Putin Misses Business Group’s Forum

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – November 15, 2012) At Wednesday’s congress of a major business lobbying group, the president of the country pulled a no-show, the first deputy prime minister told the group to avoid politics and a State Duma deputy personally fielded business complaints. The congress was the 10th annual gathering for Opora, a nationwide group […]

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Russian presidential aide gives details of Putin-Obama phone talks

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

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, 14 November) The Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, have agreed to discuss a range of bilateral relations when they meet in person, the Russian presidential aide Yuriy Ushakov has said. “In my view, the essence of their conversation was to agree on a separate meeting between them at which they would thoroughly discuss […]

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Russian premier says nothing has changed in his relations with Putin

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

(Interfax – Moscow, 13 November) [Prime Minister] Dmitriy Medvedev has said that after stepping down as president and moving to the government, his relations with Vladimir Putin have not changed. “As regards about our relations with the president – I have commented on this topic many times – nothing has changed since I went to work in the government while […]

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Despite Putin’s ‘Promise,’ Anti-Treason Law Comes into Force

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW, November 14 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A controversial law on state treason that critics fear could be used to stamp out political dissent came into force in Russia on Wednesday, two days after President Vladimir Putin told human rights workers he was ready to “review” it. The law, initiated by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and signed by […]

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Physicist Convicted of Espionage Gets Parole

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 14, 2012) Valentin Danilov, a Siberian physicist jailed on charges of espionage and treason amid a spying frenzy that swept the country in President Vladimir Putin’s first term, was granted parole Tuesday and could be freed next week. Human rights campaigners praised the ruling, saying Danilov should never have been imprisoned […]

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Putin Backs Russian Pension Revamp Opposed by Finance Ministry

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Olga Tanas – November 14, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a planned pension overhaul opposed by the Finance Ministry, Economy Ministry and asset managers, who warn it would curb economic growth. The Labor Ministry plan would divert taxes from future retirement plans to meet current pension payments and narrow the state system’s […]

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Putin’s Human Rights Council Gets 39 New Members

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 13, 2012) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council gained 39 new members on Monday as its total membership count rose from 40 to 62 in a reshuffle that saw more than a dozen leave. A longtime head of the council told The Moscow Times that, in its expanded form, the panel […]

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Brezhnev’s Children

Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon Sitting and Talking, as Nixon Gestures, with Third Man Standing and Leaning Closely Between Them

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – November 8, 2012) In many ways, the current battle for Russia’s future began 30 years ago this week. On November 10, 1982, Leonid Brezhnev died, sparking a generational change in the Soviet leadership and setting in motion an ongoing cycle of reform and reaction in Russia that remains incomplete and inconclusive to this day. The […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Body Bound to Be Less Critical of Govt – Analyst

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The new composition of the Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, a 39-member Kremlin consultative body, as approved by President Vladimir Putin “significantly devalues the presence of critics of the government” the council, an analyst said on Monday. “If one looks at who has been included in the council, one can say that […]

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Rumors in Moscow hint that new Defense Minister Shoigu may eventually replace Putin: Andropov’s Shadow over the Kremlin Clan Feuds

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 207 – Pavel K. Baev – November 12, 2012) The Russian political class had hardly any time last week to contemplate the consequences of US President Barack Obama’s re-election for a second term or to follow the tense atmosphere at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing­it was the […]

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Billionaire Businessman Says Putin Sent “From God”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2012) Gazprom contractor and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, 60, has said that his childhood friend President Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia “from God.” Rotenberg, a longtime judo sparring partner of Putin’s who has investments in the construction and finance industries, is ranked as Russia’s 94th wealthiest man by Forbes with a personal fortune […]

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Spokesman Denies Putin Will Skip Russia-EU Summit

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2012) President Vladimir Putin will attend a Russia-EU summit next month, his spokesman said Monday, denying a report that Putin might send Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his stead. “This statement in Nezavisimaya Gazeta is incorrect,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Itar-Tass. Asked whether Putin planned to travel to Brussels to take part […]

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Ousted Senator Narusova laments the way Putin changed

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – November 9, 2012) Former Senator Lyudmila Narusova, widow of President Vladimir Putin’s political mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, and mother of opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak, has given an extensive interview to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Narusova was kicked out of the Federation Council last month after having voiced criticisms of the recent crackdowns on […]

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Putin Approves New Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday the new make-up of the Kremlin’s council on human rights and civil society. The reshuffle comes after a spate of resignations that began in the wake of last December’s disputed parliamentary elections and continued following Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May. “We have to […]

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Putin: Police Reform Cannot Be Considered Finished

Russian Police Officer file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – The reform of the Russian police system cannot be considered finished, and further efforts are needed to improve it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev on Saturday. “The reform of which it has been said so much and which is being carried out perhaps cannot be considered finished. […]

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Shady dealing, sex scandals and Russia’s defense crisis

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 12, 2012) When Anatoly Serdyukov, reportedly clad in a bathrobe and slippers, opened the door to a police unit raiding his former employee’s apartment, it was the tipping point for Russia’s beleaguered defense minister. But it wasn’t the only reason by far why the catastrophically unpopular defense minister was sacked last […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform

File Photo of Segei Serdyukov with Bob Gates

(Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform – The Economist – November 10, 2012 – http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21566006-firing-russias-defence-minister-may-be-setback-military-reform-reform-and-be-sacked) The Economist covers the sacking of former Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov: “Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia’s defence minister from 2007 until November 6th when President Vladimir Putin fired him, was never much of […]

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Confidence Ratings of Russian President, Premier Stabilize – Poll

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

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The decline in confidence ratings for President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which started after the March presidential election in Russia, has slowed. Their confidence ratings stood at 42-44% and 36-38% respectively in September-October, the Public Opinion Foundation reported on Thursday. The Foundation held its latest poll of 3,000 respondents in 204 towns […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family”

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family” – Reuters – Thomas Grove and Timothy Heritage – November 8, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-russia-defence-scandal-idUSBRE8A70TG20121108) Reuters covers the sacking of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who allegedly not only offended anti-corruption laws, but also outraged a family close to Putin when he allegedly might have cheated on his wife, who came from that family: […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms  – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – November 6, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1106/Russian-defense-minister-s-sacking-suggests-political-infighting-video) The Christian Science Monitor covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dismissal of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov.  […]

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The war between the president’s men

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Dmitri Travin – opendemocracy.net – November 6, 2012 – Dmitri Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies) The Russian regime may present a united front to the world, but behind the scenes the cracks are beginning to show. In the week when Putin fired a senior government member, Dmitri Travin looks at […]

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Over half of Russians approve of Serdyukov’s dismissal as defense minister – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – More than half of Russians – 58% – appreciated President Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, and nearly half – 49% – approved of Sergei Shoigu’s appointment to the job, the www.superjob.ru web portal found after polling 1,600 Russians on Tuesday. Putin announced Serdyukov’s dismissal at a meeting with Shogu earlier […]

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Experts welcome Putin’s appointment of new defence minister

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Russian political experts have disagreed whether President Putin’s decision to sack Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and appoint Sergey Shoygu, governor of Moscow Region and former emergencies minister, in his place will lead to changes in military reform and major reshuffles in the top brass of the Russian Armed Forces. At the same time, most experts […]

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Obama And The Russians: Moving On To The ‘Post-Reset’

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

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – November 7, 2012) A second term does not necessarily mean a repeat of the first. By most accounts, the Kremlin was hoping U.S. President Barack Obama would win a second term. His rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, declared during the campaign that Russia is the United States’ leading “geopolitical enemy.” By comparison, Putin sees […]

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Kudrin Does Not See Way Back to Govt For Now

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 6 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister and current head of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, is not upset with Dmitry Medvedev, who sacked him when he was president, and does not regret quitting the government. “I will say that at the moment I do not see the conditions for my return,” Kudrin said in an interview […]

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Putin Fires Defense Minister Amid Scandal [replaces Serdyukov with Shoigu]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova and Roland Oliphant – November 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in connection with a corruption scandal and appointed Moscow Governor Sergei Shoigu in his place. Putin informed Serdyukov and Shoigu, a longtime ally who only became governor in May after serving 18 years as emergency situations […]

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The first big name falls in Russia’s anti-graft drive

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 7, 2012) On November 6, President Vladimir Putin sacked Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is accused of stealing $95m. We have been waiting for this. It’s the first time the Kremlin’s revitalized anti-corruption drive has reached into the inner circle. The sacking appears significant and already has the international press asking if […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal – Reuters – Thomas Grove – November 6, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/06/us-russia-defence-idUSBRE8A50A820121106) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sacking of defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov after a multi-million dollar corruption scandal.  Putin replaced Serdyukov with former emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu, who has enjoyed a strong  public approval rating: Putin’s announcement made at a meeting with Shoigu […]

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NEWSLINK: Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­- experts [Shoigu replaces Serdyukov]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­ experts – Russia Today – November 6, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/serdyukov-defense-shoigu-minister-061/) Kremlin-backed media source Russia Today reports on the replacement of Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov with former Emergencies Ministry chief Sergey Shoigu: President Vladimir Putin sacked Serdyukov after his ministry was drawn into a major scandal over alleged selling off […]

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Russian MPs and senators praise defence minister’s dismissal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) The dismissal of Russian Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov has been welcomed by senior figures in the Duma and the Federation Council, media sources reported. Serdyukov’s critics pointed to the way the military are being reorganized and to a fraud scandal that has recently erupted at the ministry. They contrasted this to the record of his […]

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U.S. Elections Deepen the Divergence Between Russia’s and Putin’s Interests

Mit Romney file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 202 – Pavel K. Baev – November 5, 2012) The choice that the United States will make tomorrow is certain to have a strong impact on US-Russia relations, but President Vladimir Putin cannot figure out what outcome will suit his interests better. Back in 2004, […]

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Jim Beam Didn’t Get Putin Memo as Whiskey Eyes Russians

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Duane D. Stanford – November 5, 2012) Beam Inc. (BEAM) wants more vodka-imbibing Russians to drink Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark whiskey. Apparently Vladimir Putin didn’t get the memo. In a campaign to help his people live longer, Russia’s president is pushing the biggest crackdown on alcohol since the cold war. That could complicate Beam’s efforts […]

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[TRANSCRIPT:] Vladimir Putin congratulated Russians on the National Unity Day.

Map of Russia

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2012) During the reception, Russian state decorations were presented to foreign citizens for their contribution to strengthening cooperation with Russia and developing Russian culture abroad. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky presented the decorations. Speech at a reception marking National Unity Day PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, friends. Congratulations on the National Unity Day! This […]

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New Kremlin Headache: Democracy is Alive in Ukraine and Georgia

Map of Russia and European Region of Former Soviet Union or Commonwealth of Independent States

(Voice of America – James Brooke – November 3, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR) Vladimir Putin is suffering back pains and is cancelling foreign trips and his annual November press conference marathon. He may also be suffering from a foreign policy migraine: multi-party democracy is alive and well in the […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Putin Strengthens his Grip on World Energy with TNK-BP Deal

Oil Well file photo

(oilprice.com – Marin Katusa – October 28, 2012) Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s number-one oil producer. As of yesterday, that title belongs to Putin Oil Corp ­ oh, whoops. I mean the title belongs to Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company. Rosneft is buying TNK-BP, which is a vertically integrated oil company co-owned by British oil firm BP and […]

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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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Is Russia’s Putin a Secret Fan of Mitt Romney?

Mit Romney file photo

(Voice of America – James Brooke – October 24, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR) The conventional wisdom is that the Kremlin would like to see Barack Obama back in the White House next year. Just last month, President Putin told RT, the state-owned TV channel, that Obama was “a genuine […]

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