JRL NEWSWATCH: “Half of Russians now say Vladimir Putin is responsible for the country’s problems, according to new poll” – Meduza/ Levada Center

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“… more than half the country … holds [Putin] responsible for Russia’s problems and the rising cost of living, according to a new poll by the Levada Center. Late last month, 55 percent of the country said Putin is to blame …. Ironically, the same number … credit Putin with … economic success and rising prosperity …. Nearly two thirds […]

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1993 Constitution Not to Blame for Putin’s Authoritarian System, Shelin Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 12, 2018) Many analysts are inclined to blame the presidentialist nature of the 1993 Russian Constitution for the rise of authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin; but Sergey Shelin argues that is a mistake and that Putin’s approach to rule “arose not because a quarter of a century ago this document was adopted.” […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Dissident Wins a Bittersweet Victory Over Putin; Europe’s rights court condemned the Kremlin’s persecution of Alexei Navalny, but the ruling could push Russia further away from the West.” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

“… Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has long had a catch-and-release relationship with … Putin and his regime. … [T]he European Court for Human Rights ruled that arrests in 2012 and 2014 violated Navalny’s rights. … likely to bring Russia a step closer to breaking off its remaining ties with European institutions.  The Putin regime has been playing an unpredictable game […]

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Political Repressions Increasing Not Only Because of Putin But Also Because of Russian People, Vishnevsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 31, 2018) Boris Vishnevsky, an opposition deputy in St. Petersburg’s assembly, says that political repressions in Russia are on the rise not just because Vladimir Putin views them as the only way to keep power but also because “the majority of society is completely indifferent” to this development. Few Russians show […]

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GULAG was Not Something Far Away in Siberia: It was All Around Even in Moscow

File Photo of Soviet Gulag at Belbaltlag, adapted from image at nps.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 29, 2018) Today, Russians of good will paused to remember those who had suffered and died in Stalin’s GULAG. This commemoration took many forms but one of the most significant risks being lost: a new map of “The GULAG in Moscow” shows that Stalin’s camps and torture places were not somewhere […]

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Authoritarianism in Russia Comes from Bottom Up Not Top Down, Karaganov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 23, 2018) Russia is now living through a period of reaction, Sergey Karaganov says; but its anti-Western roots lie not in the elites but in the population. “Russia’s authoritarianism was not imposed from above but is the result of our history which has formed our genetic code.” “Without the centralization of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Filmmaker Speaks, Reveals Unseen Footage of Russian Leader’s Rise to Power; Rare insight from Vitaly Mansky, a former Kremlin propagandist, paints an extraordinary portrait of a president drawn ever deeper into dictatorship” – Daily Beast/ Nico Hines

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow govt formally allows Oct. 29 remembrance of victims of repression on Lubyanka Square” – Interfax

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) – The Moscow government has formally granted Memorial’s request to hold a ceremony commemorating victims of political repression at the traditional venue near the Solovetsky Stone on Lubyanka Square on October 29, Yelena Romanova from the city administration’s regional security department said. “There was an interagency meeting today to discuss the provision of public peace and […]

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Russia’s Top Judge Spurs New Talk Of Changing Constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – October 16, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-s-top-judge-spurs-new-talk-of-changing-constitution/29547265.html) When the Russian Constitution was approved in late 1993, the fledgling country’s parliament building– now known as the White House– was blackened and charred, the result of an all-out military assault ordered by President Boris Yeltsin to quell […]

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Putin’s Managed Democracy Falters

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

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – September 27, 2018 – kennan-russiafile.org/2018/09/27/putins-managed-democracy-falters/) Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti, has been following Russian economy and politics since the late 1990s. He has served as an opinion page editor for Vedomosti and editor and correspondent for the newspaper Kapital. While president Vladimir Putin keeps receiving […]

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Is Russia Really “Fascist”? A Comment on Timothy Snyder

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

(PONARS Eurasia – PONARS Policy Memo – Marlene Laruelle – September 5, 2018 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/russia-really-fascist-reply-timothy-snyder) Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor, Associate Director of IERES, Director of the Central Asia Program, and Co-Director of PONARS Eurasia at The George Washington University. Over the past decade, and even more overtly since the annexation of Crimea, there has been a growing tendency to […]

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Russian Officials Warn Google Not To ‘Meddle’ In Elections By Hosting Navalny Videos

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Sept. 5, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-officials-warn-google-not-meddle-in-elections-hosting-navalny-videos-youtube/29472527.html) Russian officials say they have warned U.S. Internet giant Google against “meddling” in local elections scheduled for this weekend by allowing Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny to post videos calling for mass protests on YouTube. Representatives of Russia’s election commission, the Prosecutor-General’s Office, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow City Court upholds Navalny spokesman Yarmysh’s sentence” – Interfax

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – The Moscow City Court on Thursday upheld the sentence of Kira Yarmysh, the press secretary of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, to 25 days in jail for violating the rules governing the organization of a protest in central Moscow on May 5, an Interfax correspondent has reported. “The appeal is declined. The decision made by the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian govt proposes barring foreign-agent NGOs from anti-corruption examinations – bill” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. May 29 (Interfax) – The Russian government has proposed a number of measures to bar foreign-agent NGOs and certain categories of Russian citizens from participating in anti-corruption examinations; a relevant bill was submitted to the State Duma on Tuesday. The bill, which has been published in the State Duma’s database, “would prohibit citizens with outstanding or unexpunged convictions or […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State Duma ready to heed opinion of businessmen opposed to penalizing compliance with U.S. sanctions in Russia – MP Zhukov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. May 25 (Interfax) – The Russian State Duma stands ready to heed the opinion of the business community that has voiced opposition to a bill that would make it a crime to comply with Western sanctions in Russian territory, the lower chamber’s First Deputy Chairman Alexander Zhukov said. “Yes, they have objections, especially as far as the first […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Navalny foundation lawyer Zhdanov detained for organizing unpermitted rally on May 5” – Interfax

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

MOSCOW. May 24 (Interfax) – Ivan Zhdanov, a lawyer working for Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, has been detained for organizing an unauthorized opposition rally on May 5, Leonid Volkov, the head of Navalny’s headquarters, said. “Ivan Zhdanov was just detained while leaving the office. The very same Article 20.2 [of the Russian Administrative Offense Code], they found another ‘organizer of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin isn’t as all-powerful as he looks; In local elections, which are harder to rig, the opposition is rising.” – Washington Post/Jackson Diehl

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

“… If opposition leaders … start to look dangerous … bad things happen …. Yevgeny Urlashov, a charismatic opposition leader who in 2012 won election as mayor of Yaroslavl … is now serving a 12-year prison sentence on trumped-up charges. Boris Nemtsov … was murdered on a bridge outside the Kremlin …. Alexei Navalny … has been banned from elections […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Blacklists Progressively Fewer ‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs, Justice Ministry Says” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 10, 2018) Russia has blacklisted NGOs at a progressively slower rate since an infamous foreign agent law was signed in 2012, the Justice Ministry has said in an annual report. President Vladimir Putin observed last year that the sharp decline in “foreign agents” resulted from organizations turning down foreign funding. The law has been […]

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In Current Illiberal Cycle, Being an Autocrat like Putin is Fashionable, Albats Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 5, 2018) During the 1970s and 1980s, much of the world was in a liberal cycle with ever more countries being democratic and free; but now, it is in an illiberal one with ever more countries become less democratic and less free, according to Yevgeniya Albats, the editor of The New […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Event Recap: Post-Soviet Political Theater” – NYU Jordan Center/ Ben Dalton

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

“In many post-Soviet countries, a hybrid regime has emerged that is neither full democracy nor pure authoritarianism. Sometimes called ‘competitive authoritarian regimes’ or ‘unconsolidated democracies,’ these governments adopt the trapping of democracies – elections, public debates, opposition parties – but in most cases electoral outcomes are preordained, and everyone knows where the real power lies. Perhaps the best example is […]

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Russia’s Opposition Leaders Come Together, Briefly, in Nemtsov March; But with three weeks until the presidential election, political analysts don’t see a viable strategy

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 25, 2018) For the third year running on Sunday afternoon, the disparate political movements in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin came together – if only for a brief few hours – to march in the memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov. “The march is symbolically important for the entire democratic opposition,” one […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Opposition activist Alexei Navalny will spend Russia’s presidential elections in jail” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his chief of staff were arrested on February 22 and will be held for 30 days, taking them out of circulation for the March 18 presidential elections. Navalny has been touring the country for most of the last year and is calling for a boycott of the elections. While President Vladimir Putin […]

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Kremlin’s New Approach to Dissent has Marginalized Even Navalny, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 30, 2018) The Russian authorities have “learned how to marginalize the actions of the opposition without the use of force,” the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say; and unless Aleksey Navalny can come up with a slogan that will unite more of the opposition than does his call for a boycott, he […]

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Interfax: Russian Constitutional Court doesn’t accept Navalny’s complaint over participation in presidential election

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Jan 19 (Interfax) – The Russian Constitutional Court has refused to accept Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s complaint about the norms of the court’s law on presidential elections. The court’s ruling, dated January 18, is available on the court’s website. The Russian Constitutional Court earlier scrutinized a norm similar to that contested by Navalny as part of a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin’s Rival Can’t Run for President, But He’s Still a Threat; Did the Russian leader add to Alexey Navalny’s protest prowess by barring him from this year’s election?” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Now that he’s been officially barred from challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin in presidential elections next March, opposition leader Alexey Navalny is counting on becoming an even bigger nuisance for the Kremlin. The 41-year-old Navalny, who is banned from appearing on state television and whose name Putin never even mentions in public, is urging his supporters to protest nationwide on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Barred From Running and Boycotting: Navalny’s Quandary in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“… Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating … Putin in an election. … But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘I don’t like the Central Election Commission’ Alexey Navalny’s speech to the government officials who moments later barred him from Russia’s 2018 presidential election (full translation)” – Meduza

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“Russia’s Central Election Commission refused to register Alexey Navalny’s presidential candidacy on December 25, a day after the opposition politician’s campaign staged nomination gatherings in 20 cities across the country and Navalny personally submitted his candidacy application to the commission. Before the formal vote, Navalny addressed the commission in a fiery speech where he called on election officials to let […]

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Russia’s Media Monitor Moves To Block Websites Of ‘Undesirable’ Organizations

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 12, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-blocks-access-website-khodorkovsky-open-russia-prodemocracy-group/28910984.html) Russia’s Roskomnadzor media regulatory agency has begun blocking access to websites of organizations deemed “undesirable” by the Justice Ministry under a 2015 law aimed at restricting the activity of organizations the Kremlin accuses of fomenting political dissent. The regulator’s website on December […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Fedotov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin. The focus of the meeting was on measures to implement the State Policy Concept on immortalising the memory of victims of political repression. The agenda also included issues related to the Council’s activities on ensuring citizens’ environmental rights, […]

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Interfax: Don’t forget saddest lessons of Russian history – Volodin in connection with day memorializing victims of repression

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 30 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that the events associated with political repression in the 20th century should be remembered so that the past can unite society, not divide it. “The Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions is one of the hardest memorial dates in our country’s calendar. In the year of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Does Putin Want? To Maintain His Power No Matter What; A big win for Putin in the March election would be a victory for the Russian autocratic state.” – NBC/ William Pomeranz

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

“In Russia … [elections] are acts of confirmation: The only real suspense … is whether … Putin will receive 70 percent or 80 percent …. Putin … surely understands that reform is the moment of greatest vulnerability for a Russian leader (just ask … Gorbachev). … Putin’s intent is always to maintain control, as recent prosecutions attest. * * * … At the top of […]

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Russia To Unveil Monument To Victims Of Political Repression

File Photo of Soviet Gulag at Belbaltlag, adapted from image at nps.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – October 30, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-stalin-putin-soviet-repression-remembrance-day-moscow/28823208.html) Amid controversy over his own methods of maintaining control over Russia, President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to appear at the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to victims of state repression during the Soviet era. The Wall Of Sorrow will be unveiled on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No pomp as Russia revolution centenary nears” – AFP

Kremlin and River

“… Russia strives to strike an odd balance … remembering the uprising that brought about the Soviet Union … stopping short of romanticising regime change. … 1917 saw Tsar Nicholas II abdicate in March and the Bolsheviks … seize power in October. Civil war erupted … followed by the creation in 1922 of the USSR, built on the ruins of the Russian empire. … Russia still […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Problem Much Bigger Than Putin” – New York Times/ Mikhail Khodorkovsky

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

“More than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the attempt to build a democracy in its place, Russia has once again become an authoritarian state. The same inability to build democratic institutions plagued the leaders of the February Revolution of 1917, which led to the Bolsheviks gaining power later that year. … Still burdened by a ‘besieged […]

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Five years of Russia’s Foreign Agent Law; Russia’s Foreign Agent Law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Daria Skibo – August 14, 2017) Daria Skibo is a sociologist and researcher at the Centre for Independent Sociological Research, St Petersburg. Russian civil society received July’s news happily: the case against Valentina Cherevatenko, the first person to face criminal charges under Russia’s Foreign Agent law, was dropped. In June 2017, Cherevatenko, head of the Women of the […]

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Russia Leading ‘Assault’ on Freedom of Expression – HRW

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2017) Russian authorities have clamped down on Internet freedoms and introduced “invasive” surveillance” online, under the pretext of fighting extremism, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published today. The report criticizes Russia for unjustly imprisoning dozens based on their activity online and for introducing new laws that give the government tools […]

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Why Russian Officials Want to Control the Social Sciences; In authoritarian regimes, the social sciences are the most vulnerable to state interventions

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times/Kennan Institute – themoscowtimes.com –  wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Irina Olimpieva – July 11, 2017) Irina Olimpieva is a senior researcher at St. Petersburg Center for Independent Social Research On June 23, the Board of Trustees of the European University in St. Petersburg accepted the resignation of the rector, Oleg Kharkhordin. The EUSP is a private Russian university operating as a […]

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Jury Deliberating For Second Day In Case Of Accused Nemtsov Killers

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 28, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-chechnya-nemtsov-murder-trial/28583189.html) The jury in the trial of five men who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of opposition politician and former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is continuing deliberations for a second day in Moscow. The jury on June […]

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Punishing Putin Mostly Means Punishing His Foes; Washington wants more sanctions. But they would further strangle a pro-democracy movement on life support.

Kremlin and River

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 12, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. After being surprised by broad-based protests in late March, the Russian authorities were ready to prevent a repeat on Monday. Police detained hundreds across the country […]

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NEWSLINK: “New book announcement from Brookings: The New Autocracy. Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia. Edited by Daniel Treisman. Corruption, fake news, and the ‘informational autocracy’ sustaining Putin in power.” – Brookings Institution

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

“After fading into the background for many years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia suddenly has emerged as a new threat — at least in the minds of many Westerners. … Under … Putin … Russia is neither a somewhat reduced version of the Soviet Union nor a classic police state. Corruption is prevalent at all levels of government and […]

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‘Putin’s GULAG More Horrible than Stalin’s,’ Researchers Say

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 7, 2017) Many people of good will around the world have been horrified by the case of Rizvan Ibragimov who has been subject to electro-shocks and other forms of torture for writing a history of Chechnya challenging the version approved by Ramzan Kadyrov, but they have dismissed such crimes as “Chechnya […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Critic Navalny Says Russia Stops Him Traveling Abroad” – Reuters

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

“Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said … authorities in Russia were stopping him [from] going abroad to seek urgent medical treatment after an attack that left him mostly blind in one eye.  … authorities … unexpectedly issued … an international passport … [giving] the impression he could fly to a foreign clinic to get treatment …. But he said a senior official from the country’s prison […]

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Russian Police Probe Radical Pro-Kremlin Group Over Navalny Attack

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL– rferl.org – May 5, 2017) The leader of a radical pro-Kremlin group says police plan to question him and his colleagues over an attack on Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny that has impaired his eyesight. Igor Beketov, leader of a group calling itself the South East Radical Block (SERB), told RFE/RL on May 5 that Moscow police contacted him […]

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Russia Gives Putin Critic Navalny Passport to Travel Abroad

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – May 4, 2017) #Russian opposition leader Alexey #Navalny said he’s been issued with a passport that would allow him to seek treatment abroad for eye damage suffered when an assailant threw a chemical in his face. The Federal Migration Service notified him that he can collect the passport after a five-year struggle to […]

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Interfax: March 26 rally organizers warned of illegality of staging rallies in city center – Moscow authorities

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) – Moscow authorities have considered all the applications filed by organizers for public events to be held in central Moscow on March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, head of the Moscow Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption, told Interfax on Thursday. “The Department has received five applications from a group of people for public events to be […]

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Interfax: Moscow authorities believe their rejection of Navalny’s requested anti-corruption rally final

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow authorities do not plan on reconsidering their refusal to approve the anti-corruption march scheduled by opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Moscow for March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, the head of the regional security and anti-corruption department for Moscow, said. “This decision is final,” Chernikov said, replying to a relevant question from […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Russians think when they hear ‘Putin’s a killer'” – Washington Post/Andrew Roth

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

“… Change may be coming under the Trump administration. The State Department and the White House have been silent this week on two events: the latest sentencing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny for embezzlement, likely ending his 2018 bid for president, and the mysterious, life-threatening illness of Vladimir Kara-Murza, another opposition figure, who, his family believes, has been poisoned twice since 2015. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “With court ruling, Kremlin moves to block political biggest threat: Navalny. The ruling reinstating a guilty verdict for anticorruption blogger Alexei Navalny effectively rules him out of next year’s presidential race. But it may help him remain a viable Kremlin opponent.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Kremlin and River

“The legal odyssey of Russia’s best-known opposition leader, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, has been mindbogglingly complicated, full of twists and turns. … with a simple and totally predictable political result. … a regional court’s ruling … upheld … Navalny’s embezzlement conviction and handed him a five-year suspended sentence … [making it] almost impossible for him to run against … Putin […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

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

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “LIFE UNDER ALTERNATIVE FACTS” – The New Yorker/Mikhail Iossel

There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie, spoken pro forma …. no one was duped into thinking this was actually […]

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