Russian chief prosecutor says corruption threatens national security

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

(Interfax – May 17, 2013) Corruption in Russia is a threat to national security, and cooperation with international organizations must be stepped up to fight it, Russian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka said on 17 May. He was speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in Moscow, as reported by Russian […]

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Deputy Prime Minister responds to criticism toward Russia’s government

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Elena Shipilova, RBTH – May 20, 2013) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich talks to RBTH about the country’s current economic problems, investment climate, energy sector and upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, speaks to Russia Beyond The Headlines about the problems of the Russian economy, access […]

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United Russia Conference Lauds Results of Party’s Work

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – May 20, 2013) The ruling United Russia party kicked off a massive two-day forum with members from regional branches in Moscow on Friday, where it lauded its social and infrastructure projects, some three months before September regional and municipal elections. Raising the forum’s profile, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who chairs the party, […]

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Former Finance Minister argues that NGO law restricts civil society in Russia

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – May 20, 2013) Former Russian Finance Minister and head of the Fund for Civil Initiatives Alexei Kudrin has said that the law on NGOs as foreign agents does not promote civil society in Russia. “The law on NGOs as foreign agents that the Duma has passed is a clear restriction of civil society,” he said at the Open […]

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Government strong to withstand pressure – Dvorkovich

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 19, 2013) Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has highly appraised the government’s performance in its first year and said interaction between the Cabinet and the Kremlin administration was efficient enough. “I think a large amount of work has been done over the year and results have been achieved in some areas, although not in all,” Dvorkovich […]

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Interfax: Three-fourths of Russians insist government should ban public display of homosexuality – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 17, 2013) Homophobia is rather common in Russian society and attitudes toward the LGBT community have been changing slowly throughout the past year, sociologists said. The same as a year ago, three-fourths of Russians brand gays and lesbians as morally loose (43%) or mentally deficient persons (35%). Only 12% acknowledge homosexuality’s right to existence, the Levada […]

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Moscow News: No more rainbows: anti-gay sentiment rises in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – May 20, 2013) “Homosexuality is not a perversion. Perversion is hockey on grass and ballet on ice!” reads one picket sign, held aloft by a middle-aged man. “Against all forms of discrimination,” proclaims another, held by a young woman. “My gender is my choice,” says a third. The scene was Moscow Pride. […]

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Medvedev blasts moves that may discourage private enterprise

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 18, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has lashed out against legal initiatives that may discourage private enterprise. “It is a completely unacceptable situation that, as a result of some decisions, the total number of those who see entrepreneurial activities as their future occupation should decline,” Medvedev said at a meeting of the leadership of the ruling […]

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Countries to Jointly Fight Tax Evasion

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – May 20, 2013) Greater cooperation between tax authorities from 45 countries, including more extensive information sharing to help catch evaders, was the result of an international conference in Moscow that was hosted by the Federal Taxation Service and ended on Friday. “The message to tax evaders and those who facilitate tax evasion […]

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At 20, Russia’s Gazprom Struggles To Stay Dominant

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – May 20, 2013) Russia’s biggest company turned 20 this year. But at Gazprom, there appears to be little cause for celebration. The state-controlled natural gas monopoly, which was established as a publicly traded corporation in 1993, recently announced that its net profits fell by 11 percent last year and its valuation […]

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Senior Russian military official highlights positive cooperation with NATO

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage

(Interfax – May 17, 2013) Russia and NATO are boosting their cooperation in a number of areas, however Russia still has concerns about US and NATO European missile defence plans, Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff Col-Gen Aleksandr Postnikov-Streltsov has said. Interfax news agency carried the comments that Postnikov-Streltsov made after a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council (RNC) in Brussels […]

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Libya catastrophe sets precedent for new type of intervention by force – Russian Constitutional Court Head

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, May 17, 2013) The state catastrophe in Libya shows that lawful methods of resolving the issue have been substituted for use of force and this creates chaos in most parts of Africa, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. “Researchers and experts acknowledge a very dangerous destruction of the international legal system, more and more frequent […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev] Report on the Government’s performance in 2012 (continued)

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Government.ru – April 17, 2013) [completion of transcript/earlier part in JRL#73] Dmitry Medvedev’s speech: Regional, municipal governance I have already said that the standard of regional managerial teams is a key ingredient of success. You know as well as I do the regions that every year report considerable growth of GRP while not having oil or gas resources. That deserves […]

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JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#89 :: 17 May 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#89 :: 17 May 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: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. ITAR-TASS: Some 200 mln roubles spent to build helicopter pad […]

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Russia Should Become Neither European nor Asian but American, Moscow Commentator Says

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 16, 2013) In thinking about Russia’s future, most of the country’s opposition figures remain trapped in the old debate about whether Russia is fundamentally European or really Asiatic, but, one Moscow commentator argues, it is time to recognize that “the successful Russia of the future” can and must be a country […]

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Russians don’t like idea of bringing monarchy back – poll

Romanov Family Photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 16, 2013) A poll conducted by the Levada Center shows that the majority of Russians are confident that Russia does not need a monarchy and Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II was not the best leader. The 145th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s last Emperor Nicholas II will be marked on May 19. The study shows […]

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Is this the end for Russian NGOs?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – May 17, 2013) In an April 5 interview to the German channel ARD, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that in the four months after the July law on non-government organisations (NGOs) that brands those that accept donations from aboard as “foreign agents” has been adopted, 654 Russian NGOs received […]

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Medvedev Vows to Revamp Legal System

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – May 16, 2013) The Russian government will take a number of steps to make the country’s legal system suitable for new entrepreneurs by making the rules of doing business simple and clear, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. “We’re aiming to enter the […]

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Putin’s Patriotism: Duma May Make Criticism of WWII Illegal

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – May 17, 2013) Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on state initiatives to promote patriotism. The State Duma has ordered an evaluation of a comment made by opposition politician Leonid Gozman in which he compared a Soviet intelligence agency to Adolf Hitler’s SS on the grounds that the comment […]

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NGO Checks In Russia To Become More Organized And ‘Systematic’ – Minister

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – St Petersburg, May 16, 2013) Inspections of non-commercial organizations in Russia will continue but they will become more balanced and systematic, Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov has said. “Over the last year, legislation on NCOs has been seriously renewed. These inspections had not been carried out for a long time. Now, somehow too many were planned and inspected, […]

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‘Blasphemy Bill’ Signals Return to 18th-Century Morals, Activists Say

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Moscow Times – thesmoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – May 17, 2013) Rights activists on Thursday ridiculed the notion that Russia is a secular state, saying draft legislation seeking tougher penalties for offending believers’ feelings shows the country is returning to 18th-century morals. “Officials and religious leaders are leading us back to Peter the Great’s times,” Viktor Bondarenko, founder of rights […]

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60% of Russians wish to bar children from social networks – poll

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 16, 2013) Some 57% of Russians polled by the Superjob.ru portal support the idea of banning children younger than 13 from social networks. Another 17% expressed their support but said the age limit should be higher (49% stand for 16 years and 21% for 18). Fourteen percent were against and 12% could not answer the question. […]

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Russians Not Ready To Sponsor First Public Service TV Channel – Poll

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(RIA Novosti – May 16, 2013) Russian Public TV (OTR) programme director Stanislav Arkhipov has said that the television channel, which is set to launch on 19 May, will concentrate on news but will try to avoid emphasis on “know-it-all Moscow”, Russian RIA Novosti news agency reported on 16 May. According to the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), 50 per cent […]

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Judicial probe needed into activities of Stalin’s security agencies – rights group

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 16, 2013) A leading Russian human rights group has called for a judicial inquiry into the activities of Stalin-era security services after a high-profile public figure accused a Soviet counterintelligence service that existed during World War II of methods similar to those of Nazi Germany’s security agencies. Leonid Gozman, head of humanitarian projects at state corporation […]

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Russian Economic Ministry expects economic growth slowdown to reverse in Q2

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 16, 2013) The current trend of slowed economic growth in Russia might be reversed this quarter, according to the Russian Economic Development Ministry. “We anticipate that there will be a turning point in negative trends already in the second quarter and that economic growth will surpass 3% in the second half of the year,” Economic Development […]

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Russia yet to reverse income inequality trend – Rosstat head

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – BRYANSK, May 16, 2013) 3.4% GDP growth in Russia is good, but there is still income inequality that proves the Russian economy has some flaws, Rosstat head Alexander Surinov told a press conference in Bryansk. “GDP growth rates have shrunk but there is still 3.4% growth. I have been in the statistics business for a long time. 3% […]

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Rosbank Bribery Scandal Highlights Need for Ethics Enforcement

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 17, 2013) A bribery scandal at French lender Societe Generale’s Russian entity Rosbank shows that stricter measures should be implemented by both Western and Russian companies to enforce compliance with their codes of conduct, experts said. The Investigative Committee said Thursday that they have opened a criminal case into Rosbank chief […]

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Russia and the W.T.O.: Equality without Fraternity

WTO Logo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Fedor Kikta, special to RBTH – May 15, 2013) Europe’s auto exporters are irked by Russia’s “scrappage tax” amid mounting environmental pressure. When Russia’s record 18-year-long bid to join the World Trade Organization finally concluded successfully last year, one of the last major stumbling blocks concerned car important tariffs. For the last decade […]

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JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#88 :: 16 May 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#88 :: 16 May 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: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. RIA Novosti: Moscow Weather Sets Another Temperature Record. 2. Interfax: […]

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RIA Novosti: Lavrov Plays Down Reports of New Missile Deliveries to Syria

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 17, 2013) ­ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday responded to a New York Times report that Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to war-torn Syria by saying that Russian arms deliveries do not change the balance of power, are fully legal and take place under existing contracts. Citing unidentified American officials, The […]

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Senior Russian investigations official warns of dangers posed by social media

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – Anapa, May 15, 2013) Destructive forces, including foreign ones, use the absence of controls over on-line publications for information wars aimed at undermining people’s trust in the country’s leadership and law-enforcement bodies, official Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin has said. “Today, social networks and major blog services comprise hundreds of thousands of independent users who are subjected to […]

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Russian analysts: immigrants, guest workers fertile ground for radical Islamism

Russian Mosque File Photo

(Interfax / Religion – Moscow, May 15, 2013) The head of a Russian policy think tank has argued that immigrants and guest workers who have come to Russia from Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union are potentially a fertile environment for radical Islamist ideas and called for tighter restrictions on immigration and guest labor. “The migrants are hostile toward […]

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Golos vote-monitoring association may be suspended if not registered as foreign agent – official

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) The operations of the Golos association specializing in monitoring elections in Russia may be suspended for half a year if a court recognizes it as a foreign agent but it still refuses to be registered as such, a Justice Ministry official has said. Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the State Duma on Wednesday, […]

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Khodorkovsky, Lebedev unlikely to be released under amnesty for economic crimes – source

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) Former YUKOS Head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and former Menatep Board Chairman Platon Lebedev are unlikely to be released under amnesty for economic crimes initiated by business ombudsman Boris Titov because the two were sentenced under articles, which are included in the draft being prepared to be submitted to the Russian State Duma. “There will be […]

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Putin Said to Face Rift on Central Bank Role in Economy Plan

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya & Olga Tanas – May 16, 2013) Russia’s government is split over empowering the central bank to support the economy as part of efforts to revive growth, leaving President Vladimir Putin to decide, according to an official familiar with the proposals. While the government suggests lowering bank loan rates, slowing utility-price increases and compelling […]

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Russia could join OECD in two years if politics do not get in way, official says

OECD Logo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) Russia could complete negotiations to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in two years if this issue is not politicized, Vladimir Tkachenko, Russia’s representative in talks to join the organization, said in an interview with Interfax. “If we’re talking about a timeframe, then technically all work could in principle be finished […]

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Russian PM against revising international laws; praises European integration

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – May 15, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev believes that the basic principles of international law must not be revised even in the face of global crises, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 15 May. Speaking at the International Legal Forum in St Petersburg on the same day, Medvedev admitted that “many things that seem unshakable to us […]

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Kremlin: Obama’s desire for closer cooperation with Russia unknown in lower tiers of government

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) A Kremlin aide has claimed that proposals by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for cooperation between American and Russian intelligence services “haven’t been brought down to the executive level” by the White House. “These impulses, these signals from above somehow haven’t been brought down to the executive level on […]

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Obama proposes exchanging info on missile defense in letter to Putin – newspaper

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) In a letter handed to Russian President Vladimir Putin a month ago, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed concluding a legally-binding agreement on exchanging information related to missile defense to guarantee the absence of a mutual threat, Kommersant reported on Wednesday. Obama proposed “developing a legally-binding agreement on transparency, which would include exchange of information […]

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Interfax: Georgia intends to return lost territories peacefully – Ivanishvili

Map of Georgia

(Interfax – TBILISI, May 15, 2013) Georgia will do everything to restore relations with “the big neighbor”, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in an interview with Euronews TV company reported partially by local mass media outlets on Wednesday. “The current state of the relations between Georgia and Russia is not in anybody’s interests. Georgia lost 20% of its territory […]

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Russia: No NGOs Have Registered As ‘Foreign Agents’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – May 15, 2013) None of the NGOs financed from abroad and involved in political activities have fulfilled their obligations under the law that requires them to register as “foreign agents”, RIA Novosti new agency quoted the deputy director of the Justice Ministry’s department for NGO issues, Tatyana Vagina, as saying in the State Duma on 15 May. […]

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Putin’s Regime Resembles Brezhnev’s but Russian Society isn’t Soviet Anymore, Gudkov Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 16, 2013) The way in which media controlled by the Russian government have played up the recent spy case makes one feel that the country has “returned to the 1980s model of the USSR,” an Russian opposition figure says, but the briefest of reflections leads to the conclusion that the regime […]

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Most Russian Regions to Opt for Governor Polls – Putin

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

(RIA Novosti – BOCHAROV RUCHEI (Sochi), May 16, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the majority of Russian regions is likely to choose their leaders by direct popular vote. The return of direct gubernatorial elections, scrapped in 2005, was signed into law last year in the aftermath of a wave of anti-Kremlin protests. Earlier this year, Putin […]

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Sacred beliefs: The painful legacy of WWII is made up of questions that cannot be answered

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – May 13, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is a correspondent and editor at themoscownews.com The tanks and the Topol-M missile had all passed, the booming, Soviet-era voice of the announcer was quiet, the 11,000 uniformed servicemen were at ease, and the little boy standing on the curb of the Red Square suddenly spoke up. […]

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Putin Gets Helicopter Landing Pad at Kremlin

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – May 16, 2013) President Vladimir Putin will soon start arriving at the Kremlin by helicopter in an attempt to appease drivers who blame his motorcade for creating traffic jams. Builders have completed construction of a landing pad for Mi-8 helicopters on the Kremlin grounds, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Thursday. Asked […]

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Independent pollster reports falls in Putin, government, ruling party ratings

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – May 15, 2013) A poll conducted by Russia’s leading independent polling organization, the Levada Centre, has revealed a drop in the approval ratings of President Vladimir Putin, the federal government and the ruling One Russia (United Russia) party, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 15 May. The results of the poll, conducted between 19 and 23 April […]

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Moscow Weather Sets Another Temperature Record

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 15, 2013) ­ The spring weather in Moscow broke the temperature record for the second day running on Wednesday, hitting 28.8 degrees Celsius (83.8 degrees Fahrenheit), Meteonovosti weather website reported on Wednesday. “For the second day in a row, Moscow has set a record high. The previous maximum temperature for May 15, registered in 1946, […]

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Russia moving away from totalitarianism but destination dim – minister

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – Russia is moving away from its totalitarian past but it is unclear what kind of political system it is heading for, the justice minister has argued. “It needs to be realized that we are getting through an inevitable period of transition from a totalitarian society to another form of society. At the moment, it’s hard […]

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Will Russia pivot East or West?

Eurasia Map

(opendemocracy.net – Jonas Parello-Plesner – January 24, 2013) Jonas is Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He served as Denmark’s Senior Advisor on China and North East Asia from 2005-2009.   Russia-watchers have long been interested in her place on the international arena. Now, with China at the centre of the growing power game, the question […]

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Russian stock market shows modest results in 2012: Year in Review

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The Russian stock market gave investors hopes for good profits early on in 2012 but ended up at the rear of global financial flows demonstrating rather modest results. The overall global situation was also certainly far from ideal, but, despite all the European debt troubles, the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. presidential elections and the fiscal […]

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