Interfax: Kremlin top official calls for fair, legitimate elections in Russia

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

(Interfax – November 13, 2013) The first deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, has called for fair and legitimate elections in Russian provinces and warned regional administrations against creating “artificial competition,” the privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 13 November. Volodin was speaking at a session with regional deputy governors. “In the realm of politics, anything that […]

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Interfax: Putin has objectively high ratings – official

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

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin does not decrease and is approximately 60%, the Kremlin said. “If we were to speak about President Putin, then we would say that Putin has an objective rating because they write whatever they want about him in social networks, all liberal media outlets write about him and however […]

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Will Russians React to Kremlin’s Unprecedented Prediction of Stagnation Ahead?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 14, 2013) In an editorial today, Moscow’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta” asks what may be the key question about Russian social and political life in the next few years or more: will Russians react to the Kremlin’s unprecedented prediction that the country potentially faces decades of stagnation as a result of the government’s […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#205 :: Thursday, 14 November 2013

Map of Russia

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#2025:: 14 November 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: […]

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First Generation With Wealth Shape Philanthropy Culture

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – November 13, 2013) The first Russians to dispose of free wealth in nearly a century are putting down the institutional roots of philanthropy, but donations trail behind the sums shelled out by donors in the U.S., Britain and China, according to a report released by private bank Coutts on Tuesday. Coutts Million […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Korean Broadcasting System

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region, November 12, 2013) In the run-up to Vladimir Putin’s official visit to the Republic of Korea, the President gave an interview to South Korean television and radio company KBS. The interview was recorded on November 7. KYUSUN YEON: First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time for this interview out of […]

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Interfax: Rogozin: no alternative to political, economic partnership with Europe

EU Map

BRUSSELS. Nov 13 (Interfax) – Russia is eager to have the closest relationship with the European Union, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels on Tuesday. “This is our closest partner. More than 50% of our trade is with the European Union,” Rogozin said. “There is no alternative to political and […]

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Interfax: Russian senator hails NATO’s changing philosophy as “new and important”

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 12, 2013) NATO is changing its philosophy – the alliance is turning from an organization for ensuring defence of its members into an organization ensuring their security, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos has said at a meeting with head of the Federation Council’s international committee Mikhail Margelov. “This is […]

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Nearly half of Ukrainians favor association with EU – GfK Ukraine

File Photo of Ukrainians with Ukrainian Flag in Public Square Near Tower with Golden Dome

KYIV. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Nearly half of Ukrainians – 45% – support the idea of signing an association agreement with the European Union, and only 14% approve of the accession to the Belarusian-Kazakh-Russian Customs Union, GfK Ukraine said on Tuesday in publicizing the findings of a public opinion poll of 1,000 respondents it conducted on October 2-15, 2013. Another […]

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Russian deputy PM paints black picture of Ukraine’s future in EU

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

(Interfax – November 12, 2013) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin has warned Ukraine that traditional economic ties with Russia will be severed if Ukraine signs an association agreement with the European Union, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 12 November. Rogozin was speaking at Royal Institute of International Affairs (Egmont) in Brussels on the same day. Rogozin said: “You […]

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INTERVIEW: Cadogan looks to help wean Ukraine off Russian gas

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – November 13, 2013) Ukraine is finally trying to break its addiction to Russian gas and Cadogan Petroleum is one of those companies well placed to make that happen. A medium-sized independent oil and gas producer, Cadogan was responsible in 2011 for bringing Italian energy giant Eni into Ukraine to […]

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RIA Novosti: Polish President Apologizes for Attack on Russian Embassy

Polish and Russian Flags

WARSAW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ The president of Poland apologized to Russia on Wednesday for the attack by a nationalist mob on the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, calling the episode outrageous and unjustifiable. “We need to apologize on behalf of the Polish state,” President Bronislaw Komorowski told privately owned broadcaster Radio Zet. Thousands of people paraded through Warsaw on […]

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Russian ombudsman pledges to follow Pussy Riot case

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 12, 2013) Pussy Riot punk group member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been placed at the medical unit of a prison colony in the Krasnoyarsk Region, human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Russian Interfax news agency. “Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk Region, where she will serve the remainder of the sentence. As I have been told, at […]

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Lawmakers Approve Bill to Merge Top Courts

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov and Ivan Nechepurenko – November 13, 2013) The State Duma on Tuesday approved in the first reading a bill seeking to merge the Supreme Arbitration Court into the Supreme Court, as the former warned that the move could signal the end of the entire arbitration court system. Arbitration courts, which hear commercial disputes, […]

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Interfax: Kremlin should use Soviet staff policies – Russian presidential administration chief

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – November 13, 2013) The system of staff training in which specialists had supervisors should be revived and every reservist should understand his prospects, Russian presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov said. “The Soviet Union had very good staff policies. There were certain filters and stages that people went through. I will not deny that these people were supervised, in […]

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Interfax: Putin isn’t fussed about Forbes’ declaring him world’s most powerful person

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has played down the fact that Forbes’ magazine has declared him the world’s most powerful person. “I’m grateful to the experts at Forbes, but this is what I think of it: one is always uneasy about it because it’s restrictive somewhat, it may put restrictions on your decision making,” Putin told […]

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RIA Novosti: The Many Uses of Monarchy in Russia

Romanov Family Photo

(RIA Novosti – Konstantin von Eggert – November 11, 2013) Konstantin von Eggert is a freelance commentator and consultant. In 2010-2013 he worked for Kommersant FM radio in Moscow as a commentator and as Editor-in-Chief. Even if he is styled as the “president,” the head of the Russian government’s executive branch is a de facto monarch. Accompanied by holy Orthodox […]

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Russians Back Domestic Adoptions but Don’t Want to Be Parents

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2013) While most Russians believe that orphans should be adopted by Russian families, only 16 percent are willing to bring a child into their homes, according to a survey released Wednesday. Some 62 percent of Russians say that growing up in an adoptive family is better than in a Russian orphanage, and more […]

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Interfax: Russians happy with life, zest for protest actions on decline – research

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Most Russians are happy; nearly two-thirds of them are making plans several months in advance and the number of potential protesters is now minimal, the leading domestic sociological centers said. The Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM), the Public Opinion Foundation and the GfK-Rus Institute for Market Research presented the “Russia Surprises” survey on Tuesday. […]

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Setting Expectations Right

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mikhail Troitskiy – November 11, 2013) Mikhail Troitskiy is a member of PONARS Eurasia and an associate professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/setting-expectations-right Finding ways to mend the U.S.-Russia relationship requires a clear understanding of the benefits it can bring to both sides. Moscow and Washington need […]

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NATO Missile Defense Is No Threat to Russia

Mssile Defense Control Room

(The Moscow Times – Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – article also appeared at themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/nato-missile-defense-is-no-threat-to-russia/489487.html) On Oct. 29, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported that “according to NATO information,” surface- and sea-launched interceptor missiles in the U.S. national missile defense system “are designed for the total destruction of the warheads of short-, intermediate- and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles.” […]

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Lawmakers From 21 Countries Form Magnitsky Group

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2013) Lawmakers from 21 countries have formed a commission to promote sanctions against Russian officials implicated in the prison death of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. The Justice for Sergei Magnitsky commission, which was holding its inaugural meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, includes lawmakers from Canada, Britain, France, […]

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Cancerous Corruption Pervades Russia’s Defense Sector

File Photo of Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near Woods

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 203 – Roger McDermott – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – November 12, 2013) Since President Vladimir Putin appointed Sergei Shoigu to be Russia’s defense minister in November 2012, the defense ministry leadership has resorted to Soviet-era “snap inspections” of its Armed Forces to raise combat readiness and gain additional insight into the condition of […]

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Shuvalov Considers Delaying Rosneft Sale Until 2016

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrew McChesney – November 13, 2013) The government is considering delaying the privatization of oil giant Rosneft until 2016 or later as it seeks to maximize the price it can secure. Rosneft is scheduled to be privatized in 2015, and a postponement could put a dent in projected government spending. “We will have to discuss […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Orthodox Church, Vatican Ready for Collaboration

Pope Francis Portraits on Four Vatican Stamps

MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a powerful Roman Catholic Church cardinal on Tuesday voiced readiness for collaboration ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis on November 25. “We live at an epoch when many of our historic differences should stop playing the […]

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Interfax: Russia may file 3-4 lawsuits in WTO in next 2-3 years – ministry

WTO Logo

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia may file three to four lawsuits in the WTO over the next two to three years, Maksim Medvedkov, the head of the Economic Development Ministry’s trade negotiations department, said at a roundtable during a business strategy conference organized by Vedomosti newspaper in Moscow on Tuesday. “In the next two to three years I see […]

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RIA Novosti: Minister Admits Russia’s Economic Growth Slower Than Expected

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s GDP growth is likely to remain below this year’s goal of 1.8 percent, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Wednesday. The Federal Statistics Service said Tuesday that Russia’s GDP had grown 1.2 percent on a year earlier in the third quarter of 2013, the same pace as in the previous three months. […]

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Thaw between Moscow and Tbilisi to benefit everyone

Georgia Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – November 11, 2013) Sergey Markedonov is a Russian political analyst. Since May 2010 he has worked as a visiting fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. There is obvious demand for a normalization of the Tbilisi-Moscow relations. Even a limited thaw would open up […]

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Putin Heads East, Looking to Challenge U.S. Clout in Asia

Map of Asia-Pacific Highlighting APEC Member States

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2013) Russia looks to outdo the U.S. in pivoting toward Asia, with two state visits scheduled this week to Vietnam and South Korea. When President Vladimir Putin was asked at last month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali what he thought about U.S. President Barack Obama’s absence due to a […]

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New Russian media trend: Journalism without intermediaries

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – November 12, 2013) A growing number of Russian journalists are writing on the Internet to reach their readers directly, without intermediaries in the shape of investors, publishers or editors. While this mode of professional existence has not generated large financial dividends so far, it has given them editorial independence. […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Says Iran Not to Blame for Geneva Talks Failure

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has said Iran was not to blame for the failed outcome of nuclear talks in Geneva last week, hinting at cracks in what had previously appeared to be a relatively united international front on the issue. A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the account of the talks given by […]

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Interfax: More Russians think Kyiv growing apart from Moscow – poll

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Ukraine is growing apart from Moscow and taking up with the European Union and the United States, Russians told Levada Center. Some 40% of the respondents insisted that the gap between Russia and Ukraine had been widening, Levada Center told Interfax on Tuesday. The opinion has become more pronounced. It was shared by 21% of […]

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Interfax: Attack on Russian Embassy in Warsaw was unprecedented in scale – spokesperson

Polish and Russian Flags

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – An attack Monday on the Russian Embassy in Warsaw by Polish nationalists was unprecedented in its scale, Russian Embassy spokesperson Valeria Perzhinskaya said on the Voice of Russia radio on Tuesday. “Nationalists take some actions against our diplomatic mission from time to time. However, this is the first time we see it on such a […]

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Interfax: Russian GDP grows 1.2% in Q3 – Rosstat

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia’s gross domestic product expanded 1.2% year-on-year last quarter, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said on Tuesday. That was in line with what the Economic Development Ministry had calculated for the period – 1.2%. Rosstat did not report January-September GDP dynamics. Judging from the data for Q1 (1.6% year-on-year growth), Q2 (1.2%), and Q3, […]

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Interfax: Kremlin rights council asks Investigative Committee head to change pre-trial restrictions of Greenpeace activists

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The Russian president’s Human Rights Council has asked Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin to consider the possible release of the Arctic Sunrise crewmembers who were detained for staging a protest off Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea from custody. “The Russian president’s Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights is […]

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Interfax: Public Chamber wants certain websites to be checked for xenophobic propaganda

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) – Secretary of the Russian Public Chamber Yevgeny Velikhov has asked head of the federal communications, information technology and mass media oversight service Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov to check several websites suspected of engaging in the propaganda of xenophobia and racial hatred. The websites in question are “Sputnik i Pogrom” and “Pravoviye Novosti”, according to Velikhov’ letter […]

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Interfax: Council of Europe’s rights commissioner expects Russia to strengthen courts’ independence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Trials in Russian courts are not sufficiently adversarial, while acquittals are seen as a systemic flaw, said the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks. “The criminal justice system is still set up to deliver guilty verdicts and acquittals are perceived as the system’s failure. In the rare cases where acquittals do take […]

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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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Putin’s Plan to Merge Courts Criticized by Judges

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2013) Supreme Arbitration Court judges have lambasted President Vladimir Putin’s plans to merge the legal body with the Supreme Court, saying that the resulting superstructure will be too cumbersome and less independent in administering justice. The way judges will be appointed to the new structure does not “conform with the […]

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Russian Bureaucrats Should Take Constitution Exam – Top Lawmaker

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament said in an op-ed published Tuesday that the country’s politicians are too ignorant about the Constitution and that civil servants should be made to pass an exam on it before they can enter government service. “[The Constitution] has ceased to be required reading for many politicians […]

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Interfax: Russia has fewer orphans but too few of them find new families – Astakhov

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia has fewer children without parents – the number of orphans registered yearly dropped 40%, Russian children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov said. At the same time, the number of children in orphanages is “unacceptably high,” Astakhov said. The commissioner spoke at an all-Russian congress of orphanage heads on Tuesday. Russian courts rule less often in […]

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Putin Says Forbes’ Most Powerful Person Title Has Made Him ‘Cautious’

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that being labeled the world’s most powerful person by Forbes magazine this year has made him “more cautious,” his first-ever public comment on the issue. “I appreciate Forbes experts’ opinion, but I personally believe that, first, it always makes you cautious because it limits you a little bit […]

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Russians much happier than in the 1990s – poll

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – November 12, 2013)  Over three-fourths of Russians say they are happy, a figure that has grown by a third in the last two decades, a recent poll said. According to a study by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM), 76 percent of Russians said they were happy, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, citing […]

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Corporate charity poised to expand

Empty Boardroom

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Prikhodina, special to RBTH – November 11, 2013) Despite the lack of legislation to encourage corporate giving, social entrepreneurship is growing among Russian firms. Darya Alexeyeva, the director of a workshop for young adults with developmental disabilities, felt like celebrating when her students earned $6,000 at a recent craft fair. “It was […]

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Russia Loses, but Proud to Host Miss Universe

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – November 11, 2013) Miss Venezuela, Maria Gabriela Isler, swept aside 85 contestants to give her country its seventh Miss Universe crown during the competition final in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on Saturday night. Although Russia’s beauty queen failed to make it into the top 16, the event left Russian organizers and celebrities […]

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Zhirinovsky Comments Trigger Outcry Across North Caucasus

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – November 6, 2013) Not for the first time, the chairman of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and Russian State Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has incurred the wrath of North Caucasus officials by making disparaging remarks about the region. Speaking on a TV talk show late last month,  Zhirinovsky advocated  […]

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Interfax: Russia, Georgia quickly rebuilding economic ties – official

Georgia Map

TBILISI. Nov 9 (Interfax) – The Georgian prime minister’s special commissioner for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, is due to have his fifth meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on November 19-23 in seeking to restore economic ties between the two countries. The meeting will be held in Prague . “It will be our fifth meeting, one at […]

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Interfax: Ukraine PM: EU no longer says Tymoshenko “as pure as the driven snow”

Map of Ukraine and Environs and Ukrainian Flags

DONETSK, Ukraine. Nov 9 (Interfax) – According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, the European Union initially claimed that his jailed predecessor Yulia Tymoshenko was an innocent victim of political scheming but no longer does so and insists on clemency for her rather than on her acquittal. Azarov puts the EU’s alleged volte-face to the credit of European Parliament monitors […]

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Russian Tech Sector Reliant on U.S. Investors and Expertise

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – November 11, 2013) The only route to success for Russian technology firms is to launch an operation and find investors in U.S., an investment forum heard. The venture capital market in the U.S. is mature, and investors have experience that Russia, whose investment institutions are relatively young, does not have, speakers at […]

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Russia Surpasses Europe in Shopping Mall Construction

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – November 11, 2013) Russia is ranked number one in Europe in terms of building retail space but still has a lower ratio of shopping malls to people, according to research by Cushman & Wakefield. With over 456,200 square meters of retail space built in just the first half of 2013, Russia topped […]

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