Kremlin Disagrees With Russian Think Tank’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenarios

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo – 24 October) The report issued by the Centre for Strategic Research contains unduly pessimistic scenarios for the country’s development, which can not be accepted, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “The report is quite extensive, and gives an expert point of view, of which there are many. Of course, it will take us […]

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Senior Lawmaker Slams Think Tank’s Grim Forecast For Russia

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MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – One of the leaders of the ruling United Russia party and a deputy chairman of the State Duma has given lie to a pessimistic economic forecast in a report by Russia’s Strategic Projects Center released on Wednesday, a paper that blamed the country’s alleged degradation on its leaders. “The report itself has been done not […]

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TNK-BP Deal a Boon for State, Welcome Sign for Foreigners

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 23, 2012) Rosneft’s deal to take over TNK-BP masterfully achieves the dual purpose of strengthening the state’s hand in the oil industry to spectacular proportions and showcasing its benevolence to foreign capital at the same time. Officially confirmed Monday, the gradual $56 billion purchase of the country’s third-largest crude producer will […]

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Russia’s Rising Red Dawn

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, October 23 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to have sounded the death knell for the ideas of Marx and Lenin in Russia, but just over two decades on, a new wave of young and increasingly visible socialist activists are eager to hoist the red flag over the Kremlin once more. […]

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Valdai Experts Lament Poor Institutions in Russia

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

St. Petersburg, October 23 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Zolotov Jr.) – Lack of efficient institutions and the political will to reform them were the buzzwords among the strategists and experts in economics and public policy at the Valdai Club’s 9th annual conference on Russia’s trajectory. The Valdai Club, which is co-sponsored by RIA Novosti and the Russian Council on Foreign and […]

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MOSCOW BLOG: Liberals take off gloves in first clash with Kremlin old guard

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 24 ,2012) It was the first head-to-head clash between the young liberal team in Russia’s cabinet and the old guard Siloviki faction in the presidential administration. On balance, the liberals are seen as having sneaked a win. The battle lines have been drawn since Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appointed a surprisingly reform-minded […]

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Rosneft Deal Shows Ex-KGB Spy’s Influence Under Putin: Energy

Igor Sechin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew Campbell – October 24, 2012) As a small army of advisers from eight investment banks huddled in London last weekend to negotiate Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft (ROSN)’s agreement to acquire BP Plc (BP/)’s Russian venture, the deal’s most important player had already left the country. Igor Sechin, 52, a former Soviet spy and […]

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Russian Unemployment Spans From 0.6% in Moscow to 47.3% in Ingushetia

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MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Differentiation between the levels of unemployment in Russia’s federal districts remains strong – the gap in the districts can surpass four-fold and in the regions 80-fold, the Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat said in a report on employment and unemployment in September. The lowest level of unemployment, in accordance with ILO criteria, was in the […]

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Putin Balks at Pension Threats as Aging Russians Hold Trump Card

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – October 21, 2012) Nina Sultankina is telling Vladimir Putin to ignore Russia’s ticking pensions time bomb. As the 50-year-old road supervisor counts the days until she can retire and tend to her failing health in 2016, she is refusing to work longer and not even the Russian president can change her mind. “I […]

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Russia Hopes to Improve Doing Business Ranking Through Tax Administration – Minister

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Russia hopes improve its ranking on the Doing Business index by improving tax administration, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. In the last Doing Business index, Russia was number 120. The country’s authorities have selected this index as an indicator of the success of their efforts to improve the business climate. In his first instruction after […]

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Ombudsman Unveils Program for Disgruntled Businesspeople

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 18, 2012) Blocked by bureaucracy? Not appreciated by officials? Look for the red button. Under a new initiative by business ombudsman Boris Titov, people sent packing by government agencies will have someone to help them try again. Due to be drawn up by the end of December, the Red Button program […]

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Trial of Prison Warden Where Magnitsky Died to Continue in Moscow

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – Moscow’s Tverskoi Court on Tuesday will continue hearings of the criminal case against a former deputy head of Butyrka prison, Dmitry Kratov, who is the only suspect thus far to have been accused of negligence leading to Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death. Evidence is expected to be provided by investigator Oleg Silchenko, who probed […]

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Russian Business Climate, Corruption Hold Back Rating, S&P Says

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose – October 16, 2012) Russia needs a better business climate to bolster economic growth and win an upgrade of its investment-grade credit rating, according to Standard & Poor’s. The government must deal with “structural impediments” to growth by fighting corruption, scaling back the state’s role in the economy and improving the judiciary, while moving […]

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Towns Face Budget Battles They Can’t Win

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – October 16, 2012) In a recent comedy sketch show, a police officer forks over the pay raise that he hid from his wife after she hears President Vladimir Putin announce the increase on TV. “Vladimir Vladimirovich,” the policeman mutters on the “6 Kadrov” television show, “thank you for raising our salaries, but […]

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Russian Middle Class to Number 74 Million by 2050, HSBC Predicts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – October 15, 2012) Russia’s middle class will double to 60 percent of the population by 2050, benefiting hotels and restaurants, according to a report by HSBC Holdings Plc. (HSBA) By that time, about 74 million Russians will earn between $3,000 and $15,000 a year, making them part of the middle class, according to […]

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Kudrin Criticizes Prevalence of Social, Military Spending in Budget

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – International Expert Council for Russia Chairman Alexei Kudrin said at a World Economic Forum session, attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, that the prevalence of social and military spending in the Russian budget had its shortcomings. “It was noted (during discussions on Sunday) that the structure of the budget was weak and that there […]

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The return of Sechin: An apparent compromise in a government rivalry places Putin’s key ally back in the picture

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 15, 2012) President Vladimir Putin has reportedly okayed a plan by the state-owned Rosneft oil company to buy BP’s 50 percent stake in TNKBP ­ and this may be part of a larger compromise with Putin’s key ally, Igor Sechin, who controls Rosneft. That compromise, analysts said, could affect everything from […]

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NEWSBLOG: Russian Journalist Reports on Putin’s Meeting with Iraq’s Al-Maliki; Wing-span of 4.5 Billion Dollars — Meeting between Russian President and Iraqi Prime Minister Opened Deal to Supply Aircraft

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“Russian Journalist Reports on Putin’s Meeting with Iraq’s Al-Maliki” – “Wing-span of 4.5 Billion Dollars — Meeting between Russian President and Iraqi Prime Minister Opened Deal to Supply Aircraft” – Kommersant – Andrey Kolesnikov – October 11, 2012 – no link available to English-language version Andrey Kolesnikov writes about a dinner meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil Mohammed Hasan […]

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Capital Outflow From Russia Will Save Economy From Overheat – Moiseyev

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

TOKYO. Oct 12 (Interfax) – The capital outflow to which Russia has fallen victim over the last several months will protect the country’s economy from a possible overheat, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said in conversation with the press on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Tokyo. “My […]

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Utilities Russia’s Worst Nightmare – Poll

File Photo of Electrical Yard with Fence and Warning Sign

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – The critical situation in the housing and utilities sector is Russia’s most pressing problem with inflation only coming second, a pollster said on Monday. Over 55 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion on Social and Economic Issues said housing and utilities tariffs were […]

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Global Economic Situation Remains Uncertain, IMF Says

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

TOKYO. Oct 15 (Interfax) – The ongoing uncertainty in the economic policies of developed nations is restraining investment in these countries and slowing global growth, while a decline in activity in emerging markets is making it more difficult to achieve balance in the global economy, the IMF said in a communique following a meeting of its International Monetary and Finance […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia expects tax reforms to boost oil output

Oil Well file photo

Russia expects tax reforms to boost oil output – Reuters – October 9, 2012 – click here for original article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/russia-energy-idUSL6E8L9PU620121009 Reuters covers Russian aspirations to expand oil output through tax breaks: Russia aims to bring on line 1.4 million to 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day with new tax reforms designed to reduce the levy on future […]

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Pundits argue that Putin became a symbol of stability, but his policy should be adjusted to future challenges

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

(Interfax – October 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin, who has turned 60 on Oct. 7, has gone down in history already as a statesman, who has put Russia back on the path of stability. However, demand has been growing in Russia for “a new Putin,” strong enough to accomplish fresh breakthroughs, political analysts say. “Russia approached the 21st century on […]

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Kudrin Offered Mega-Regulator Job

Alexei Kudrin file photo

STRASBOURG, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been offered the post of head of Russia’s new financial mega-regulator, he disclosed on Monday. “Yes, I have received the offer but I’m not ready so far to discuss it in detail,” Kudrin said on the sidelines of the global forum for democracy in Strasbourg. First Deputy […]

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World Bank lowers Russia GDP growth forecast to 3.5% in 2012, 3.6% in 2013

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Oct 8 (Interfax) – The World Bank has lowered its 2012 GDP growth forecast for Russia to 3.5%, from the 3.8% it was predicting in June, the World Bank said in its latest Russian Economic Report. The 3.5% growth is the same as the World Bank forecast back in March. The World Bank also lowered its 2013 growth forecast […]

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Altai and Chechnya “Greenest Economies” in New Integrated Index

File Photo of Grozny, Looking out of Building Through Damaged Wall

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – October 4, 2012 The Altai republic and Chechnya have the cleanest economies in Russia, according to a new index released Tuesday. The index, put together by WWF Russia and state-owned news agency RIA-Novosti with the support of the Russian Geographic Society, is one of the first attempts to combine environmental threat factors, […]

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Foreign Ministry Plays Down U.S. Smuggling Arrests

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 5, 2012 The Foreign Ministry on Thursday complained that it had not been properly informed by United States authorities that a group of Russian citizens had been arrested on charges of smuggling microelectronics, raising “serious concerns” for Russia. “A lot is unclear in this story. It raises serious concerns, and we […]

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Facebook Flirts With Local Geeks in Battle for Russia

File Photo of Mark Zuckerberg Gesturing

Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marie Mawad and Ilya Khrennikov – October 5, 2012 Looking for a public bathroom in Moscow? Facebook Inc. (FB) has you covered. Still a dwarf in Russia, the world’s largest social network is courting local geeks to build apps tailor-made for their home market. Its goal is to win over users in Europe’s most populous country […]

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Not Possible to Support Social Protections, Large Army, Many State Properties Simultaneously – Dvorkovich

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 3 (Interfax) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has called it impossible for Russia to simultaneously have a high level of social protection, a large army, and a lot of state properties. “We cannot allow ourselves to simultaneously have a very high level of social protection in a system built on paternalistic principles, at the same time […]

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Zuckerberg Visit Sparks Brain-Drain Debate in Russia

File Photo of Mark Zuckerberg Gesturing

Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – October 3, 2012 – Leonid Bershidsky, an editor and novelist, is Moscow and Kiev correspondent for World View. For Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Moscow was a great photo opportunity. Some of Russia’s technology entrepreneurs, though, saw it as the latest salvo in a global battle for the […]

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Putin Targets Corruption at Gazprom

Russian Gas Facility file photo

Moscow Times –  themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos and Irina Filatova –  October 3, 2012 Signaling the start a long-awaited overhaul at Gazprom, President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for corruption to be eliminated at the state-controlled gas giant and said its business model should be improved. Gazprom has been criticized for years by minority investors who believe their lucrative shares […]

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TRANSCRIPT: VTB Capital RUSSIA CALLING! Investment Forum [Putin Remarks with Q&A]

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Kremlin.ru – October 2, 2012 – Moscow The Forum is taking place in Moscow on October 2-4, 2012. Among the main topics for discussion are the strategic priorities of the country’s development in terms of changes in global economic markets, the creation of the Common Economic Space and Russia’s accession to the WTO. The RUSSIA CALLING! Forum has been held […]

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The Tao of Mark Zuckerberg

File Photo of Mark Zuckerberg Gesturing

RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova – October 1, 2012 Natalia Antonova is the deputy editor of The Moscow News. I never thought that there would come a day when I would unabashedly cheer on Mark Zuckerberg. After all, even among hardcore Facebook users such as myself, it is much more fashionable to poke fun at the guy, gently or otherwise. […]

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USAID Stops Operations in Russia

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MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti)-The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has funded Russian non-governmental organizations, stops its operations in Russia from Monday. Russia said in September that USAID, which provided financing for pro-democracy and human rights groups that have irked the Kremlin, would have to close its offices in the country by October 1. President Vladimir Putin […]

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Russia is running out of cash

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Outdoor Rally with Microphone in Hand and Heavy Coat

Dmitri Travin – www.opendemocracy.net – September 28, 2012 Dmitry Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies As the Russian government tries to put together its budget plan for 2013-2015, it is clear that it cannot possibly meet all its pre-election promises. Dmitry Travin looks at the financial crisis facing the country. The […]

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NEWSLINK: Kremlin oil control drive could backfire

Oil Well file photo

Kremlin oil control drive could backfire – Reuters – By Dmitry Zhdannikov – September 27, 2012 –  click here for original article Reuters reports on the Russian government’s efforts to bring more oil assets under state control.  Critics charge that growing state control could cripple industry, strain budget resources and even cause social unrest. Some observers warn that paradoxically the […]

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NEWSLINK: USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION

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USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION – The U.S. Agency for international development (USAID) will continue to carry out its programs with the help of its partners – Izvestia – Anton Lednev – September 28, 2012 [no link available to English-language version of article] Izvestia reports that, while the U.S. Agency for international […]

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NEWSLINK: Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM – AFP – September 28, 2012 click here to read original article AFP covers plans for Facebook social network founder Mark Zuckerberg to visit Russia and meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.  Facebook is holding an event in Moscow, and already has ties to Russian IT. “Zuckerberg will be visiting Russia at a […]

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Putin Confirms Russia’s Adherence to WTO Rules

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MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will follow the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite the fact that he did not sign the protocol of Russia’s accession to WTO. “Regarding my signing of the WTO accession protocol: I did not sign anything. I worked for Russia’s accession, indeed, we all worked on it, […]

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Russian Food-Store Tsar Rings Up Billions as Wal-Mart Wavers

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

Ilya Khrennikov – Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – September 7, 2012 One by one, from the southeastern corner of the continent, Sergey Galitskiy is beating the biggest supermarket chains in Europe. In February, the Russian retailer he founded near the Black Sea, OAO Magnit (MGNT), surged past Metro AG (MEO) of Germany in market value, then overtook Royal Ahold NV of […]

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Senior MP Says USAID Knew Russia Was Unhappy With It

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(Interfax Moscow, 20 September) As early as two years ago Russia warned the USA about its grievances over the Agency for International Development (USAID), head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov has said. “We warned the US side a long time ago – I think this story is already two years old – that we were not […]

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Battle between liberals, Siloviki heats up over Rosneftegaz cash

Igor Sechin file photo

(Business New Europe – September 21, 2012) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered his cabinet to draw up urgent plans to “seize” 95% of the RUB130bn (€3.2bn) sitting on Rosneftegaz’s accounts to meet President Vladimir Putin’s demands to increase spending on state salaries and infrastructure investment. The move would emasculate Rosneftegaz CEO and Kremlin insider Igor Sechin’s plans to […]

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Russian Finance Minister Answers Putin’s Criticism Of Three-Year Federal Budget

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 19 September)  The Russian president’s decrees of 7 May, which reflect (Vladimir Putin’s) election campaign ideas, are a priority, and R1,145bn (36.7bn dollars) is to be spent on their implementation over the next three years, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists. “The implementation of the decrees is a priority. For all the ministries and agencies, this […]

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Russian Deputy Finance Minister Denies Abnormal Capital Flight From Country

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Bishkek, 20 September) The leadership of the (Russian) Ministry of Finance is sceptical about pessimistic takes and forecasts on the outflow of capital from Russia and believes that there are no grounds for this – that this is ordinary banking practice. “I see no indication of there being a withdrawal of funds from Russia. What people are calling […]

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Russian Analysts, Rights Activists, Opposition Comment On USAID Closure

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RIA Novosti – September 19, 2012 The Russian authorities’ decision to bring to an end the work of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been widely commented by Russian political analysts, opposition politicians and human rights activists. Analysts The closure of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) operation in Russia is a disturbing signal which indicates that […]

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Top Official Unfazed By Russia’s Standing In ‘Subjective’ Corruption Ratings

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

(Interfax – September 19, 2012) The head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, has said there is no need “to make a tragedy out” of the fact that Russia holds the top position in various international corruption ratings, Interfax news agency reported on 19 September. “There is no need to feel outraged or to make a tragedy out of […]

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Russia Puts Renewed Hope in Repatriation Program

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

By Natalya Krainova – Moscow Times – September 19, 2012 President Vladimir Putin has revised the state’s repatriation program, simplifying the process for former compatriots to move back to Russia and bring relatives along with them. But analysts doubt that the changes will significantly alter migration flows. Earlier this year, the president said that if the demographic decline is not […]

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USAID Sums Up Outcomes of Its Activities in Russia Before Closure

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WASHINGTON. Sept 19 (Interfax) – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided financial support in drafting the Russian Constitution and a number of federal codes over the 20 years of its work in Russia, USAID said in a statement posted on its website. “USAID-funded Rule of Law implementers helped draft the Russian Constitution, Part I of the Russian […]

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‘Russia’s Tibet’ Opens to the Outside World

File Photo of Lake in Altai

By James Brooke –  Voice of America – September 18, 2012 James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. Word of the killings of four American diplomats in Libya took 24 hours to reach me last week. That was fitting as I was contemplating the silence of cedar forests, the grace of wild horses cantering […]

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Europe-Western China Corridor to Become Shortcut Between Europe, Asia-Pacific – Putin

Map of Russia

PAVLODAR. Sept 19 (Interfax) – Innovations will help make transportation systems more reliable and effective, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The introduction of innovations will help significantly enhance the reliability and effectiveness of transportation systems, first of all under the project to build a transportation corridor between Europe and Western China. It will run from St. Petersburg to the border […]

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