Taking Stock of Putin’s Promises at Last Forum

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 21, 2013) Vladimir Putin took the stage to speak at last year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum as president for a third time, having been inaugurated a month before, but facing perhaps the fiercest political opposition in his 12 years as Russia’s top leader. Despite the ongoing street protests, Putin focused […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Business 20

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Kremlin.ru – St Petersburg, June 20, 2013) The meeting took place on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Excerpts from transcript of meeting with the Business G20 PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ladies and gentlemen, It’s very good to see you all. I am happy to welcome the B20 participants to St Petersburg, on the first day […]

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Jury selection fails in Politkovskaya murder trial

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) The Moscow City Court has failed to select the jury for the investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya murder trial. A court representative told Interfax the Thursday attempt to form the panel of jurors was unsuccessful. A lawyer for the defendants said the majority of candidates refused to become jurors. “Everybody asked for withdrawal for various […]

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Putin submits business amnesty, drops liberal bombshell in St. Petersburg

Empty Boardroom

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Artem Zagorodnov, RBTH – June 21, 2013) Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined several radically liberal economic reforms. In a move equally symbolic and practically important, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a much-touted amnesty for businesspeople had been approved by his office and will be […]

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Progressive income tax scale in Russia feasible from 2018 – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax -ST. PETERSBURG, June 20, 2013) It would be feasible to introduce a progressive income tax scale in Russia in 2018, when the current political cycle ends, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told reporters on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum. “It would probably make sense to make the transition to different taxation for personal income from […]

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Margelov Says Lack of Mail Harming U.S. Ties

Mikhail Margelov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 21, 2013) ST. PETERSBURG ­ Russia might be closer to the U.S. than Moldova and Armenia geographically, but the two countries are too often a world apart when it comes to maintaining close contacts, a senior Russian official said Thursday. Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, complained […]

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Russia to take time to thoroughly analyze Obama’s arms cuts proposal – diplomat

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

(Interfax – MOSCOW. June 20, 2013) Russia will thoroughly examine U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposals on more radical cuts of nuclear weapons, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “We will coordinate our reasons with our objectives in ensuring our national security and strengthening peace. Analysis will be interdepartmental and will take some time,” Ryabkov said in an interview published […]

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Weaker Ruble Unlikely to Boost Growth – Russian Central Bank

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(RIA Novosti – ST. PETERSBURG, June 20, 2013) ­ The Russian government’s plans to weaken the ruble in a bid to stimulate faltering economic growth is unlikely to yield results, Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on Monday said the government is looking for measures to stimulate economic growth in Russia, including […]

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Long-Lost Soviet Holocaust Films Under New Spotlight

File Photo of Nazi Concentration Camp - adapted from image at army.mil

(RIA Novosti – Maria Young – WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013) ­ Nearly a dozen long-lost, rarely seen Soviet films and scores of screenplays that were never produced about the persecution of Jews during World War II have been revived to offer decades-old evidence of a side of the Holocaust few people recognize today. From the dusty archives of Moscow and […]

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Russian Security Services Hunt Culprits in Railroad CEO Hoax

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) ­ The hunt is on to find those behind hoax claims that the CEO of Russia’s railroad monopoly had been dismissed, which caused a flurry of confusion in the Russian media. On Wednesday evening, Russian news outlets received a press statement saying that Vladimir Yakunin had been dismissed as head of Russian Railways […]

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Navalny’s Game

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 19, 2013) [Video here: rferl.org/content/navalny-game-russia-opposition-moscow-trial/25022010.html] Aleksei Navalny may be on the ropes, but at the same time he’s also on something of a roll. The on-the-ropes part was in full display in Kirov on June 18 when Judge Sergei Blinov flat-out refused to allow Navalny to call any defense witnesses in his […]

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Russians’ Lack of Trust Explains Their Xenophobia and Support for Top Leaders, Moscow Sociologist Says

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 19, 2013) Strikingly low levels of inter-personal trust among Russians, the result of the experiences of Soviet times, explain both their xenophobic reactions to immigrants and their high rates of support for Russian leaders because “distrust in institutions is transformed into trust in the president and prime minister,” according to a […]

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Nomination of Audit Chamber Head Delayed, Kudrin Among Candidates

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – June 20, 2013) The State Duma has approved a list of people nominated by political parties for auditor positions at the Audit Chamber but postponed nomination of the head until later in the year, Vedomosti reported Thursday. There were reports that former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin may be one of the nominees, […]

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More and more Russians are unhappy about environmental situation in Russia – VTsIOM

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – VILLAGE OF LISTVYANKA, Irkutsk region, June 19, 2013) The number of people who criticize the environmental situation in their localities increased in the past eight years, Konstantin Abramov, deputy general director of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), said. During a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and representatives of the export community on environmental issues, […]

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Investors Follow Putin to St. Pete

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – June 20, 2013) St. Petersburg is drawing scores of business leaders to a forum where they are hoping to get the latest tips on the course that the government and major companies might take. Opening Thursday at the exhibition center LenExpo, the three-day event will host President Vladimir Putin for a keynote […]

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Russians divided on national development vector but don’t expect shocks – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – MOSCOW. June 19, 2013) Optimism prevails in Russian society, and 76% are more or less happy with their life. Only 8% have not adjusted to contemporary conditions, Levada Center told Interfax on Wednesday, quoting a nation-wide poll of late May. A quarter of the respondents claimed “their life was stable and there had been no major changes for […]

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Russia’s Birth Rate up 30% Since 2007 – Minister

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) The birth rate in Russia grew 30 percent since 2007, Russian Minister of Labor and Social Protection Maxim Topilin said on Wednesday. In his interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station, the minister attributed the trend in part to the introduction of the so-called “maternity capital” on January 1, 2007. “During this period, […]

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Live Blog: SPIEF 2013, Day 1

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Moscow Times – June 20, 2013 – themoscowtimes.com/news/article/live-blog-spief-2013-day-1/481995.html) The 17th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), set to host several thousand economic experts, business managers and political leaders, opened Thursday morning with the first session at 9:45 a.m. The forum this year focuses on finding ways to build a new global economy. Today’s discussion topics include maintaining the growth in […]

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Customs Union Frauds Behind 40% of Russia Capital Flight

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) Fictitious import contracts with entities from Customs Union member states Belarus and Kazakhstan accounted for 40 percent of Russia’s net capital outflow last year, business daily Vedomosti reported on Thursday citing Central Bank data. About $10 billion could have been laundered through fake imports schemes via Kazakhstan, the Central Bank said in a […]

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Skolkovo Reality Becoming Less Virtual

Skolkovo File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – June 20, 2013) Hovercraft, bionic arms, space tourism and nuclear laptop batteries may all be products of the future to be created and brought to market by Skolkovo, the business education and technology center taking shape on the outskirts of Moscow. Despite a bumpy start that has included typical Russian corruption scandals, […]

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Russian Pundits Arbatov And Karaganov Upbeat On G8 Summit Results

File Photo of G8 Heads of State Outdoors in 2013

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, June 19, 2013) The results of the G8 summit, which was held on Monday and Tuesday (17-18 June) in the Northern Irish resort of Lough Erne, despite the absence of global agreements, are generally positive, primarily thanks to the fact that it was possible to avert a serious rift between Russia and the seven remaining members […]

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Moscow has questions about personal data leak in U.S. – Foreign Ministry

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) The leak of personal data requested by U.S. security services will be discussed at bilateral meetings of Russia and the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry Representative for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov said. “We have questions to ask the United States and these issues will not be overlooked in bilateral contacts with the U.S. This […]

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RIA Novosti: Moscow Links More Nuclear Cuts to Missile Defense – Minister

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(RIA Novosti – ST. PETERSBURG, June 20, 2013) Russia-US strategic nuclear arms cuts cannot be pursued without also addressing missile defense systems, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday. Strategic stability is affected by the role of defense systems, in particular “the US plans to build non-nuclear weapons” which will be “far more effective than the existing strategic nuclear arms,” he […]

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Russia won’t agree to negotiate tactical nukes with U.S. – expert

File Photo of Nuclear Weapon, B61 Gravity Bomb

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) Russia will not agree to negotiations with the U.S. on reducing tactical nuclear weapons, Sergei Rogov, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of U.S. and Canada Studies, said at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. “I believe Russia will not agree to negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons for a number […]

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Obama Nuclear Arms Pitch More About Legacy Than Russia – Analysts

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

(By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013) ­ US President Barack Obama’s desire to pursue nuclear arms cuts with Russia offers fertile ground for cooperation with Moscow but is above all about securing an enduring security legacy, a range of experts said Wednesday. “The nuclear issue itself is a special interest of Obama’s ­ he’s deeply […]

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MGIMO Analyst Sees Border Changes Ahead for Central Asia

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 18, 2013) Andrey Kazantsev, the director of the Analytic Center of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Moscow Institute for the Study of International Relations (MGIMO), says that the borders of the countries of the Central Asian region are likely to change over the next century and that this prospect should worry Russian […]

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Diplomats Discuss Future of OSCE at Conference

File Photo of OSCE Banners

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 19, 2013) VIENNA ­ Diplomats at a conference organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe all agreed Tuesday that international organizations were vital in helping to overcome the Cold War spirit that still besets relations across the East-West divide, but they were unable to provide any clear answers […]

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Only unbiased international experts can establish if chemical weapons were used in Syria – Ryabkov

Syria Map

(Interfax – LOUGH ERNE, June 18, 2013) Only independent and serious expert analysis can establish the truth about the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Empty claims cannot be accepted, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “We cannot agree with unilateral arguments and empty claims that the Syrian government uses chemical weapons. We need to draw the most […]

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Pushkov sees start of non-American world order in Russia and China’s common position on Syria

Alexei Pushkov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 18, 2013) Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov of the United Russia faction said Russia and China’s position on the Syrian settlement marks an important stage in global politics. “Russia and China’s common position on Syria is seen in the West as a disappointing misunderstanding. But in fact, it marks the beginning […]

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Putin says not ‘alone’ on Syria

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – June 19, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin bristled over claims that he alone was opposing seven world leaders over how to deal with the Syria conflict during the G8 Summit this week in Northern Ireland. Asked by a reporter if he felt “lonely,” Putin said: “Of course not. That’s absolutely not true. […]

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U.S. tops Russian ‘most hostile’ countries – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

(Interfax – June 18, 2013) The United States has overtaken Georgia as the state Russians consider the most hostile to their country even though positive overall perceptions of the US continue to outweigh the negative, according to a new opinion poll reported by the Russian news agency Interfax. Asked to list the top five countries they regard as being “most […]

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Fund to Support Small and Medium Businesses Could be Created

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 19, 2013) The Finance Ministry has proposed using a state guarantee fund to increase support for promising small- and medium-sized businesses, Vedomosti reported Wednesday. The proposals were prepared in response to the order made by President Vladimir Putin a week ago to stimulate business activity. This year the ministry has allocated 20 billion rubles […]

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Russia Lost $25 Bln in 3 Years in Transfer Scams – Banker

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) Shell companies have illegally funneled 760 billion rubles ($25 billion) from Russia in the past three years, outgoing Central Bank chief Sergei Ignatyev said on Wednesday, Vedomosti business paper reported. Ignatyev who is leaving his post next week after serving three consecutive terms, made the statement in a report to the Russian parliament […]

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Rainbow Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Khazov – June 18, 2013) Sergey Khazov is a New Times journalist and a writer based in Moscow. What is life like for gay men and women in Russia? Sergey Khazov looks at the country’s gay infrastructure, and discovers a very fragmented picture. Until a couple of years ago homosexuality was, if not a forbidden topic (it […]

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“Under 16”: A Web Documentary on Teen Motherhood in Russia

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – June 14, 2013 – Article also appeared at http://en.ria.ru/society/20130614/181666437/Under-16-An-Interactive-Documentary-on-Teen-Motherhood.html) “Under 16: Monologues on Teen Motherhood” is RIA Novosti’s first web documentary. Its title reflects the central story line: All of the girls featured in the film became pregnant under the age of 16, but chose to keep their babies. The viewer can navigate freely, from character to […]

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Over 6,000 people were convicted for corruption in Russia in 2012 – newspaper

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) The judicial department of the Russian Supreme Court has published statistics of punishments for corruption in 2012, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on Wednesday. “A total of 6,014 people were convicted for corruption in 2012,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported. According to the paper, some one-third of these people were convicted for giving bribes. “It is equally illegal […]

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Russia’s Youth Population ‘In Steady Decline’ – Official

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 18, 2013) Russia has seen both the number of young people in the country and their share in the total population decline steadily in recent years, an Education Ministry official said on Tuesday. “According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2012 there were 31.6 million people in the 15-29 age group ­ making up […]

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Interfax: Russia can liquidate ‘foreign agent’ NGOs but cannot force them to register

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, June 18, 2013) Russian Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov has not ruled out that the register of non-commercial organizations – (serving as) “foreign agents” will never contain a single entry because there is no legal mechanism to forcibly register NGOs as such. “In accordance with the law, there is a chance that the list of these foreign agents […]

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Russian Court Refuses To Hear Defence Witnesses In Navalnyy’s Embezzlement Trial

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(RIA Novosti – Kirov, June 18, 2013) Judge Sergey Blinov refused on Tuesday (18 June) the request of the defence that 13 witnesses, including an auditor and several experts, be summoned to court in at the Kirovles (Kirov Timber) trial, a RIA Novosti correspondent has reported from Kirov’s Leninskiy court. On Monday, defence lawyer Svetlana Davydova submitted a request for […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Opposition Figure Charged with Plotting Mass Riots

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) Russian prosecutors have charged opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev with plotting mass riots during a demonstration in Moscow last May, his lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky told RAPSI on Wednesday. Razvozzhayev, who had previously been accused by investigators of attempting mass disturbances, has been now formally charged with having organized riots, followed by violence, property destruction, […]

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Russia to Hold G8 Summit in Sochi on June 4-5, 2014 – Putin

File Photo of G8 Heads of State Outdoors in 2013

(RIA Novosti – LOUGH ERNE, June 19, 2013) The next G8 summit will take place in the southern Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in June 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday. “The Group of Eight summit I have invited my counterparts to will be held on June 4-5, 2014, in Sochi,” Putin told journalists after a G8 summit […]

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U.S. and Russia Sign New Anti-Proliferation Deal

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – June 19, 2013) Russia and the United States have a signed a bilateral agreement for protecting, controlling, and accounting for nuclear materials, continuing important aspects of a now-defunct program that was seen as a cornerstone of post-Soviet cooperation between the former foes. President Barack Obama hailed the deal as an example of […]

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Obama, Putin call for U.S.-Russia constructive cooperation as tool to overcome Cold War mentality

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

(Interfax – June 18, 2013) Constructive cooperation between the United States and Russia will allow both countries to overcome the Cold War mentality, U.S. President Barack Obama said. The U.S. and Russia agreed to continue cooperation that started with the Nunn-Lugar program, Obama told a news conference in the wake of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines […]

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G8 leaders tackle taxes, Syria, North Korea and terrorism

File Photo of G8 Heads of State Outdoors in 2013

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yuri Paniyev, special to RBTH – June 18, 2013) With the G8 summit in full swing in Northern Ireland, the world’s leaders try to tackle financial and international challenges including tax evasion, the Middle East stand-off, the Syrian crisis and the North Korea nuclear problem. G8 leaders began their two-day summit at the […]

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Russians Divided Over Europeans’ Attitude Towards Moscow

EU Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) ­ While admitting that Russia and Europe have cultural differences, Russians are divided whether Europeans have a friendly attitude towards them, a recent opinion poll said on Monday. A total of 39 percent of Russians said Europeans are friendly to Russia while some 35 percent of respondents said Moscow is viewed negatively in […]

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Russia might adopt Foreign Account Compliance Tax Act in 2014

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tatyana Lisina, special to RBTH – June 17, 2013) Despite initial reluctance, Moscow might help the U.S. hunt down tax evaders.   Russia appears to have finally yielded to American pressure to adopt a tax dodgers’ law known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Arguments advanced by Russian economists may have […]

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RIA Novosti: Most Russian Orthodox Don’t Read Bible, Pray, Go to Church – Poll

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) ­ About 64 percent of Russians identify themselves as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church, but many of them have never read the Bible and rarely go to church or pray, a recent poll showed. Some 52 percent of Russian self-identified Orthodox Christians said that they have never read the New Testament, the […]

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Watchdog Cites ‘Troubling Deterioration’ For Civil Society In Eurasia

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Heather Maher – June 18, 2013) Countries in Central Europe and Central Asia are increasingly being ruled by autocratic governments with little regard for democracy, according to the 2013 “Nations In Transit” report by democracy watchdog Freedom House. The result has been a worsening of existing corruption, media censorship, and violence against political opposition, the group […]

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U.S. Group Slams Transfer of Jewish Texts Praised by Putin

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti, WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013) ­ A New York-based Orthodox Jewish group has said it is not satisfied with Russia’s recent decision to transfer a disputed collection of Jewish religious texts to the newly built Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, a move proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve the row. Moving the so-called Schneerson Library […]

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Russia’s privatization plan to become far less ambitious – paper

Empty Boardroom

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) Russia’s privatization plan, which has been very ambitious in the past two years but slow to be implemented, will become more realistic. The government came up with its big plans to divest a number of key assets in the summer of 2011, when current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was still president. Last June the […]

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