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Archive for Corruption, Law, Police, Courts, Crime

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

Pussy Riot Attacked at McDonald’s

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 6, 2014) Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have been attacked by five young men at a McDonald’s in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday. The attackers threw metal objects at the women as they were eating, leaving Alyokhina with “a cut to her forehead,” their lawyer said, Interfax

Paper trail leads to massive corruption at heart of Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – February 27, 2014) [Graphics here http://www.bne.eu/storyf5807/Paper_trail_leads_to_massive_ corruption_at_heart_of_Ukraine] With former president Viktor Yanukoych and most of his cronies on the run, the full extent to which they have looted Ukraine is now coming to light as activists and journalists sift through documents abandoned in the

Investigative Committee to Crack Down on Corruption During Coming Privatization

Empty Boardroom

(RIA Novosti – February 27, 2014) The head of the powerful Investigative Committee said Thursday that preventing corruption during a planned privatization of state assets will be a top priority for his agency this year. The government recently announced plans for an ambitious three-year program running up to 2016 to privatize a wide array of

Top Russian anti-corruption official nabbed in bribery case

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(RIA Novosti – February 25, 2014) A senior Russian anti-corruption police official has been detained over claims of bribery and abuse of office in a case the appears to highlight the challenges of fighting graft. Boris Kolesnikov, deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s directorate fighting corruption and economic crimes, was held for questioning Tuesday in

Economic Crime Afflicts Over Half of Russian Companies

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 24, 2014) More than 60 percent of Russian companies say that they have been victims of economic crimes like bribery, a report said. Worldwide, the incidence of fraud is much lower, with 37 percent of companies having come into contact with it, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers released late

RIA Novosti: Russian Lawmaker Has Undeclared Luxury Dubai Apartment – Navalny

Middle East Map

MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s leading opposition activist Alexei Navalny published material Tuesday allegedly showing that a prominent lawmaker and son of nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky owns an undeclared $2.5 million apartment abroad with seven toilets and a balcony Jacuzzi. Igor Lebedev, deputy speaker of the State Duma, bought the property in Dubai

NEWSLINK: The culture of corruption: Russians pay, but they don’t like it

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

["The culture of corruption: Russians pay, but they don't like it" - Washington Post - Timothy Frye - February 17, 2014 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/17/the-culture-of-corruption-russians-pay-but-they-dont-like-it-2/] The Washington Post features Timothy Frye, Columbia University political scientist and Director of the Harriman Institute for Russia, Eurasian and East European Studies, writing on Russia’s culture of corruption: A central theme

Interfax: Russians doubt Oboronservice suspects will stand trial – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – Most Russians (74%) see no serious chance to investigate corruption at Oboronservice, Levada Center sociologists said. Some 41% of 1,603 respondents polled in 45 regions on January 24-27 presumed that Oboronservice and similar cases would be soft-pedaled. A third (33%) said scapegoats would be punished and senior officials would skip

Russia’s top prosecutor slams illegal detention

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – February 12, 2014) More than 14,000 Russians have been illegally prosecuted in the last three years, according to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. “People are sitting in jail illegally for years,” RIA Novosti quoted Chaika as saying during a planned address before the State Duma, the lower house

RIA Novosti: Investigators Reopen Case Into Russian Defense Ministry Fraud

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

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators have reopened a probe into an alleged multimillion-ruble fraud at the Defense Ministry on the basis of one of the suspect’s testimonies, Kommersant newspaper reported Monday. One of the key figures in the case has claimed that the defense officials accused of masterminding the scheme were not

RIA Novosti: Putin Signs Contentious Courts Merger Into Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave final approval to a contentious reform to streamline the justice system by merging two top courts. According to the terms of the law, the merger of the Supreme Arbitration Court, which oversees business disputes, and the Supreme Court, which handles criminal cases

Report on EU Corruption Could Spur Russian Recrimination

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – February 5, 2014) A report declaring that not a single member of the European Union is corruption-free will likely be taken as political vindication in Russia, a representative from Transparency International Russia said. The report, which was released by the European Commission on Monday and examined corruption

First-Ever School Shooting Prompts Debate on Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov and Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2014) A 10th-grade student killed a geography teacher and a police officer and took children hostage at a Moscow school on Monday in Russia’s first-ever school shooting, triggering a debate on security at educational institutions and over the right to bear arms.

Three-quarters of crimes in Moscow went unsolved last year

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – February 5, 2014) Three-quarters of the total number of crimes reported last year in Russia’s capital went unsolved, Moscow’s head prosecutor said in a statement Wednesday. “On the one hand, the situation with solving crimes improved a little, with a five percent increase as compared with 2012,” Sergei Kudeneyev said at a

Interfax: Russian bill tightening liability for extremism signed into law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that toughens liability for extremism-related crimes. The document amends Russia’s Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the authorities’ legal information website. “In an effort to neutralize the threats to national security posed by the destructive activities of

Interfax: Russia’s economic amnesty applies to over 2,300 people

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

(Interfax – February 4, 2014) The economic amnesty declared by the Russian State Duma in July 2013 has already been applied to over 2,000 people, the office of the Russian presidential commissioner for the businessmen’s rights Boris Titov said. “As of February 4, the number of persons, regarding whom the State Duma resolution On Declaring

New Bill Proposes Weakening Presumption of Innocence in Favor of ‘Objective Truth’

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 31, 2014) A bill has been introduced to the State Duma that would replace the presumption of innocence in Russian trials with the concept of “objective truth,” scrapping the impartiality of the court in what critics say will amount to the establishment of an “inquisitorial” system. The bill, which

Yanukovych’s “family business” links him to Russia

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – January 28, 2014) The pro-Russian leanings of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his associates have triggered a national crisis following November’s shocking decision to back out of signing a deal that would have brought the country closer to the EU. Yet the Kremlin’s hold over Yanukovych may not be

Russians not ready to sacrifice their rights for sake of state interests – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – January 28, 2014) Most Russians place the rights of a person above the interests of the state, however they continue to count on the state taking care of its citizens, the Levada Center said about the poll held in December 2013 in 130 cities, towns and villages in 45 Russian regions and involving

Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina intend to inspect U.S. prisons

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

MOSCOW. Jan 22 (Interfax) – Members of the Pussy Riot punk band Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina intend to visit U.S. prisons. “We are going to visit several U.S. prisons (including a maximum security prison for women) in the state of New York with a team in early February. As local political activists told us,

Interfax: Top Russian law enforcer: property confiscation essential in fighting corruption

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – The head of Russia’s top criminal investigation agency has proposed bringing back a law recommending the confiscation of the property of people convicted of corruption. “This is the most effective sanction for preventing corruption,” Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said in an interview with Russian government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta to

Delayed Regulation Leaves Door Open to Corrupt Officials

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – January 14, 2014) Government delays have pushed back the full institution of controls on state purchases until 2016, leaving officials wishing to extract profit from their positions an extra year to take advantage of lax oversight. State purchases are now essentially unregulated, and procurement by government bodies

Interfax: Pussy Riot’s Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina plan to support women held in Nizhny Novgorod prison

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

(Interfax – January 14, 2014) Two performers of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were released from prison at the end of 2013 under an amnesty, are going to the city of Nizhny Novgorod, where they plan to meet inmates of Correctional Institution for Women No.2. “Tomorrow [on January

Interfax: Bill on criminal liability for terrorists’ relatives unlikely to be considered in State Duma – official

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The bill of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party faction member Roman Khudyakov to introduce criminal liability for relatives of terrorist is PR, head of the Russian State Duma legislation committee Pavel Krashennikov (the United Russia party faction) said. “To imprison for a brother, father, son – we remember when this

Expert Pavlovsky wonders about political meaning of legalization of gifts to officials

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – The Russian government’s decision to appraise gifts received by officials has certain logic but the possibility to prevent a gift business allowing officials to “launder” bribes is the question, Foundation for Effective Politics President Gleb Pavlovsky said. “What is the political meaning of this decision? It will make sense to

All gifts received by Russian civil servants will be appraised

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – January 10, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a governmental resolution ordering an appraisal of all of the gifts received by the country’s civil servants during official events. The government’s press service said, citing the document, that Russian civil servants will be required to report all of their presents within three

Gifts to Officials Worth More Than $90 to Be Handed Over to State

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 10, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order requiring state officials to hand over to the state any gifts they receive that are worth more than 3,000 rubles ($90), but gives them an option of buying the presents back. The anti-corruption measure requires government officials to report

Russian Village Reformer Released on Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Moscow artist was released on parole Friday after spending more than two years in jail for a bribery conviction that followed his move to a Russian village in a bid to bring culture to the provinces. Ilya Farber, whose case has become a cause celebre for many opposition

Interfax: Rights defenders say Okhlobystin’s idea to put gays in prison is obscurantist, odious

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Russian veteran rights defender, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva has criticized the idea of actor and Euroset creative director Ivan Okhlobystin to restore the “sodomy” article in the Russian Penal Code. “That looks like obscurantism,” Alexeyeva told Interfax on Friday. “Why are they so keen on this subject? I

Prosecutors sanction over 500,000 requests for inspecting businesses in 2014

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has declined nearly half of a total of over 1 million requests from controlling agencies on inspecting small and medium-sized businesses in 2014, which makes nearly half of all such requests, the office reported on its website on Thursday. “In line with the law on

Making ‘Separatist Propaganda’ Illegal is the Real Crime, Belotserkovsky Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 7, 2013) From the point of view of both international law and the critical needs of the peoples of the Russian Federation, Vadim Belotserkovsky argues, the new Russian law imposing criminal penalties for the  “‘propaganda of separatism’” is the real crime because it undermines “the inalienable

Rights activists to work for judicial, penitentiary system reform in 2014 – Moscow Helsinki Group chair

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – Russian human rights activists will give priority to reforms of the judicial and penitentiary systems in 2014, Moscow Helsinki Group Chair Lyudmila Alexeyeva told Interfax. “The absence of independent courts is our main problem. Another problem on which we need to work in 2014 is the situation in the penitentiary

What you need to know about safety in Russia

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ajay Kamalakaran, RBTH – January 4, 2014) Most Russian cities are generally safe by international standards but being street smart never harmed a visitor. One of the most common and misplaced fears about Russia in the minds of foreign visitors is of violence on the streets. Thankfully, most

A Rubik’s Cube from the Russian Constitutional Court

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – December 30, 2013) In December, the Constitutional Court of Russia issued a ruling in the Markin case that was supposed to settle the question of Russia’s obligation to implement decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on its territory. IMR Advisor Ekaterina Mishina, a

Six Laws to Look Out For in The New Year

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 2, 2014) Besides hangovers and eerily quiet streets, the first day of the New Year also brings with it a score of new measures that were signed into law the year before. From a ban on Norwegian fish imports to protection against ATM fraud, here are

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