NEWSLINK The Nation/Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “How A Siberian Mom Took on Politics as Usual in Russia and Won.”

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

In Siberia, Natalia Pinus is taking on established political forces and challenging the idea that Russian democracy is no more than a puppet show

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on developing internal waterways

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – August 15, 2016) In Volgograd Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council Presidium meeting on developing internal waterways. Before the meeting, the President visited the exhibition Water Transport – Today’s Goals and Tomorrow’s Prospects, which displayed, among other things, models of river ships of various types, both currently in the design phase and already in production, and models of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin, Shuvalov, Livanov, Galushka at] Meeting with Government members

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – August 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss measures to develop Russia’s Far East and a number of routine matters, in particular, the results of this year’s national final school exam and support measures for single-employer towns. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues, We agreed to discuss matters regarding the development of the […]

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Eight Things That Will Make You Jealous of Russians and Their Dachas

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2016) [Text with photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/8-things-that-will-make-you-jealous-of-russians-and-their-dachas-38139] In summer, the dacha becomes the focal point of Russian existence. Children and grandparents live there while school is out, and those who still have to work head out for their own bit of greenery once Friday afternoon rolls around. It doesn’t have to be a luxury […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In the ‘lungs of Moscow’ forest, Russia’s civil activists make their mark; Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the ‘lungs’ of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

A diverse band of urban activists, communicating largely through social media, are combating plans to build an enormous high-rise housing development amid the forested ring around the capital  …. The protesters who make up the Mortongrad Nyet! coalition have no shared ideology, and certainly aren’t interested in criticizing the Kremlin. Yet they are redefining the limits of Russian civil society […]

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Governor Belykh’s Arrest Has Russian Elite on Edge

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – June 30, 2016) For the last decade, regional governors in Russia are usually appointed apparatchiks, with faces unrecognizable outside their home territory. There are some exceptions to the rule, like Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the republic of Chechnya. Another rare exception was Nikita Belykh, the governor of the Kirov region, a […]

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Russia Might Not Be a Failed State But It is a Failed Country, Shtepa Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, June 14, 2016) The fact that Russians devote so little attention to their independence day even as they devote so much to Victory Day, Vadim Shtepa says, highlights a fundamental reality: Russia may not be a failed state according to the classic definitions, but it is a failed country, one that has not been able to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Chechnya: Russia’s Islamic State? Troubled republic in secular Russia has been thoroughly ‘Islamized’ by staunch Putin ally” – Wall Street Journal/YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

In theory, Chechnya – though overwhelmingly Muslim – is an integral part of the secular Russian Federation, governed by the same laws as Moscow. In practice, however, this North Caucasus republic of 1.4 million people, ravaged by two wars of secession, lives under very different rules. Under strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel who has become a fervent ally of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Village Resists Privatization Effort Championed by Putin. Locals, activists and lawmakers rally to prevent sale of century-old state-owned dairy plant.” – Wall Street Journal

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

The Russian government’s privatization drive soured in a village called Milk. The dairy plant here that for more than a century has churned out Russia’s most-recognizable brand of butter was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-February, the latest target to raise cash for the budget. But after locals, activists and lawmakers held rallies and petitioned President Vladimir Putin and other […]

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Cossacks Chief Denies Attack on Navalny Group at Anapa Airport

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) A group of Cossacks did not attack Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny but tried to break up the fight, the chief of Anapa’s Cossack community told the RBC newspaper Tuesday. “Those who attacked Navalny and his companions are not Cossacks. Police are now looking for them,” Ivan Petrov said. Navalny, his colleagues […]

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Media Coverage of Governors More about Their Management of the Media than about Anything Else, New Study Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 12, 2016) Those who follow the media in Russia’s regions know that some governors are routinely attacked by media in their federal subjects while others are never criticized, and they often conclude that this is an important indicator of how well the governors are doing in running their oblasts, krays or […]

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A sheltered existence: Life in Russia’s closed cities

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

Dating back to the Soviet era, closed cities, where important strategic facilities were hidden and secured, continue to exist in today’s Russia. These cities cannot be entered without a special pass, but tourists occasionally manage to make it inside. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 2, 2016) In the late 1940s, a […]

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Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions the City’s Future

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Vanina – April 29, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/moscows-chief-architect-envisions-the-citys-future/567455.html] For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript square across from Moscow’s beating heart. It was an occasional meeting point for anti-regime protesters, a space to get across to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully lit Scandinavian oasis […]

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Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

Russia Regions Map

Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground. (opendemocracy.net – Badma Byurchiev – April 21, 2016) Badma Byurchiev was born in Kalmykia in 1973, and has worked as a journalist since 2003. He currently works […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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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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Kadyrov to Get Another Term, Say Kremlin Sources

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinov – March 17, 2016) Barely a month has gone by without a controversy involving Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In January, a Kadyrov associate published an Instagram picture depicting Kadyrov with an aggressive dog and the caption “Tarzan’s teeth are itching to tackle [opposition leaders].” In early February, Kadyrov posted on Instagram an image […]

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The ordinary, yet exceptional people of Russia’s provinces; A significant part of Russia remains unknown to many of its citizens – mainstream media have no interest in the provinces. This photoblog captures a provincial life otherwise left behind.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Itkin – March 3, 2016) Vladimir Itkin is a journalist and literary critic from Novosibirsk, Russia. [Photos here opendemocracy.net/od-russia/vladimir-itkin/ordinary-yet-exceptional-people-of-russia-s-provinces] In 2009, Valery Klamm, a photographer from Novosibirsk, launched a photo project about elusive provincial Russia. This photoblog, called “Birthmarks on the map” (Rodinki na karte) [http://rodinkinakarte.ru/], quickly became popular for introducing poorly-known people and places. The idea […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russian blogger stands trial on charges of insulting believers’ religious feelings”

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

Why did Kadyrov publish ‘revelatory’ report about himself?

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov has chosen to make public himself a report that accuses him of creating a quasi-Islamic state within Russia and not obeying Russian laws. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 26, 2016) The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has chosen to publish a report called “A National Security Threat” […]

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‘Putin’s Children’ – Life, Crime, Terror on the Edge of Russia

Russia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oliver Carroll – February 26, 2016) The driver’s voice teeters between depression and aggression. “What kinduva life do yoo call this?!” he shouts. “Weerrall peepul … peeeeepul, for sheeettin sake! … Fook, Ruussia, yoo make me want to cry!” We veer from side to side of the snow-covered track. Outside, the mercury pushes twenty under, […]

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Putin Using Specter of Russia’s Disintegration to Avoid Reform, Rogov Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 4, 2016) Vladimir Putin is talking about the disintegration of the Soviet Union in order to promote among Russians that their country is at risk of the same fate, an idea that as it gains currency will drive off the political agenda all other issues, including the failures of the current […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Popular Front’s (ONF) interregional forum

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

(Kremlin.ru – Stavropol – January 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front public movement’s interregional forum. The Russian Popular Front’s first interregional forum addressed specific issues the regions face in their work to implement presidential executive orders of May 2012 and instructions issued following ONF meetings. More than 600 people took part […]

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State vs Art: Russia’s 2015 Crackdown on Contemporary Culture

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 31, 2015) “It’s theater. We were just playing.” That’s how Boris Mezdrich, his tone simultaneously apologetic and defiant, described the avant-garde production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser that got him fired. “Blasphemy!” – was what the Russian Orthodox activists shouted as they protested outside the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Novosibirsk, […]

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In Forgotten Karelian Village, Frustration With Moscow Runs High

Russia Regions Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Sergei Khazov-Cassia – December 19, 2015) VEGARUS, Russia — The stream bounces gaily on its bed of pebbles as it passes through this tiny village in Russia’s republic of Karelia, some 70 kilometers from the Finnish border. Up until 1939, the pristine, wooded area was part of Finland. Today, despite its proximity to one of Europe’s […]

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‘Traditional Family’ Said Making a Comeback in Russia– But It’s Mostly Rural and Muslim

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2015) The “traditional” family that Vladimir Putin and Russian nationalist want in which couples marry early and have three or four children is in fact becoming more numerous in the Russian Federation, but that comeback may not please everyone because most such families are either in villages or in traditionally […]

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Recommendations for additions to the Russia expert media outlet mix

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

Subject: Reaction to a piece in #217/Top Russian Media Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Recommendations for additions to the Russia expert media outlet mix: Response to JRL #217, Russia Direct’s “Top 10 Russian media any Kremlin watcher needs to know” Uliana Malashenko’s “special round-up of the most influential and interesting media outlets that provide insights into […]

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Yekaterinburg: Russia’s Next Capital of Culture

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Galina Stolyarova – October 20, 2015) If you ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of Yekaterinburg, they’ll probably say that it’s a highly polluted industrial city and the site where the Romanov family was executed. But the truth is quite different. This town in the Urals has established itself as […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

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

Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat. When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections. The result is said to raise questions about the […]

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The opposition’s last mandate

Russia Regions Map

Deputies of the Pskov regional assembly are attempting to remove a colleague from their ranks-opposition lawmaker and journalist Lev Shlosberg (opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Prokopyeva – September 23, 2015) Svetlana Prokopyeva is a journalist from Pskov, Russia and former editor in chief of Pskovskaya Guberniya. When the regional assembly of Russia’s north-western Pskov region convenes on 24 September, it promises to […]

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Putin Pushing New Social Contract Based on Fighting Corruption Rather than Economic Growth, Petrov Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 24, 2015) The recent arrests of governors is part of a broader effort by Vladimir Putin to create a new social contract with the population, Nikolay Petrov says. In the old one, he offered stability and economic growth; now that he cannot offer those things, he is pushing himself forward as […]

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A Loyal Governor Feels Putin’s Wrath

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 21, 2015) Russia has never seen a corruption case like this. The successful governor of the Komi Republic, who was faultlessly loyal to President Vladimir Putin, has been accused of leading a criminal organization that allegedly included a number of his region’s top officials. As cheap oil forces Russians to tighten their […]

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Poll: Most Russians do not want to live in Moscow

Russia Regions Map

According to a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), only 13 percent of Russians would like their children to live in Moscow. The most popular option among those polled (23 percent) would be to live in a small town. According to another poll, the Siberian city of Tyumen rates highly among Russian urban areas. (Russia Beyond […]

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Russia’s Regional Elections Marred by Pressure on Observers, Fraud

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 14, 2015) Multiple violations were registered by independent elections watchdogs during Sunday’s regional elections across Russia, and in the most drastic development, the office of an observers’ organization was raided by police who said they had reason to believe it was a murder scene. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) said it […]

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Interfax: United Russia loses four district head elections in Tomsk Region

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

TOMSK. Sept 14 (Interfax) – Four United Russia candidates failed to win district head elections in the Tomsk Region, the party’s Tomsk regional secretary Sergei Ilyinykh told an Interfax press conference on Monday. “United Russia candidates won in six districts; independents won in four – Bakchar, Krivosheino, Zyryansky and Alexandrovsky,” he said. There are several reasons why the party’s election […]

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Russian Regions Prepare to Vote After Campaign of Tricks, Complacency

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – September 11, 2015) On Sunday, the governors of 21 Russian regions and more than 1,300 heads of small city administrations will be elected, together with deputies for 11 regional parliaments and 25 city legislatures. The nationwide elections, known as unified election day, are considered by some analysts to be a final rehearsal […]

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Lack of Manifestos Points to Political Complacency in Russian Regions – Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 4, 2015) Only five acting governors taking part in elections in 21 Russian regions next week have published electoral manifestos, the Petersburg Politics think tank said in a report published Thursday. The lack of manifestos attests to a deficit of clear vision among potential heads of Russian regions – as well […]

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Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign

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

Subject: Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the […]

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How Next Round of Russia’s Disintegration May Begin

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 24, 2015) In his poem, “The Fall of Rome,” W.H. Auden wrote that it could be signaled not by some dramatic event but rather by “a bored official” scribbling a note and leaving his office to go home, a reminder that enormous tectonic shifts often begin with small things that most […]

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Running for Office in Siberia

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

Subject: Running for Office in Siberia Part III Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council: Part III: Becoming an Official Independent Candidate By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for […]

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NEWSLINK Globe and Mail (Canada): “Russia’s Brief, Shining Moment”

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

Mark MacKinnon visits the unassuming city in the shadow of the Urals where, not long ago and for not very long, free expression was allowed to flourish. In fact, it was encouraged and even financed by the state. Then something happened.

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VIDEO: Conversation: Russia’s Perfect Economic Storm

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Stratfor.com – August 11, 2015) Video Transcript: Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen, I’m a managing editor here at Stratfor, and with me today is Stratfor’s senior Eurasia analyst, Lauren Goodrich, who will be talking to me about the state of the Russian economy. So Lauren, Russia is struggling at the moment. […]

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Russian Opposition Cornered by Authorities in Regional Election Race

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 10, 2015) Attempts by the opposition’s Democratic Coalition to take part in upcoming regional elections have been thwarted by local election commissions’ refusal to register its members as candidates, in what analysts say is a concerted effort to nip opposition bids in the bud. The coalition, which consists of opposition firebrand […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: Kazan, a Russian Cultural Hub, Finds It’s Good at Sports

Kazan file photo

The New York Times covers Russian efforts to turn Kazan into a center for sporting events. A cultural hub for 1,000 years, the city has spent the decade since its 2005 millennium celebration reinventing itself as the cynosure of Russian sports. Since 2007, the city has hosted world and European competitions in field hockey, ice hockey, fencing, boxing, bandy and […]

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re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII

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

Subject: re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 15:51:31 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his D.Phil. (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms — The headline of Beevor’s article in The Guardian (1) is “By banning my […]

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