Navalny’s Opposition Coalition Stymied in Siberia

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – July 28, 2015) Efforts to inject some of Russia’s almost invariably pro-Kremlin regional and municipal legislatures with opposition-minded lawmakers ended in failure in Novosibirsk on Monday. Opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny’s Party of Progress, Parnas and several other opposition parties formed a coalition aimed at providing a platform to like-minded candidates in various […]

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PARNAS supporters holding rally in Novosibirsk over election committee meeting on registering party lists

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

NOVOSIBIRSK. July 27 (Interfax) – The rally permitted by the Novosibirsk mayor’s office of the supporters of the People’s Freedom Party For Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption (PARNAS) is taking place in front of the Novosibirsk region’s government building on Monday, an Interfax correspondent reported. Five people are declared to participate in the rally, event organizer Vadim Sukhonenko said. “One […]

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Russian Single-Industry Towns Face Crisis

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) Most of Russia’s single-industry towns are at risk of economic collapse that would cause massive social dislocation and see millions of Russians lose their livelihoods, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying Wednesday. Some 14 million Russians live in the 319 Russian towns that, in a holdover from the Soviet era, […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Locusts, Spiders, Snakes Plague Russian Regions

Tarantula file photo, adapted from image at usgs.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 30, 2015) Several Russian regions have been plagued recently by locusts, spiders and snakes, media reports and government officials said Monday. Locusts have destroyed large swaths of crops in the republic of Bashkortostan and the Orenburg region, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency, Channel One reported. An aircraft was scrambled to […]

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Interfax: Chechen leader on Nemtsov murder, investments, oil, Ukraine, marriage

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Interfax – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has suggested that the murderers of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov should be sought in Ukraine, rather than in Chechnya. He praised his region’s economic potential and oil reserves. Kadyrov also slammed Committee Against Torture Russian human rights organization, accusing them of following the West’s guidelines to Russia’s detriment. […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian: Is the ‘Moscow experiment’ over?

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

The plan was to create a new type of city that answered the needs of Moscow’s creative middle classes. But did the exit of Sergei Kapkov, the culture minister who ushered in these changes, also signal the end of the city’s urban revival?

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Shadow Economy, Rural Self-Sufficiency Allowing Russia to Weather Sanctions, New Study Finds

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 31, 2015) Russia’s shadow economy and the self-sufficiency of Russians living outside of the major cities of the country “have allowed Russia to survive the crisis and the introduction of sanctions without large losses, according to five-year-long study of provincial society carried out by sociologists at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. […]

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Election Shifts Show Kremlin Wary Of Fallout From Recession

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 1, 2015) The Kremlin is moving to bring next year’s parliamentary elections forward and set up snap gubernatorial votes in several provinces this year, maneuvering that analysts say shows the authorities fear a deepening recession could weaken them and galvanize the opposition. The State Duma elections in December 2011 catalyzed the […]

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Putin Faces New Kind of Parade of Sovereignties in Degraded Russian Regions

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 27, 2015) Russian governors, “even the most loyal” to the Kremlin, as a result of the intensification of the economic crisis, find themselves between a rock and a hard place and are beginning to complain about Moscow’s failure to articulate an anti-crisis strategy which takes the interests of their regions into […]

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Looking after yourself in Siberia

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

The ‘rationalisation’ of medical and social services in rural Russia has compelled people to acquire new skills in order to survive, but life for the weakest is very hard – and very expensive. (opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky, an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta – May 12, 2015) Circumstance has forced the inhabitants of Kurganka, a village in Russia’s Omsk Region, to […]

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New website offers three centuries’ worth of historical statistics on Russia

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – April 27, 2015) A new electronic archive has been launched, making it possible to trace the social and economic development of Russia’s regions over the past three centuries. The Electronic Repository for Russian Historical Statistics [https://ristat.org/] was proposed and created by Gijs Kessler from the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and Andrei Markevich from the New […]

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Why Foreign Investment in Russia’s Regions is Falling

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 28, 2015) Ninety-five percent of Russian regions are unattractive to foreign investors, a study released last week in Moscow found, in a sign that investment is likely to remain sluggish after Russia emerges from a deep recession. Only a few regions are managing to create favorable investment conditions for foreigners, according […]

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Russian church denies filing complaint against controversial opera

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

(Interfax – April 1, 2015) The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has denied having filed a claim against Tannhaeuser opera production at the Novosibirsk State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 1 April. In a statement to Interfax-Religion it said: “The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church points out that the […]

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New Report Names and Shames Russia’s Worst Regional Governors

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2015) A Kremlin-linked think-tank released a rating of Russia’s regional governors on Monday that names the head of the Leningrad region, which surrounds St. Petersburg, as the most effective manager and the head of the Sverdlovsk region in the Ural Mountains as the least effective. The rating, which was conducted […]

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Uproar in Murmansk as Teachers’ Salaries Withheld Amid Economic Crisis

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 26, 2015) Teachers’ salaries have been withheld en masse in Murmansk as Russia’s economic crisis bears down on the regional budget, news site FlashNord reported Wednesday. The Murmansk branch of Russia’s national teachers’ union filed a complaint with regional governor Marina Kovtun, claiming that a large number of employees of Murmansk’s […]

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Health Care Workers to Hunger-Strike in Protest of Labor Conditions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 24, 2015) Health care workers in central Russia threatened to stage a hunger strike starting Monday to protest what they described as “repercussions” against co-workers who demanded better working conditions and higher salaries at previous protests, media reports said. The hunger strike, planned in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, […]

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A Tour Through Russia’s Five Poorest Cities

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – January 21, 2015) While Moscow offers some wealthy residents a level of luxury on par with other world capitals, urban life in the dozens of other cities across Russia is quite another story. A study released this week offers a peek into this other side of urban living in Russia. Published by […]

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Primakov’s ‘Anti-Crisis Federalism’ Seen Threatening Russia’s Non-Russians

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 15, 2015) Many in Russia and the West are celebrating Yevgeny Primakov’s argument presented at the Mercury Club this week that hyper-centralization, a policy associated with Vladimir Putin, is a threat to the Russian Federation and its economic recovery and his call for devolving more powers to the regions of the country. […]

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Russia’s Oscar Hopeful Is Dark, Critical — And Patriotic

Map of Russia

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – January 5, 2015) In the film Leviathan, a drunken mechanic in a far northern Russian town clashes with a greedy, drunken mayor who is determined to expropriate the man’s land for his own mansion. The mayor contemptuously refers to his subjects as “insects” and, in a fit of vodka-fuelled honesty, pulls back the curtain on […]

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The Train Won’t Stop Here Anymore – the Sad Fate of Russian Regions

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 1, 2015) Russian Railways announced yesterday that it will end some 220 local train routes this month, effectively cutting off the residents of many rural areas from access to medical and other services available only in oblast capitals. But the corporation insisted that Moscow is not to blame: local governments have […]

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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Russians in Biggest Cities Feel the Most Pain from Crisis, Gudkov Says

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 22, 2014) Russians living in the largest cities, the people who benefited the most from the oil-driven boom of the last decade, now feel the greatest concern about the impact on their lives of the economic crisis because they are better informed than those in smaller ones and rural areas, a […]

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Russia’s Cities Becoming Less Moscow- and Russia-Centric, New Studies Find

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 13, 2014) Two studies about how residents of Russia’s cities feel about where they live and identify themselves suggest that the residents of Russian cities away from the core of the country are ever less focused on Moscow as the center of their lives and identify instead either with their own […]

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Majority of Russia’s Urban Population Is Breathing Highly Polluted Air

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) The majority of Russia’s urban population is breathing highly polluted air, including at least 14 million people in 38 cities where pollutant concentrations are 10 times above acceptable levels, according to a recent report by the national weather and environment service. Moscow was among cities that rated high on air pollution, mostly […]

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After Putin, Russia Will Be Either Fascist or Federalized, Ukrainian Analyst Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 10, 2014) Ever more people around the world want Vladimir Putin to leave the scene but very few have asked themselves what Russia will be like after his departure. One who has, Sergey Klimovsky, suggests that Russia will either be a fascist state even worse than the current regime or a […]

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New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A reform is under way in […]

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Regions to Gain Control of Russia’s Special Economic Zones

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – June 9, 2014) From next year, responsibility for Russia’s special economic zones – key institutions that have proved an invaluable boon to domestic and international companies investing in Russia – may be transferred from the federal to regional governments, a news report said Friday. The decision to delegate management of the zones […]

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Crimea Sucks Funds from Infrastructure Mega-Projects in Russia’s Regions

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – May 14, 2014) Crimea has become a multi-billion dollar sponge soaking up funds slated for crucial infrastructure projects in other regions, as the government scrambles to support its newest territory’s economy. On Tuesday, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said that the federal budget would have to fork out from 160 billion rubles […]

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Russia’s regions threaten to become an Achilles’ heel

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 8, 2014) Russia’s economy is slowing dramatically, but the pain is not evenly spread. While a few Russian regions are making rapid progress and modernising, the bulk are getting into deep financial trouble. “Since the 2009 financial crisis, the Kremlin has allowed Russia’s regions to take the brunt […]

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Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – April 17, 2014) The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia’s largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin. The bill was approved Tuesday by […]

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Ethnic Clashes Replacing Political Protests as Dominant Form of Public Activism in Russia, Pain Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 13, 2014) Ethnic clashes especially in the regions appear to have displaced political protests in Moscow as the dominant form of activism in the Russian Federation, a trend certain to have dangerous consequences given that the authorities are far less concerned about the former than the latter, according to Russia’s leading […]

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Kaluga – Russia’s regional pioneer

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – February 11, 2014) Moscow is home to much of Russia’s wealth and has always been treated as a country and an investment destination in its own right. But over the last decade a handful of regions have got their act together and now are emerging as even more attractive […]

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Rich cities and dying company towns

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Travin – February 6, 2014) Dmitry Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies. Russia’s unemployment figures look low, but they are rising, and there is a great gulf between the prosperous centre and failing regions. A foreigner coming to Moscow or St Petersburg as a tourist or on business […]

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Growing Inequality among Russia’s Regions Undermines Power Vertical, Moscow Geographer Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble) Staunton, February 2 – Growing inequality in the economic performance of Russia’s regions requires that the regions be given more authority to make decisions, a grant that many in Moscow are reluctant to make because that will undermine Vladimir Putin’s “power vertical” and threaten the country with disintegration, according to a Moscow geographer. In […]

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Sochi: New beginnings when the party is over

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – January 29, 2014) Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, ponders how the Olympics will affect international diplomacy and tackles some of the misunderstandings surrounding the Games. In little more than a week, the Winter Olympic Games start in Sochi, but the prospects after this landmark event are visible now. I am […]

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Russian financial watchdog says regions lack funds to implement Putin’s orders

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti -January 29, 2014) The Russian regions do not have sufficient funds to implement the May [2012] orders of Russian President [Vladimir Putin], the Audit Chamber has said. The watchdog has come to this conclusion as a result of the monitoring of the regional situation. The most acute situation has emerged in connection with order No 600 about measures […]

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Which Russian Cities are Withering Away?

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2014) Russia’s demographic decline is taking many forms ­ the disappearance of villages, the hollowing out of the countryside and difficulties with meeting draft quotas and having enough working age people to support an aging population ­ but perhaps the most dramatic is the predicted disappearance of relatively large cities […]

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RIA Novosti: One in Three Russian Towns & Villages Have No Internet – Study

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ People living in more than a third of Russia’s small towns and villages have no access to the Internet, a new government study shows. Despite the boom in Internet use in Russia, some 6,700 localities have no opportunity to get online, the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media said on its website. The figure […]

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Why are there so many presidents in Russia? Russia’s complicated administrative division explained.

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – January 9, 2014) Russia’s regional administrative division is complicated. There are regions, territories, republics, and federal districts. All these are formally equal under the constitution, but in reality there are considerable differences. Experts say this complex state administration system is a legacy of the Russian Empire and the Soviet […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin-Led Civic Movement Registers First Regional Branch

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

MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) ­ A pro-Kremlin civic movement headed by President Vladimir Putin has registered its first regional office in Russia, the party’s website said Friday. The All-Russia People’s Front (ONF) said it registered the office in the city of Lipetsk, located some 440 kilometers (270 miles) south of Moscow, with Russia’s Justice Ministry. “I hope that in […]

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‘Yaroslavl ­ graveyard of the Russian spring’

File Photo of Yevgeney Urlashov Standing Near One of His Campaign Posters

(opendemocracy.net – Elena Vlasenko – January 2, 2014) Elena Vlasenko is a Russian correspondent writing for Sovershenno Sekretno and Index on Censorship. When Yevgeny Urlashov became the democratically elected mayor of Yaroslavl, the tourist city on the Volga, he described it as the ‘birthplace of the Russian spring.’ A year later, Urlashov is in jail… Russia’s protest movement was at […]

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Russian village becomes extinct

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Pravda.ru – Nadezhda Alexeeva – December 17, 2013) Previously, Russian village life used to be associated with rosy village women, fresh air and clean snow. Nowadays, village life in the minds of many Russians brings up such associations as rickety black huts, deserted villages, bad roads, or their absence. What crippled the Russian village? Russia was traditionally considered an agrarian […]

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Russian Village Reformer Granted Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ A former painter from Moscow, whose quest to bring culture to provincial villagers resulted in a jail term for bribery, was granted parole on Tuesday. The Tver Region Court upheld a parole request filed by 36-year-old Ilya Farber, who had already spent two years and nine months behind bars. Farber left Moscow for the […]

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Interfax: Putin calls for bolstering local self-government system in Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for introducing legislative guarantees next year for establishing an independent and financially self-sufficient local self-government system in Russia. “I am addressing the All-Russian Local Self-Government Council, municipalities, governors, the Federation Council members and the Russian government: let’s look at all aspects of these problems once again so as to […]

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Putin calls for liberal reforms

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG – December 13, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his state of the nation speech on December 12 where he laid out his plans for the coming year. In a nutshell he called for decentralisation and for the regions to take more responsibility for promoting their local economies. These speeches are important […]

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Chemfest in Russia’s ‘chemical capital’

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Ola Cichowlas – November 28, 2013) Ola Cichowlas is a British-Polish freelance journalist. She covers Russian regional politics and the arts in provincial Russia. Russia’s industrial cities are more than a blot on the landscape. They are the source of appalling chemical pollution, a problem that neither the authorities nor the oligarch owners seem to have any interest […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Governors and Mayors

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

Subject: No. 139:  Governors and Mayors Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 18 November 2013/No. 139 GOVERNORS AND MAYORS To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2781 Analyses Dynamics of Regional Inequality in the Russian Federation: Circular and Cumulative Causality, by David Lane, Cambridge The Revival of Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections: Liberalization […]

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Interfax: Putin: direct gubernatorial elections a key political trend but specific features of regions must be taken into account

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

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Direct elections of governors will remain a key provision of the Russian electoral system, President Vladimir Putin President Vladimir Putin has said. “The right of voters to elect the heads of regions is the main political trend. We will undoubtedly follow it,” he said at a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of nonparliamentary parties in […]

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