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Archive for Corruption, Law, Police, Courts, Crime

Russian Authorities to Create Blacklist of Corrupt Officials

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 22, 2015) The Russian government has called for the creation of a special registry of officials who have been dismissed from their positions on the basis of a “loss of trust” due to corrupt activities, Kommersant reported Thursday. The move aims to serve both as a

Ten New Laws That Will Affect Your Life in Russia in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 21, 2015) New year, new you: An expression that has taken on a special meaning for those living in Russia, where a plethora of new laws – many with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents – entered into effect on Jan.

BOOK REVIEW: Russia’s Mobutu?

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Derek Brower in London – January 13, 2015) Corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has sprouted its own sub-genre for Western publishers. Few of the many books, though, have the laser-like focus or amass the same devastating detail as Karen Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” (Simon & Schuster, New

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Five reasons to watch Leviathan

Movie Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anton Dolin, special to RBTH – January 16, 2015) Andrei Zvyagnitsev’s film has already taken home a Golden Globe and Palme d’Or at Cannes for best foreign film and it is now up for an Oscar. Still wonder if you should see it? Let RBTH erase any remaining

Top Russian Official ‘Ashamed’ Of Culture Crackdown, Quits Ministry

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – January 15, 2015) A prominent Russian public figure has slammed the country’s culture minister for overseeing a deepening crackdown on artists critical of authorities, quitting a ministerial commission in protest. Yevgeny Savostyanov, the head of Russia’s Coordination Council on Intellectual Property Protection, said in an open letter that

‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears”

A new drama in Moscow: Teatr.doc – a pioneer of ‘New Drama’ in Russia – has recently been evicted from its basement home in Moscow. But is it all an act?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Alexey Krizhevsky – January 14, 2015) Alexey Krizhevsky is culture editor at gazeta.ru and member of Teatr.doc Teatr.doc is on the move. Having performed its last plays and a holiday evening, the theatre packed its bags and left the tiny basement in the centre of Moscow – its home for many years. The

Russian court explains decision not to jail Kremlin critic Navalnyy

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – January 12, 2015) A Russian court has explained its decision to give a suspended sentence to anti-corruption campaigner and Kremlin critic Aleksey Navalnyy while jailing his brother, Oleg, Interfax news agency reported on 12 January. Interfax quoted Moscow’s Zamoskvoretskiy court saying that “in handing down punishment, the court took into account the actual

Working in the Gulag: Russia’s Prison Service, the FSIN, wants to put inmates’ employment on a more businesslike footing, but their working conditions are still more like slave labour

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

(opendemocracy.net – VYACHESLAV KOZLOV – January 9, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared

Interfax: Justice minister puts Russia’s prison population at 600,000

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

MOSCOW. Jan 2 (Interfax) – Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov has estimated the country’s prison population at over 600,000 people. “The data available as of December 1, 2014 indicate that 671,726 people are being held behind bars, including 562,172 convicted persons, as compared with 680,210 and 571,269, respectively, over the same period in 2013. It

Interfax/RIA Novosti: Russian human-rights figures divided over Navalnyy sentence

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax/RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) Human-rights activists have greeted the conviction and sentencing of Aleksey Navalnyy and his brother for financial crimes with a mixture of anger and acceptance, with some denouncing it as politically-motivated hostage taking but others regarding it as justified. Aleksey and Oleg Navalnyy were found guilty of fraud and money

Russia Celebrates Constitution, But Few Russians Know What It Says

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2014) Russia celebrates Constitution Day on Friday, a poll shows a vast majority of citizens have no knowledge of what their country’s Constitution actually says, but four in ten still believe it protects their rights, a recent poll indicated. A total of 41 percent of respondents said they

Russia to study Navalnyy NGO’s anti-graft proposal after 100,000 sign petition

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, December 9, 2014) One hundred thousand Russians have supported the idea of criminal liability to be introduced for the illegal enrichment of officials obliged to submit the details of their incomes and expenditures, which will lead to a federal expert group examining whether the law needs to be amended. A proposal to

Interfax: Russian Investigative Committee opens over 21,000 anti-corruption inquiries in 2014

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Interfax – December 9, 2014) The damage done to Russia by corrupt practices nears 15 billion rubles ($281 million) a year and about half of that sum is compensated for, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said. “The damage done to the budget and aggrieved parties in [corruption] cases referred to court this year exceeds

Interfax: Kremlin chief of staff “acknowledges” corruption problem

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

(Interfax – December 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff has spoken about corruption in Russia. In his remarks, reported by Russian Interfax and TASS news agencies on 8 December, Sergey Ivanov said the Russian government “acknowledged” the problem and had been taking “consistent” steps to deal with it. He dismissed a Transparency International

Interfax: Human rights activists expect Russia to achieve anti-corruption results in 30 years

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

(Interfax – December 3, 2014) Russia may achieve tangible anti-corruption results by the middle of this century on the condition the crackdown on corruption starts right now, said Yelena Panfilova, chairperson of the board of the Transparency International anti-corruption research center. “We are asked at every meeting whether we can follow the example of Singapore

Russia Fails to Make Headway in Global Corruption Ranking

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko- December 4, 2014) Russia slipped three places to rank a dismal 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s annual latest corruption survey, unveiled Wednesday. This is evidence that the Kremlin’s anti-graft crusade declared three years ago has not worked, the watchdog’s deputy chairperson Yelena Panfilova said in

Business New Europe: Ukraine remains Europe’s most corrupt country

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 3, 2014) Ukraine remains Europe’s most corrupt country, and one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by international NGO Transparency International. The rating shows almost no improvement with the situation before a revolution promising a

Failures of Russian Law Enforcement Leading More Russians to Want to Carry Guns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 24, 2014) Russians increasingly want to have the right to carry guns for the same reason many people in the United States say they do – their conviction that police are not willing or able to defend them and their belief that they must therefore be

RIA Novosti: Top Russian psychiatrist links increased drunk driving to economic strain

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, November 24, 2014) The Russian Health Ministry’s chief freelance psychiatrist [Zurab Kekelidze] has declared that the number of road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers has risen by 10 per cent in Russia this year, possibly due to psychological strain owing to changes to the international and economic situation. “In the first

Business New Europe: Number of Russians who think corruption got worse in past 15 years went down 20%

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

(Business New Europe – bne/IntelliNews – bne.eu – November 19, 2014) According to a poll conducted by the independent Levada centre, 39% of Russians think that corruption in the country got worse in last 15 years. That is 20% less than in July 2010, when 60% of respondents said the situation worsened. Traffic police are

Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Irina Reznik- November 19, 2014) Vladimir Putin sat motionless as the minister, seizing on the Russian leader’s first major meeting with his economic team in months, itemized the challenges. A recession is imminent, inflation is getting out of hand and the ruble and oil are in freefall, Economy Minister

Russians tend to call corruption indestructible – poll

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

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) Over a third of Russians believe it is impossible to eradicate corruption in their home country, Levada Center told Interfax. Some 43 percent of 1,630 respondents polled in 134 populated localities said corruption was worst in the traffic police, 39 percent said this about the police in general and 35

Stratfor: A Struggle Over Russia’s Interior Ministry Could Emerge

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – November 11, 2014) Summary In recent weeks, rumors that Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev will be replaced have been circulating among Russian media and pundits who watch Moscow. Stratfor has been monitoring the Russian government’s coherence and the strength of its leader, President Vladimir Putin, as the country faces a series of crises involving

Riches Don’t Come Honestly in Russia, Most Russians Say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 6, 2014) More than 60 percent of Russians think it is impossible to get rich honestly in their country, according to a survey published Wednesday by the Levada Center, an independent pollster. Fifteen percent of respondents said that it was possible to become wealthy honestly 15 to 20 years

Crime And Crimea: Criminals As Allies And Agents

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mark Galeotti – November 3, 2014) Mark Galeotti is professor of global affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, an expert on Russia’s security services, and author of the blog “In Moscow’s Shadows” Mikhail Volkov is a cop in Moscow (up to a point) and Viktor Skvortsov

Fire Sweeps Through Kiev’s Oldest Movie Theater During LGBT Movie

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 30, 2014) A fire has swept through the oldest movie theater in Ukraine’s capital Kiev during the showing of an LGBT movie, ravaging the building in what witnesses described as a likely arson attack. None of the 100 or so people who attended the screening Wednesday

Russia to crack down on tax evasion

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 17, 2014) Russian authorities are moving ahead with a campaign to plug external and internal tax loopholes, with the government preparing a new law on ‘de-offshorisation’ and the central bank closing down banks complicit in grey capital outflows. The de-offshorisation campaign is intended to repatriate Russian business from

Interfax: Chief of staff says businessman’s arrest damaging Russia’s investment climate

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – October 15, 2014) Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov has said that the house arrest of billionaire businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov is damaging Russia’s investment climate. In an interview with popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which was quoted by Interfax news agency, Ivanov said that “I agree, this [the arrest of Yevtushenkov] is having

Russia Releases Opposition Activist Charged With Violence Against Police

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – October 9, 2014) Russia has released from custody opposition activist Sergei Mokhnatkin, who gained prominence among fellow activists for what he said was an attempt to protect a woman from police brutality at a protest rally, and who has been charged with violence against police. Mokhnatkin’s attempt

How to Become a Russian Spy

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 3, 2014) When a young Vladimir Putin decided to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a spy, he headed to the local branch of the KGB in Soviet Leningrad. Wary of unsolicited applicants, the KGB officers turned Putin away, but not without some valuable advice: Go

No Basis for Moscow’s Claims that Russian Corruption has Declined, Experts Say

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 26, 2014) Independent Russian experts say that there is no basis for the claim by Boris Titov, presidential plenipotentiary for the rights of entrepreneurs, that the level of corruption in the Russian Federation has fallen. Instead, they say, all measures point to corruption still being a

Russia’s Boom Business: Forced Labor In Prisons

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Vladimir Abarinov – August 11, 2014) When Nadezhda Tolokonnikova arrived at penal colony IK-14 in August 2012, a deputy warden proudly announced: “As far as my political convictions go, I am a Stalinist.” Tolokonnikova soon learned what that meant in practice. One year into her sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” the Pussy Riot

RIA Novosti: Between Justice and European Courts’ Rulings on Russia: a Dangerous Gap

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – Alexander Mercouris – August 9, 2014) There is always going to be a gap between people’s understanding of what is just/unjust and formal court rulings. Law will always strive to catch up with changing societal attitudes to “justice” and “injustice.” But law will always more or less miserably fall behind, unless some

Daching: How to Get Beaten Up in the Russian Countryside

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 11, 2014) Many extreme sports, from snowboarding to air racing, are known health hazards. But only one can lead to indiscriminate beating, allegations of terrorism, jail and even self-imposed exile – and all you need to do is take a stroll through supposedly public land. Dozens

Ukrainian Cows Kidnapped, Trafficked to Russia, Police Say

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2014) Against the backdrop of blistering diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Kiev, a 172-head herd of cows has been illegally trafficked across the Russian border, the Luhansk region branch of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry claimed Thursday. The herd went missing Wednesday night from a farm in Luhansk region’s Belovodsky

The ultimate sentence: Where do Russians stand on capital punishment?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – June 11, 2014) Although first effectively abolished in Russia 270 years ago, in the 20th century capital punishment reached a horrific scale under Stalin. Nowadays, despite a moratorium on the death penalty, the issue continues to exercise public opinion. RBTH finds out what characterizes

NEWSLINK: Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

[“Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?” – New York Times editorial – June 10, 2014] The New York Times comments on the recent convictions of five additional men for involvement in the 2006 assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya: Almost eight years after the gruesome murder of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most respected investigative journalists, Moscow’s highest criminal

Duma Deputy Seeks to Unleash Prosecutors on Anatoly Chubais and Rusnano

Anatoly Chubais file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – June 10, 2014) Anatoly Chubais, head of the state-owned technology investment firm Rusnano and architect of Russia’s chaotic 1990s privatization, has dismissed allegations of fraud and embezzlement levied against him by State Duma Deputy Oksana Dmitriyeva, who has asked Russia’s Prosecutor General to investigate the company’s activities

Death Be Not Proud – Be Profitable: Moscow’s Funeral Business

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn- June 5, 2014) Your beloved mother has died, leaving you in a state of grief just short of catatonic. Who do you call? Many Muscovites will tell you it was not really who you call that matters – it was who the police, the dispatcher or the medics

Medvedev Orders Bank Chiefs to Reveal Personal Assets in Corruption Battle

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the heads of Russia’s two largest banks – state-owned Sberbank and VTB – to report their income, expenses and assets as part of an annual anti-corruption checkup. Sberbank’s German Gref, a former economic development minister, and VTB’s Andrei Kostin were among

Kremlin continues its corruption crackdown on officials with a trust funds ban

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – May 7, 2014) The Kremlin launched a new initiative to outlaw the use of non-transparent trust funds for the holding of shares, Vedomosti reported on Tuesday. One of the biggest problems investigators face in Russia is the widespread use of trust funds to own shares in companies. Trust funds

Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – April 28, 2014) Outside a Moscow stadium one night in 2006, deputy central bank chief Andrei Kozlov was walking to his car after playing soccer when two men opened fire, pumping bullets into his head and neck and killing his driver. Days before the murders, the

Former Journalist Spearheads Ukraine’s Lustration Effort

Maidan Square file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – KYIV – April 12, 2014) Just a few weeks ago, Yehor Sobolev was warned not to expect Ukraine’s parliament to pass legislation that would require judges to be screened for corruption and political bias. But on April 8, lawmakers did just that when a so-called “judicial lustration” bill sailed through the Verhovna

Major Companies Boost Corruption Fight With Help of New Law

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – April 11, 2014) Large companies in Russia are taking vigorous steps against corruption under the threat of prosecution abroad, even as the domestic legal system veers between stern threats and erratic enforcement. The issue came to a head Wednesday as multinational IT company Hewlett-Packard’s Russian subsidiary pleaded

Putin Relative Accuses Russian Railways of Corruption

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 3, 2014) One of President Vladimir Putin’s relatives, Roman Putin, has spoken out against alleged corruption at Russian Railways, a state company headed by one of the president’s closest allies. The criticism by Roman Putin, who has been accused by some of capitalizing on the president’s

In Sochi and Crimea, Cossacks Seek to Define Role in Society

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – April 2, 2014) Dimiter Kenarov, a freelance reporter working in Crimea, was surprised to see a group of uniformed Cossacks hastily carrying cables and video equipment out of an Associated Press television studio. When he and another photographer attempted to document the incident, they found themselves

RIA Novosti: Russians Regain Right to Contest Election Results in Court

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

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Wednesday allowing Russian voters to contest the results of elections or referendums in court. Under the 2012 amendments to a federal law on voting right guarantees, Russians lost the right to contest the results of elections in court. Russia’s highest court ruled

25% of Russians Think Government Is Corrupt, Poll Says

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 2, 2014) One in four Russians think that the current government is corrupt and self-serving, while about one in eight have nothing bad to say whatsoever about the administration, a recent poll indicates. The most common complaint of the government, selected by 41 percent of those questioned, is its

Intellectual Property Rights Case Load Overwhelming Fledgling Court

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – March 12, 2014) Overworked and understaffed, Russia’s fledgling Intellectual Property Rights Court is watching nervously as its case load continues to climb. “Compared to analogous courts in Europe, we have a very high case load … and an increase in workload leads to the risk of a

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