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Archive for Politics, Government, Protests, Elections

Nervous Kyiv Authorities Post Civil Defense Notices — And Then Take Them Down

Maidan Square file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – KYIV, April 16, 2014) Upon hearing a long, protracted siren, all citizens at home should turn on their radios, learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter, and inform their neighbors. They should then close all their windows, turn off the gas and water supply at the mains, gather up necessities including

Putin Pushing World to Something Worse than Cold War, Piontkovsky Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 15, 2014) Vladimir Putin, in his effort to save his rule by intervening militarily in Ukraine, is pushing the world not toward a new cold war as many say but rather to something far worse and more dangerous, one in which one or another side may

RIA Novosti: Moscow Dismisses Russia’s Alleged Threats to Invade Ukraine, Europe as Nonsense

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Statements that Russia allegedly threatens Ukraine and Europe with a military invasion are “nonsense,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told Rossiya24 TV channel Wednesday. “All the horror stories that Russia will take over Ukraine today and tomorrow the Russian troops will reach the English Channel, Bordeaux and the Cote

Russia’s First Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill Under Consideration by Duma

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – April 15, 2014) Russia’s first anti-sexual harassment law has been submitted to the State Duma, despite concerns among critics that its terms will be used to deport foreign workers unfairly. The changes will protect the honor and dignity of “the more beautiful, but weaker sex,” said Oleg

RIA Novosti: ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’ to Cover Crimea, Sanctions and NATO Buildup

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will answer questions from the public Thursday during his twelfth yearly call-in show called “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin.” This year’s “Direct Line” comes as the country is facing accusations of fomenting unrest in Ukraine after the breakaway republic Crimea voted by a landslide to

Most Russians Support McDonald’s Closures, Poll Says

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2014) Liberal Democrat Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s call to close all McDonald’s restaurants in Russia received a lot of media attention, and a recent poll shows that most Russians would be glad to see the back of the fast food chain. Sixty-two percent of respondents support the closure

Q&A with US Amb. Geoffrey Pyatt: Ukraine Crisis Escalates as War Fears Grow

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

(Voice of America – April 14, 2014) The escalating situation in Ukraine appears to be on the verge of armed conflict as Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov asked the United Nations Monday to send peacekeeping troops to the east of the country, where pro-Russia militias have seized government buildings and blocked major highways with impunity. Geoffrey

Interfax: Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief protests against its correspondent not being allowed to enter Ukraine

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station has expressed protests against the fact that its correspondent was not allowed to enter Ukraine. “I protest strongly against the fact that Ekho Moskvy correspondent was not allowed to enter Ukraine,” Ekho Moskvy Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov said in a statement obtained by

RIA Novosti: Ukraine’s Interim Leader Hopes to Resolve Crisis in East Soon

Olexander Turchynov file photo

KIEV, April 14 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev hopes to resolve the crisis in eastern Ukraine soon, acting President Olexander Turchynov said  Monday, a day after the country’s special forces launched an operation  to suppress pro-federalization protesters in the region. “I’m sure that soon the situation in the Donbas will be completely  stabilized with the support of

Putin Propaganda on Ukraine Threatens to Destabilize Russia , Moscow Commentator Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 14, 2014) The Kremlin’s insistence that ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in southeastern Ukraine are acting on their own rather than under the direction of Moscow as seems to be the case could blow up in Vladimir Putin’s face by leading Russians in Russian regions to

Culture Ministry Purges Prominent Arts Figures

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – April 11, 2014) The Russian Culture Ministry raised eyebrows this week by replacing several respected figures in two departments involving the fine arts and theater. Many admit it was high time for these experts to be rotated out of their positions. But most also suggest that the

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with core members of the Russian Popular Front

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region – April 10, 2014) Vladimir Putin met with core members of the Russian Popular Front national public movement. In particular, the meeting addressed implementing the Russian Popular Front’s anti-corruption project, which includes monitoring purchases for state and municipal needs. Also, Russian Popular Front representatives talked about independent supervision over implementation

Ukraine Rejects Gas Price as Putin Waits on Prepayment

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daria Marchak and Jake Rudnitsky – April 10, 2014) Ukraine is reducing gas imports and halting payments for natural gas imports from Russia over price “aggression” before the world’s biggest exporter of the fuel cuts supplies, raising the risk of disrupted flows to Europe. Ukraine won’t buy gas to pump into

Interfax: Daily activities by Russian troops on their national territory pose no threat to U.S., OSCE countries – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) – Russia is not conducting any unusual or unplanned military activities on its territory in the area of the Ukrainian border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “The U.S. and Ukraine have no reasons for concerns. Russia has said many times that it is not conducting any unusual or unplanned activities significant

Interfax: Russia not financing unrest in eastern Ukraine – senator

Federation Council file photo

(Interfax – April 9, 2014) Andrey Klimov, deputy head of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council, has said the US State Department statements about unrest in eastern Ukraine being sponsored by Russia are absurd, Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax reported on 8 April. “Such statements are absolutely groundless and absurd. If Americans use

Three fourths of Russians would vote for Putin in presidential elections – poll

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – April 8, 2014) Vladimir Putin would win a convincing victory were presidential elections to be held next Sunday, the Levada center pollster told Interfax. Forty-six percent of respondents and 77 percent of those who have made up their minds already would vote for Putin, it said. The poll was conducted on March 21

Lavrov: Ukrainian presidential candidates should involve themselves in crisis settlement talks

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – Presidential candidates nominated by Ukrainian political parties may represent eastern and southern Ukraine at multilateral consultations about the Ukrainian crisis settlement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Practically all the leading political forces have nominated and approved presidential candidates; no matter how one may feel about these presidential elections. After

Novosibirsk Race Seen as Win for Opposition

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladislav Shayman – April 8, 2014) Calling Novosibirsk a provincial backwater would be incorrect. With 1.7 million residents, Novosibirsk is Russia’s third-largest city with a nationally known opera theater and nearly 70 local universities and colleges. It also is known as “the town of academicians” for hosting the internationally known

Foreign funding alone not enough to define NGO as foreign agent – judge

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – April 8, 2014) The mere fact that a nonprofit organization receives foreign funding cannot provide grounds for identifying this organization as a foreign agent, Constitutional Court Judge Sergei Knyazev told reporters on Tuesday. Such an organization will however find itself in the group of foreign agents if it engages in political activities, he

Putin’s Call-In Show Set for April 17, Reports Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 7, 2014) President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold his annual call-in show on April 17, Russian media reports said Monday. The question-and-answer session will be broadcast on national television and radio stations and is expected to cover “Crimea, the international situation, the domestic economy and the

RIA Novosti: Russia Won’t Let NGOs Be Used for Destructive Ends as in Ukraine – Putin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the country will not allow the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be used toward destructive ends as has recently happened in Ukraine. “Modern Russian legislation creates all of the conditions for the transparent and free activity of non-governmental social organizations, but we

RIA Novosti: Opinion: Violent Crackdown on Ukrainian Protesters Would End in Civil War

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – The violent suppression of anti-government demonstrations in eastern Ukraine would lead to a full-scale civil war, the president of the Center of System-based Analysis and Forecasting told RIA Novosti on Monday. “A violent crackdown is a possibility since [former Ukrainian Prime Minister] Yulia Tymoshenko has called to start shooting

BNE: Who is Vladimir Putin?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow, editor-in-chief – March 31, 2014) When he first assumed power in 2000, the press corps spent the first six months asking the same question: “Who is Vladimir Putin?” At first the media speculated he was merely a puppet of the oligarchs because he had clearly

Russians polled on what democracy is

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

(Interfax – Moscow, April 3, 2014) About half of Russians (46 per cent) think that the country is a democracy, while last year 38 per cent thought so, sociologists from the Levada Centre have told Interfax. According to the results of their survey, 32 per cent of Russians, the same number as in 2013, think

Interfax: Number of Russian citizens believing democracy grows in Russia rising – poll

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

MOSCOW. April 3 (Interfax) – A total of 46% of Russian citizens believe that democracy rules in the country, against 38% in 2013, sociologists of the Levada Center told Interfax. According to the survey, 32% of Russians, the same as in 2013, think democracy has not been established yet, while 13% of respondents (against 22%

No Basis for Russian Optimism about a Quick Military Victory in Ukraine, Moscow Expert Says

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 3, 2014) Many Russians and some in the West believe that the Russian military could overrun Ukraine because of its superiority over Ukrainian forces, but such views ignore both the enormous challenges that any occupier of Ukraine would face and the reality that the Ukrainian military

Encounters with Russian humour

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ajay Kamalakaran, RBTH – April 1, 2014) Russian people have an amazing ability to see the humour in some of the glummest situations. It’s hard to argue that laughter is the best medicine. In the popular 2006 Russian film ‘Peter FM,’ the protagonist gets stopped by a policeman

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

Bill to Toughen Law on Rallies Raises Concerns

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 2, 2014) United Russia deputy Alexander Sidyakin late Monday submitted to the State Duma a bill introducing prison terms for repeat violations of a law on public rallies, stirring fears among analysts of a crackdown on the opposition. The move coincided with an effort by prosecutors

Russia must remain true to “traditional values” – Kremlin chief-of-staff

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – Moscow, March 31, 2014) Sergey Ivanov, head of the Kremlin administration, is stressing the importance and relevance of Russia drawing up a state cultural policy: the scenario in Ukraine, which led to the abandoning of traditional values and a division of society provoked from abroad, must not be allowed. “The latest events in

Interfax: Russia hopes for “transparent” election in Ukraine – deputy foreign minister

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax, Moscow, March 31, 2014) Moscow hopes that the presidential election in Ukraine will be open and transparent, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin has said. “Naturally, we have questions. We want the carrying out a constitutional reform that would take into account the opinions of the regions to be a priority after all. The

Russian Duma ready to talk to Ukrainian parliament – ruling party MP

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Moscow, 31 March: The State Duma is ready for dialogue with the Ukrainian Supreme Council on various issues in order to bring their positions closer, including on the subject of the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, member of the State Duma Committee for Security and Countering Corruption Nikolay Kovalev (One Russia parliamentary party) has said.

Putin Draws His Own ‘Red Lines’ across Post-Soviet Space

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 27, 2014) The Western powers have long talked about “red lines” in Syria and elsewhere, actions or events that they say have suggested underscore their concern and indicate where they will act. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has done the same, and his “red lines” underscore

Russian president’s job approval rating stands at over 80 percent – VTsIOM

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Interfax/Russia Beyond the Headlines – March 27, 2014) The job approval rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin has grown to 82.3 percent from 75.7 percent a week ago, sociologists of the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) have said following a recent public opinion survey. The sociologists have explained this result primarily by

Interfax: Most Russians were impressed by Putin’s speech on joining Crimea – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians (87%) know that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an address on the joining of Crimea to Russia on March 18, and 66% of them said they were impressed by it, shows a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation. The poll, which surveys 1,500 respondents

Russia: position of Ukrainian politicians creates serious threat to NPT

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – Russia has rejected the claims of a Ukrainian delegate to the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague that Russia is allegedly threatening the security of nuclear sites in Ukraine. “This is a pure and simple attempt to shift the blame,” the Russian delegation said in a statement released by the

Russian Cabinet Outlines Costs of Crimea

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – March 25, 2014) The costly consequences of expanding Russia’s territory became clearer Monday when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev revealed a Crimea to-do list for the government and its corporations. Russia will need to take care of entitlements and services ranging from retirement pensions to tax rebates to

Russians Must Oust Putin Rather than Suffer for His Imperial Ambitions, Felshtinsky Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 24, 2014) Russians must recognize that Vladimir Putin is “an aggressor and instigator of war,” that he is making them into “victims and participants in state crimes,” that he will eventually lose to the democratic world, and that he, they and their country will suffer and

Hagel Gets Assurances About Russian Troops on Ukraine Border

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Defense.gov – American Forces Press Service – Jim Garamone – WASHINGTON – March 20, 2014) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian troops along the Russia-Ukraine border are there solely for exercise purposes and will not cross over into Ukrainian territory, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said

Interfax: Russia’s ruling party distances itself from MP Vladimir Zhirinovskiy’s territorial claims on Ukraine

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 20, 2014) The parliamentary majority does not share [LDPR party leader] Vladimir Zhirinovskiy’s view that Russia has to expand its borders by incorporating Donbass [industrial area of Ukraine around Donetsk] and some other regions of Ukraine. “I would like to comment on the LDPR leader and say that some of his

BNE: Russia won’t move into East Ukraine unless there is a massacre of its citizens – Sergei Mironov

Sergei Mironov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 20, 2014) “Russia won’t deploy troops in eastern Ukraine unless there is a “massacre” of its citizens there, says Sergei Mironov, leader of pro-Kremlin Just Russia party and a Putin ally, reports Bloomberg. “It would be highly undesirable and I think it’s unlikely, unless we see large-scale massacres,

RIA Novosti: Death Toll From Unrest in Ukraine Rises to 103

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) – The death toll from the unrest in Ukraine that led to the ouster of the country’s president last month has risen to 103, the country’s Ministry of Health said Thursday. Previous casualty figures stood at 102 dead and 1,419 injured. The ministry said on its website that 128 people

Putin’s Crimea Move Cripples Opposition

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – March 21, 2014) During his triumphant speech on Crimea’s annexation earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin stressed that his policy was supported by an “absolute majority of Russians,” saying those who opposed it were “national traitors” acting on behalf of Western countries. While such a bold statement

Outspoken Kremlin Critic Appointed as Human Rights Ombudsman

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(RIA Novosti – March 18, 2014) The Russian parliament voted Tuesday to appoint Ella Pamfilova to the post of Human Rights Ombudsman. President Vladimir Putin formally nominated Pamfilova, an outspoken Kremlin critic, for the post last month. The position, established in 1994, has powers to sue state agencies and the parliament on behalf of people

U.S. Threatens Sanctions Against Politically Connected Tycoons

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – March 20, 2014) The White House has thrown some light on who may be next in line to feel U.S. wrath over Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine: businesspeople close to the Russian government. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. will add bite to its current sanctions

The newfound uncertainty of life in Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Lara McCoy Roslof, RBTH – March 18, 2014) The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the exchange of increasingly politicized rhetoric has brought with it a growing sense of unease and concern about the future. RBTH’s editor for the Western Hemisphere talks about how the atmosphere in Russia has

Putin’s Crimea Policies Reflect His Fear of Revolutionary Change in Russia, Pavlovsky Says

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 15, 2014) What Vladimir Putin is doing in Crimea has less to do with the defense of Russia’s foreign policy interests there than with the defense of the Kremlin leader’s own position in the face of what is becoming “the Great Ukrainian-Russian Revolution,” according to Gleb

Putin’s Approval Rating Rises Amid Crimean Secession Debate – RIA Novosti

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has risen 5 percent in the past week amid the ongoing crisis over the Crimean parliament’s plan to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, according to a survey published Wednesday by a state-run pollster. According to the Public Opinion Foundation, 53 percent of

Russia to Select New Human Rights Ombudsman

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian parliament has tentatively decided to select the country’s new human rights ombudsman next week. Russian President Vladimir Putin formally nominated Ella Pamfilova, an outspoken Kremlin critic, for the post last month. The position, established in 1994, has powers to sue state agencies and the parliament on behalf

Opposition planned Moscow micro-Maidan in May 2012 – activist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) – The convicted Left Front activist, Konstantin Lebedev, who is serving a prison term for organizing the mass disturbances in Moscow in May 6, 2012, told Moscow City Court that he and the other co-accused, Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev – were planning to stage a “micro-Maidan.” “We were prepared for

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