TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of ASI Expert Council

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 21, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Expert Council, which is marking its 5th anniversary. The President also visited an exhibition presenting projects that have received ASI support over various years, in particular, new developments in medicine, communications, transport, housing and utilities, agriculture, continued and vocational education, and […]

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Hybrid Business — The Risks In The Kremlin’s Weaponization Of The Economy

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Commentary: Mark Galeotti, Anna Arutunyan – July 20, 2016) Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based journalist and writer, author of The Putin Mystique. “How many divisions does the pope have?” Josef Stalin was meant to have […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Foundation

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Foundation. Participants in the meeting summed up the results of the first year of the foundation’s work and the performance of the Sirius educational centre, which opened on its basis. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues, […]

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Putin Propaganda Based on Rejection of Possibility of Rational Thought, Shekhtman Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s propaganda is intended to destroy “all the rules of rational thought” just as those who support pseudo-science do, Pavel Shekhtman argues on the Kasparov portal today; but it does so in exactly the opposite way that the supporters of religious fundamentalism attack rationality. Religious fundamentalists reject doubt […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) Boris Titov presented to the President the Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights annual report. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon Mr Titov. Have you prepared your report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. I am ready to present what will be my third report since my appointment as Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Statement in response to the report by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 18, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Recent events and the tense atmosphere that has formed around international sport and the Olympic movement involuntarily recall the situation in the early 1980s. Back then, many Western countries, citing the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Four years later, the Soviet Union retaliated by boycotting […]

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Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/oil-must-go-to-40-and-stay-there-to-buy-russia-reforms-at-last] At an oil price of $40 or below, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a flat income tax, built a sovereign wealth fund and delivered speeches to the Bundestag in German. When it was over $100, he fought two wars with neighbors and splashed over $40 […]

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Poll: Over 35% of Russians believe voting in upcoming elections is useless

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

Experts explain that many voters do not believe that their votes will be counted honestly, do not see any differences between the parties and do not consider the parliament an influential body. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – July 14, 2016) A few months before the parliamentary elections in Russia, which will take place on […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 14, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of parties represented in the State Duma. The agenda included the work of the parliament over the past five years, and progress of the election campaign. Excerpts from transcript of meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Not long ago, I met […]

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NEWSWATCH: “An Unfinished Bridge, and Partnership, Between Russia and China” – New York Times

Asia Map

The New York Times covers Russo-Chinese relations and delays in Russia fulfilling its part of a joint arrangement to build an international bridge across the Amur River. … The bridge abruptly stops, hanging in the air high above the river just short of the Russian shore at Nizhneleninskoye …. The gap … left by Russia’s failure to build its own, […]

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PRESS RELEASE: Jamestown Launches ‘Russia in Decline’ Project

Kremlin and River

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – July 14, 2016) JAMESTOWN LAUNCHES ‘RUSSIA IN DECLINE’ PROJECT The Jamestown Foundation is proud to officially unveil a special project, Russia in Decline, which seeks to shed light on the possible futures facing the Russian Federation based on currently observable trends of a country trapped on a downward trajectory. This project is headed by longtime […]

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Reluctantly, Russia Starts Sell-Off of Major State Companies

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobso – July 14, 2016) Back in April, President Vladimir Putin was asked at a press conference why he planned to sell state companies just when the market was at bottom. Putin’s reply was blunt: “We need the money.” Russia was, after all, in a bind. A deep recession and plunging oil prices meant […]

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Large Parties Expected to Dominate Duma Election – Report

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 14, 2016) The next State Duma could be made of three political parties instead of four, with smaller opposition parties winning no seats at all, a new report by the Russian Association of Public Relations (RASO) announced Wednesday. The ruling United Russia party and larger, systemic, opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and […]

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What Russia’s New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 14, 2016) After three years of relative silence, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up: “[President Vladimir] Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.” For the man who fled to Russia after blowing the lid off the NSA’s unprecedented […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian ‘Firehose of Falsehood’ Propaganda Model. Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It.” – The RAND Corporation

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

… there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia’s approach to propaganda … [with] new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO …. high-volume and multichannel, … it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. … rapid, continuous, […]

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Putin Isn’t About to Let Go of the Crown Jewels After Alrosa

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov – July 12, 2016) Hatched in harsh economic times, Russia’s latest wave of privatization is off to a mixed start, and a sequel is by no means guaranteed. The sale of a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa PJSC was the biggest divestment of a state asset since the government reduced its stake […]

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Putin Regime Now in Trouble for Seven Reasons, Solovey Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 10, 2016) MGIMO Professor Valery Solovey says that the Putin system if not Vladimir Putin personally is in trouble for seven reasons, most of which are of its own creation but few of which it has a chance of escaping at least in the near term because of the paranoid style […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In the ‘lungs of Moscow’ forest, Russia’s civil activists make their mark; Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the ‘lungs’ of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

A diverse band of urban activists, communicating largely through social media, are combating plans to build an enormous high-rise housing development amid the forested ring around the capital  …. The protesters who make up the Mortongrad Nyet! coalition have no shared ideology, and certainly aren’t interested in criticizing the Kremlin. Yet they are redefining the limits of Russian civil society […]

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Shellings in Donbas increase threefold in past week – OSCE SMM

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. July 8 (Interfax) – The number of shellings in Donbas has significantly increased in the past week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday. He said that the number of shellings has increased threefold in comparison with the previous […]

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Russian Artist Pavlensky Stripped of Award Over Support for Police Killers

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ed Crowther – July 8, 2016) The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has stripped radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky of the Vaslav Havel prize, awarded to him in May, the Dozhd news website reported Friday. The decision was a result of Pavlensky’s support for the Primorye Partisans, a group recognized as a criminal organization by […]

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[CAUTION: GRAPHIC DETAILS] Rebel Artist Pavlensky Says Inspired By Pussy Riot, Russian Church

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Melanie Bachina – PRAGUE – July 1, 2016) Radical performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky says his dramatic brand of antiestablishment art was inspired by the shock of seeing fellow students at his art academy imbued with the national “clerical ideology.” But the 32-year-old bad boy of Russia’s suppressed dissident scene says he was only driven to perform […]

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Putin’s Apparent Cancellation of Three Domestic Trips This Week Sparks Speculation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin reportedly has cancelled three domestic trips that he had been scheduled to make this week – to the Altay, Sakha and Nizhny Novgorod – and has not appeared in public since returning from Finland, a pattern that is already leading to speculation about his health physical or […]

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Third of Russians Expect Rigged 2016 Duma Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 1, 2016) More than a third of Russians believe that the upcoming State Duma elections will not be free and fair, a survey by independent pollster Levada Center revealed Friday. Thirty eight percent of the 1600 respondents believed that the elections would involve slander, pressure on the electorate, ballot tampering, or other forms of […]

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Here’s What Putin Wants From Central Bank as Elections Near

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 5, 2016) Helping your president win elections doesn’t have to compromise a central bank’s independence, at least not in Russia. Monetary policy is aligning with politics before Vladimir Putin’s biggest test at the ballot box since he returned to the presidency in 2012. By claiming the upper hand in the […]

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A gaffe too far: Russia’s controversial children’s rights ombudsman resigns

Pavel Astakhov file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

Pavel Astakhov, whose tactless and cynical comments made him deeply unpopular with many Russians and who came to international prominence for supporting the law banning foreigners from adopting Russian children, is to leave his post. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – July 6, 2016) Pavel Astakhov, who has gained notoriety abroad for his active support […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russia’s strict new anti-terror laws: What is the debate about? A new package of “anti-terrorist” laws adopted by the State Duma on the last day of the legislative season has the potential to affect many areas of the lives of ordinary Russians. What do lawmakers hope to achieve with the new legislation and why has it been criticized?”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Press statements and answers to journalists’ questions following Russian-Finnish talks (excerpt)

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kremlin.ru – July 1, 2016) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Indeed, we had a very thorough discussion in narrow format. Hopefully, we will continue our talks with the participation of our respective delegations in the expanded format in the same business-like manner. I reiterate that we consider Finland our priority partner. Our relationship is based […]

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Billionaire Tycoon Prokhorov to Sell All Russian Assets

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 4, 2016) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is to sell all of his Russian assets, the Vedomosti business daily reported Monday. Prokhorov’s ONEXIM investment group has various assets in mining, finance, energetics, development and the media. Its larger assets include a 20 percent stake at Russian company Uralkali, the world’s largest producer of potassium, and a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Russian Federation ambassadors and permanent envoys

foreign-ministry-200

(Kremlin.ru – June 30, 2016) Vladimir Putin addressed the eighth meeting of Russian Federation ambassadors and permanent envoys at the Russian Foreign Ministry. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, it is a pleasure to greet you all at this traditional gathering at the Foreign Ministry. Let me start by thanking the Foreign Ministry’s heads and staff and everyone working in […]

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Governor Belykh’s Arrest Has Russian Elite on Edge

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – June 30, 2016) For the last decade, regional governors in Russia are usually appointed apparatchiks, with faces unrecognizable outside their home territory. There are some exceptions to the rule, like Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the republic of Chechnya. Another rare exception was Nikita Belykh, the governor of the Kirov region, a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Turkey map

(Kremlin.ru – June 29, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss priority areas for 2017. The President also instructed the Government to begin work on normalising relations with Turkey. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to inform you that after receiving a letter from the Turkish President, we have decided to start work […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Reception in honour of graduates of military academies

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Kremlin.ru – June 28, 2016) A reception in honour of graduates of military academies, institutes and universities run by the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, Federal Security Service and Federal Guards Service was hosted at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Distinguished graduates of academies under the responsibility of the Federal National Guard attended the reception […]

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Putin will decide whether to “veto” anti-terrorist laws when he receives them for signing – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. June 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a decision on the so-called ‘anti-terrorist package’ of laws after he receives it for signing, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “We know of different views on this bill. We know of specific remarks, including those made by communications [operators], public figures, and public organizations. […]

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Russian ruling party confirms Duma election candidates

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – June 27, 2016) A United Russia congress on 27 June approved the ruling party’s candidates and manifesto for the State Duma election in September, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Lists of candidates Half of the 450 seats in the new Duma will be elected by proportional representation and the other half by a majority vote […]

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Lack of Solidarity Among Russian Opposition an Ominous Echo of 1937, Pavlova Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2016) The reaction of many Russian opposition figures to the arrest of corrupt figures today eerily and ominously echoes the reaction of many ordinary Soviet citizens to the arrest and then execution of many corrupt officials in the late 1930s, according to Irina Pavlova, a US-based Russian historian. And the […]

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RBTH: Why Erdogan apologized to Putin

Turkey map

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies over Syria, the president’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. According to experts, Erdogan took such a step due to the deterioration in relations with the EU over refugees and the economic consequences of the breakdown in […]

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Primakov Offers Five Lessons Today’s Russian Leaders Aren’t Following, Bordyugov and Rybakov Say

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 27, 2016) Yevgeny Primakov died a year ago and most remarkably has continued to be treated as an unalloyed positive way in Russia. That sets him apart from almost all other Moscow figures of the last 30 years and suggests that his approach has some important lessons for current Russian leaders, […]

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Russian Opposition Governor Arrested for Corruption Claims Innocence

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 27, 2016) A Russian governor arrested for corruption has claimed his innocence in a Moscow court. Nikita Belykh, governor of the Kirov region in central Russia, was arrested Friday after allegedly taking a 400,000 euro ($440,000) bribe. Appearing in court on Saturday, June 25, Belykh maintained that he was not guilty, telling the court, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Answers to media questions [Putin on Brexit)

Eurasia Map

(Kremlin.ru – June 24, 2016) Vladimir Putin responded to media questions at the end of his working visit to Uzbekistan to attend the SCO Heads of State Council, timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the SCO. Question: I would like to ask you about Brexit. Well before the vote, it was alleged that Russia would be happy if […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] United Russia party congress

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in political party United Russia’s 15th congress. The congress will approve the party’s election campaign programme and present party lists of candidates for the upcoming State Duma election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, I welcome the delegates and guests at this United Russia congress. This congress is an […]

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New Anti-Terrorist Acts Means Kremlin is Preparing for War at Home and Abroad, Ponomarev Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2016) Today, the Russian Duma passed on second and third reading the so-called “Yarova-Ozerov law on terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also and more seriously that he is […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest

EU Map

Subject: Brexit: Russia’s national interest versus its nationalist interest Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0400 From: Ira Straus (IRASTRAUS@aol.com) The argumentative thrust of Putin’s Russia is friendly to Brexit. Indeed, it propagandizes for the most extreme parties of the far Right in Europe, coupled with providing financial sponsorship for them and some organizational support. This creates a resemblance to […]

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All Russians Are Tainted by Putin’s Regime

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 21, 2016) The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athletes compete in the Rio Olympics if they can prove that they haven’t used performance-enhancing drugs won’t be popular with other countries. Nonetheless, it was the right call. But it also carries some unpleasant undertones: It formally requires Russians to prove that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin addressed the State Duma’s plenary session

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 22, 2016) The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session. Speech at the State Duma’s plenary session. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Rival Kremlin camps prepare for battle over economy” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Rival camps inside … Putin’s entourage are preparing to do battle … over whether the Russian state should keep its role as custodian of the economy. … the Kremlin presents a united front, especially in its stand-off with the West[;] in reality it is divided with Putin often having to act as umpire … On one side … is a […]

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