RUSSIALINK: “It is necessary to fairly distribute money resources between cities, villages – Medvedev” – Interfax

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) – The difference between the incomes of people living in cities and villages should decrease and the budget funds will be distributed more fairly, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Of course, agglomerations, cities are where our country is developing. They are very important, a considerable number of people live there. But we should not forget […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stroppy in Strunino; The lessons from protests in small-town Russia; The government is getting less and less popular” – The Economist

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

“… in this sleepy town some 120km north-east of Moscow … when local activists organised a march … against planned cuts to medical services, more than 100 people took to the streets. …. an example of shifts in public opinion … reshaping the country’s political landscape. … The rapture [over Ukraine] began to fade … when the government announced plans […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian population put in its first full-year decline in a decade” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

Bne Intellinews reports on Russian demographics and population decline, citing statistics from state agency Rosstat that Russian population fell from 146,880,432 at the beginning of 2018 to 146,793,744 at the start of 2019, a decrease of 86,688. Says bne intellinews: “The fall in the natural population has been partly offset by inbound migration, which covered half of the fall in […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Winter. What do we do in the village?…’ Pushkin ‘Зима. Что делать нам в деревне?’ Пушкин [PHOTOS: Manzherok Village, Altai Republic Siberia, New Year Holiday 2019]” – Medium/ Sarah Lindemann-Komarova

Snowy Scene with Trees and Hills file photo, adapted from NWS image

“Manzherok Village, Altai Republic Siberia, New Year Holiday 2019 Манжерок Новогодный праздник 2019 … Photos: “

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As Bad as Russian Roads are for Travel, Russia’s Waterways are Worse, Yemelchenkov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 12, 2019) For most of Russia’s histories, rivers and later canals were the primary transportation network over that country’s vast roadless and largely railway-less areas. Its roads have remained notorious for their poor quality, and its railroads are suffering ever more accidents. But the state of its rivers and canals has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘The art of rejection’ A new report reveals the hidden mechanisms authorities use to restrict protests in Russia” – Meduza

Moscow Protest File Photo

“Article 31 of the Russian Constitution states that citizens of the Russian Federation ‘shall have the right to assemble peacefully.’ However, when protests are not approved by local authorities, those who join them can face arrest, professional consequences, and even criminal charges. The anti-corruption protests that swept Russia on March 26 and June 12, 2017, as well as the Voters’ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russian town that might save the world; Torzhok is experiencing a resurgence because of one woman’s activism” – Christian Science Monitor/ Mark Sappenfield

“… Before Ms. Sokolova intervened, why had Torzhok been forgotten? The simplest answer is that it had grown mentally stale. … Sokolova’s ideas for new festivals and civic renewal projects were not rocket science. Yet they have begun to push Torzhok into an entirely new orbit, symbolized by restored train service from Moscow and St. Petersburg. …” Click here for: […]

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Growing Russian Nostalgia for Soviet Past Far More Dangerous than It Appears, Kirillova Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 7, 2019) New polls show that the share of Russians who would like to go “back to the USSR” is at its highest levels over the last 15 years, a development many find troubling because it will make the future evolution of Russia toward a normal state far more difficult. But […]

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One Russian in Four Lacks an Indoor Toilet, One of Many Signs There are Now ‘Four Distinct Russias’

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 7, 2019) According to a new report by Russia’s state statistical agency, Rosstat, 35 million Russians live in houses or apartments without indoor toilets, 47 million do not have hot water, 29 million don’t have any running water inside their residences, and 22 million do not have central heating (ehorussia.com/new/node/17679). In […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Disbands the Concept of ‘Dacha'” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 3, 2019) The New Year has ushered in a slew of new laws in Russia, including one that disappears the very concept of country cottages, known as dachas, where many Russians spend their summers. More than 60 million Russians are estimated to own dachas nationwide. What kind of dacha they own, though, was previously […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stalin’s Soaring Moscow Towers Sorely Need Body Work” – New York Times/ Neil MacFarquhar

Moscow State University file photo

“… Most of [Moscow’s] so-called ‘Stalin high-rises’ – both residential and government buildings – desperately need renovating. … stuck in limbo … over who will foot the substantial bill. Since the residential apartments were privatized in the 1990s, the government considers the owners responsible. The residents, particularly … impoverished elderly who inherited apartments from … now deposed Soviet elite, believe […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Every fifth Russian worker earns less than $250 per month” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Every fifth Russian worker earns less than RUB15,000 ($250) per month, according to … a study by the RIA Rating agency [cited by] … RIA Novosti …. Over 33% of people living in 22 regions earn less than this amount, according to the survey. [The worst were] Dagestan … (46%) … [and the] Karachay-Cherkess Republic (44%). In six regions, two […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Baron Sobyanin; Moscow’s mayor squashes competition but transforms his city; Sergei Sobyanin has turned his city around” – The Economist

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“… The previous mayor, Yuri Luzhkov… ruled Moscow as a medieval fief since 1992, developing a reputation for corruption and crass taste. Historic buildings … crashing down, glitzy shopping malls … traffic [grinding] to a halt … his [construction magnate] wife became the country’s richest woman. … Sobyanin set out to break with the Luzhkov era …. focus[ing] on urban […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Dozens leave St. Petersburg’s Yabloko branch over differences with Yavlinsky” – Interfax

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 22 (Interfax) – Mikhail Amosov, a deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, said he is leaving the Yabloko party. Several dozen others in the region have also left. “The wish to decide from Moscow who will run the organization, who will be included in the bureau, the issuance of yarlyks for princedoms – unfortunately, these things […]

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Russian Educational System Threatened by Privatization, Underfunding

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 15, 2018) The explosive growth of private for-profit higher educational institutions and mounting anger in the regions about the costs of public schools at the primary and secondary level are threatening the quality of the Russian educational system, a system on which the future of that country heavily depends. If the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The tenth city: Rostov-on-Don; We move to Russia in our series on Europe’s second-tier cities; Ancient trading traditions have survived Bolshevism and war” – The Economist

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… [Rostov-on-Don has] roots as a trading hub …. Russia’s gdp growth is slow at around 1.5% … [yet] the Rostov region is … at twice that … powered by booming farming, retooled manufacturing and an active citizenry. … [G]eography, tradition and mild weather make[] Rostov among Russia’s most entrepreneurial cities. … [where] 44% of the workforce is employed in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin not considering cancellation of ‘municipal filter'” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Nov 2 (Interfax) – The Kremlin does not deem the cancellation or liberalization of the “municipal filter,” the assignment of another date for the unified elections day, or other drastic modifications of the electoral system to be necessary, a source close to the presidential administration told Interfax. “Drastic modifications of election laws are not on the agenda of the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Establishes Foundation to Preserve Russia’s Native Languages” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 26, 2018) President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that establishes a foundation to help preserve Russia’s native languages, the Kremlin announced on Friday. The measure comes in the wake of worries in Russia’s republics that their native languages are under threat. In June, the State Duma signed a bill into law that restricts […]

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Let Them East Cheese: Russian Plant Thrives Amid Sanctions

Russia Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dmitry Lyubimov, Tony Wesolowsky – Oct. 22, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/let-them-east-cheese-russian-plant-thrives-amid-sanctions-/29557433.html) Sergei Chernych proudly points to the gleaming Western-made stainless-steel machinery at his cheese factory in Mari El, a small republic in Russia’s Volga region. Production at the plant in Sernur, some 90 kilometers east of the […]

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‘They’ve Stolen Everything’: In Russia’s Far East, Dreams Deferred Amid Grim Mood Over Pension Reform

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – October 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/in-russia-s-far-east-dreams-deferred-amid-grim-mood-over-pension-reform/29542683.html) USSURIYSK, Russia — An unusually warm spell in early October filled this Far Eastern city’s central square with couples and schoolkids enjoying the last bright evenings before the onset of winter. Steps from the main landmark, a monument honoring […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Regional Elections Rundown” – Bear Market Brief (Sept. 28, 2018)

Russia Regions Map

“Moscow’s political control over regional governments is slipping, opening the door for local elites to gain greater control …. [including] greater de facto control over natural resources, creating opportunities for external investment but … increasing corruption risks …. [T]rend[s] [are] rooted in a sustained decline in living standards … also prompt[ing] unprecedented protest activity and a more confrontational … ‘systemic’ […]

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NEWSLINK: “Voronezh and the re-branding of post-Soviet Russia; The writer returns to the university she studied at in the 1970s to find a city transformed” – Mary Dejevsky

Russia Map

“… Voronezh is, in many ways, unrecognisable from its Soviet self. Even its layout has been altered to restore the 19th-century plan. A vast new church rises from what was once a scruffy park. The skyline boasts a dozen gleaming domes and crosses. Old vistas have been reopened. Voronezh is, once again, a river town. … But the history told […]

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Pundits Say Russian Vote Results Signal Protest, Not Real Change

Russia Regions Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – September 25, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/pundits-say-russian-vote-results-signal-protest-not-real-change/29509181.html) As exit polls from the Khaborovsk region’s gubernatorial runoff pointed to a landslide victory for Sergei Furgal, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) candidate was asked what swayed the September 23 vote. “People are tired,” he replied to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “United Russia pledges interaction with new governors of Khabarovsk Territory, Vladimir region” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) – The ruling party is ready for the constructive interaction with the new governors of the Khabarovsk Territory and the Vladimir region, according to United Russia General Council Secretary Andrei Turchak. “The party is ready for the constructive interaction with the elected heads of the Khabarovsk Territory and the Vladimir region if people and regions benefit […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia is throwing out suspicious gubernatorial election results in Primorsky Krai” – Meduza

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s Central Election Commission is urging regional election officials in the Primorsky Krai to invalidate the results of last Sunday’s runoff gubernatorial election. Commissioner Ella Pamfilova justified the recommendation on the grounds that it is impossible to determine the race’s outcome reliably because of significant violations at multiple polling stations. … the commission’s ‘recommendation’ is more like a direct order, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Gubernatorial elections in Russia: Stop, cancel, start again” – PravdaRu

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

(Pravda.ru – Anton Kulikov – September 19, 2018 – pravdareport.com/russia/politics/19-09-2018/141628-gubernatorial_elections-0/) The results of gubernatorial elections in Russia’s Primorsky region (Far East) have been canceled. However the situation remains too vague to hope for its coming resolution. The head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said on Wednesday that the results of the gubernatorial election of the Primorsky region are […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with elected regional governors” – KremlinRu

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – Sept. 18, 2019) Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with the newly elected governors of the regions of the Russian Federation. The President congratulated the governors on their victories in the elections -in the first round – during the unified voting day on September 9 and asked the elected regional governors to begin their work as soon as […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pamfilova makes decisions without anyone’s instructions, didn’t bother Putin on situation with election in Primorye” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – CEC head Ella Pamfilova says she has not bothered the president about issues relating to the cancellation of elections, including in Primorye. “I don’t bother the president on such issues [as the cancellation of elections in Primorye]. If someone thinks I am a pawn, I did not live my difficult life to be a player […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s CEC wishes to investigate violations regardless of ranks of those who organized Primorye electoral fraud” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – The chair of Russia’s Central Elections Commission (CEC), Ella Pamfilova, has revealed that CEC members are shocked at the extent of electoral law violations committed during the second round of the gubernatorial polls in Primorye, adding that a probe will be held “without respect of those who organized the election rigging”. “This is the case […]

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Tension Builds In Russian Far East Region After Disputed Vote Count

Russia Regions Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – August 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/tension-builds-in-russian-far-east-region-after-disputed-vote-count/29495661.html) Rival contenders for the governorship in a Russian Pacific region girded for court battles, and more protests, after an unusual last-minute vote count in a runoff election gave victory to the ruling party incumbent. Supporters of Russia’s Communist Party have cried foul […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Communists Say Election Stolen by Pro-Putin Candidate” – Reuters

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

“… With 95 percent of votes counted on Sunday night, Kremlin-backed United Russia incumbent Andrei Tarasenko was trailing his Communist rival by around 5 percent. But on Monday, the local election commission said Tarasenko had won by just over 1 percent, an unlikely turnaround that the Communists said was evidence of rigging. The scandal is awkward for Putin, who met […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Runoffs in Four Regional Races Reveal the Kremlin’s Vulnerability” [Excerpt] – Stratfor

Russia Regions Map

“… Putin … in his fourth and perhaps final term as Russia’s president, faced a key political test in regional elections …. though the ruling party, United Russia, won most of the races – which included gubernatorial elections in 22 regions, legislative elections in 16 regions and a mayoral election in Moscow – it faced stiffer competition and more unrest […]

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NEWSLINK: “Did Russia’s ruling political party really lose Sunday’s regional elections? No, but there is one place it’s no longer in control” – Meduza

Russia Regions Map

“Did United Russia blow the September 9 elections? It depends on how you look at it. Yes, United Russia failed to win 50 percent on party lists in 11 out of 16 races for regional legislative assemblies. But it lost in only three regions, narrowly and always to the Communists: Irkutsk United Russia: 27.8 percent Russia’s Communist Party: 34 percent […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Authorized protest against higher retirement age held in Novosibirsk” – Interfax

Cash, Calculator, Pen

NOVOSIBIRSK. Sept 13 (Interfax) – A protest against the higher retirement age took place in Novosibirsk on Thursday at the initiative of the Novosibirsk regional federation of trade unions. ‘The organizers expected a 3,000 turnout, yet the Interior Ministry counted 600 people at the rally,” Novosibirsk city administration spokesman Sergei Polyansky told Interfax. The chair of the Novosibirsk regional federation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fury Over Pension Changes Hurts Putin Allies in Russian Regional Elections” – Reuters

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s ruling United Russia Party suffered a rare setback in regional elections despite winning most of the seats, a reversal its leaders and election chiefs blamed on unpopular plans to raise the pension age. … [R]esults in weekend voting for heads of about one third of Russia’s regions were the worst for United Russia … since elections for regional leaders […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin views organization of Sept. 9 elections as good, but not without some minor flaws” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The regional elections in Russia on September 9 passed appropriately and without serious irregularities, even though there might have been some minor imperfections, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “On the whole, the election campaign passed decently and orderly, with quite a high voter turnout, perhaps with some minor imperfections,” Putin said at a State Council […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Fury Over Pension Age Hike Clouds Moscow Mayoral Election” – Reuters

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“Polls show … [that Sergei Sobyanin] will comfortably be re-elected Moscow’s mayor on Sunday, but public anger over planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, tarnishing his win. … [in] the first test at the ballot box for the authorities since Putin, whose popularity has tumbled by around 15 percent due to anger over […]

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NEWSLINK: “A look at what to expect in Sunday’s regional elections, and what the results mean – Interview with Dr. Ben Noble” – Bear Market Brief

Russia Regions Map

“With elections across Russia set for this Sunday, September 9th, we wanted to bring you some deeper insight on what is happening and what the vote means for Russia. Dr. Ben Noble is an expert on the law-making process during the legislative stage of policy-making in authoritarian regimes. He is a Lecturer in Russian Politics at the School of Slavonic […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Wages in Russia’s regions are well behind the national average” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Wages are starting to grow again …. However … the recovery is clearly very mixed.  … mega-cities … Moscow and St Petersburg … had incomes … 51% and 117% more than the average national wage of RUB42,640 ($625) per month … according to Rosstat … [but] two-thirds of Russian regions have incomes well below that level. In general the poorest […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “At Asia’s heart, Lake Baikal stirs Russians to protect nature” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Lake Baikal and Environs Satellite Photo

“… [Lake Baikal] is the only natural feature in Russia … [with] its own law … which bans many types of industry, including mining, and chemical-based farming in a buffer zone around the lake that includes most of Buryatia. … that makes Baikal a double-edged sword for the economically stagnant republic. The region’s beauty and largely untapped resources give it […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Upcoming gubernatorial election in Russia to be mostly uncompetitive – FoRGO” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Aug 30 (Interfax) – A competitive scenario will be an exception from the rule in the upcoming gubernatorial elections, the Foundation for Civil Society Development (FoRGO) said. The reasons for that are the fact that the process participants understand that there is no point in artificially stimulating competition and the low effectiveness of opposition campaigns, FoRGO said. “Competition in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov could destabilise Russia; Former warlord who answers only to Putin runs republic as personal fiefdom” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

“… Kadyrov said the murder of … Kungaeva had been ‘an insult to all of us, and … we will not be dishonoured and humiliated.’ Claiming … Temerkhanov had been tried and imprisoned illegally, he accused Russian law enforcement of anti-Chechen bias. ‘If we are Russian citizens, treat us as Russian citizens …. We want equality and justice.’ …. a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Buddhism flourishes in Siberia, opening window on its pre-Soviet past; Orthodox Christianity may be Russia’s most high-profile religion, but it is only one of the country’s four official ‘founding’ faiths. Another of the four, Buddhism, has been experiencing a rebirth in post-Soviet Russia.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“… For ethnic Buryats, the resurgence of Buddhism is part of a more complex awakening, as local scholars explore the Buryats’ distinctly non-Russian historical and cultural heritage, and endeavor to reconcile it with their identity as modern-day Russians. Similar processes are unfolding in many of [Russia’s] 22 ‘ethnic republics’ …. Today, there are about 1.5 million Buddhists in Russia, concentrated […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Moscow’s Newest Park, All of Russia Comes Together” – New York Times/Roslyn Sulcas

Russia Map

“[The author visits] ….Zaryadye Park, Moscow’s first new green space in 50 years, designed by … American architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro … one of the most ambitious and expensive architectural projects in Russia in decades. … [with] numerous buildings on [a] 35-acre site … tucked under curving, plant and tree-filled slopes. Each … represents an aspect of Russia’s varied […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin is spearheading a new ‘social-media monitoring system’ to hold local officials more accountable” – Meduza

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Kremlin is reportedly spearheading a new social-media monitoring system called ‘Incident Management’ … follow[ing] social networks in real time …. being tested in two regions [one of which is] Moscow.  … monitor[ing] … Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram[], creating an ‘incident’ whenever related disgruntled posts … appear[] on multiple networks. Local officials are … supposed to respond … […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Moscow Urban Forum Megacity of the Future: New Space for Living” – KremlinRu

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/58026) Vladimir Putin spoke at the 8th Moscow Urban Forum Megacity of the Future: New Space for Living, held in Moscow’s Zaryadye Park from July 17 to 22. The Moscow Urban Forum is a major international congress devoted to the development of global spaces and megacities. The platform brings together representatives of Russian and […]

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Governors Back Moscow’s Pension Plan but Seek Exemptions for Their Own People

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 16, 2018) Caught between the demands of the Kremlin which decides whether they will be in office and the opposing views of their populations that could make their time there easy or difficult, Russia’s governors are simultaneously telling Moscow they support the pension plan but asking it to exempt their own […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Sobchak on Sobchak: A New Film about Russia in the 1990s; Vera Krichevskaya and Ksenia Sobchak teamed up to make a film about Anatoly Sobchak” – Moscow Times/Andrei Muchnik

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – June 29, 2018) Ksenia Sobchak, recent presidential candidate, TV host and socialite, and director Vera Krichevskaya, known for her documentary about Boris Nemtsov’s life “The Man Who Was Too Free,” just released a film about Sobchak’s father Anatoly Sobchak, a controversial liberal democratic politician and the first mayor of St. Petersburg. The […]

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NEWSLINK: “Saint Petersburg, Russia, Wins The World Cup Of Condensed Guides To European Culture” – Forbes/Gil Press

St. Petersburg

:… Shamlikashvili … [is] the owner of Indigo Hotel which opened in 2014 as the first of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Indigo brand of boutique hotels in Russia. Like many entrepreneurs in the U.S., Shamlikashvili is an outsider and has arrived at her venture in a circuitous way. She grew up Jewish in Tbilisi, Georgia, and received both an MD from […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Summer Folk Head Out to the Dacha” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

“Дача: country cottage … Visitors to Moscow and other large Russian cities will notice two curious things in the summer: enormous traffic jams leading out of the cities on Thursday and Friday evenings, and empty cities on the weekends – with the exception of die-hard football fans, that is. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Grand Dacha Exodus. …”

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