Tag Archives: Regions, Cities, Municipalities

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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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 to Natalya Zubarevich. In a […]

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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 St. Petersburg and anti-corruption NGO […]

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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 living in the shadows in […]

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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 last year the opinion was […]

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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 at local governments for what […]

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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 to the municipal level,” he […]

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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 ventures include the decision by […]

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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 Izvestia newspaper said, citing its […]

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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 murder of a young man […]

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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 three initiatives that are particularly […]

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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 on Sunday. The cull, to […]

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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 of thousands per year, and […]

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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 as a whole. In yesterday’s […]

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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 of Yekaterinburg and outspoken Kremlin […]

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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 whether or not the People’s […]

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

Map of Russia

(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]. Candidates are moving from one […]

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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 and wish you success. I […]

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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 the Cossacks in terms of […]

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