Category Archives: Politics, Government, Protests, Elections

NEWSLINK International New York Times/Michael Khodarkovsky: Putin’s Disunited Nation

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

During those tense days in early March when Vladimir Putin disappeared from public view, the Russian president issued only one official statement: He instructed his prime minister to prepare a blueprint for a new federal agency that would work toward ‘consolidating the unity of the multiethnic nation of the Russian Federation.’The move passed relatively unnoticed, but it raises provocative questions. […]

» Read more

Russian Rights Activist Alexeyeva Returns to Kremlin Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 28, 2015) One of Russia’s best-known human rights advocates and the founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, has rejoined the Kremlin’s human rights council, saying she intended to look into the persecution of nongovernmental organizations under the country’s “foreign agents” law. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday appointing […]

» Read more

Russia Could Use Prison Labor For 2018 World Cup

putin-fifa-meeting

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 25, 2015) A prominent member of parliament for the ruling United Russia party has drafted a bill to allow enterprises to employ thousands of convicts as a cheap workforce to build infrastructure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The legal amendments reported on May 25 in leading business daily Kommersant create a mechanism […]

» Read more

Russia Is Using Mobile Crematoriums to Hide Ukraine’s Dead

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – May 26, 2015) Josh Rogin is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about national security and foreign affairs. He has previously worked for the Daily Beast, Newsweek, Foreign Policy magazine, the Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly and Asahi Shimbun. Russia is so desperate to hide its military involvement in Ukraine that it has brought […]

» Read more

Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

» Read more

Putin Faces New Kind of Parade of Sovereignties in Degraded Russian Regions

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 27, 2015) Russian governors, “even the most loyal” to the Kremlin, as a result of the intensification of the economic crisis, find themselves between a rock and a hard place and are beginning to complain about Moscow’s failure to articulate an anti-crisis strategy which takes the interests of their regions into […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Washington Post: Legally silencing Russia’s undesirables

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to […]

» Read more

Shoigu at 60: The Man Who Would Be Russia’s King?

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 22, 2015) Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally, friend and rumored potential successor of President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, turned 60 on Thursday. “A servant to the tsar, a father to soldiers,” political pundits say of Shoigu – one of the country’s longest-serving government officials – citing Mikhail […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Move to Shift Vote for Russian Duma Seen Benefitting Putin. Support grows for holding parliamentary elections three months earlier, in September 2016

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Senior ruling-party politicians are throwing their weight behind a proposal to move Russia’s next parliamentary elections up three months to September 2016, a shift that could put opposition candidates at a further disadvantage by relegating the campaign to vacation season.

» Read more

Interfax: Over 80% of Russians against same-sex marriages

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

(Interfax – May 18, 2015) The percentage of Russians who are positive about the law banning the propaganda of homosexuality is increasing and is now 77 percent against 67 percent in 2013, Levada Center told Interfax. Fifteen percent of the respondents do not support this law and 7 percent said they are not interested, a poll surveying 800 people conducted […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Spurred by Western criticism, Russians experience something new: patriotism

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

In the past, Russia was an empire, then a communist colossus, then a ‘defeated’ power expected to adopt Western ways. But current tensions with the West are fostering what may be the birth of a distinct Russian nationalism.

» Read more

NEWSLINK American Enterprise Institute: Putin’s Russia: How it rose, how it is maintained, and how it might end

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

Vladimir Putin’s Russia faces not only international sanctions due its aggression in Ukraine and low oil prices that threaten its economy, but also several underlying crises that are not frequently discussed outside of expert circles. On Thursday, nine leading Russian scholars who contributed chapters to the just-released volume “Putin’s Russia: How it rose, how it is maintained, and how it […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK American Enterprise Institute: Political values in ‘Putin’s Russia': A Q&A with Mikhail Dmitriev

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

In 2013, the demand for political change began to shift from Moscow to other regions. At times, other regions even surpassed Moscow in their aspirations. Thus, a political system other than liberal democracy was the preferred option for 46% of Moscow’s residents, but for only 32% nationwide. The greatest demand for democracy was in St. Petersburg (69%) and other cities […]

» Read more

Putin Declares War on Russians’ Health

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – May 14, 2015) At what point will Russians begin to question the choices being made by their government? Maybe when those choices start killing them. As Bloomberg’s Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer report, Russia’s health system has suffered a severe reversal as a lower oil price has reduced government revenue and spending. Forced to pick […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK Daily Bruin: Former ambassador speaks at Anderson as part of lecture series. (Michael McFaul)

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

A former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation argued domestic Russian politics are the main cause of renewed tensions between the United States and the Russian Federation at a lecture at the Anderson School of Management Tuesday

» Read more

NEWSLINK Washington Post: Boris Nemtsov’s last act of courage

Nemtsov March of Mourning

IN THE final years of his life, Boris Nemtsov never gave up on politics in Russia, even when many others were discouraged or frightened away from standing up to President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Nemtsov, once in the front ranks of Russia’s post-Soviet reformers, in the last decade and a half became a persistent Putin critic. To some, he was a […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

In Putin’s Russia, Universal Health Care Is for All Who Pay

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – May 13, 2015) Expectant mothers in Moscow must wait as long as six weeks for ultra-sound scans, up from three days last year. Hospital outpatients pay for blood tests and X-rays that were free 12 months ago. And Marif Alekberov, a 27-year-old fireman with leukemia, is being told to find […]

» Read more

Interfax: Poroshenko statement on Russian troops in Ukraine is unfounded – Kremlin spokesman

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

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – The Kremlin sees Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s statement on the presence of 11,000 Russian troops in Ukrainian territory as unfounded and not conducive to any positive developments. “I don’t see fit to repeat such unfounded accusations, without any concrete information and proof, which are not conducive to anything positive, to put it mildly,” Russian presidential […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

Nemtsov Report Says More Than 200 Russian Soldiers Killed In Ukraine War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 12, 2015) [Report here https://openrussia.org/] More than 200 Russian military personnel have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to a report based on research begun by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The estimated death toll is one of the main findings of the much-anticipated report on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, which […]

» Read more

Authorities Again Threatened by Bolotnaya Square

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – May 12, 2015) Yelena Gremina’s production of “The Bolotnaya Square Case” at Teatr.doc may be the most benign dangerous 65 minutes I have ever witnessed. A contradiction in terms, you say? Not in the land, which, as the great poet Fyodor Tyutchev put it, cannot be understood by mind alone. The fact […]

» Read more

A New Wave of Russian Nationalism? What Really Changed in Public Opinion after Crimea

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mikhail Alexseev, Henry E. Hale – May 2015) Mikhail Alexsee is Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University. Henry E. Hale is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University [Figures here http://www.ponarseurasia.org/memo/new-wave-russian-nationalism] How did the dramatic events of 2014, including the annexation of Crimea and the onset of violent armed […]

» Read more

Moscow Times: Russian Government Boasts Timely Completion of More than 80 Percent of Putin’s May 2012 Orders

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 8, 2015) More than eighty percent of the orders President Vladimir Putin signed the day of his inauguration three years ago have been implemented on time, according to a statement published Thursday on the Russian government’s official website. The government claimed that it had fulfilled 81.5 percent of the 168 presidential […]

» Read more

Moscow Times: More Than 80% of Russians Favor State Censorship of Literature, Film, Art

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 8, 2015) Fourteen percent of Russians do not support state intervention when it comes to the content and dissemination of artistic creations, the survey also showed. A vast majority of Russians think the state should censor artistic creations believed to be vulgar, immoral or harmful to society, according to a survey […]

» Read more

A Guide to Celebrating Victory Day in Moscow

File Photo of Parade in Red Square from 2005

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Gladkova – May 6, 2015) Victory Day is coming and the capital is scrambling to prepare for Saturday’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany. The day will be bursting with activity, from a massive military parade replete with shiny new tanks and military vehicles of yore in the […]

» Read more

Once Known As Preeminent Soviet Scholar, Stephen Cohen Now Seen As Putin Apologist

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – May 06, 2015 – links here rferl.org/content/stephen-cohen-us-scholar-controversial-putin-apologist/26997584.html) On a recent Friday evening, the prominent Russia historian Stephen Cohen took the mic before an audience of 3,000 in Toronto to debate Western policy toward Russia in light of the Ukraine conflict. Over the next 90 minutes, the man renowned for his pioneering scholarship on the […]

» Read more

Foreign currency protests in Russia – a chance for the opposition?

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

While political demonstrations are on the slide, economic protests are on the rise in Russia. Can the two be united? (opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Florin – April 30, 2015) Dmitry Florin is an independent journalist based in Moscow, Russia. The Russian opposition is a broad church. Just as radical leftists hold their own marches, so do the liberals and the nationalists. […]

» Read more

Putin’s Personality Cult Exceeds Stalin’s ‘by Every Measure,’ Kantor Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2015) Although few want to recognize that this is the case, the personality cult surrounding Vladimir Putin far exceeds the one that surrounded Stalin “by all measures” and has become what can best be described as “the religion of a pagan empire,” according to Moscow commentator Maksim Kantor. In a post […]

» Read more

Putin Opens Up About Parents’ World War II Experience

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 1, 2015) [Putin’s article with illustrations here http://ruspioner.ru/cool/m/single/4655] Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has written a magazine column about his parents’ struggles and hardships during World War II, but said they did not hate Nazi Germans – unlike his own generation that did. “There wasn’t a family who didn’t lose someone [during the war]. But they […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

A Vicious Circle: The More Aggressive Putin Is, the More Russians Love Him

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2015) Russian polls, admittedly not the most reliable source, suggest that the more aggressive Vladimir Putin is, the more Russians love and support him regardless of the immediate impact of his policies on their lives, a vicious circle that history suggests could lead to a disaster especially given Moscow’s possession […]

» Read more

Putin gives the world his geography lesson: ‘All the former USSR is Russia’

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – April 28, 2015) The 150-minute film “The President” about Vladimir Putin is mostly boring and predictable in that it insists that “without Vladimir Vladimirovich nothing in the country will work,” Kseniya Kirillova notes. But she points out that there are three “lessons” contained in the film that must not be ignored. First, she argues, […]

» Read more

Business New Europe: Can Russian markets sustain the strong rally?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro Advisory – April 27, 2015) Russia’s equity indices (especially those denominated in US dollars), debt prices and the ruble have all surged strongly since the start of the year as investors became much more optimistic that the sell-off in 2014 was excessive and the risk premium depended too much on […]

» Read more

Putin didn’t see partners for dialogue among opposition campaigners in December 2011 – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

VLADIVOSTOK. April 26 (Interfax) – Vladimir Putin did not see partners for dialogue among opposition activists who organized rallies “For Fair Elections” in December 2011, said ex-finance minister and leader of the Civil Initiatives Committee Alexei Kudrin. “I talked with him, at length. And I said that I would probably go to the rally on Sakharov Avenue. I won’t speak […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK The Atlantic: How the Media Became One of Putin’s Most Powerful Weapons

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

After decades of wielding Soviet-style hard power, Russia is developing a subtler form of influence. … From his first days as president, Putin moved quickly to dominate the media landscape in Russia, putting not only state media but privately owned broadcast media under the Kremlin’s influence.

» Read more

Muscovites Not Russians are the Problem, Shekhtman Says

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

(Paul Goble – Staunton, April 22, 2015) Four years ago, liberal Russians began to refer to the hurrah-patriots who opposed them as “vatniks,” a reference to the padded jackets such people often wore but used to designate their slavish support of the Kremlin and their hostility to the West and civilization. But now, Pavel Shekhtman suggests, that term should be […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK New York Times: Unpaid Russian Workers Unite in Protest Against Putin

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

After months of frustration with an economy sagging under the weight of international sanctions and falling energy prices, workers across Russia are starting to protest unpaid wages and go on strike, in the first nationwide backlash against President Vladimir V. Putin’s economic policies. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/world/europe/russian-workers-take-aim-at-putin-as-economy-exacts-its-toll.html?_r=0

» Read more

Poll: Russians Haven’t Been So Positive About Their Country in 5 Years

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 22, 2015) Russians are more positive about their country than they have been since the state-run Public Opinion Research Center began surveys for its social sentiment index five years ago, the pollster said Tuesday. The index, based on a comparison of respondents’ assessments ranging from “everything is terrible” to “everything is […]

» Read more

Some Who Left: A New Wave Of Russian Emigration

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – April 21, 2015) Hundreds of thousands have left Russia over the last two years, citing a variety of political, economic, and personal reasons. According to Russian government statistics, 203,000 people left the country permanently in the first eight months of 2014. That’s up from 186,000 in 2013, and very likely to break Russia’s […]

» Read more

Tefft Says Obama Would Be ‘Happy’ to Get Involved in Ukraine Peace Talks

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 22, 2015) Moscow would welcome the involvement of any country that could pressure Kiev into observing a cease-fire with separatists, the Kremlin said, after the U.S. ambassador to Russia suggested President Barack Obama would readily participate in the Ukrainian peace talks if he were invited. Ambassador John Tefft said U.S. officials […]

» Read more

Russia faces ‘new reality’ as it counts cost of Ukraine crisis, says Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 22, 2015) Western sanctions and low oil prices caused Russia’s economy to shrink by 2% in the first three months of the year, the first time it contracted since 2009, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in Moscow on April 21 as he presented the government’s annual report to parliament. The country faced […]

» Read more

The Faltering Russian Economy Makes a Renewed Ukraine Offensive More Likely

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

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 73 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel K. Baev) “Boring” is perhaps the prevalent impression of President Vladimir Putin’s televised four-hour-long Q & A session that aired last Thursday (April 16), which was meant to demonstrate his good health and relaxed attitude to the great many problems worrying his loyal subjects. The three […]

» Read more

Russian dissidents seek asylum in Kyiv

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Yalovkina – Anna Yalovkina is a journalist from Kyrgyzstan and a correspondent at the internet portal Vecherny Bishkek. She writes for lenta.ru and films video for RFE/RL – April 17, 2015) As oppression heats up in Russia, post-revolutionary Ukraine is attracting political émigrés from the Russian opposition. From the moment the Maidan started in Ukraine, Russian authorities rushed […]

» Read more

Poor Putin’s Wealthy Friends

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 16, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has an optics problem: Even as he asks people to be patient with the economic turmoil brought on in part by his response to Western sanctions, new income and property declarations are demonstrating that he and his top staffers aren’t sharing the pain. During today’s four-hour […]

» Read more

Why Putin’s Next War Will Be at Home; A pollster and a former Putin adviser predict new popularity problems-and renewed focus on domestic enemies

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin appeared this week in his annual marathon television broadcast to answer questions posed by viewers from across Russia. Of course, the four-hour show, Direct Line With Vladimir Putin, was carefully choreographed to avoid anything that could embarrass the Russian leader. But that doesn’t mean the broadcast shied away […]

» Read more

Russia Economy Recovering as Oil Reliance Eases, Dvorkovich Says

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – David Tweed, Haslinda Amin – April 20, 2015) Russia’s economy showed signs of recovery in the first and second quarters amid a declining dependence on oil, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said. “Oil prices are not as important to the Russian economy as before,” Dvorkovich told Bloomberg TV Monday at the World Economic Forum on […]

» Read more

Ukrainians View the People as Sovereign; Russians Think Putin Is

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 20, 2015) Ukrainians and Russians differ fundamentally in the source of sovereignty in their countries, with Ukrainians, like citizens of Western democracies, viewing the people as sovereign and with the Russians, like the subjects of autocracies of all kinds, assuming that their supreme leader is, according to a new poll. Irina […]

» Read more

Putin Helps Russian Pet Lover to Get a New (Welsh) Puppy

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 20, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin may have set a dangerous precedent after convincing a retired soldier to buy his wife a pet pooch, possibly spawning a wave of similar requests from animal-lovers nationwide. “Please just say to him: ‘Boris, you’re wrong! Let your wife have a dog!’ We’ve already tried everything,” a woman […]

» Read more

‘Putin isn’t an Imperialist; He’s a Nazi,’ Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s statements about Ukraine in his “direct line” program yesterday look “moderate” but only in comparison with the militaristic declarations of the Russian defense minister and chief of the Russian general staff. But no one should be deceived into thinking he has changed his mind or assumptions, according to […]

» Read more
1 2 3 55