Khodorkovsky Calls for Civil Disobedience against Unjust Laws and Putin’s Unjust System

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 27, 2015) Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russian citizens are fully entitled not to observe unjust laws imposed not to promote justice but to protect the power of Vladimir Putin, a potentially dramatic development in the relationship between the Russian opposition, the Russian people, and the Kremlin. In a blog post on […]

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Russian ombudsman slams ex-Defence Ministry official’s parole as “elite” justice

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 25, 2015) Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has strongly condemned a court decision to release on parole Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a key figure in the Oboronservis case, suggesting the move amounted to “elite” justice, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 25 August. Earlier on 25 August, a court in Vladimir Region granted Vasilyeva parole after she […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

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

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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Ukraine’s largest lender PrivatBank investigated for diverting $1.8bn of IMF funds

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv – August 24, 2015) PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender partly owned by controversial oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, is under criminal investigation by the authorities for fraudulently diverting around what was then about $1.8bn, the bank has confirmed. “We are aware of the existence of criminal proceedings. PrivatBank fully cooperates with the investigators […]

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Unlike Stalin’s Show-Trial Victims, Russia’s Political Defendants Don’t Back Down

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

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – August 20, 2015) There are, of course, many differences between the infamous show trials of Josef Stalin’s Great Terror and the politically convenient prosecutions of the political adversaries of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Stalin liked to try his victims in huge mass productions on blatantly political charges and then march them off for summary execution […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Russia’s summer of intrigue: Political trials take center stage.

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

NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: “Russian Roulette. The regime has replaced institutions with one-man rule and treats criticism as treason. But it could get even worse.”

Putin Descending a Staircase

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lucas reviews two books, Putinism by Walter Laqueur and Putin’s Russia edited by Leon Aron. Lucas assesses Putinism, unfolding under the extensive reign of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a negative light: Making sense of Putinism is rather like trying to analyze a Russian salad. Unappetizing cubes of meat and vegetables lurk in […]

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Western Experts Cry Foul Over Russian Books Published in Their Names

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 10, 2015) Prominent Western experts and journalists accused a Russian publishing house Sunday of pirating their work and printing books using their names without their permission or prior knowledge. Journalists Luke Harding and Edward Lucas and U.S.-based Russia expert Donald Jensen confirmed to The Moscow Times that they did not know […]

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RBTH: Proposed extensions to Russian police powers spark controversy

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

A new bill proposing to extend policemen’s rights, including those concerning the use of weapons, has provoked major disagreements among Russian public figures and rights activists. While its authors believe that extending police authority is necessary for defending the rights of fellow policemen, critics worry that if the law is adopted it will legitimize police brutality and may be used […]

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Average Bribe in Russia Doubles in Rubles, Remains Steady in Dollars

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2015) The amount of the average bribe in Russia has nearly doubled this year, reaching 208,000 rubles ($3,485 at today’s rate), as the country’s currency has shed value amid Western sanctions and an economic downturn, according to Interior Ministry estimates cited by pro-government Izvestia daily on Friday. This compares to about 109,000 rubles […]

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NEWSWATCH The Economist: Russia’s prisons. Putin v Punk Pussy. A brave, brassy singer highlights the plight of Russia’s other inmates.

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

The Economist magazine covers prisoners rights activism by Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova. At the last count there were 657,000 Russians behind bars, one of the world’s highest ratios of prisoners to population. … The frequency of deaths in custody amounts to a ‘Russian Ebola’. Tuberculosis is the commonest killer, she says, followed by HIV-AIDS, which may affect 75,000 prisoners. … … prisoners routinely […]

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Re: Restrictions on Foreign Orgs in the U.S.

U.S. Supreme Court Facade

Subject: Re restrictions on foreign orgs in the U.S. Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:09:46 -0400 From: Thomas M. Callahan <tom.callahan@yandex.com> There has long been an American statute in place regulating the work of organizations working “in the interests” of foreign powers on American soil. However, it is quite short and, anyway, is a single provision compared to Russia’s extensive […]

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A Moscow Education, in More Ways Than One

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Haddad – July 27, 2015) A recent article published in British weekly Times Higher Education revealed that one in seven Russian undergraduates admits to cheating on exams. The figure is probably much higher. Any expat in Moscow teaching English will confirm that. Cheating in the Russian educational system is rampant, even acceptable. I experienced […]

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Facebook/Ivan Katchanovski: Unreported Revelations from the Maidan Massacre Trial in Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Ivan Katchanovski – Facebook – July 22, 2015 – also appeared at facebook.com/ivan.katchanovski/posts/1064562830240269) [entire facebook post set to appear below … click “See More” to open up full post … loading might take longer for some users] [featured image is file photo, not directly related to timing of events described in article]

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Ukrainian President’s Russian Candy Factory Wins Case Against Russian Taxman

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2015) A local court has sided with a Russian chocolate factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a dispute with the tax authorities, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday citing a court statement. The decision is a rare victory for the Roshen Confectionary Factory in Lipetsk, about 440 kilometers south of Moscow, […]

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Majority of Russians think it is impossible to make millions honestly

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Francesca Moll in London – July 23, 2015) Most Russians believe that the country’s millionaires earned their money dishonestly, according to a recent survey. In a survey by the independent pollster Levada Centre, an overwhelming 70% of respondents answered “no” when asked if they thought you can earn millions of rubles honestly now in […]

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Black cash still oils Ukrainian politics

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Graham Stack in Kyiv – July 17, 2015) In his first interview since being fired as head of Ukraine’s state security service on June 16, Valentyn Nalivaichenko alleged that Ukraine’s leading political parties are behind huge flows of secret funds moving to and fro from offshore jurisdictions. He is only the highest […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Attack on Chubais Ally Marks Death of Russian Meritocracy – Experts

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 4, 2015) The criminal case opened this week against Leonid Melamed, the founder of Russia’s flagship innovations project, is directed against its divisive current head Anatoly Chubais, and reflects Russia’s drift away from a merit-based ruling elite, pundits told The Moscow Times on Friday. Rusnano’s reformist head Chubais has long been […]

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And now … a murder rap for Khodorkovsky?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – July 2, 2015) On June 30, the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, made a shocking allegation. He accused the former head of Yukos oil major Mikhail Khodorkovsky of ordering the 1998 murder of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk, and several other crimes. The announcement […]

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Interfax: Over 40 per cent of Russians do not believe corruption could be defeated – poll

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

  (Interfax – June 17, 2015) A public opinion poll conducted by the independent pollster Levada Centre has shown that two thirds of Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin is making progress in fighting corruption, but, at the same time, more than 40 per cent believe that it will be difficult to defeat it because corruption cannot be eradicated in […]

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Majority [of Russians] See FIFA Scandal as Attack on Russia

putin-fifa-meeting

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – June 18, 2015) Most Russians think that corruption allegations against officials at FIFA, football’s governing body, leveled by U.S. investigators last month are an attempt to prevent Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup, according to a survey published Wednesday by state-run pollster VTsIOM. A total of 65 percent of respondents said […]

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Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

Subject: Taking Exception To Sergeant Joe Friday’s Admonition – Give Me The Facts, Just The Facts Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 From: Robert Teets <TeetsR@gorodissky.ru> [Robert Teets is Counsel at Gorodissky & Partners in Moscow] A baby-boomer from Ohio, I was nurtured on an empiricism that runs deep in American character and our television’s archetype of law and order definitively […]

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Russian ‘Troll Farm’ Lawsuit Postponed When Defendant Fails to Show

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 2, 2015) Russian court hearings into a lawsuit by a former Internet “troll” against her former employer have been postponed after the defendant failed to show up for the proceedings. A city court in St. Petersburg also ruled that the plaintiff, Lyudmila Savchuk – who said her suit was intended to […]

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Juvenile delinquency rates down three-fold in Russia since early 1990s

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

MOSCOW. May 28 (Interfax) – Juvenile delinquency rates went down three-fold in Russia in the past 15 years, Russian First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorovoi said on Thursday, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the juvenile delinquency service. “Juvenile delinquency rates peaked in the early 1990s. The rates are down three-fold in the past 15 years,” he said. […]

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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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