Archive for Politics, Government, Protests, Elections

Russian Defense Ministry Releases Trove of Secret Auschwitz Documents

Auschwitz Concentration Entrance with Sign Arbeit Macht Frei

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 28, 2015) As the world reflected on the horrors of the Nazi regime on Tuesday – International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Russia seized the opportunity to emphasize the Red Army’s role in liberating the death camps. Following a recent high-profile spat over differing interpretations of World

Turf War Seen at Heart of Russian Space Industry Shake-Up

International Space Station file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 23, 2015) An ambitious drive by a friend of President Vladimir Putin’s to take control of Russia’s defense industry may be behind a shock announcement this week that Russia would merge its federal space agency with a major industry group, analysts said. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

More Russians See Potential for Political Protests in Their Country, Poll Shows

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – January 23, 2015) The number of Russians who see potential for political protests to break out in their country has more than doubled in the past five months, a new survey showed Friday, though the majority would choose not to participate in them themselves. The survey, published

Russian Patriarch Says Halving Abortions Will Help Solve Population Crisis

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – January 23, 2015) Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, crossed Russia’s shifting line between Church and politics in his first-ever address to the State Duma on Thursday, calling on lawmakers to ensure that traditional moral values are safeguarded in the country’s legislation. The Russian Orthodox Church

Putin Now has His Storm Troopers and Pogroms Will Surely Follow, Ganapolsky Says

Vladimir Putin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 23, 2014) Putin’s Russia has crossed a Rubicon: it now has sanctioned the Anti-Maidan Movement, a domestic version of Hitler’s storm troopers, and thus created a monster that almost certainly will engage in pogroms against one group or another in the future, according to Moscow commentator

Analyst Provides Insider View of Russian Government Think Tank

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 11 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Valery Dzutsev – January 20, 2015) The revelations of Alexander Sytnik, who recently left his position as a senior fellow at the Russian Institute for Strategic Research, a government-funded think tank, provides a rare glimpse into the inner mechanisms of policymaking in Russia. In

Ten New Laws That Will Affect Your Life in Russia in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 21, 2015) New year, new you: An expression that has taken on a special meaning for those living in Russia, where a plethora of new laws – many with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents – entered into effect on Jan.

Putin’s Attacks on Science, Rooted in His Fear of the Educated, Destroying Russia’s Future, Koch Says

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) Vladimir Putin “understands that the threat to his regime is to be found among the thinking and educated” and thus has been taking steps to “destroy higher education” in Russia and cut the financing of science, according to Moscow commentator Alfred Koch. Such actions may buy

Igor Eidman: Putin became a fascist-style leader in mid-2014

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – January 20, 2014) [from Euromaidan PR: Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. He has served as director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn, and a senior

BOOK REVIEW: Russia’s Mobutu?

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Derek Brower in London – January 13, 2015) Corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has sprouted its own sub-genre for Western publishers. Few of the many books, though, have the laser-like focus or amass the same devastating detail as Karen Dawisha’s “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” (Simon & Schuster, New

Analysts Predict a Russian Descent Into Madness

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 19, 2015) President Vladimir Putin cannot afford at this point to reform the political system he has built up, as doing so would undermine his grip on power, a panel of political analysts said at the Gaidar Forum on Friday. They went on to warn that without

Legislation proposes regulation of ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – January 16, 2015) A bill that has passed its first reading the Russian State Duma would give the government the right to fine or ban foreign organizations it deems a security threat. Russia is trying to tighten its control over foreign organizations operating in

Provincialism Keeping Russia from Becoming Great, Inozemtsev Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 18, 2014) Russia’s latest turn to authoritarianism and isolationism was possible because of the provincialism of its leaders and people, a sense of being on the margins of the real world and one that prevents them from achieving greatness because they are less interested in that

Top Russian Official ‘Ashamed’ Of Culture Crackdown, Quits Ministry

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – January 15, 2015) A prominent Russian public figure has slammed the country’s culture minister for overseeing a deepening crackdown on artists critical of authorities, quitting a ministerial commission in protest. Yevgeny Savostyanov, the head of Russia’s Coordination Council on Intellectual Property Protection, said in an open letter that

Russian Prime Minister Scorns Fears, But Fails to Present Strategy at Economic Forum

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 15, 2015) While Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev radiated confidence Wednesday that Russia would be able to use the unfolding crisis as an impetus to make necessary changes to its economy, members of his government indicated that they do not have a concrete plan for bringing about

Primakov’s ‘Anti-Crisis Federalism’ Seen Threatening Russia’s Non-Russians

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 15, 2015) Many in Russia and the West are celebrating Yevgeny Primakov’s argument presented at the Mercury Club this week that hyper-centralization, a policy associated with Vladimir Putin, is a threat to the Russian Federation and its economic recovery and his call for devolving more powers to

Interfax: Fifty-five percent of Russians want to see Putin as their president after 2018 – poll

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

(Interfax – January 15, 2015) Fifty-five percent of Russian citizens recently interviewed by the Levada Center said they would like to see Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president after the 2018 elections, as compared with 32 percent in March 2014 and 26 percent in 2013, the center’s sociologists told Interfax. Ten percent of respondents said they

Increasingly, Russians See No Alternative to Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2015 Though it will be another three years before Russian voters cast their ballots for the next round of presidential hopefuls, most people already know whom they plan to vote for. More than half of Russians would prefer to keep President Vladimir Putin at the country’s helm after

‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears”

Kremlin Foe Navalny Fined $10 For Cutting Ankle Bracelet

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 14, 2015) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been convicted of large-scale theft twice and spent many nights in jail after street protests. The latest punishment meted out to one of the Kremlin’s fiercest foes is perhaps the least severe: a $10 fine. On his website on January 14, Navalny

A new drama in Moscow: Teatr.doc – a pioneer of ‘New Drama’ in Russia – has recently been evicted from its basement home in Moscow. But is it all an act?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Alexey Krizhevsky – January 14, 2015) Alexey Krizhevsky is culture editor at gazeta.ru and member of Teatr.doc Teatr.doc is on the move. Having performed its last plays and a holiday evening, the theatre packed its bags and left the tiny basement in the centre of Moscow – its home for many years. The

Culture Minister Wants ‘Patriotic Internet’ to Protect Russians

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 15, 2015) Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has called for the creation of a “patriotic Internet” to combat Western ideas, adding that those who are against Russia are against the truth. Russia needs to “consolidate the state and society on the basis of values instilled by our

Health Ministry Says Transsexuals Can Still Drive in Russia

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 14, 2015) The Health Ministry has denied widespread reports that transvestites and transsexuals could lose their rights to drive in Russia based on a new road safety decree. Although the decree provides for the disqualification of driving rights for certain individuals with psychological or behavioral disorders, the mere fact

Russian court explains decision not to jail Kremlin critic Navalnyy

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – January 12, 2015) A Russian court has explained its decision to give a suspended sentence to anti-corruption campaigner and Kremlin critic Aleksey Navalnyy while jailing his brother, Oleg, Interfax news agency reported on 12 January. Interfax quoted Moscow’s Zamoskvoretskiy court saying that “in handing down punishment, the court took into account the actual

Russia Civil Society will Grow like ‘Blade of Grass through Concrete,’ Gontmakher Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 13, 2015) Yevgeny Gontmakher, a prominent Moscow economist and commentator, has invoked one of the most powerful images available about the ways in which the human spirit can overcome ever the harshest and most repressive regimes: “like a blade of grass breaking through concrete.” As anyone

Opposition Posterboy Navalny Defies House Arrest … Again

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 12, 2015) Opposition firebrand Alexei Navalny has continued to defy what he has described as his “illegal” house arrest by going to work on Saturday, as the European Court of Human Rights prepares to consider his complaint over a recent conviction. Navalny has vehemently railed against

New Russian Regulation Says Transgender People Unfit to Drive

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 9, 2015) Transgender people may no longer be allowed to drive cars in Russia under new road safety regulations signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A decree published on the government website earlier this month lists an array of health conditions that can disqualify someone from

NEWSWATCH: How Putin could lose power

Vladimir Putin

[“How Putin could lose power” – Vox.com – Amanda Taub – January 5, 2015] Vox.com and Amanda Taub talk with NYU Professor Mark Galeotti about possibilities for a Putin transition, especially if the apparatus supporting Putin has a change of attitude: After more than a decade in power, Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing what may be his

The Federal Migration Service may consider amnesty for illegal migrants

File Photo of Migrant Workers Sleeping Quarters

(Interfax – January 6, 2015) The Federal Migration Service (FMS) does not rule out an amnesty for illegal migrants in 2015. “This issue may actually be considered. A lot will depend on outcomes of the launch of a system of patents for migrants employed by legal entities,” a FMS source told Interfax. FMS head Konstantin

Russia’s Oscar Hopeful Is Dark, Critical — And Patriotic

Map of Russia

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – January 5, 2015) In the film Leviathan, a drunken mechanic in a far northern Russian town clashes with a greedy, drunken mayor who is determined to expropriate the man’s land for his own mansion. The mayor contemptuously refers to his subjects as “insects” and, in a fit of vodka-fuelled honesty,

Any Russian Protests Ahead Likely to Be About Economic Issues Rather than Political Ones, Experts Say

Moscow Protest file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 5, 2014) Three Russian experts with whom Russkaya planeta spoke say that while declines in the standard of living of many Russians in the coming year as a result of the economic crisis may lead to some protests about economic issues, any such demonstrations are unlikely

Power struggles inside the Kremlin: A behind-the-scenes look at power struggles inside the Kremlin reveals potential scenarios for the future. And a possible new president.

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Pribylovsky – December 31, 2014) Vladimir Pribylovsky is the president of the Moscow-based Panorama Information and Research Center and co-author of ‘The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin’. Russia’s ruling structure bears the marks of authoritarianism, oligarchy, and three different presidents. Under Boris Yeltsin, rapacious despotism at the

Why Do They Do It? A Glimpse Into the Russian Lawmaker Psyche

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 2, 2015) If the State Duma’s legislative initiatives may occasionally cause bewilderment or even outright laughter, lawmakers insist that they are in on the joke – with some adding that Russia’s parliament is not a place to make laws anyway, according to recent interviews. There has

Interfax/RIA Novosti: Russian human-rights figures divided over Navalnyy sentence

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax/RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) Human-rights activists have greeted the conviction and sentencing of Aleksey Navalnyy and his brother for financial crimes with a mixture of anger and acceptance, with some denouncing it as politically-motivated hostage taking but others regarding it as justified. Aleksey and Oleg Navalnyy were found guilty of fraud and money

From our own correspondent in Moscow: There have been protests in the capital. Could Moscow really go the way of Kyiv – bring down the president and install a less authoritarian government?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Arutunyan – December 31, 2014) Anna Arutunyan is an independent journalist and author of ‘The Putin Mystique.’ She lives in Moscow. I joined the crowds of people protesting against the sentence handed down to opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg on 30 December. Surrounded by Muscovites preparing for the long

What to Expect From 2015, The Year of The Goat

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 31, 2014) After a tumultuous 2014, many Russians who light-heartedly turn to the Chinese astrological calendar for cues during their New Year’s celebrations may welcome the symbol of the coming year –a timid, amiable sheep. Depending on the translation, the animal may also be known as

Russia’s Media Machine Looks West

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Glenn Kates – December 29, 2014) It’s May 2 in Odesa and a doctor is trying desperately to rescue pro-Russian protesters — more than 40 of whom will die — trapped in the Ukrainian city’s labor-union building. “As a doctor I rushed to give help to the one who could be

Putin goes

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(opendemocracy.net – Aleksandr Morozov – December 22, 2014) Russian journalist , political analyst . Since August of 2011 – editor in chief of ” Russian Journal” , the director of the Center for Media Research UNIK Until ‘Black Tuesday’ on 16 December 2014, fifteen years after he first took power, there were no grounds for

Putin stays

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(opendemocracy.net – Chris Weafer – December 22, 2014) Chris Weafer is the co-founder of Macro Advisory, and former Chief Strategist at Sberbank CIB. He served for four years as Chief Strategist with Uralsib Financial Corporation and for five years with Alfa Bank. The Kremlin has adopted a deliberate strategy – to let the rouble continue

Is the protest movement dead? Street politics: Reform agenda loses appeal as pressure on the economy grows.

Moscow Protest file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol, Yevgeny Levkovich, special to RBTH – December 16, 2014) Three years ago, Russia witnessed its largest anti-government protests since the early Nineties, with four mass demonstrations in a month, the largest of which drew an estimated 150,000 people to the streets of Moscow. Today, opposition rallies

NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that

Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – December 13, 2014) Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate. “We believe the government needs to be changed – whether it’s going to be the entire

Russia’s Cities Becoming Less Moscow- and Russia-Centric, New Studies Find

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 13, 2014) Two studies about how residents of Russia’s cities feel about where they live and identify themselves suggest that the residents of Russian cities away from the core of the country are ever less focused on Moscow as the center of their lives and identify

Teaching orthodoxy in Russian schools


(opendemocracy.net – Natalya Yakovleva – December 4, 2014) Natalya Yakovleva is a journalist in Novosibirsk. She writes for the Literary Gazette and the Teachers’ Gazette. Orthodox ideology is being rushed into the Russian school curriculum – in the interests of nationalism. It all happened very fast. In the middle of 2009 Dmitry Medvedev, the then

Reporting on Russian Television

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(openedemocracy.net – December 8, 2014 – Elisabeth Schimpfossl) Dr Elisabeth Schimpfossl is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London. Her research focuses on elites, transformation and media in post-Soviet Russia. The idea of censorship on Russian television misses the point. When it comes to reporting,

Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However,

Russia’s Dozhd TV Defies Crackdown by Continuing Broadcasts From Apartment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – December 9, 2014) Russia’s main independent television channel, Dozhd, has been forced to leave its Moscow studio for the second time in as many months, but is continuing its broadcasts from an apartment in the capital, news reports said. The digital channel has been struggling for survival

Khodorkovsky Speech Aired in St. Pete Hotel Despite Chaos

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 8, 2014) It seems St. Petersburg authorities on Sunday did not want a Holiday Inn conference room to show a speech by one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal critics: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The conference area was searched for drugs, police attempted to evacuate the

‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir

Moscow Times: Putin Promises Controlled Freedom in Face of Western Containment

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 5, 2014) President Vladimir Putin told the nation on Thursday that Russia’s ongoing clash with the West – which he compared to Hitler – was inevitable and will only make the country stronger by mobilizing its economy and society around common goals and traditional moral values.

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