Putin’s New Internet Czar Wants Apple and Google to Pay More Taxes

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov and Stepan Kravchenko – February 8, 2016) When he’s not checking Gmail on his MacBook, Vladimir Putin’s new Internet czar can’t stop railing against American technology companies. Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., collectively worth more than Russia’s gross domestic product, have all entered German Klimenko’s crosshairs since he was named Putin’s first Internet […]

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U.S. Senator Predicts Revelations Of Putin’s Wealth Will Destabilize His Rule

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – February 1, 2016) A senior U.S. lawmaker says revelations about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth will be “destabilizing” to his rule as the Russian population becomes increasingly aware of them. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Voice Of America on February 1 that the Russian people “are beginning […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russia’s ex-PM asks FSB to launch criminal proceedings against Chechen leader”

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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Russians do not want authorities to have access to non-public personal data

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – January 31, 2016) Most respondents surveyed by the Public Opinion Foundation (58%) believe the state should not have access to non-public personal data and people’s correspondence on social networking sites and via email, while 24% believe it violates human rights and 22% believe it constitutes privacy invasion and is not ethical. The poll, which surveys 1,000 respondents who […]

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Interfax: Russian Investigative Committee completes inquiry against five Nemtsov murder suspects – Markin

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – The Russian Investigative Committee has informed the suspects and their lawyers that it has completed its criminal inquiry opened into the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Friday. “Today, the suspects in this criminal case have been informed that the investigation has been completed, and in […]

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Russia Improves Position in International Corruption Rating

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 27, 2016) Russia was ranked 119th – together with Azerbaijan, Guyana and Sierra Leone – in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, up 17 points from its 2014 position. The rating was published on Transparency International’s website. In the 2014 index, Russia was ranked 136th, just behind Nigeria. Russia was 127th in 2013 and […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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Interfax: Inquiry against 5 people charged over Nemtsov’s murder completed

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – January 26, 2016) The criminal investigation opened against five people charged over the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been completed, a lawyer for one of the suspects told Interfax. “The investigation has notified me today that the inquiry as part of this case has been completed,” lawyer Mussa Khadisov, who represents suspect Anzor Gubashev, said. […]

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U.S. Official Says Putin Is Secretly Wealthy, Corrupt

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 26, 2016) The BBC is reporting that the United States has long considered Russian President Vladimir Putin to be secretly wealthy, corrupt, and focused on enriching his friends and allies. Adam Szubin, the U.S. Treasury’s acting secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, said in an interview with BBC Panorama that the Russian president had been […]

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Antony Penaud: Reflections on the Litvinenko case

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Subject: Reflections on the Litvinenko case Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2000. His essays on Russia and Ukraine are on www/scribd.com/antonykharms. He is French and lives in London. I returned last Thursday from a holiday in Moscow, and on the Gatwick train I picked up […]

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NEWSLINK The Independent (UK): “Alexander Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin of being a paedophile four months before he was poisoned”

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VIDEO: What the Litvinenko assassination accusation means for the Kremlin

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PBS interviews former Ambassador Mike McFaul and Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times about a British investigative report into the assassination of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, including implications for the Russian government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Video below; click here for original post and transcript. MICHAEL MCFAUL…: … it’s very important, even if nothing more comes […]

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Nemtsov’s daughter, associate believe his murder not solved yet

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – January 21, 2016) The daughter of the murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Zhanna Nemtsova, said she did not agree with Chairman of the Russian Investigations Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin that her father’s murder had been solved, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 21 January. “I do not think that the murder has been completely solved, unlike Bastrykin,” […]

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Grounds For (A Little) Optimism? Russian public opinion on human rights

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

Despite Putin’s clampdown on Russian civil society, public opinion trends point to growing support for civil liberties. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights. (opendemocracy.net – Theodore P. Gerber – January 18, 2016) Theodore P. Gerber is the Director of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia and Professor of Sociology at the […]

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British Inquiry Implicates Russia, Putin In Death Of Ex-Agent Litvinenko

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 21, 2016) A British inquiry has concluded that the Russian government was behind the 2006 poisoning death of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko and that President Vladimir Putin “probably approved” the killing. The findings, issued on January 21, said that there is a “strong probability” that it was carried out by Russian citizens Dmitry […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Today: “UK report points to ‘probable involvement’ of Putin, Russian officials in Litvinenko death”

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Law Guaranteeing Phone Call After Arrest Comes Into Force in Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2016) A law outlining the right of a detainee to make a phone call no later than three hours after being arrested has come into force in Russia, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta state-owned newspaper reported Sunday. “A suspect as soon as possible, but not later than three hours after he [or she] was arrested, […]

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State vs Art: Russia’s 2015 Crackdown on Contemporary Culture

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 31, 2015) “It’s theater. We were just playing.” That’s how Boris Mezdrich, his tone simultaneously apologetic and defiant, described the avant-garde production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser that got him fired. “Blasphemy!” – was what the Russian Orthodox activists shouted as they protested outside the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Novosibirsk, […]

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Nemtsov murder case suspects to request jury trial – lawyer

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) – The suspects in the case opened into the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov intend to ask for a jury trial, one of the lawyers has said. “Our position remains unchanged: Zaur Dadayev pleads not guilty. We will request a jury trial,” lawyer Shamshudin Tsakayev told Interfax on Tuesday. The indictment says that the […]

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[Khodorkovsky:] Who is to blame for what happened to the Russian Constitution, and What do we do about it now?

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(Institute for Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Mikhail Khodorkovsky – December 17, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Open Russia movement, discusses why the Russian Constitution is “no more than a piece of paper-a sham symbol of federalism, freedom and democracy.” December 12, Russia’s Constitution Day, was marked by the detention of one of the Constitution’s authors for organizing a […]

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Magnitsky’s mother asks Chaika to confirm publicized facts concerning her son

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – December 22, 2015) The mother of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died at a Moscow jail in 2009, has asked the Russian Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika, to provide evidence for the claims he made in a letter to the Kommersant daily regarding her son and the activity of the fund’s head, William Browder. “The information you disseminated […]

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Crime and punishment: 25 years in a Russian penal colony

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

The first inmates pardoned from the death penalty will be released in 2017. They have not seen the world outside of the colony for 25 years. Everything they know is based on what they’ve seen on TV and read in letters. What are they going to do, what do they feel? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Fyodor Telkov, […]

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Russian Businessman Lashes Out At Kremlin, Becomes Cause Celebre

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

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck, Mumin Shakirov – December 11, 2015) Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Potapenko’s address to a recent economic roundtable in Moscow began routinely enough, with a snapshot of his retail and food businesses at home and abroad. Things escalated quickly from there. With a Kremlin-loyal federal lawmaker looking on, the plainspoken Potapenko proceeded to upbraid the Russian government for […]

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How to Ignore a Corruption Scandal, Kremlin Style

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson- December 10, 2015) Alexei Navalny has spent years publishing revelations of the ill-gotten luxuries of Russia’s elite and seeing them ignored by authorities. But when the blogger and opposition politician’s anti-corruption fund unveiled an investigation linking colleagues of Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to the bloodiest bandits of recent years, Navalny thought they […]

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Russia’s Supreme Court overturns ruling to fine “foreign agent” NGO

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

(Interfax – December 7, 2015) The Russian Supreme Court has revoked a ruling to fine a St Petersburg-based NGO, Institute of Regional Press, over its refusal to be labelled a “foreign agent”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 7 December. “The judges failed to find formal components of the crime in the actions of the rights activists. It is […]

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NGO U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and Rule of Law recognized as undesirable in Russia

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

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized a non-governmental organization (NGO) from the United States – the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) – as an undesirable organization in Russian territory, Prosecutor General’s Office spokesperson Marina Gridneva told Interfax on Friday. “The president of the foundation is a U.S. […]

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Russian Minister: Security Concerns Justify Restricting Civil Rights

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 28, 2015) Russia’s interior minister said restricting civil rights is justifiable if security considerations demand it, according to a television interview that was broadcast Thursday night and prompted criticism from human rights advocates. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev told NTV television that police and security agencies must “tighten the screws” in case […]

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Russian Justice Ministry Report on NGO Memorial Heads to Court

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Joanna Kozlowska – November 21, 2015) The Justice Ministry report accusing the rights group Memorial of “undermining the constitutional order and calling for the overthrow of the Russian government,” following the ministry’s inspection of the NGO’s activities and dated Oct. 30, has been sent to a magistrates’ court in Moscow’s Tverskoy district, the RIA Novosti […]

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Quarter of Russians view doping charges against athletes as groundless

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 21, 2015) One quarter of Russians – 25 percent – believe the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) charges against Russian track-and-field athletes are groundless and can be explained by hostile attitudes toward Russia in general, the Levada Center public opinion foundation told Interfax after conducting a poll of 1,600 respondents in 134 populated areas in 46 regions of […]

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Kremlin proceeds from moratorium on death penalty in Russia

Sergei Mironov

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov has refrained from giving detailed comments on the proposal made by Sergei Mironov, chairman of the State Duma faction A Just Russia, to use the death penalty on terrorists, saying that the Kremlin currently proceeds from a moratorium on this measure of punishment. “It’s a very complex issue. There […]

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Russian ombudsman probes into high-profile prisoners’ complaints

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 17, 2015) Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Ella Pamfilova has sent an official letter to the Russian prison authorities asking them to provide urgent medical help to the brother of prominent opposition activist Aleksey Navalnyy – Oleg Navalnyy, who is serving his prison sentence after being convicted for embezzlement, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency reported […]

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Russia’s Doping Scandal: The Main Allegations

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2015) An independent commission by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that the Russian athletics federation be declared “non-compliant” with anti-doping code, and be suspended from track and field competition, the report published Monday said. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastien Coe asked that Russia respond to the 350-page […]

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Russia to Consider Criminal Penalties for Doping, Sports Minister Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2015) Russia may introduce harsher penalties for doping, possibly making it a criminal offense, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said at a press conference, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. “There are a number of measures we can take,” Mutko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “We can introduce new kinds […]

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Russian Justice Ministry Accuses Memorial Of Calling For Regime Change

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – RFE/RL’s Russian Service – November 10, 2015) Russia’s Justice Ministry has accused the prominent nongovernmental organization Memorial of “undermining the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation” and of calling for “a change of political regime” in the country. The ministry sent the Memorial Human Rights Center notification of the accusations on November 9 […]

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Member of Sever battalion Mukhutdinov charged in absentia in Nemtsov murder – lawyer

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. Nov 9 (Interfax) – Investigators have charged in absentia Ruslan Mukhutdinov, a member of the Sever battalion, in the killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. “Last Friday, investigators charged Mukhutdinov in absentia with organizing the Nemtsov murder. He was put on the federal wanted persons list,” Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for the victims, told Interfax on Monday. A source […]

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New Museum Stakes Claim to Russia’s Gulag Legacy

File Photo of Gulag Victim Ivan Burylov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 5, 2015) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/new-museum-stakes-claim-to-russias-gulag-legacy/542211.html] Russia’s largest museum devoted to the horrors of the Soviet gulag has opened, even as many Muscovites remain unwilling to talk about political repression. Moscow’s new Gulag Museum opened Friday even as the country remains polarized by the legacy of its brutal system of Soviet-era prison […]

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Case against Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature may be closed

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – October 30, 2015) A criminal investigation launched against the director of the Moscow-based Library of Ukrainian Literature, Natalya Sharina, who is a suspect in a case opened into the spreading of extremist literature, may be closed, a source in law enforcement agencies told Interfax. “The case against Sharina may be closed on the basis of the Prosecutor’s Office’s […]

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Putin’s Mafia Statecraft

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 27, 2015) In the past couple years, Russian hackers have launched attacks on a French television network, a German steelmaker, the Polish stock market, the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. State Department, and The New York Times. And according to press reports citing Western intelligence officials, the perpetrators […]

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