Russian rights veterans issue statement in support of ‘foreign agent’ NGOs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, June 6, 2013) A number of Russian rights activists have stood up for the Golos NGO and other organizations that have been labelled foreign agents, saying that their work should not be labelled political. “Accusations about NGOs taking part in political activities strikes out citizens’ constitutional rights,” reads Rights Council statement released in Moscow on Thursday (6 […]

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Sobyanin has more supporters than opponents amongst Muscovites – poll

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) The Moscow mayor’s rating has grown over the past few months, sociologists said. Thirty percent of Muscovites support Sergei Sobyanin at present. The number was 26% in March, shows a Superjob.ru portal survey done on May 17-20 amongst 2,000 economically active respondents. Men (31%) are more inclined to approve of the mayor’s work than […]

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Putin wants information about ministries’ work to be made public

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) The ministries and executive agencies’ work and its results must be made open to the public, said President Vladimir Putin. The government presented a plan to Putin in the Kremlin on Friday for implementing the presidential decrees passed in May 2012, followed by Putin’s remarks. “A concrete and clear picture must be drawn to […]

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Putin Slams Ministers’ 5-Year Plans

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he was not satisfied with the quality and contents of plans compiled by Russian ministers to show what they intend to do within the next five years in order to fulfill the tasks set by the president in May 2012. On May 7, 2012, the […]

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Russians React With Humor To Putin’s Divorce Announcement

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – June 7, 2013) Within hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila announced their divorce on state television on June 6, jokes about their separation became a big hit on social media, particularly on the microblogging site Twitter. RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom has compiled a selection of some of the more notable tweets and comments. […]

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Putin’s spokesman Peskov calls for treating president’s life with respect

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has called for treating the president’s private life with respect and not intruding into it. Peskov refrained from answering Interfax how Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin’s daughters had taken the news about their divorce. “Anything that concerns Vladimir Putin’s private life concerns only him, and he has […]

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Court Extends Detentions as Bolotnoye Trial Begins

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 7, 2013) The trial against 12 people charged with violence against police and participation in alleged mass riots in the so-called Bolotnoye case ­ a case observers say is one of the largest politically motivated trials in recent history ­ opened at the Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Thursday. More than 400 […]

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Can Alexey Kudrin Be The Next Russian Prime Minister?

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – June 6, 2013) As Russia’s economy slows, corruption worsens, and current Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s political stature shrinks, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin’s name is mentioned more and more frequently as a potential candidate for Russia’s next prime minister. However, Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for […]

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Russia Wants Tourism, Not Terrorism, for Embattled Caucasus

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Voice of America – James Brooke – June 6, 2013) A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors. Car bombs and shootings make Dagestan the leader in political […]

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FSB cooperates with FBI, CIA in Boston terror attack investigation – Bortnikov

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Interfax – KAZAN, June 6, 2013) The Federal Security Service is cooperating with the U.S. security services in the investigation of the Boston terror attack, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov said. “We are cooperating very actively with our FBI and CIA colleagues, responding to their requests and assisting in the arrangement of necessary procedures on the Russian territory,” he said on […]

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Russia Invests in American Cows

File Photo of Cattle Grazing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 7, 2013 – Anatoly Medetsky) The right species of foreign agent can get incentives to prosper and propagate in Russia, as shown by a deal announced Thursday. A unit of state-controlled lender Sberbank said it agreed to loan 1 billion rubles ($33 million) to an agricultural company for expanding its herd of U.S. bovines. […]

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Moscow wants clarity from Turkey on detention of militants with sarin – Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – PIONERSKY, Kaliningrad region, June 6, 2013) Turkey has still not clarified reports that militants possessing sarin were detained on its territory some time ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “I would like to seize this opportunity to remind you that we still expect full information from our Turkish partners regarding reports, which came about a week ago, […]

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RIA Novosti: UN ‘Welcomes’ Russian Peacekeepers in Golan Heights

Partial Map of Portions of Northern Israel, Golan Heights, Syria, Lebanon

(RIA Novosti – New York, June 7, 2013) ­ The United Nations would welcome Russian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told RIA Novosti on Friday. “The UN welcomes any contribution by the world community to peacemaking efforts in the Golan Heights, and the UNDOF [UN Disengagement Observer Force] is very important for the maintenance of peace […]

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Turkey won’t have ‘Arab spring’ – Senator Shnyakin

Turkey map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) Valery Shnyakin, military expert and deputy head of the Federation Council committee on international affairs, believes the situation with protests in Turkey will gradually stabilize and will not follow the “Arab spring” scenario. “Turkey is a special country in the Arab world. It’s a secular and democratic state and I think Prime Minister Erdogan […]

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Tbilisi says supplies of Georgian wine to Russia to resume next week

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

(Interfax – TBILISI, June 6, 2013) A first batch of Georgian wine will be sent to Russia next week, Head of the National Wine Agency of the Georgia Agriculture Ministry, Levan Davitashvili, said at a briefing on Thursday. “Two Georgian wine enterprises have already received Russian excise stamps and plan to begin supplying their products to Russia next week,” Davitashvili […]

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Lyudmila Putina Once Called Her Husband a Vampire

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 7, 2013) Lyudmila Putina once called President Vladimir Putin a vampire, while he in turn has suggested that anyone who could put up with her for three weeks was heroic and deserved a monument. These and other observations about the private family life of the Putins were detailed in a 2001 book that provided […]

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On Intolerance to “Others”: An Ideological Portrait of Modern Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Boris Bruk – June 3, 2013) The principal idea that consolidates different parts of Russian society is xenophobia and intolerance to “others.” Such, at least, was the conclusion of a new study on Russia’s “ideological portrait.” IMR Advisor Boris Bruk, who has analyzed the study, is skeptical about predictions of a “fascist” future […]

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WWF Identifies Threatened Areas

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2013) Ten ecologically pristine zones in Russia are at risk of becoming polluted, according to a report that the World Wildlife Fund released Wednesday, as the nation celebrates ecologist day. Krasnodar, Irkutsk and Kamchatka regions lead the list with two endangered areas each. The paper mill at Baikalsk on Lake Baikal is the […]

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Science For Others

Adaptions of Image from Livermore.gov of Element 118 Atoms

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Olga Khvostunova – June 4, 2013) The system of Russian science is deteriorating, despite the government’s claims that the country is modernizing. This April, Thomson Reuters published a report revealing that Russia is absent from leadership groups in the 100 top-ranked specialties in the sciences and social sciences. Another report, produced by the […]

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Bloggers Claim Photos Show Yakunin Mansion

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – June 4, 2013 – photo here: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/bloggers-claim-photos-show-yakunin-mansion/480966.html) Bloggers have published pictures of a luxury mansion, believed to be owned by Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways and powerful member of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The three-story marble-clad mansion, occupying 70 hectares of land near the Moscow suburb of Domodedovo, was […]

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Putin Boosts Russian Role in Global War on Drugs

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 6, 2013) In an effort to enhance its image as a global player in combatting drug flows, Moscow welcomed 120 top anti-drug officials from around the world on Wednesday to discuss possibilities for cooperation in curbing an issue responsible for an estimated 200,000 deaths annually. Addressing participants at the International Drug […]

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Kasparov ‘Refrains’ From Returning to Russia Over Bolotnoye Case Fears

Older File Photo of Garry Kasparov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 6, 2013) Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion-turned-political-opposition-stalwart, told a news conference in Geneva that he would not return to Russia for fear of criminal prosecution for his political activities, his website reported Wednesday. Kasparov’s announcement comes amid fears of a new wave of emigration of opposition-minded intellectuals, a fear intensified […]

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Memorial wants independent evaluation of May 6, 2012 events in Bolotnaya Square

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) The human rights center Memorial has called for an independent legal evaluation of the events that occurred in the Moscow Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012 and the trial of the people charged in the riots, which is now beginning. “We believe it is extremely important to conduct an independent legal evaluation of the […]

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In Russia, World Environment Day Marred By Pressure On Green Groups

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Lyubov Chizhova and  Claire Bigg – June 5, 2013) On June 5, “green-minded” people around the planet are marking World Environment Day, created in 1972 to raise awareness about the need to protect nature. But in Russia, the mood among ecologists is sour. Russia established its own Ecologist Day, also held on June 5, six years […]

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About 20 environmental NGOs named as ‘foreign agents’

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Interfax – June 5, 2013) Around 20 Russian major environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) have received prosecutors’ requests to register as foreign agents. “Around 20 environmental organizations have received prosecutors’ requests. Those who sound familiar, who comprise the environmental movement and who are not of just regional importance have received the requests,” Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) […]

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Golos received money from Switzerland, Norway – Justice Ministry

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW. June 5, 2013) Rosfinmonitoring is monitoring the receipt by Russian NGOs of funding from abroad and reports to the Justice Ministry on a monthly basis, Justice Ministry official Tatyana Vagina said. Rosfinmonitoring provides information to the Justice Ministry for internal use, Vagina said. “If an NGO does not provide information on funding received from abroad despite information […]

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The art of remaining Moscow mayor

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – David Burghardt – June 6, 2013) Sergei Sobyanin made an unexpected move by resigning as the Moscow mayor and instigating snap elections for September in order to secure the next five years in City Hall. In actuality, Sobyanin holds a solid popularity rating of well over 50 percent among Muscovites, has done a lot to […]

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Medvedev sticks to his viewpoint on daylight saving time

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 5, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says his viewpoint on the daylight saving time remains unchanged. “You know my opinion about daylight saving time; there has been no change,” he told the Open Government on Wednesday. “I think everyone must bear one’s responsibility: experts are responsible for validating their standpoint. And the government is responsible […]

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Russian Scholars Wary After Top Economist Flees Country

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Howard Amos, RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) ­ When investigators summoned prominent Russian economist Sergei Guriev for questioning in February, his first thought was that his professional work could be paralyzed if they confiscated his computers and documents. “With other experts, they took everything away so they could not function,” Guriev told RIA Novosti by telephone from Paris, where […]

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Almost Half of Russian Students Dream of Emigrating – Poll

Moscow State University

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 6, 2013) ­ Nearly half of Russian students (45 percent) and some 38 percent of businessmen would like to leave Russia, according to a survey by the Levada Center independent pollster published on Thursday. A total of 22 percent of all respondents in the poll want to emigrate from Russia to other countries, not including […]

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Russia Dwarfs West in Intolerance of Gays – Survey

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013) ­ Russians are dramatically less tolerant of homosexuality than are people in eastern and western Europe or North America and that intolerance has risen rapidly in recent years, according to a new global survey by the US-based Pew Research Center. Of the 996 Russian adults surveyed over a two week period in March, […]

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Government Proposes New Grounds for NGO Raids

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2013) The government’s legislative commission has approved a draft amendment giving the authorities additional grounds on which to carry out unscheduled inspections of nongovernmental groups that violate Russian law, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday. According to the draft amendment, checks can be undertaken if violations are not fixed within time limits set by […]

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Soft targets

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – June 3, 2013) The departure of Sergei Guriev is ultimately an illustration of what happens when powerful institutions steadily lean toward the irrational. To recap, Guriev is an economist who co-authored a report that criticized the treatment of imprisoned tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. When Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was president in 2008-2012, Guriev […]

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In Moscow Election, The Fix Is In — Or Is It?

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 4, 2013) It’s pretty obvious why Sergei Sobyanin announced today that he will resign as Moscow mayor and run in a snap election in September. What isn’t so clear is whether the gambit will pay off. Appointed in 2010 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev and rubber-stamped by the Moscow City Duma, Sobyanin could […]

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Sobyanin Calls for Early Mayoral Vote

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – June 5, 2013) Mayor Sergei Sobyanin will ask President Vladimir Putin to declare early mayoral elections, the first in Moscow since 2003, in a move analysts said would help ensure Sobyanin’s election in September amid a worsening political climate for the mayor. Sobyanin said his decision was made in the spirit of […]

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WTO policy on GMO food fuels fears in Russia

Field of Grain file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, special to RBTH – June 5, 2013) With GMO products paving their way into Russia, people become concerned with the trend. While some support GMO products, others express their doubts. Russia is gradually starting to fulfil its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of these obligations […]

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Arrest of Makhachkala Mayor Seen as Sign of Changing Tide

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 4, 2013) As the fallout from the arrest of the leader of Dagestan’s capital continued on Monday, experts agreed that the event would likely send tremors throughout all of Russia. Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov, 59, was detained Saturday with the help of special forces sent by Moscow, who blocked all of […]

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Windows on Eurasia: Russia’s Future Belongs Not to the Opposition but to the Stalinized Young, Pavlova Says

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, June 5, 2013) The supporters of Stalin and those who want to continue his political approach have in fact “triumphed” in today’s Russia, and these people consist not of the older generation but of the young who have grown up in the course of the re-Stalinization of the country during the last […]

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Smoking Ban Met With Skepticism

No Smoking Symbol

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 5, 2013) The new anti-smoking law that came into force last week and is seen by the government as a measure to fight population decline has been met more with skepticism than strict implementation. The measures that took effect on June 1 are the first phase in a large-scale program designed […]

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Russians More Optimistic About Future Than Ever, Survey Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 4, 2103) ­ Russians are now happier than ever with their lives, according to a new poll released on Tuesday by the state-run public-opinion researcher, VTsIOM. The index of the population’s social optimism has risen sharply from 67 in early spring to 74, a record high since the poll was started in 2005, beating the […]

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Russian poll shows worsening entrepreneurial climate

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – June 3, 2013) In the past four years Russians have taken a more negative view of the conditions for the development of private enterprise in their city, town or village, Interfax news agency quoted VTsIOM pollster as saying on 3 June. While in 2009 the situation was regarded as bad by 44 per cent of the people polled, […]

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Ignatiev Sees Russian Easing Hindered by Economy’s Crosscurrents

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose -June 5, 2013) Russia’s central bank faces a “very difficult choice” when it meets next week to review interest rates as conflicting economic data undermine the case for monetary stimulus, outgoing Chairman Sergey Ignatiev said. “The decision won’t be simple because the situation in the economy isn’t that simple,” Ignatiev, who steps down as […]

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Russian Capital Flight Continues Unabated – Central Banker

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(RIA Novosti -ST. PETERSBURG, June 5, 2013) ­ Russian capital flight remains rampant, with no signs of slowing down, Central Bank chief Sergei Ignatyev said on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, capital outflow remains very high, I dare say. No fall in this trend can be seen,” Ignatyev said. He made headlines in February when he claimed a small group of well-connected individuals […]

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News conference following the Russia-EU Summit [Putin statements]

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Yekaterinburg – June 4, 2013)  PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, The talks held at the 31st Russia-EU Summit were constructive and meaningful. We examined in detail the current issues of cooperation in trade, the economy and humanitarian sphere, as well as the improvement of the legal framework for our relations. Russia and the […]

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Russia-EU Values Gap on Display at Summit

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 5, 2013) Despite declarations of strategic partnership and cooperation at Tuesday’s Russia-EU summit in Yekaterinburg, leaders of the two sides demonstrated an apparently growing rift on a wide array of issues, including civil liberties and ways to resolve the bloody civil war in Syria. One of the main expected achievements of […]

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Tensions to linger in Russia-EU relations in foreseeable future – Russian experts

EU Map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 4, 2013) “Serious progress” in Russia-EU political rapprochement will hardly be made in the near future, experts stated in a report, “Russia-EU. Partnership Possibilities”, published on Monday. “We see no real reasons for serious progress in Russia-EU political rapprochement in the short-term prospect,” says the report written under the aegis of the Russian International Affairs Council […]

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PM Says Russia Ready For Cooperation With U.S., As Long As It Is ‘Peaceful’

File Photo of Barack Hussein Obama and Dmitry Medvedev with Flags, Shaking Hands

(RIA Novosti – Kirkenes, Norway, June 4, 2013) Russia is ready to cooperate with the USA in a variety of spheres; the key is for them to be peaceful, Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev has said. “We are prepared for various forms of cooperation. The only thing is that – which is very important – it has to be peaceful […]

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Moscow Security Conference Declares Death of CFE Treaty

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 105 – Roger McDermott – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – June 4, 2013) The Moscow European Security Conference on May 23­-24 offered an opportunity for a wide range of defense officials and experts from member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to exchange views on the future of Euro-Atlantic security with their Russian […]

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Deployment of ABM in Asia-Pacific region may polarize forces – Russian official

Missile Defense Launch File Photo

(Interfax – June 1, 2013) Unilateral deployment of strategic missile defence elements may lead to the polarization of forces in the Asia-Pacific region, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 1 June. “The strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific region is burdened by the missile defence factor. We are concerned by the unilateral deployment […]

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Armenia Looks West, Tries To Loosen Moscow’s Grip

Map of Armenia and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – June 3, 2013) It seemed like a small event, but it got a lot of tongues wagging. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian decided not to attend an “informal summit” of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on May 28. Sarkisian’s office cited Armenia’s Republic Day holiday that day and a visit to Yerevan […]

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