changes has taken place within Russian security organs, with the most significant being the establishment of a National Guard, to be formed from Interior Ministry troops. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – April 6, 2016) A reorganization of government bodies has seen Russian President Vladimir Putin place the Federal Drug Control […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Russian National Guard established

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – April 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin made the announcement at a meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Interior Ministry Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov, Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov and Federal Migration Service First Deputy Director Yekaterina Yegorova. Vladimir Putin announces the creation of the National Guard on the basis of the Interior Ministry Troops. On the right: […]

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Panama Papers scandal: What was the reaction in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Even though most Russian newspapers wrote about the discovery of the Panama offshore bank accounts belonging to politicians and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin, public reaction to the scandal was rather muted. Russians exchanged jokes and comments about the information policy of the main Russian TV channels, which, unlike the newspapers, did not report on the scandalous leak. (Russia Beyond […]

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Putin calls free press enemy of frauds, bribers, not administration

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

ST. PETERSBURG. April 7 (Interfax) – The free press can be an enemy only for frauds and bribers, not the administration as such, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The free press can only be an enemy for frauds, bribers and criminals, but there can be no such situation for the administration as such, which is serving people,” Putin said at […]

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Direct Line with Vladimir Putin will take place on April 14 at midday

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – April 7, 2016) The 14th annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin will start at midday Moscow time on April 14 and will be broadcast by television channels Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, and radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM, and Radio Rossii. Following the same format as previously, the President will speak directly with people from around the […]

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Putin’s a Pauper, His Friends Are Rich

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 4, 2016) Recent reports by two consortia of investigative journalists purport to have exposed the dealings and offshore accounts of some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates. They don’t name him as a beneficiary of any account, suggesting that Putin is as poor as a church mouse — or would be […]

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‘Nothing To See Here’: Russia Shrugs At Latest Allegations Against Putin

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson -April 1, 2016) Earlier this week, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that Western media outlets planned an “information dump” aimed “personally” at President Vladimir Putin with the intention of “disrupting the situation in the country.” A couple days later, on March 31, the Reuters news agency published a report on alleged connections […]

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