Archive for Politics, Government, Protests, Elections

Language and Culture Not History ‘Main Unifying Factors’ for Russians, Valdai Club Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 24, 2014) The Russian language and Russian culture are today “the main unifying factor[s]” for the citizens of the Russian Federation, unlike history which continues to be a source of divisions given that different groups have different understandings of past events, according to the Valdai International

Putin Stages a Putsch against His Earlier Self, Belkovsky Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 23, 2014) The best way to understand the events of the last several months, Stanislav Belkovsky argues, is to view them as a repetition of the August 1991 coup with only this difference: the leader of this coup is Vladimir Putin and the target of his

Most Russians Think Their Interests Not High on Putin’s Agenda, Poll Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 21, 2014) Only one in eight Russians think that President Vladimir Putin represents the interests of “ordinary people” in the country, a recent poll showed, even though a vast majority have said that they “trust” their leader. The most popular choice in a question that allowed for multiple answers

Physicists Complain of Interference From State-Appointed Officials

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 21, 2014) Four physicists have announced their resignation from the academic council of one of Russia’s top research institutes, accusing it of failing to defend a prominent colleague who was fired for “truancy” after attending a workshop at Stony Brook University in the U.S. The dismissal

LDPR Leader Zhirinovsky Condemned for Tirade Against Pregnant Reporter

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2014) The State Duma’s ethics committee will investigate Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky after the firebrand politician directed a particularly crude and offensive outburst at reporters on Friday. After being asked whether Russia should retaliate against the travel restrictions placed on Russian men by Ukraine, Zhirinovsky went

New Law Requires Knowledge of Russian For Residency

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 22, 2014) President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that requires foreigners to prove their ability to speak Russian while also giving his seal of approval to a separate bill that will make it easier to grant citizenship to Russian-speakers in former Soviet states. The new immigration

Pussy Riot Lands in U.S. for Film Premiere

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ali Sar – HOLLYWOOD, April 22, 2014) An image of young women clad in colorful outfits peeping through ski masks while being detained and clobbered by the police has been a part of evening newscasts in the U.S. for some time, most recently during the Sochi Olympics. Casual viewers have

Interfax: Ukraine tensions, NATO expansion pose threat to Russia – security official

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, April 21, 2014) The situation in Ukraine, the deployment of a missile defence system by the USA and the expansion of NATO are increasing the number of threats to Russia’s security, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, has said. “The scale of challenges and threats is expanding steadily. Today

Did Putin Declare a Mini Thaw in Culture?

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – April 21, 2014) Did this actually happen or am I imagining it? It’s no big event or turning point, that is for sure. But it did feel for a moment last week that the temperature of the flames burning around us dipped just a little. In recent

RIA Novosti: Global Responsibilities to Normalize Russia-US Relations Within 7 Years

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags with Number 200, 1807-2007

MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – Relations between Russia and the US will normalize within the next seven years as the two countries bear significant global responsibilities and must cooperate on numerous international issues, the director general of the Eurasian Communication Center told RIA Novosti. “I believe the situation will normalize in 3-7

Sharon Tennison: “Russia Report on Putin”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

Subject: RUSSIA REPORT on PUTIN Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 From: Sharon Tennison <sharon@ccisf.org> [President and Founder, Center for Citizen Initiatives, www.ccisf.org] As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin. Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new

Putin Hovering on the Brink of a Massive Invasion of Ukraine

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 73 - Pavel Felgenhauer – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 17, 2014) The Ukrainian crisis and the “reunification” of Crimea with the rest of Russia dominated President Vladimir Putin’s almost four-hour-long televised national phone-in-an annual PR performance that had been previously dominated by discussion of pensions, utility payments, inflation,

Putin Shows Victor’s Benevolence at Annual Call-In

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 17, 2014) Breaking his tradition of publicly tongue-lashing opponents at home and abroad, President Vladimir Putin assumed a non-predatory stance Thursday to diffuse fears of escalation of the ongoing rift with the West over the Ukraine crisis during his annual live call-in show broadcast on national

NEWSLINK: Is Vladimir Putin Another Adolf Hitler?

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

["Is Vladimir Putin Another Adolf Hitler?" - Forbes - Paul Johnson - May 5, 2014] Forbes recalls the aggressive expansion of the Third Reich and draws parallels with the ideology and policies of today’s Putin-led Kremlin. … Had the Allies stopped Hitler at the beginning, when he was remilitarizing the Rhineland, he’d have been overthrown and World War II

Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – April 17, 2014) The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia’s largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin. The

Putin Family Values

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 17, 2014) Given the Kremlin’s promotion of traditional family values and Russian interest in all things Putin, a distant relative of the Kremlin leader has put out a second edition of his genealogy of the family, the presentation of which in Moscow this week speaks volumes

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

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