Inter-Ethnic Conflicts in Russia Reflect the Erosion of State Power, ‘Vedomosti’ Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 10, 2013) Russian officials have long sought to dismiss ethnic conflicts as being product of the everyday disputes people have rather than clashes between two nationalities, but today the editors of “Vedomosti” offer another and more disturbing diagnosis by suggesting that such conflicts “above all” are a reflection of “the continuing […]

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Moscow metro to get new circle line

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitry Romendik, specially for RIR  – July 8, 2013) Two rapid rail links will come up in the Russian capital within the next few years ­ a new subway circular line and a surface, commuter-train circular line. Muscovites who travel on the efficient yet crowded underground will benefit from expansion of the Moscow […]

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Putin Officials, Judges Seen Topping Russia Corruption in Survey

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anton Doroshev & Ilya Arkhipov – June 9, 2013) Police, judges and lawmakers, as well as bureaucrats, are seen in Russia as the most corrupt groups, fueling popular discontent with the government, according to a global survey by Transparency International. Five percent of Russian respondents rated President Vladimir Putin’s anti-corruption campaign as effective, a sharp drop […]

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For $50 Million You Too Can Enter Putin Moscow Playhouse

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stepan Kravchenko, Evgenia Pismennaya & Irina Reznik – July 10, 2013) Josef Stalin built a massive luxury apartment compound across the river from the Kremlin to both reward and spy on his closest comrades. The one Vladimir Putin built for his clique is smaller and harder to find. Tucked among a warren of Soviet-era structures about […]

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Supreme Court Clarifies Difference Between Bribes and Payment

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 10, 2013) The receipt of payment for professional services cannot be considered a bribe, the Supreme Court has ruled, a news report said Wednesday. A bribe is the receipt of money or services in return for actions performed by a public official using the authority delegated to him, the court said. The ruling may […]

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High-ranking civil servants won’t have right to accept money from abroad – government

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an anti-corruption directive which prohibits civil servants from engaging in activities funded by foreign or international organizations. The ban will apply to civil servants employed by the Pension Fund, Social Insurance Fund, Federal Mandatory Health Insurance Fund and other organizations where appointments and dismissals are ordered by the […]

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Russians Prefer Patriotic Leaders, Not Liberals or Conservatives

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 10, 2013) ­ Many more Russians approve of politicians labeled as “patriots” than they do “liberals,” “conservatives” or even “nationalists,” according to a state survey published Wednesday. Eighty-five percent of respondents expressed a positive sentiment toward “patriot” politicians, while only 6 percent viewed them negatively, Russia’s VTsIOM pollster reported. Some 59 percent said they approve […]

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Russian rights ombudsman sets hopes on changes to controversial NGO law

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, has said he hopes the controversy over Russia’s “foreign agent” NGO law will subside if the legislation is amended to clearly distinguish between organizations engaged in political activity and those working on social issues, Russian privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 9 July.(1) “Everything depends on which amendments are […]

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Academicians fear reform may kill ‘oasis of freedom and democracy’

Adaptions of Image from Livermore.gov of Element 118 Atoms

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Academicians may draft their own amendments to the bill reforming the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academy corresponding member and Economics Institute Director Ruslan Grinberg said. “This reform is a sore subject; we may draft our own amendments….The main attack is being made on the Academy’s self-government. Even assets do not matter. Sure, these are […]

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Website owners obliged to delete slanderous comments posted by others – Russian Constitutional Court

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, July 9, 2013) Website owners are obliged to delete information discrediting citizens posted in comments sections, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled. The resolution was made at a session on Tuesday. According to the materials of the court’s press office, the implementation of the right to freedom of speech imposes relevant obligations and responsibilities, including the respect […]

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Russian Wikipedia Faces Ban Due to Anti-Piracy Law – Director

File Photo of Little Russian Girl at Laptop Next to Globe

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) ­ Russia’s controversial anti-piracy law may cause the biggest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, to be blocked in the country, the executive director of Wikimedia Russia said Tuesday. The legislation was pushed through parliament in less than three weeks and will come into force on August 1. It will allow copyright holders to get a […]

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Russian military takes step toward civil society?

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Viktor Litovkin, special to RBTH – July 10, 2013) Military officials disclose plans online for the development of the army and navy. Striking changes have started taking place in Russia’s armed forces since Sergei Shoigu took over as defense minister. For example, last week the military posted what until then had been top-secret […]

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Medvedev calls on business to work more closely with government

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 10, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called on Russian business to more closely work with the government in conditions of a complex economic situation in the country and changes in the world model for economic growth. “For the state and for business it is important not to waste time and to act in conjunction, […]

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Rising Financial Literacy among Russians is a State Priority

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – July 10, 2013) The name Lyonya Golubkov is well-known to many Russians from the 1990s television advertising campaign that encouraged millions of people to put their money into MMM, a vast financial pyramid whose subsequent collapse caused devastating losses. Choosing investment instruments is still a problem for most Russians as the financial […]

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Russian privatisation programme in complete disarray

Empty Boardroom

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – July 10, 2013) Russia’s privatisation programme fell into complete disarray on July 9 after the state-owned shipping giant Sovcomflot announced it would float a 25% stake on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. The decision to launch an IPO on the US exchange comes only a few months after Russian President Vladimir […]

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Russian ruble not in danger of ‘almighty devaluation’ – expert

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) The Russian ruble is not in danger of any “almighty devaluation” and Russian citizens have no reason to begin buying large amounts of foreign currency, Ruslan Grinberg, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Economics Institute, said. “Our world is sinking into total uncertainty. It is a guarantee for high oil prices. In this […]

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Some 10,000 White-Collar Criminals to Qualify for Amnesty

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(RIA Novosti – NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 9, 2013) ­ Up to 10,000 first-time violators of financial laws should qualify for amnesty, Russia’s chief prosecutor said Tuesday. “A very large number of businesspeople” have been exempted from criminal liability or given milder penalties, or released from custody, as part of the “humanizing” legislation, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told President Vladimir Putin. It […]

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Russia declassifies data on oil, associated gas reserves

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax  – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Russia will no longer classify data on reserves of oil and dissolved gas in oil under a government resolution signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 5. The declassification will simplify procedures for providing information about original oil and associated gas in place, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said previously. It will […]

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UNHCR should address Snowden affair – Russian Human Rights Council head

Edward Snowden file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 10, 2013) The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) intervention would be the best way to break the deadlock in which former U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has found himself after being stuck at the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Russian presidential Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax on Wednesday. […]

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Russia world’s 2nd biggest arms exporter in 2007-2011 – SIPRI

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Russia was the world’s second largest exporter of weapons after the United States in 2007-2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). “The volume of international trade of major conventional weapons grew by 24% between 2002-2006 and 2007-11. The five largest suppliers in 2007-11-the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the United […]

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U.S. Transit Center will be shut down on schedule – Kyrgyz premier

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Interfax – BISHKEK, July 9, 2013) Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev has denied rumors claiming that the presence of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas International Airport near Bishkek could be prolonged. “These are just rumors. The government submitted a bill renouncing the agreement with the U.S. on the deployment of the Transit Center at Manas Airport to parliament. Parliament […]

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Russia puts spending on guns ahead schools

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG – July 9, 2013) The Russian government has just approved the next three-year budget that runs to 2016 that has cut spending on education and health in favour of boosting it on reequipping the armed forces. Relations between Russia and the west are probably at their lowest ebb since the fall of […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Morsi’s ouster won’t solve Egypt’s problems

Map of Egypt and Environs`

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Grigory Kosach, special to RBTH – July 7, 2013 – Grigory Kosach is a professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities) Russia must play an active role in helping to restore stability in the country. The question of whether Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow will become a blessing or a curse for Egypt […]

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Moscow slams West’s ‘double standards’-based Syria policy

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 8, 2013) Moscow has again slammed the West for a policy on the Syrian conflict based on “double standards.” “We deplore the position of our Western partners in the UN Security Council – in debating the Syria issue, they continue to observe double standards. Moreover, this is far from the first instance of such non-objective and […]

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Architectural Preservation’s Politics

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – July 9, 2013) The battle over the preservation of Moscow’s architectural heritage has become visibly political in recent weeks, as prominent opposition parties criticized acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s policies. Several candidates have promised to address the issue in the run-up to this September’s mayoral race. The primary catalyst in the debate has […]

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Penalties for environmental pollution rise by degree of magnitude in Russia

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 8, 2013) Penalties for violating the rules of water use and harmful emissions in Russia, which aim to stimulate energy conservation and environmentally clean technologies, have grown by a degree of magnitude, the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a press release. The administrative fine for violating water use rules when taking water without […]

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Russia’s Internet: Between Regulation and Censorship

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 5, 2013) ­ The morbidly cute educational cartoon “Dumb Ways to Die,” about do’s and don’ts when using public transportation, has won critical acclaim at international ad festivals. But in Russia, it was banned as promotion of suicide. Over the past nine months, Russia has passed two bills regulating domestic Internet use, including […]

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Collateral Damage from Three New Russian Laws

Russian Duma Building

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2013) Three new pieces of Russian legislation appear likely to inflict serious collateral damage on that country, eliminating a defender of Lake Baikal against industrial pollution, inflicting new suffering on the already hard-pressed numerically small peoples of the north, and destroying some of the last vestiges of federalism in the […]

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Russian NGOs received over 30 billion rubles of financing in six months – Prosecutor General

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Over 2,000 non-governmental organizations (NGO) operating in Russia received over 30 billion rubles since the new law on NGOs came into effect, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said. “Since the law came into effect – since November 2012 until April 2013 – NGOs received generally (…) 30.8 billion rubles,” Chaika told Russian President Vladimir Putin. […]

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Navalny’s day in court: politics and protection

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow News – Anna Arutunyan, Editor & Correspondent at themoscownews.com – July 8, 2013) With the verdict in opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s trial scheduled for July 18, the bets are on: will he get six years in jail like the prosecutors asked? Or a suspended sentence? What’s interesting about this question is that the answer has very little to do […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Moscow mayoral election to decide opposition’s fate

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitry Kan, special to RBTH – July 8, 2013) Depending on Sept. 8 election results, the opposition in Russia could effectively be shut down. Early elections for mayor of Russia’s capital will be held on Sept. 8. This will be the opposition’s zero-hour: The key electorate for opponents of the regime is represented […]

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Gordeyeva and Russian emigrants: Brave Sir Robins?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – July 8, 2013) Journalist Katerina Gordeyeva’s recent Colta.ru essay, “The impossibility of an island,” has caused quite a stir among Russian intellectuals. In the essay, Gordeyeva spoke about letting go of the illusion that Russia’s progressive middle class can live on its own special island, separate from reality. She urged […]

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Russians Still Get News From TV But Trust It Much Less – Poll

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(RIA Novosti – July 8, 2013) Internet still trails far behind television as the main source of news for the people of Russia but their trust in TV reporting has decreased quite significantly in recent years, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 8 July, quoting the findings of the latest Levada Centre poll. In the poll carried out […]

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Russians do not expect new world war – poll

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 8, 2013) The majority of Russians (65%) do not foresee a new world war, although 35% describe interstate relations as tense or even hostile, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said on Monday as it posted June poll outcomes. Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents (42%), residents of mid-sized cities (40%) and supporters of non-parliamentary parties […]

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U.S. ambassador asked to get Obama to raise Russian human rights issues with Putin

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

(Interfax – KAZAN, Russia, July 8, 2013) The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has promised to do his best to satisfy a request from Russian human rights group Agora that the human rights situation in Russia be put on the agenda of the planned Russian-American summit this autumn, Agora’s leader said. “The proposal was raised during our meeting with […]

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Human right activist supports British ban on Russians on Magnitsky List

File Photo of British Parliament Building Including Saint Stephen's Tower Containing Big Ben

(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Russian veteran human rights defender, Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) head Lyudmila Alexeyeva has supported the British ban on 60 Russians on the Magnitsky List from entering the UK. “Certainly, I would like people involved in the Magnitsky case to be punished here, in Russia. That would have displayed our wish to become a democracy, put […]

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Navalny Defiant in Closing Remarks

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 8, 2013) Prosecutors on Friday asked a Kirov court to sentence political opposition leader Alexei Navalny to six years in prison and a $30,000 fine on charges of stealing timber from a state-owned company in 2009, but even in the face of such charges Navalny was defiant in closing arguments. Many […]

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JRL NEWSBLOG: What the Papers Say, July 9, 2013

File Photo of Russian Print Newspapers, adapted from image at loc.gov

The Moscow Times and the BBC take a look at news highlights from Russian-language newspapers at http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/what-the-papers-say-july-9-2013/482895.html A brief sample: * * * 1. Irina Kezik article headlined “Russia’s oil record” says Russia has broken 25-year record in oil extraction, as 10.53m barrels of oil were extracted daily in June. Oil companies are going to increase their output, while experts […]

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JRL NEWSBLOG: What the Papers Say, July 7, 2013

File Photo of Russian Print Newspapers, adapted from image at loc.gov

The Moscow Times and the BBC take a look at news highlights from Russian-language newspapers at www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/what-the-papers-say-july-7-2013/482824.html A brief sample: Novaya Gazeta 1. Alexei Polikovskiy article “Day in torture room” is a report from a courtroom where the case of the 2012 mass riots, the so-called Bolotnaya case, is being heard; pp 2-3 (1,600 words). 2. Yevgeny Feldman article headlined […]

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58 Percent of Russians Now Say Kremlin Using Repression

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2013) Ever more Russians tell pollsters the Kremlin is repressing its political opponents, a reflection of their own anger about declines in their standard of living and of their sense that the country is increasingly unstable, according to experts who nonetheless argue that these popular attitudes will not produce a […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#123 :: 9 July 2013

Map of Russia

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#123 :: 9 July 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 […]

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Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#122 :: 5 July 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#122 :: 5 July 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. Business New Europe: World Bank and IMF added Russia to […]

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Russia’s opportunity in Egypt

Map of Egypt and Environs`

From: IRASTRAUS@aol.com (Ira Straus) Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2013 12:42:04 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Russia’s opportunity in Egypt Now is the time for Russia to say it was right all along about Egypt. And to play a role in helping consolidate the latest corrective, which brings back a prospect for a moderate regime in that pivotal country. The U.S. has lost […]

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Russian experts predict prolonged military rule for Egypt

Map of Egypt and Environs`

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Fomichev, special to RBTH – July 4, 2013) Pundits welcome army interference in the stand-off between Morsi and the opposition. Against the background of the political showdown in Egypt and its President Mohamed Morsi’s resignation, RBTH offers a selection of expert opinions from Russian observers on the future of the largest country […]

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Arab Spring has led to chaos rather than democracy – Russian Duma deputy

Alexei Pushkov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 4, 2013) The ongoing events in Egypt confirm that the so-called Arab Spring has led not to democratic renewal but to chaos, says Russian State Duma international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov. “The events in Egypt show that there can’t be a quick and gentle transition from an authoritarian regime to political democracy. There can’t be […]

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After Egypt Revolt, Russia Says Justified in Arab Spring Skepticism

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 5, 2013) As turmoil once again grips Egypt, with the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following days of mass protests in Cairo, one high-ranking Russian official has responded smugly: We told you this would happen. “The Arab Spring has only led to chaos in Egypt and a bloody foreign-backed drama […]

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Putin Congratulates Obama on Independence Day

United States Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 4, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his US counterpart Barack Obama on Independence Day and expressed hope that the two states will eventually overcome their differences and find solutions to many bilateral issues. In his congratulatory telegram, Vladimir Putin noted that Russia and the United States bear a special responsibility for guaranteeing global security […]

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Does Russia have external enemies?

Iskander Tactical Nuclear Weapon with Mobile Launcher File Photo

(Pravda.ru – Sergei Vasilenko – July 4, 2013) Nuclear weapons in Russia’s National Security Strategy are traditionally considered a priority. Since the end of the Cold War, the relations between Russia and the United States have undergone a complex transformation, but Russia still considers the strategic balance with the United States a status quo guarantee. During the recent negotiations on […]

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First businessmen to be released under amnesty in several days

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 3, 2013) Convicts eligible for the economic amnesty, which comes into effect on July 4, will be released in several days because the procedure of releasing convicts under amnesty is held in several stages, spokesperson of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service Kristina Belousova said. “From the day the amnesty comes into effect, head of a correction […]

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Academy reform to be done in 3 years, no dismissals planned – Duma committee head

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 4, 2013) Transformations in the Russian Academy of Sciences will be evolutionary and take three years. Corresponding members may become academicians in that period, the Academy administration will be abolished, and the Academy’s Agency for Scientific Institutes will manage Academy property and research centers. “There will be no haste; transformations will begin unhurriedly, one or two […]

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