Audit Chamber believes govt economic forecasts for 2014-2016 too optimistic

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 3, 2013) Experts at the Audit Chamber and economists it recruited who work at government, corporate and research institutions are questioning the Russian government’s social and economic scenarios and forecasts for 2014-2016. The social and economic development forecast that the government considered on May 16 was discussed on May 29 at a meeting at the Audit […]

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The New Moscow: Old Style Civilization

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Chloe Schmitt – June 3, 2013) New Moscow Population:  250,000 residents in the added territory Main industries: In the past, the city of Troitsk was well known for its textile industry. But today there are no major industries in new Moscow. One of the major businesses today is real estate, with the construction of many […]

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Russia’s new science president Fortov faces uphill battle

Adaptions of Image from Livermore.gov of Element 118 Atoms

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – June 3, 2013) There’s a new president in town, and his name is Vladimir Fortov. President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, that is. Fortov, a prominent Russian physicist and head of Moscow’s Joint Institute for High Temperatures, won 58 percent of the vote in a secret-ballot election among academy members last […]

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Russian economy minister dismayed by economist Guriev’s resignation, departure

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 31, 2013) Russian Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov is dismayed by prominent Russian economist Sergei Guriev’s decision to resign as head of the New Economic School (NES) and not return to Russia from abroad for the time being. “This is very disappointing for me. I’ve known Sergei for a very long time. We have had significant […]

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Economist [Guriev] questioned in Yukos case re-elected to Sberbank board

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tim Wall, RBTH – June 3, 2013) Sergei Guriev received the most votes after the bank said it was ‘too late’ to take his name off the list of candidates. Sergei Guriyev, a top economist who fled Russia after being questioned by investigators over a critical report he co-authored on the 2010 trial […]

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Russian Soldiers Still Unfit – Shoigu

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 3, 2013) ­ The physical fitness of Russia’s soldiers remains inadequate due to the poor state of recruits and shoddy training, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday. The Defense Ministry has tried recently to improve physical training in the Russian army and navy, with more time allocated to physical exercise, Shoigu said at a […]

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Russian orphans trapped in poverty

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – June 3, 2013) Much has been said about the miserable plight of Russian orphans, especially following the recent ban on all American adoption in Russia in retribution for Congress’ so-called “Magnitsky Act”, which penalizes some Russian officials on human rights grounds. After decades of inaction, suddenly the issue has […]

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Why Georgia Still Matters; re: 2013-#98-Johnson’s Russia List/Adomanis

Map of Georgia

From: “Hamilton, Robert E COL USARMY (US)” <robert.e.hamilton.mil@mail.mil> Subject: RE: 2013-#98-Johnson’s Russia List/Adomanis Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 I’m attaching a short piece I wrote recently on the political transition underway in Georgia.  It is scheduled to go up on the website of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) in the near future.  I decided to send […]

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Interfax: Top Russian judge says U.S. drone operators ‘legitimate’ targets in war on terror

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – St. Petersburg, May 30, 2013) UAV operators are a legitimate enemy target in wartime, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valeriy Zorkin believes. “A drone operator should have no illusions about his own security and impunity while controlling a UAV from a suburb of the US capital via satellite. He is a legitimate enemy target according to the legal views […]

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Larry King (predictably) slated for joining RT

Larry King file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris – May 31, 2013) And so it starts. The articles slating US talk show icon Larry King for agreeing to do a series of shows for the Kremlin-sponsored RT (nee Russia Today) have begun to flow, full of the predictable bile and vitriol. Hey, Larry King: Have You Ever Watched Russia Today? […]

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Syrian conundrum: Running in circles in search of a solution

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, special to RBTH – May 31, 2013) Some Russian pundits believe that the upcoming international conference on Syria indicates that the U.S. and EU want to distance themselves from the Syrian conflict, because it is clearly becoming a burden to them. The opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are clearly not […]

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The Eurasian Union – Fending Off European Ailments

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(RIA Novosti – Fyodor Lukyanov – May 30, 2013 – Fyodor Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, an authoritative source of expertise on Russian foreign policy and global developments)  Astana recently hosted a Customs Union summit. The integration project is taking shape on the fly, so each summit evokes a great deal of interest. What if […]

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Moscow believes Gulf countries backed by West hindering Syria conference – newspaper

Middle East Map

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 29, 2013) Moscow believes that some Persian Gulf countries supported by the United States and other Western countries are hampering the convention of a new international conference on Syria, Kommersant reported in its Wednesday issue. “The position and provocations (by Persian Gulf countries) are possibly the main factor complicating the convention of the conference,” Kommersant cited […]

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Russia Climbs to 42nd Place in Competitiveness Rating

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 30, 2013) Russia has climbed six positions to 42nd place in the 2013 World Competitiveness Rankings published by the Institute of Management Development (IMD) on Thursday. The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook published annually by the IMD, a top-ranked global business school based in Switzerland, covers 60 countries and compares their competitiveness based on such key […]

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Fresh US-Russian Translation Examines TV Attitudes

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 30, 2013) Russian television has often been labeled a Kremlin propaganda tool by its critics, with the intelligence of many who take it at face value being disdained by its opponents, unlike those who rely on the internet. But an American professor, whose book on Russian TV influence was recently translated […]

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New Academy of Science President Pledges Reforms

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 30, 2013) A nuclear physicist with ties to the business community is promising reforms after being elected as Russia’s second post-Soviet president to the Academy of Science. Vladimir Fortov, 67, whose research has been used in the defense industry, received the majority of the votes cast by academics in Wednesday’s election, beating rival and […]

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Chinese parliamentarians interested in Russian experience on NGO law – State Duma Deputy Speaker

China Map

(Interfax – HARBIN, China, May 29, 2013) China as well as Russia is concerned with the issue of non-governmental organizations (NGO) receiving foreign financing and trying to influence the interior policy of the country, Russia’s State Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov, representing the Russian Communist Party faction, said about the results of the visit of Russian parliamentarians to China. […]

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Second Russian NGO fined under ‘foreign agent’ law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – May 29, 2013) A group based 300 km northeast of Moscow has become the second Russian non-governmental organization to be fined under a controversial new law that obliges NGOs to register as “foreign agents” if they receive funding from abroad and are deemed to be involved in “political activities”, the privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 29 […]

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Levada Center to Reject Foreign Grants

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 30, 2013) Independent pollster Levada Center will not accept any more foreign grants while its status hangs in the balance, Interfax reported Thursday. In mid-May prosecutors issued a warning to the polling agency citing a breach of legislation passed in November which requires politically engaged NGOs that receive foreign funding to register as “foreign […]

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Market experts: Guriev situation already priced into ‘Russian risk’

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 28, 2013) Russian financial market experts differed in their assessments of the impact of the situation surrounding Sergei Guriev, the rector of the New Economic School, which came to light on Tuesday evening. They agreed that the episode could negatively affect Russia’s investment appeal, but did not think it signaled a shift in the fundamental investment […]

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Adoption of Russian children by foreign families down 70 percent in five years – Astakhov

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) The number of Russian orphans adopted by foreign families has dipped by 70 percent in the past five years, Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said. “The number of children adopted by foreign families has declined; the decline has been rather significant. Even before January 1, 2013 [when the Dima Yakovlev law entered into force] […]

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Medvedev appreciates Guriev’s contribution to expert council work – Abyzov

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 29, 2013) Minister for Open Government Mikhail Abyzov expects to continue cooperating with economist Sergei Guriev who reportedly resigned from the post of rector of the New Economic School. “I am confident that our cooperation with Sergei Guriev will continue despite the decision, whether he formally remains a member of the expert council and government commission […]

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Government Advisors Protest ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, May 30, 2013) ­ A group of leading Russian economists has called on the government to reconsider a controversial new law that obliges some NGOs to register as “foreign agents,” saying it threatens to destroy the cooperation between independent experts and the authorities. The letter written by the economists, many of whom were involved in devising a […]

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In Search of Russia’s Middle Class

Moscow Protest file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – May 29, 2013) The 2011-2012 pro-democracy rallies in Russia pointed to a growing political awareness and political muscle of the country’s middle class. Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses the Russian middle class, its […]

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May poll puts Russian president’s job approval rating at 64 percent

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) The job approval ratings of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev remain high in May, with Putin’s rating standing at 64 percent and Medvedev’s rising to 54 percent from 52 percent in April, sociologists of the Levada Center told Interfax following a May 23-27 public opinion survey. Putin enjoys trust among 36 […]

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Gazprom insists on long-term contracts for gas to Europe

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – BRUSSELS, May 30, 2013) Natural gas consumers can only be guaranteed reliable and stable supplies if there are long-term contracts in place that entail take-or-pay terms, Deputy CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) Alexander Medvedev said in Brussels on Thursday. “It is precisely these (long-term contracts) that serve as the foundation of the gas business, providing […]

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Suspicions Grow of 3rd Case Against Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 31, 2013) The abrupt flight from Russia of liberal economist Sergei Guriev after he was interrogated in connection with the case against tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has rekindled suspicions that a new criminal case could be opened against Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, who are set to be freed next year. Lawyers for […]

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Why We Should All Work Like Putin

Oil Worker file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 31, 2013 – Michael Bohm) Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times and author of “The Russian Specific: An Analysis of the Russian Work Ethic” (A. Golod, 2007). Any discussion about the Russian work ethic inevitably ends up focusing on the Soviet Union, which did more than any other period in […]

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Clans are marching

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Pribylovsky – May 30, 2013) Vladimir Pribylovsky is the president of the Moscow-based Panorama Information and Research Center and co-author of ‘The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin’   Russia’s ruling class is made up of a complex system of clans, constantly grouping and regrouping around their leader Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Pribylovsky explains […]

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Guriev Exit Renews Brain Drain Fears

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – May 31, 2013) Reports that prominent, liberal economist Sergei Guriev has fled to France under pressure from investigators appeared to send shockwaves through Russia’s Western-leaning elite this week, renewing fears of a brain drain amid an “invisible” wave of emigration. The departure of Guriev, a prominent economist who has advised Prime Minister […]

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Moscow Court Orders Release of Opposition-Backed Businessman

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 31, 2013) ­ Moscow’s City Court ordered the release from prison on Friday of a businessman whose freedom was among the demands of the recent opposition rallies in the Russian capital. Alexei Kozlov was given eight years in prison in 2009 for fraud and “legalization of stolen property,” or the use of illegally obtained property […]

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Head of Major College Reportedly Emigrates Under Pressure [re: Guriev]

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – May 30, 2013) A minister said Wednesday that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Open Government would continue to work with prominent liberal economist Sergei Guriyev despite media reports that he resigned as head of a major college and left the country under pressure from authorities. Mikhail Abyzov, the Open Government liaison holding the […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Council justifies Yukos case experts questioned by investigators [re: Guriev]

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) Russian economist Sergei Guriyev and other experts invited to prepare a conclusion on the Yukos case for the Presidential Human Rights Council did not do anything illegal, the council’s head Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax. “I do not see anything unlawful in the work done by Guriyev and the other experts invited by us to conduct […]

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‘Honeymoon’ With Opposition Over, Say Russian Pundits

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – May 29, 2013) The protest staged by the opposition on 6 May 2013 has attracted less attention than the March of Millions on 6 May last year, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 29 May, quoting an opinion poll. In an interview with the agency a political analyst said that after a “honeymoon” protests are […]

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Russia’s top liberal economist caught up in Putin purge, flees country

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – May 30, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-corruption drive that escalated last November with the dismissal of the defence minister is starting to take on the appearance of a classic 1930s-style Stalinist purge. The latest victim is Sergei Guriev, Russia’s top liberal economist and a close associate of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who fled […]

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Experts in Russia Say Moscow Should Heed Lessons from Wars in Syria, Libya and Yugoslavia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 101 – Valery Dzutsev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – May 29, 2013) On April 26, the authoritative Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta hosted a roundtable of experts on the situation in Syria. Although almost all the experts, as usual, accused the United States and the West of fueling civil unrest in Syria now and […]

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Arctic Activity Heating Up

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – May 30, 2013) When the virtual hammer came down on the country’s Arctic real estate last week, state-controlled Gazprom managed to get the largest slice. Gazprom vied with Rosneft and was awarded seven disputed areas in the Kara sea shelf and could split the eighth area, in the West Siberian sea, with […]

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Russia Tries to Keep Wrestling in the Olympics

File Photo of Olympic Wrestling Match, adapted from defense.gov image

(Voice of America – Jessica Golloher – May 28, 2013) Russia says it will ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep wrestling in the games. This after the IOC announced it would drop the sport from the 2020 Summer Olympics. The president of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili, says that supporters of wrestling worldwide are coming together to […]

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Russia Aims to Boost Security Alliance in Central Asia

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 29, 2013) Ahead of NATO’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan next year, leaders of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization have pledged to pool their resources to counter any potential deterioration of the security situation in the region. In an effort to demonstrate the importance of the military alliance, President Vladimir Putin […]

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Russian, U.S. business can improve bilateral economic cooperation – Ryabkov

Empty Boardroom

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 28, 2013) There will be no quality change in Russia-U.S. economic cooperation until businessmen of the two countries realize they really need each other, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “Sure, last year’s trade turnover of $32 billion is ridiculous not only considering the scope of the U.S. and, also, Russian economy but also considering […]

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Non-direction criteria should be stipulated in Russian-U.S. missile shield agreement – Ryabkov

Missile Defense Launch file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 28, 2013) The U.S. side has voiced quite concrete and serious proposals on the missile shield issue in Europe, however Moscow thinks they are not enough, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy) radio station. “We offer to conclude (an agreement) on legally binding obligations of non-direction […]

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Russian diplomats say no results of ABM dialogue with USA so far

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(Interfax – May 28, 2013) Russian and US experts continue to conduct dialogue on the problem of missile defence (ABM), however the positions of the two countries on the issue still differ very much, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told a news conference in Moscow on 27 May, as reported by Interfax news agency on the same day. “We […]

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Top Russian diplomat on problems with USA over Syria conference

Syria Map

(Interfax – Moscow, May 28, 2013) Russia and the USA have not yet succeeded in aligning their positions on a number of important parameters for an international conference on Syria, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. “There remain issues and aspects of this major international crisis on which the positions of Russia and the USA have not converged,” Ryabkov said […]

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Gref Says Russia Lacks Project Management Experience

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – May 29, 2013) Though Russia has funds to finance infrastructure, it lacks project management experience to develop such projects and needs to borrow it from abroad, German Gref, the head of Sberbank, said at a business lunch for investors held by the Transportation Ministry on Tuesday. The total cost of all tenders […]

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Economic Development Ministry opposes amnesty for convicted businessmen

Empty Boardroom

(Interfax – May 29, 2013) Russian Economic Development Deputy Minister Sergei Belyakov, who supervises public-private partnership issues and liaison with business, has opposed the idea to amnesty businessmen convicted on economic counts. “I will never support this idea, never in my life,” Belyakov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “Punishment for a deed does not depend on the personality of […]

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Medvedev Learns Geology at Skolkovo as Startups Seek Their Niche

Skolkovo File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guennadi Moukine – May 29, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the Startup Village conference at Skolkovo on Tuesday, reaffirmed his commitment to the Skolkovo innovation hub following a recent embezzlement scandal surrounding the project he conceived during his presidency, and learned a bit of geology. “I never knew that Kaliningrad had commercial geo-thermal sources,” […]

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Young people should know ‘true essence’ of Bolotnaya Square protests – Smolensk governor

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – SMOLENSK, Russia, May 28, 2013) The governor of the Smolensk region has insisted on organizing discussions at local secondary schools and higher education institutions to tell students about the “true essence” of opposition rallies on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, an Interfax correspondent reported from a regional conference. “Stories are being widely told about events on Bolotnaya Square, about protest […]

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Memorial human rights center contests in court demand to register as foreign agent

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 29, 2013) Memorial human rights center has filed a complaint with Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court to contest the demand of a Moscow prosecutor’s office to register as a foreign agent. “Memorial states in the lawsuit that the conclusions of the prosecutor’s office on the organization’s activities are groundless and that the information, on which the request of […]

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Russia’s New Public TV Now Available Worldwide Online – Boss

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(RIA Novosti – May 28, 2013) Russia’s Public TV (OTR), a new public service broadcaster launched on 19 May, is now broadcasting online and can be watched worldwide, Anatoliy Lysenko, the channel’s general director, told Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on 28 May. Earlier, the channel’s internet broadcast was only available to IP addresses in Russia. As of 1700 […]

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