Category Archives: Corruption, Law, Police, Courts, Crime

Ukraine tries to prove that is serious about corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 20, 2015) Ukraine is trying to publicise its efforts to clamp down on corruption, as a crucial deadline looms for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to review conditions for extending billions of dollars in credits. In the south-eastern city of Zaporizhia, the head of the local anti-corruption committee and a […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Russian Court Quashes Latest Bid to Jail Kremlin Critic Navalny.

Alexei Navalny file photo

Reuters covers the latest attempt to jail Russian lawyer, whistleblower and opposition figure Alexei Navalny. A Moscow court on Wednesday rejected a bid by law enforcement officials to have Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny jailed for violating the terms of his suspended five-year sentence on embezzlement charges. Navalny, who led mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011-2012, denies any […]

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Questions Raised Over Poroshenko’s Role In Valuable Kyiv Land Deal

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Maksym Savchuk, Daisy Sindelar – May 13, 2015) KYIV — An investigation by RFE/RL shows that Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko may have used his presidential influence to shut down investigations into a land deal aimed at building a private mansion on a historic site in the Ukrainian capital. Two reports broadcast on RFE/RL’s Ukrainian-language television program, […]

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Russian Polluters Evading Huge Environmental Fines

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – May 12, 2015) Russia’s environmental protection watchdog is failing to collect penalties imposed on polluters worth tens of millions of dollars per year. Penalties worth 2 billion rubles ($40 million) ordered by the Federal Service for Supervising Natural Resources, or Rosprirodnadzor, went unpaid in 2014, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov told […]

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Russia’s road to deoffshorisation and capital amnesty still ‘under construction’

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Artem Toropov, senior associate in the tax practice at law firm Goltsblat BLP – May 7, 2015) More than a year has passed since the Russian “deoffshorisation” reform was switched into “active” mode by the Russian president. 2014 was dominated with work on the new legislation – but the result, to many, was quite […]

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Persecuted Russian Lawyer Finds New Ways Around Foreign Agents Label

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sergey Chernov – April 29, 2015) The life of St. Petersburg human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. After his American wife was deported as a “threat to national security” in August, the family moved to Prague, but Pavlov returns regularly to lead high-profile cases and manage a group […]

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Champagne Tastes On Beer Incomes: Tax Declarations In Ukraine Suggest Enduring Corruption

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Katya Gorchinskaya – KYIV, April 21, 2015) Yulia Tymoshenko didn’t have much of an income in 2014. The former Ukrainian prime minister spent part of the year in prison, part of it rehabilitating in the hospital, and much of it in back-to-back campaigns for president and parliament. But nevertheless, she managed to buy a luxury car, […]

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Sixty percent of Russian citizens deem death penalty acceptable – poll

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

(Interfax – April 19, 2015) Sixty percent of Rusian citizens, compared to 80% in 2001, see the death penalty as an acceptable punishment, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation. The poll was held on April 11 and 12 among 1,500 respondents in 100 localities of 43 regions. Twenty-two percent of those polled, compared to 16% in […]

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Former Finance Minister Slams Russian Government on Corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 8, 2015) While the Russian government is trying to involve itself in more economic spheres, the state is failing to perform its basic functions and corruption has swelled to levels “unimaginable” during the heydays of previous administrations, the head of Russia’s second-largest bank said at an international conference on economic development conference on Tuesday. […]

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Dmitry Oreshkin: “In the light of Nemtsov’s murder, Putin looks like a weak and dependent politician”

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Leonid Martynyuk – April 6, 2015 – article also appeared at imrussia.org/en/opinions/2222-dmitry-oreshkin-in-the-light-of-nemtsovs-murder-putin-looks-like-a-weak-and-dependent-politician) The Institute of Modern Russia continues its series of interviews with Russian and Western experts on the situation in Russia, its relationship with the West, and the future of its political system. Journalist Leonid Martynyuk speaks with prominent Russian political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russian court refuses to rehabilitate Soviet-era commissar Yagoda

Joseph Stalin file photo

Russia’s highest court on Thursday refused to legally rehabilitate Genrikh Yagoda, the head of the Soviet-era NKVD secret police who oversaw Stalinist purges in the 1930s and set up the GULAG forced labor camps. Yagoda ran the NKVD between 1934 and 1936, was dismissed in 1937 and executed in 1938 for treason and conspiracy, becoming one of millions of victims […]

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Witness to Nemtsov murder to be summoned for police lineup – newspaper

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. Apr 1 (Interfax) – Detectives investigating the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov intend to summon a main witness to his murder, Nemtsov’s Ukrainian girlfriend Hanna Durytska, for a police lineup, the newspaper Izvestia wrote on Wednesday. “Durytska made the acquaintance of Nemtsov three years ago and they stayed together almost all the time in the recent period, so she […]

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NEWSWATCH The Guardian: How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision: A month after the politician’s killing in Moscow there are signs of a Kremlin power struggle – and Russia’s president may soon have to take sides” – The Guardian – Shaun Walker in Moscow – March 29, 2015] The Guardian covers the aftermath of the Moscow assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and […]

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Witness can’t recognize suspected Nemtsov assassin – newspaper

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The confession of Zaur Dadayev, the suspected perpetrator of the killing of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, is not confirmed by a direct witness to the crime, Kommersant reported on Friday. Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the investigator, that Ukrainian model Hanna Durytska, who was accompanying Nemtsov at the time he was killed, was […]

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Soviet-Era ‘Objective Truth’ Bill Would Imperil Presumption of Innocence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-FarberMarch 27, 2015) A freshly introduced draft law proposing to redefine the roles of Russian judges has courted controversy among legal circles who fear that if adopted, the measure would endanger the presumption of innocence by blurring the lines between judges and prosecutors. State Duma Deputy Alexander Remezkov of the ruling United Russia submitted an […]

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Interview with a murderer

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

(opendemocracy.net – Ekaterina Loushnikova – March 25, 2015) Ekaterina Loushnikova is a radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov. There are currently 59,000 women in Russian penal establishments. For many of them prison is not so much a punishment, more a way of life. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are currently 671,700 Russians […]

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HIV is not grounds for deportation, says Russia’s Constitutional Court

Microscopic Image of T-Cells Infected by HIV

According to a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Russia, being HIV-positive does not represent an unconditional basis for deportation from the country for foreign nationals. Speaking to RBTH, human rights advocates called the decision an important achievement in protecting of the rights of people in Russia living with HIV. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Darya Lyubinskaya, special to RBTH […]

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Russia Sets Terms for Capital Amnesty to ‘Correct Past Mistakes’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Anna Andrianova – March 26, 2015) Russia laid out the terms of a draft law to offer amnesty on repatriating capital, promising new incentives and legal protections to aid an economy starved of investment by sanctions over Ukraine. The bill won’t require the return of assets to Russian territory, demanding only their registration in […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Chechen’s Ties to Putin Are Questioned Amid Nemtsov Murder Case

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, has been at the center of intrigue surrounding the murder of Boris Y. Nemtsov, a prominent critic of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. So before a busy weekend that included a night out with the boys to watch cage fighting, Mr. Kadyrov wanted to clear something up. “I am utterly devoted […]

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Interfax: Best effort put into investigation of Nemtsov murder – Russia’s former minister

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 18, 2015) The investigation into the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov is regarding all possible theories of the crime using best law-enforcement practices, former Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin has said. “I know what effort has been put in there and so far I cannot say that the investigation is on the wrong track,” Kudrin told […]

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Outsourcing sovereignty from Russia to Chechnya

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Just like in business, the centre of Russia has transferred a range of its functions to a regional political ‘contractor’. But now the tail is starting to wag the dog. (opendemocracy.net – Sergey Markedonov – March 17, 2015) Sergey Markedonov is Associate Professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities The North Caucasus is back in the news. This time, the […]

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NEWSWATCH: How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“How Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin in the crosshairs” – Los Angeles Times – Paul Stronski – ] Writing in The Los Angeles Times, the Carnegie Endowment’s Paul Stronski considers prospects for Russian political turbulence following the assassination of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s killing is not just a tragedy for Russia, but could be a harbinger of political turbulence. […]

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Lawyer Claims Main Suspect in Nemtsov Killing Has Alibi

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 17, 2015) Three more suspects in last month’s assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have been officially charged with his murder, the Interfax news agency reported Monday, as the main suspect’s lawyer said his client had an alibi. Zaur Dadayev’s lawyer, Ivan Gerasimov, told the RBC newspaper Monday that his client had […]

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Interfax: All defendants in Nemtsov murder refusing to cooperate with police – source

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 17, 2015) Defendants in the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov have refused to cooperate with the police, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax. “The defendants have declined to help the detectives,” he said. He also confirmed that some of the defendants had refused to answer police questions on the basis of article 51 of the […]

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Russia: All five men in custody charged with Nemtsov’s murder

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – March 16, 2015) All five men held in custody in connection with the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have now been formally charged, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency has reported. Three men – Shadid Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov – were charged on 16 March, the agency reported the same day. Two others, Zaur […]

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Charges dropped against Russian woman accused of treason

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 13, 2015) Russian prosecutors have dropped their charges against Svetlana Davydova, a mother of seven from the town of Vyazma accused of treason after calling the Ukrainian embassy about Russian troop movements in April 2014, due to the absence of any crime, the woman’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov told Interfax on Friday. “Davydova was cleared of all high […]

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NEWSLINK: Federal Judge Orders Browder to Comply with Subpoena in Money-Laundering Case

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

Wall Street Journal: A Manhattan federal judge has ordered London-based hedge fund manager William Browder to comply with a subpoena that could force him to reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors in a high-profile money-laundering case. …

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Religious Offense Charges Against Russian Opera Director Dropped

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Church at Kremlin, adapted from defense.gov Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – March 11, 2015) A Russian opera director who found himself mired in legal controversy after he provoked the ire of a local church leader was cleared of a charge of offending the sentiments of religious believers, the theater announced Tuesday via Twitter. Director Timofei Kulyabin had faced administrative charges for offending religious […]

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FSB-Kadyrov Power Struggle Eclipsing Nemtsov Murder Probe, Media Says

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 11, 2015) Russian media has reported that the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov is suffering under a power struggle between President Vladimir Putin’s protege Ramzan Kadyrov and the FSB. The claim that Nemtsov was shot dead by a devout Muslim who reportedly felt insulted by the politician’s support for […]

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Decoding the Political Game Behind the Nemtsov Murder Arrests

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 10, 2015) As the man suspected of having gunned down opposition leader Boris Nemtsov steps from the Kremlin allegedly confessed on Sunday, citing devotion to Islam as his motive, pundits agreed that the truth is likely much more complex than it seems. Some reasoned that it would have been impossible for […]

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Russia’s Vaguest Laws and Their Unexpected Consequences

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 4, 2015) Critics complain that the vague language and broad terminology used to draft some of Russia’s more controversial laws make them fodder for prosecutorial abuse. Prosecutors could take advantage of the loose definitions featured in the laws banning extremism, gay propaganda, blasphemy and offending the sentiments of religious believers to […]

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RIA Novosti: “Russian secret service cameras did not capture Nemtsov murder – spokesman”

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RIA Novosti – March 2, 2015) The Russian law-enforcement agency that provides personal protection to President Vladimir Putin and other top officials says its video cameras did not capture the killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on a bridge near the Kremlin late on 27 February. In remarks reported by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on 2 March, Sergey […]

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OBITUARY: Nemtsov’s death and the opposition’s failure to change the regime

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 2, 2015) This is so depressing. First a proxy war that has expanded into the worst geopolitical showdown in 20 years. Then a crisis that has led to stagnation and a steep fall in the ruble. And now the murder of one of Russia’s best-known opposition politicians. Russia is […]

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NEWSWATCH: A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov

Nemtsov March of Mourning

[“A March of Mourning for Boris Nemtsov” – Masha Lipman – The New Yorker – March 1, 2015] Masha Lipman covers the march of mourning following the assassination of Boris Nemtsov and reacts to his killing, including recalling other assassinations during the Putin era: Boris Nemtsov was among the organizers of a mass protest action called “The Spring,” planned for Sunday, […]

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NEWSWATCH: Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

[“Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into the uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia” – Garry Kasparov – Wall Street Journal – March 1, 2015] Garry Kasparov reacts to the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure and former Yeltsin official Boris Nemtsov. Boris Nemtsov, my longtime friend and […]

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NEWSWATCH: The Nemtsov Murder and the FSB

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“The Nemtsov Murder and the FSB” – Tom Rogan – The National Review – March 2, 2015] Tom Rogan, writing in The National Review, covers the assassination in Moscow of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. He points to signs of involvement by the Russian government security services, particularly the FSB. Nemtsov opposed not only the Putin regime but the related kleptocracy […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia’s Army of Avengers: Masha Gessen on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“Russia’s Army of Avengers: Masha Gessen on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov” – Masha Gessen – New York Times – March 2, 2015] Masha Gessen covers the assassination in Moscow of Russia opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. The scariest thing about the murder of Boris Nemtsov is that he himself did not scare anyone. ‘He was no threat to the current […]

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NEWSWATCH: My friend charted the looting of a nation; his death is a warning to all Russians

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“My friend charted the looting of a nation; his death is a warning to all Russians” – The Sunday Times (UK) – Edward Lucas – March 1, 2015] Edward Lucas reflects upon the Moscow assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, writing in London’s The Sunday Times. Nemtsov was my closest friend in Russian politics. I had known him since the […]

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First Putin Marginalizes His Critics, Then He Kills Them, and Then He Shifts the Blame

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 1, 2015) The horror and revulsion all people of good will feel about the murder of Boris Nemtsov in the shadow of the Kremlin has led many to treat this latest crime as if it were something new. In fact, the killing of Nemtsov is only the latest example of Vladimir […]

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Nemtsov Murder Corners Kremlin

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times editorial – themoscowtimes.com – March 2, 2015) There is no shortage of theories as to who was behind the murder of Boris Nemtsov. But we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by the decoys spread by investigators and the pro-Kremlin media, such as that his murder was the result of a business dispute or revenge by his […]

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Boris Nemtsov: ‘We Must Free Russia From Putin’

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mikhail Sokolov and Luke Johnson – February 28, 2015) Slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was looking ahead to a planned March 1 opposition rally, though in an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service earlier this month, he portrayed the demonstration as just a first step in a long struggle. “If you think that [authorities] would run away […]

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NEWSWATCH: The Murder of Boris Nemtsov: Another Putin opponent is killed by unknown assailants

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“The Murder of Boris Nemtsov: Another Putin opponent is killed by unknown assailants” – Wall Street Journal editorial – February 28, 2015] The Wall Street Journal comments upon the assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. In the gangster state that is Vladimir Putin ‘s Russia, we may never learn who shot dead Boris Nemtsov in Moscow late Friday night, much […]

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NEWSWATCH: Death threats and a late night dinner before Russia’s Nemtsov was shot dead

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“Death threats and a late night dinner before Russia’s Nemtsov was shot dead” – Reuters – Thomas Grove – MOSCOW, Feb 28, 2015] Reuters covers the assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. A political reformer who had fallen foul of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov had been preoccupied for weeks with details of an opposition march planned for Sunday. * […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Nemtsov murder: Shock and condemnation in Russia and abroad

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – February 28, 2015) The killing of prominent Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow late on Friday shocked policymakers and other public figures both in Russia and abroad. His associates tend to believe that the murder was politically motivated. They are determined to hold a mourning procession in central Moscow on Sunday […]

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Interfax: Moscow admin allows Nemtsov mourning procession

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, Feb. 28, 2015) The mayor’s office has given permission for a planned procession in central Moscow on Sunday to mourn Boris Nemtsov, an official in the city administration said. “The route lies from Kitaigorodsky Proyezd along Moskvoretskaya Embankment and the Greater Moskvoretsky Bridge. The procession is to terminate on the Smaller Moskvoretsky Bridge,” Alexei Mayorov, head of […]

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Nemtsov’s Murder Shakes Russian Opposition

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eli Lake – February 28, 2015) The murder of a high-profile Russian opposition leader has already sent a chill among President Vladimir Putin’s beleaguered political foes. Putin’s opponents have turned up dead before. Russia’s president has sent rival oligarchs and punk bands to prison camps. He has shut down television stations and banned nongovernmental organizations. But […]

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Ukraine’s Tarnished Poster Child for Reform

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 24, 2015) Less than a year ago, Igor Bilous was a symbol of hope and change for Ukraine. The 36-year-old investment banker’s appointment to lead the country’s tax service seemed to confirm that the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt regime would mark a generational shift and a radical cleanup of the […]

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Tide starts to turn against corruption in Ukraine one year after Maidan

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – February 24, 2015) One year after opposition protests ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, the fight against Ukraine’s endemic corruption has begun for real – and the tide has started to turn. “Corruption has not been eliminated since Maidan but it has been noticeably driven back where it was most […]

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Moscow Times: ‘Leviathan’ Is Close Favorite as Oscars Draw Near

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ali Sar – HOLLYWOOD, February 20, 2015) [DJ: It can be found on the Internet] Prognosticators are at work as the guessing game heats up in the Oscar race, especially when it comes to the best foreign-language film category with Russia’s “Leviathan” and Poland’s “Ida” occupying center stage. “Leviathan” has turned its director, Andrei Zvyagintsev, […]

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