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Tag Archive for Regions, Cities, Municipalities

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

Regions to Gain Control of Russia’s Special Economic Zones

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(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

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

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

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

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

Kaluga – Russia’s regional pioneer

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(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

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

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

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(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

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

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

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(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

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

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

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

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(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

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

‘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…

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

Russian Village Reformer Granted Parole

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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.

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

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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

Putin calls for liberal reforms

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(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

Chemfest in Russia’s ‘chemical capital’

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(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

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

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

Russia Can Escape Crisis Only by Ending Hyper-Centralization, Zubarevich Says

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 19, 2013) Russia’s regions are overwhelmingly in a deep crisis, the result of a confluence of factors that can be overcome only by ending “hyper-centralization,” restoring budgetary federalism, and somehow reversing the “degradation” and rapacity of the Moscow elite and its faith in gigantist projects, according

Former Finance Minister Kudrin Proposes Major Reform of Law Enforcement

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 12, 2013) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will present a proposal Monday to completely restructure Russia’s law enforcement system through the creation of independent municipal, regional and federal authorities. The reforms were formulated by The Institute for the Rule of Law at the European University in

The Other Russia

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 30, 2013) Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington described the alternative universe of the poor in the United States in his classic and transformative “The Other America.”  Now, Russian researchers are pointing to the re-emergence of what might be called “the other Russia,” those from rural areas

Russians think local authorities are becoming increasingly corrupt – poll

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) – Russians believe that the degree of corruption in Russia as a whole remains high with the local authorities being the most corruption-ridden sphere, sociologists tell Interfax. Studies conducted by VTsIOM public opinion center over the years indicate that presently 80% of respondents find the current degree of corruption high while

Putin Makes Local Governors Responsible for Ethnic Relations

Migrant Workers file photo

UFA, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday giving local authorities more responsibility for handling relations between ethnic communities in a sign the government is growing nervous at evidence of a surge in nationalist-tinged discontent. Speaking at the Interethnic Relations Council in the Urals town of Ufa, Putin lashed out

Shuvalov: Time to hand additional powers to regions

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 21, 2013) The time has come for the federal government to hand additional powers over to the regions, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told a world economic forum in Moscow. “It’s time indeed to transfer additional powers to the regions,” he said. “Certain financial resources could also be additionally provided

World Economic Forum Gathers Leaders to Reignite Russia’s Economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 18, 2013) Kaluga shines so brightly in the regional investment firmament that it has regularly drawn cheers from President Vladimir Putin and various economists. Some of the reasons why the region, 160 kilometers southwest of Moscow, is leading the way as a target for new business

Kremlin source denies claims of governors’ upcoming dismissals

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 18, 2013) A Kremlin source has denied reports claiming that a number of regional governors may be relieved of their posts ahead of time. “These absurd claims are not even worth commenting on. This newspaper article uses some artificially formed agenda, not real facts,” the source told Interfax on Friday. The

Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 16, 2013) The conflict that started in the capital has spread to other major cities. In the Russian regions, people have started taking to the streets in support of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulovo, who staged riots in response to the

Three Disturbing New Russian Legal Initiatives

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 16, 2013) The Kremlin’s moves against the principles of the Russian Constitution and basic human rights are currently coming at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up with its assault on what remains of democracy in that country. This week alone featured

RIA Novosti: Russian Government to Cull Federal Officials

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 13, 2013) ­ Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a cull of federal officials in the regions ahead of an upcoming three-year state budget crunch. Medvedev did not give any estimates for the number of officials facing the sack in 2014-2015 in his order, published on the government’s website

How former Soviet countrymen resettle in Russia

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Lyudmila Nazdracheva, special to RBTH – September 26, 2013) This year, thanks to a program that facilitates the return of nationals to Russia, around 15,000 people have moved back to the country. The plans for the program estimated the influx of returning émigrés to be in the hundreds

Four Very Different Russias Moving in Four Very Different Directions, Zubarevich Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 25, 2013) Russia cannot be understood as a single whole, according to Natalya Zubarevich, but only as four different Russias whose increasingly different situations are pushing them in four different directions, a pattern that is often obscured by the use of data sets for the country

Moscow’s Grasp of the Regions: For Development or Power? Experts Argue

Map of Russia

(Howard Amos, RIA Novosti – VALDAI, September 16, 2013) ­ Russian officials, opposition leaders and pundits wrestled on Monday with the disjuncture between the country’s capital and its far-flung provinces at an international conference, where two erstwhile political rivals from the mineral-rich Urals region surprised observers by publicly settling their differences. The newly elected mayor

Navalny may head party, have problems with opening party offices in regions – expert

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Opposition activist Alexei Navalny will most likely continue his political career not in the 2014 Moscow City Duma elections but by opening of party offices in regions where problems are likely to occur, General Director of the International Institute for Political Expertise (IIPE) Yevgeny Minchenko said. “A lot depends on

Systemic parties losing support, elites shift to new parties – Civic Initiatives Committee report

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(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Parliamentary parties are losing the support of regional and local elites some of whom are shifting towards new political forces, the Civil Initiatives Committee think tank suggested. “There is an outflow of regional and local elites and voters from practically every “systemic” party [which has seats at the State Duma].

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with elected Russian regional leaders

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region, September 10, 2013) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting with heads of Russian regions voted in during regional elections held on the single election day. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear colleagues, good afternoon, Voting has closed and you have won your elections; naturally I must congratulate you on your victory

Increasingly Defined by Negation, Russian Nation Fraying at the Edges and Even at the Core

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 11, 2013) Their identity increasingly defined not by what they are or want to be but by what they fear and view as alien, Russians as a nation are fraying at the edges with some like the Siberians identifying in terms of a region, others like

RIA Novosti: Putin Urges Governors to Strengthen Relations With Opponents

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – NOVO-OGARYOVO – Moscow Region, September 10, 2013) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called on newly elected heads of Russian regions to get in contact with their former opponents and use their proposals. “I am urging you to build relationships not only with your support groups but with all your opponents

Vorobyov wins gubernatorial election in Moscow region with nearly 79% of vote – final data

Andrei Vorobyov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. September 9, 2013) Andrei Vorobyov won the gubernatorial election in the Moscow region with 78.94% of the vote, Moscow regional elections commission chairman Irek Vildanov told Interfax. “A. Vorobyov won the election of the Moscow region’s governor upon processing of 100% of voting result reports. He gained 78.94% of the vote,” Vildanov

40 percent of Russian Internet users are small-town

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dan Pototsky – September 5, 2013) People in small towns and villages are quickly getting the hang of the Internet. They account for more than 40 percent of all Internet users in Russia ­ a total of 27.5 million ­ according to TNS Russia. The fastest-growing segment of

Prokhorov’s Future Hazy as Elections Approach

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – August 27, 2013) Civil Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov’s future seemed uncertain Monday as he denied a report that he would leave politics, while analysts said the billionaire may have indeed scaled down his political ambitions even as his party establishes itself ahead of regional elections. Some commentators

Taken from Chita, Made in China

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – August 24, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, is part of Russia’s DNA, and many romantic ballads sing of its size

Medvedev: All regions should ultimately switch to direct elections

Map of Russia

(Interfax – PYATIGORSK, August 19, 2013, 2013) All Russian regions should ultimately switch to direct elections, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. A young man asked Medvedev at the Mashuk-2013 North Caucasus youth forum on Monday whether regional elections should be direct like national elections, or if regional leaders should be appointed depending on the a

Kremlin Funds Regions Based on Their Loyalty – Study

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 16, 2013) ­ Russian regions, most of which heavily rely on federal subsidies to survive, are funded in part based on how strongly they support the ruling United Russia party at elections, a new study claimed. The rule only applies to poorer regions with slow economic growth, according to the

Moscow Region Election Plays by Harder Rules

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 30, 2013) In the shadow of a much more publicized mayoral election in the capital, the upcoming gubernatorial election in the Moscow region offers a decidedly different set of campaign issues, people’s demands and opposition activity. Unlike in Moscow, residents of the region that is often

Experts Say Upcoming Elections More Competitive

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 26, 2013) The upcoming Sept. 8 regional elections across Russia will be more competitive than the previous ones, amid declining public support for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, experts say. Despite compounded bureaucratic obstacles for the registration of candidates, ongoing regional election campaigns show an increased

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