Punishment for petty crimes excessive, decriminalization needed – Kudrin

Alexei Kudrin file photo

KRASNOYARSK. April 21 (Interfax) – The system penalizing for misdemeanors in Russia is too harsh, with its shortages of workforce the country needs to decriminalize its laws, Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Board at the Center for Strategic Research. “We need decriminalization, the punishment for petty, insignificant crimes should be reduced, [imprisonment] up to two to three years for insignificant […]

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The Man Who Definitely Didn’t Kill Boris Nemtsov; As the murder trial comes to an end, Vladimir Putin seals his political pact with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Daria Litvinova – April 20, 2017) [Videos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-man-who-definitely-didnt-kill-boris-nemtsov-57779] There was something off about the latest meeting between Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In footage released by the Kremlin on Thursday, neither man seemed at ease, with Kadyrov looking around confusedly, and Putin fidgeting slightly in his seat. Compare this scene […]

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Is the anti-corruption agenda all that it’s cracked up to be?

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

The fight against corruption is often sold as the pill to end all postsocialist ills. Activists and researchers in Poland, Russia and Ukraine give their views on why we need to challenge it. (opendemocracy.net – Editors of Opendemocracy Russia – April 21, 2017) Recent years have seen a rise in anti-corruption protest movements across postsocialist states. In January, thousands took […]

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Putin’s spokesman dismisses rumors about plans to appoint Kudrin as prime minister”

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“Rumors linking the activities of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Head of Russia’s Center for Strategic Research, with his possible appointment as prime minister are nothing more than political exercises, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The Kremlin spokesman pointed out that Kudrin was a broad-range expert ‘so it is only natural that he has an opinion on a […]

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Another Reason to Avoid Rushing on Russia’s Election Role

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 20, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. In January, the U.S. intelligence community accused the Kremlin of aiding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and refused to reveal the evidence that led to the claim […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Be fertile and multiply: How to spur a baby boom, a la Russe?”

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

After an upswing from 2005 to 2015, Russia’s birth rate is once again declining. Meanwhile, mortality continues to grow, and the government needs innovative ideas and reforms to rectify the situation. Proposed measures, however, primarily benefit women and ignore the interests of men. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – April 21, 2017) Russia’s Education and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Pobeda (Victory) Organising Committee

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – April 20, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired the 39th meeting of the Russian Pobeda (Victory) Organising Committee in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The main item on the meeting’s agenda was developing humanitarian cooperation with other countries at government and public level in the aim of promoting objective information about Russia’s history and present, including its role in the victory […]

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In Annual Report, Medvedev Says Russian Economy Avoided Catastrophe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 19, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has promised not to raise taxes in 2017 and vowed to consider indexing retirement payments for working pensioners, delivering a moderately upbeat annual report on the troubled economy. Addressing the lower house of parliament on April 19, Medvedev said the Russian economy had avoided “catastrophe” despite low world […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev:] Government report on its performance in 2016. (transcript continued)

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – April 19, 2017) State Duma of the Federal Assembly, Moscow Excerpts from the transcript: Dmitry Medvedev: Already in the fourth quarter of 2016, the economy showed a small increase of 0.3 percent. As of late 2016, we had a major slowdown in the decline of GDP compared to a fall of almost 3 percent in 2015. Such figures […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 18, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a State Council Presidium meeting on the national consumer rights protection system. At a State Council Presidium meeting on national consumer rights protection system. Meeting participants discussed the effectiveness of the national consumer rights protection system and the state consumer rights protection strategy to 2030. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev:] Government report on its performance in 2016

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – April 19, 2017) “The Government of the Russian Federation <…> shall submit to the State Duma annual reports on the Government’s performance, including on issues formulated by the State Duma.” (Constitution of the Russian Federation, Article 114, Clause 1, Subclause “a”). Excerpts from the transcript: Dmitry Medvedev: Last year, the State Duma discussed and adopted 284 Government proposed […]

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Government forecast for annual GDP growth of 1.5% in 2018-2020 does not meet president’s goal – Belousov

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) – The government’s forecast for Russian GDP growth in 2018-2020 of 1.5% a year under the baseline scenario does not meet the goal set by the president of achieving growth higher than the global average in 2019-2020, presidential aide Alexander Belousov told journalists. The government forecast for 2% GDP growth in 2017 is “the maximum possible […]

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Putin’s Subordinates have More Freedom of Action Now than Before 2014, Stanovaya Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin still retains the power to decide what issues to delegate to subordinates and what to retain under his personal control, Tatyana Stanovaya has; but several recent cases show that the space for independent action by his subordinates has grown and the likelihood of their being punished for […]

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Fiscal rule already essentially in effect, might be formally introduced in 2018 – Belousov

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) – The new fiscal rule that restricts Russian budget spending of additional oil and gas revenue is essentially already in effect, and it might be formally introduced in 2018, Kremlin aide Andrei Belousov said. “The fiscal rule comes down to cutting off the level of spending at an oil price of $40 per barrel. We negotiated […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Mr Medvedev briefed Vladimir Putin on the key points of the report on the Government’s work in 2016, which will be presented to the State Duma on April 19. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, on April 19 you will present to the State Duma the Government’s report on its work last year. What will you be presenting? What […]

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‘Young Russians Love Putin, State Ownership and Socialism,’ Poll Finds

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 17, 2017) The massive participation of young Russians in the March 26 anti-corruption demonstrations led many Russian and Western analysts to predict that the rise of a generation born or at least grown up after the end of the Soviet Union will have a profound and positive impact on the future […]

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“Young people in Russia today don’t have it easy”; After young people and students took to the streets, education is firmly on the agenda in Russia.

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

An interview with Mikhail Sokolov on the threats to academic freedom and whether one of Russia’s leading universities will survive. (opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova, Mikhail Sokolov – April 12, 2017) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Mikhail Sokolov is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at European University in St Petersburg. Education […]

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UPCOMING EVENT: 4.20.17 Russia’s Hybrid War on Georgia: 2008 and Beyond – Washington, D.C., IERES at The George Washington University

File Photo of George Washington Bust at George Washington University

Subject: Upcoming Event: 4.20.17 Russia’s Hybrid War on Georgia: 2008 and Beyond Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:31:30 -0400 (EDT) From: IERES, GW Elliott School <ieresgwu@gwu.edu> Russia’s Hybrid War on Georgia: 2008 and Beyond Ambassador Vasil Sikharulidze, Visiting Fulbright Scholar, IERES In August 2008, Russian armed forces invaded Georgia in the first open military invasion of another sovereign nation by […]

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VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: [Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson] Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a Press Availability

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

US Department of State [Tillerson] Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a Press Availability Press Availability Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State Moscow, Russia April 12, 2017 [transcript follows below video] FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Good evening. This has been a long day. We have had talks with State Secretary of the U.S. Rex Tillerson. Right now, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Power brokers in the Kremlin jostle to succeed Putin; President’s authoritarianism has barred the rise of any challenger” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille, Henry Foy

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“More than 17 years after … Putin became president, the authoritarian system he built is showing signs of internal corrosion. … Navalny’s ambitions are not expected to undo … Putin’s re-election bid. But the uncertainty over what comes next is stirring ambitions and sparking jostling among power brokers in the Kremlin and across Russia. … Putin remains the supreme arbiter of Russia’s politics. […]

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Usmanov denies Navalny’s allegation of illegal transfer of mansion, land to SotsGosProyekt Foundation

Alisher Usmanov file photo

MOSCOW. April 12 (Interfax) – USM Holdings founder Alisher Usmanov says he transferred a plot of land and a mansion to the SotsGosProyekt Foundation in exchange for another plot of land for his sister. “My sister, Gulbakhor Burkhanova, […] wanted to live near me after the death of our parents. […] [Foundation head Ilya] Yeliseyev told me about Foundation projects […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Interview to Mir broadcasting company

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – April 12, 2017) Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Mir television and radio broadcasting company on the eve of his visit to Kyrgyzstan. The interview took place on April 11. President of Interstate Television and Radio Company Mir Radik Batyrshin: The Collective Security Treaty Organisation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The benefits for Russia’s allies are clear. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov

Moscow Roads

(Kremlin.ru – April 10, 2017) Mr Sokolov briefed Vladimir Putin on the transport sector’s main results in 2016. Subjects of discussion included air, sea, rail and road transport, and also road construction and projects for developing Crimea’s transport infrastructure. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sokolov, let’s examine the full range of issues under the Transport Ministry’s responsibility: freight, road […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the Tumultuous ’90s Paved the Way for Putin’s Russia” [Book Review of “WHO LOST RUSSIA? How the World Entered a New Cold War”] – New York Times/ Rajon Menon

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

“… So who lost Russia? Russia’s leaders, primarily Putin, who neither built democracy nor made Russia a partner of the West? Or the West, which was never serious about respecting Russia’s interests, let alone a partnership? Conradi doesn’t provide a clear-cut answer to his question. Given the complexities he grapples with, who can blame him?”

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Five Telling New Poll Results from Russia

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 6, 2017) Polls in Russia are anything but reliable guides to popular attitudes: Pollsters in many cases structure their questions to get the results those in power want; and the population often tells those conducting surveys not what they in fact think but rather that which they believe the authorities want […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Susan Rice Keeps Her Mask On; The press corps buys her story that ‘unmasking’ was no big deal” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Susan Rice and Barack Hussein Obama in St. Petersburg Russia, with Mural of St. Petersburg Scene in Background, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Susan Rice returned to the friendly confines of MSNBC … to respond to softball questions about the news that the #Obama national security adviser had ‘unmasked’ the identity of at least one member of the #Trump transition team … surveilled by U.S. #intelligence. … all the more imperative to hear her under oath before #Congress. … Rice didn’t deny that she had sought […]

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Russian PM Calls Opposition Corruption Charges ‘Rubbish,’ ‘Nonsense’

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 4, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has for the first time responded to allegations of corruption made by opposition activists, calling them “rubbish” and “nonsense.” Medvedev said on April 4 the allegations, which have led to a series of street demonstrations by opposition protesters, had been made “to try to pull people out into […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Schiff: Still no ‘definitive’ link between Russia, Trump campaign” – Fox News

Adam Schiff file photo, adapted from image at congress.gov

“The top Democrat on the House committee investigating the ever-expanding probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential race said … that panel members still have no ‘definitive’ evidence that the Trump campaign was working with Moscow to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. … the FBI as well as the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating the matter, which includes […]

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Putin Is Up, But Russians Are Feeling Down

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 3, 2017) Russia’s long recession is officially over: In the fourth quarter of 2016, the country’s economy grew 0.3 percent, and growth appears to be continuing. Consumer sentiment is in positive territory for the first time since 2014. The numbers indicate that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is regaining some of its lost […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A near-no show on Red Square highlights problems of Russia’s protest movement” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“… Last weekend’s rallies clearly caught authorities by surprise. State television ignored them, and no one spoke about them until Monday, when Putin’s spokesman called them ‘a provocation.’ That word gets used a lot in Russian officialdom in the sense of ‘someone was trying to start something, but we aren’t going to say what or who or why,’ when, in fact, […]

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Deciphering a Revolution; ‘1917: Code of a Revolution’ is the first exhibition marking this year’s centenary

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – March 31, 2017) In 2017, Russia marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most crucial episodes in its history – the October Revolution. And what better place to hold the first in a series of exhibitions devoted to the centennial than the Museum of Contemporary Russian History – known until 1998 […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Best Moments in U.S.-Russian Relations” – Origins/Pietro A. Shakarian

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

“… Although the bad episodes are clearly what most Americans remember about the relationship, there were many friendly moments as well. These constructive episodes complicate a history that is often painted as invariably antagonistic. Keeping this complexity in mind, here are ten of the better moments in U.S.-Russian relations. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to families of those killed and injured in explosion in St Petersburg metro

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 3, 2017) The President was briefed on the blast in the St Petersburg metro by the security service heads, in particular, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov. Mr Putin instructed the city authorities to take all necessary measures to help the families of those killed and injured. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: As you know, […]

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NEWSLINK: “The St. Petersburg Bombing: Why It Won’t Bring America and Russia Together. While Washington and Moscow face a common enemy, they will continue to fight separately.” – The National Interest/Nikolas Gvosdev

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

“… this attack — as much as it seems to validate Trump’s assertion that Russia, the United States and the nations of Europe face a shared threat from groups like the Islamic State, their offshoots and their imitators — is not going to lead to any policy shifts, nor does it portend any sort of improvement in U.S.-Russia relations. There […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – April 3, 2017) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the fourth Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media. Excerpts from transcript of Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues. This, I believe, is our fourth meeting. It has become a tradition, and I think […]

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Alexei Navalny Wants Putin’s Job. Here’s What He’d Do With It; The Russian presidential hopeful who led Sunday’s coast-to-coast protests talks about corruption, the Kremlin, Ukraine, and Trump.

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 30, 2017) Alexei Navalny is in jail. When he gets out, the man determined to unseat Russian President Vladimir Putin next March probably won’t be permitted to run. Banned from Russian TV, he has to barnstorm the vast nation to drum up support for his long-shot bid. Yet he is Putin’s most […]

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Russia’s prison service is keeping its abuses under lock and key; Despite signs of early change, the cover-up of torture inside Russia’s prison service demands reform.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Bulat Mukhamedzhanov – March 31, 2017) Bulat Mukhamedzhanov is coordinator for Zona prava, which provides legal and informational support to prisoners and criminal defendants in #Russia. Right now, 17 prison officers are on trial in the southern Russian regions of Krasnodar and Kalmykia – they’re accused of meting out severe beatings to their charges, two of whom died […]

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Study: Russia’s Most Active Protesters Are Its Least Active Voters

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 31, 2017) Russia’s most active protesters may be its least active voters, according to a new study. Of the 10 Russian regions where the highest percentage of the overall population took part in the March 26 anti-corruption protests, nine had a voter turnout below the national average during the Sept. 2016 parliamentary election. In […]

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TRANSCRIPT: The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum. [excerpts re Putin]

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the filurth international forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue. The forum’s theme this year is People and the Arctic. The participants are discussing ways to improve the quality of life in the Arctic, maintain its unique environmental potential, boost sustainable socioeconomic development of the Arctic regions and strengthen international […]

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Are Russian Teens Really About to Storm the Kremlin? Recent anti-corruption rallies will go down as Russia’s most youthful protests

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – March 30, 2017) When 12-year-old Gleb took to the stage at an anti-corruption protest in the Siberian city of Tomsk last week, few in the audience would have expected the moment to go viral. “It doesn’t matter who’s in power – Putin or Navalny,” Gleb said to rounds of applause. “The most […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting on Arctic region’s comprehensive development

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 29, 2017) In the course of his trip to Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Archipelago Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the comprehensive development of the Arctic region. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment, and Transport […]

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NEWSLINK: “Where Will Russia’s Protests Lead? The anticorruption wave could give way to greater instability” – The National Interest/Alexander Lukin

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

“March 26 saw widespread protests against corruption in Moscow and several other big Russian cities. The formal cause was the absence of reaction by the authorities to the film He Is Not Dimon to You, produced and distributed online by the Foundation Against Corruption, headed by opposition activist Alexei Navalny. The film accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption, showing […]

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NEWSLINK: “The arts thrive in Putin’s Russia – though they play a complex game of censorship; Russia’s art scene prospers in a bizarre critical climate fostered by the Kremlin. We may not know the rules, but we know our place” – The Guardian (UK)/Natalia Antonova

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

“… The Russian state’s paradoxical nature becomes especially apparent when considering the country’s thriving arts scene. It is these contradictions of governance, and their peculiar influence on the Russian art world, that aid and abet Putin’s rule, and ultimately, help generate support for the Russian president. So is there censorship? Yes, some people would argue – but it’s not clearly […]

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Election of Russian Academy of Sciences president set tentatively for Sept 27 – acting RAS President Kozlov

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – The election of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) president will most likely be held on September 27, 2017, acting RAS President Valery Kozlov said on Tuesday. “We are preparing and we will be preparing a general assembly, it will most apparently be held at the end of September of this year. Moreover, the [RAS] […]

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Survey: Two-Thirds Of Russians Hold Putin Responsible For Corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 28, 2017) More than two-thirds of #Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin is “entirely” or “significantly” responsible for massive corruption among state officials, according to a new survey by the Levada Center. [http://www.levada.ru/2017/03/28/institutsionalnaya-korruptsiya-i-lichnyj-opyt/] The March 28 survey found that 79 percent of Russians believe corruption has “completely infected” or “significantly infected” Russia’s organs of state […]

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Russian society must denounce Stalin once and for all – Federation of Jewish Communities

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) has called Stalin a Herod who was exterminating his own people. “Stalin must remain to generations a Herod who built the GULAG, BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline], who expanded the railway and won the Second World War, the man responsible for mass deaths of his own people. Murderer!” Boruch […]

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Patriarch Kirill blames 1917 revolution on intelligentsia

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) – Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has put the main blame for the 1917 revolution on the intelligentsia. “What happened in the 20th century, that meat-grinder, which ground the entire intelligentsia, is it not an organic consequences of the horrible crimes that the intelligentsia committed against faith, against God, against their people, against their […]

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Is #Navalny a ‘Young and Sober’ #Yeltsin or ‘the #Putin of Tomorrow’?

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2017) Aleksey #Navalny’s new prominence and his success in attracting young people – which some see reflected in the fact that he now has more “likes” than Moscow TV (politsovet.ru/54872-navalnyy-obognal-po-chislu-podpischikov-pervyy-kanal-rt-i-rossiyu-24.html) – #Putin loyalists are attacking him and others asking what kind of a leader he may be. Putin’s press spokesman […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Valentina Tereshkova

File Photo of Valentina Tereshkova in Space Suit with Helmet Open, adapted from image at starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 6, 2017) Vladimir Putin extended his birthday greetings to Valentina Tereshkova, pilot cosmonaut, the first woman in space, Hero of the Soviet Union, and State Duma deputy. The President issued an executive order awarding the Order For Services to the Fatherland I Degree to Ms Tereshkova, deputy chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Federal Organisation and […]

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