RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s Hawks Got the Confirmation They Wanted; The Russian president defeated his strongest opponent — voter apathy” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Kremlin and River

“… The election was fake because Putin’s most vocal and most politically talented rival, Alexei Navalny, wasn’t allowed to run because of a trumped-up criminal conviction. It was fake because the “opposing candidates” were hand-picked by the Kremlin and because the majority of Russian media are under direct or indirect Kremlin control. It was also fake because of a fierce […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with candidates for post of Russian Federation President” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 19, 2018) Vladimir Putin met with candidates who ran in the presidential election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. The election campaign is over, and I wanted to meet with you. I hope that today we will talk, first of all, about the campaign, and most importantly, about what needs to be done to ensure […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What to Expect From Putin and a Resurgent Russia” – AP

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… [Putin’s] domestic opponents are largely resigned to another six years in the shadows. …. Even widespread voting violations are unlikely to dent Putin’s armor. … accusations that he meddled in the U.S. election and sponsored a nerve agent attack in Britain have only bolstered his standing at home. Here’s a look at what to expect … NEW COLD WAR? … SYRIA […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Russia is attempting something that nobody but America has tried in 30 years’ Why is Moscow’s foreign policy what it is? Meduza asks the experts” – Meduza

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“In recent years – thanks to the annexation of Crimea, the intervention in eastern Ukraine, and the war in Syria – foreign policy has come to influence the everyday lives of ordinary Russians both directly and indirectly. At the same time, however, state officials have often failed to explain the full logic behind these momentous decisions. To learn more about […]

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NEWSLINK: “It’s the Series Finale for “That Putin Show;” Today’s election in Russia will bring another empty political spectacle to a close. But the contest over the country’s future will just be getting started.” – Jacobin/SEAN GUILLORY

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… Putinism is increasingly exhausting itself as its internal contradictions become more visible. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Answers to media questions; Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian and foreign journalists following the completion of the presidential election.” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 18, 2018) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening. Question: Good evening. What is your predominant emotion today? How do you feel, and what plans do you have for tomorrow? Vladimir Putin: The predominant emotion is gratitude to the voters for their choice, for the trust they have placed in me. Gratitude for their assessment of our […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Sham Elections for a Dictator” – Freedom House

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

“‘… ‘… Putin will win by an overwhelming margin thanks to regime-controlled media that glorifies the leader and demonizes his critics, the regime’s monopoly of all sources of economic power and wealth, and the removal of all serious opposition candidates through fraudulent legal maneuvers or by assassination.  Russia’s fake elections are now a model for autocrats in other countries, from […]

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With Russia’s Presidential Elections Looming, Ksenia Sobchak Has Already Moved On; “This presidential campaign was just the beginning.”

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 16, 2018) Vitaly Shkliarov was tired. But with just two days to go until Russia’s presidential election, Ksenia Sobchak’s campaign strategist could see the finish line – and sleep – in sight. Sobchak, however, was only getting started. On Thursday afternoon, the clock was counting down until the former reality television star was due […]

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Kemerovo governor warned not to use administrative resources in election – Pamfilova

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

MOSCOW. March 16 (Interfax) – The Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) has sent the Kemerovo region’s governor a telegram warning him not to use administrative resource in the presidential election. “The Kemerovo region needs monitoring. We sent a telegram to the governor today warning him that administrative resource cannot be used,” CEC Chair Ella Pamfilova said during a meeting with […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Presidential Address to the Nation” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2018) The incumbent President of the Russian Federation addressed the nation ahead of the March 18 presidential election. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends, We will have a presidential election this Sunday, March 18. As the incumbent president, I believe it is important to address you ahead of the voting. Under the Constitution, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Real Drama in Russia’s Election: How Many Voters Will Show Up? Putin is poised to win another term as president, and efforts to boost turnout recall Soviet-era elections” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

Russia Regions Map

“… the challenge for the Kremlin [is] not how to assure [Putin’s] victory … but how to boost voter turnout and legitimize an uncompetitive election. … in the northern Yamal-Nenets region … residents of voting age will be able to take their pictures against an election banner at a voting booth and post it on VKontakte, one of Russia’s most […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Voters Left Guessing at Putin’s Economic Plan” – Reuters

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Putin will enter Sunday’s election with little agreement among his top policymakers on an economic strategy for his next term …. Many Russians … prospered … [when] high oil prices contribut[ed] to bumper growth rates before … 2008 …. But the economy sank into recession after Western … sanctions … [over] Ukraine. A collapse in oil prices and the […]

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RUSSIALINK Interfax: “Russia ready to probe Skripal’s poisoning together with UK – Nebenzya”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

NEW YORK (UN). March 15 (Interfax) – Russia is not involved in the poisoning of former Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom and stands ready to investigate this situation together with the UK, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said. “Russia has nothing to do with this incident. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Does Putin’s Russia reject the West?” – BBC/Sarah Rainsford

File Photo of British Parliament Building Including Saint Stephen's Tower Containing Big Ben

“Amid the furor over a nerve agent spy attack in the UK, Russia is holding a presidential election. … Putin is expected to win yet another term in office. Do ordinary Russians share his outlook? …”  

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia: Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

Subject: Part Two Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part Two: Putin, Grudinin, Titov and the Meaning of Life By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former […]

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On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia; Part One: Ksenia Sobchak

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

Subject: The Siberian Campaign Trail Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> On the Russian Presidential Campaign Trail in Siberia Part One: Ksenia Sobchak By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil society development support network in the former Soviet Union.] [Text with […]

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Sobchak says planned to go to Crimea on humanitarian mission, not to campaign

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. March 13 (Interfax) – Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak said that she has no plans to campaign in Crimea and was going to travel there on a humanitarian mission. “I am not going to campaign there and have never planned to do so. But thousands of petitions are coming to me from Crimean Tatars, from people who have lost […]

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NEWSLINK: “Post-Soviet Swingers Versus the Kremlin” – CNN/Ivan Watson

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

“They claimed that after stumbling upon evidence of Russian government meddling in the 2016 US election, they were in danger of knowing too much. … Supporters of the couple claim the Russian government orchestrated their arrest to stop them leaking compromising information, accusations that were of course denied by the Kremlin. … I still have no idea whether or not […]

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Films about Putin posted on social media not violations – Pamfilova

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) – The posting of Andrei Kondrashov’s film “Putin” and similar videos on social media is not a violation, because election laws do not regulate the Internet, Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chair Ella Pamfilova said in response to a question from Interfax. “This is not a violation, because we don’t regulate the the Internet,” Pamfilova said. “If […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia explained in 10 charts” – BBC/ Alex Murray, Tom Housden, Anastasia Napalkova, Sandra Rodriguez Chillida, Joy Roxas, Zoe Bartholomew

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

“1. Fewer people are poor … 2. But wage growth has stalled recently … 3. More people have a car, and there are more microwaves than households … 4. Russians fell in love with Ikea … 5. And champagne … There’s some dispute over how much Russians drink. … 6. … the internet took off … 7. But circuses are […]

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NEWSLINK: “Alexey Navalny’s election boycott reveals the symbolic matrix of Russian politics; Boycotting the Russian presidential elections is the logical extension of the opposition politician’s radical street politics” – OpenDemocracy/Dmitry Lebedev

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“Presidential elections in today’s Russia are often talked about as mere formalities, as procedures essential to maintaining a democratic façade. The outcome of the process is known to everyone in advance. In public, the only person who can doubt the outcome is the one who is actually responsible for it – Vladimir Putin, who delayed announcing his re-election bid for […]

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NEWSLINK: “Confronting Putin” – NBC

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

“In this NBC News Special, Megyn Kelly travels to Russia for a rare exclusive sit-down interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Megyn grills Putin on the Kremlin’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. …”

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Interview to American TV channel NBC [Complete Transcript]” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57027) Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. The interview was recorded in the Kremlin on March 1, 2018, and in Kaliningrad on March 2, 2018. Part 1. The Kremlin, Moscow, March 1, 2018 Megyn Kelly: So, thank you very much for doing this, Mr President. I thought that we’d start with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Xi Are Dreaming of a Polar Silk Road; The Northern Sea Route might not be the next Suez Canal, but it’s at the heart of Moscow and Beijing’s play for the high north.” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Keith Johnson, Reid Standish

Arctic Map

“The unprecedented melt of Arctic sea ice is … rejuvenating hopes of a shipping shortcut …. It shouldn’t be. China is dreamy-eyed about the prospects of shipping goods from Asia to Europe across the top of Russia … dominating its brand-new Arctic strategy. … Russia is convinced that the melting Arctic will open up a new economic frontier rich in […]

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West Now Focusing on Young People to Change Russia a Decade from Now, Federation Council Report Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 6, 2018) Foreign governments are seeking to change the attitudes of young people everywhere in hopes “of transforming them into an instrument for undermining national political systems and realizing scenarios of ‘color revolutions’ and the overthrow of existing governments,” according to a report prepared by a special commission of the Federation […]

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Russia’s elections: the rise and fall of “dramaturgiya;” The Kremlin is used to scripting election campaigns to the minute. But the 2018 election shows how they’re losing control.

Kremlin and River

(opendemocracy.net – Andrew Wilson – March 9, 2018 – opendemocracy.net/od-russia/andrew-wilson/russias-elections-the-rise-and-fall-of-dramaturgiya) Andrew Wilson is Professor in Ukrainian Studies at University College London. His most recent book Ukraine Crisis: What the West Needs to Know was published by Yale University Press in 2014. Russian elections used to be all about dramaturgiya, meaning an artificial and carefully-scripted drama. Elections may not have had […]

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Interfax: Russian Central Elections Commission receives 73 complaints from presidential candidates, mostly from Grudinin – chairperson

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

MOSCOW. March 8 (Interfax) – The Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) has received over 82,500 appeals related to the upcoming presidential elections, and the authors of an overwhelming majority of them are asking the commission to explain some details of the voting procedure. “There have been a total of 82,578 appeals. This very large, an unprecedentedly large number shows vividly […]

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NEWSLINK: “Harassment Russian Style” – Moscow Times/Michele A. Berdy

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

“Харассмент: harassment … How is it that I’ve never written about домогательство? This word and issue – what is usually called harassment in English – have come up plenty of times in the past. But this week the subject came up, stayed up and is screaming for attention. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “What Another Six Years of Putin Spells for Russia’s Economy; No level of debt-fueled spending can overcome the stagnation caused by the state’s continued domination of the economy” – Eurasianet/David Szakonyi

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Officials are taking no chances to ensure turnout isn’t embarrassingly low, however, mobilizing students and workers, plastering the regions with pro-Putin materials, and seemingly handpicking the other candidates allowed to run. There are many consequences to holding stage-managed elections. Clearly they are a violation of basic political rights. … [and] the Russian presidential campaign offers nearly zero discussions of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 points in February” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

“… Putin’s popularity in large cities tumbled by 12 percentage points in the last month to 57.1% … state owned … VTsIOM … reported ….  less than 10 days to go until [the presidential election] Putin’s popularity rating fell from 69.7% in January to 57.1% in February in the … millionki … 11 cities with more than 1mn residents …. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Vladimir Putin’s Re-Election Strategy: Nukes and Assassins” – Daily Beast/Amy Knight

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

“Emboldened by Trump’s weak response, Putin and his cronies are saying: ‘You know we did it, and you know and we know you’re not going to do anything about it.’”

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian lawmaker accused of sex harassment apologizes” – AP

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“An influential Russian parliament member accused of sexual harassment by several female journalists has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness. … allegations against [foreign affairs committee head] Leonid Slutsky by three journalists include groping and making demeaning comments. … demonstrators including … Sobchak held pickets outside the parliament demanding [his] resignation ….” Click here for: “Russian lawmaker accused of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Event Recap: Post-Soviet Political Theater” – NYU Jordan Center/ Ben Dalton

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

“In many post-Soviet countries, a hybrid regime has emerged that is neither full democracy nor pure authoritarianism. Sometimes called ‘competitive authoritarian regimes’ or ‘unconsolidated democracies,’ these governments adopt the trapping of democracies – elections, public debates, opposition parties – but in most cases electoral outcomes are preordained, and everyone knows where the real power lies. Perhaps the best example is […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] ASI Supervisory Board meeting” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 7, 2018) In Samara, Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the supervisory board of the autonomous non-profit organisation Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects (ASI). The meeting participants summed up the Agency’s performance in the past six years and outlined prospects for 2018. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, First of all, I […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How realistic are Putin’s promises to massively increase social spending?” – bne Intellinews/Vadim Dumesh, Ben Aris

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“The militarism of … Putin’s … state of the nation speech on March 1 has overshadowed the economic part … set[ting] out the Kremlin’s development strategy … remain[ing] merely declarative and if anything show[ing] the lack of consensus between the Kremlin, government and policy advisers … [with]the Kremlin … attempting to fudge policy to keep all the various factions – […]

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Interfax: Putin: import substitution in Russia is temporary phenomenon

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

SAMARA. March 7 (Interfax) – Import substitution in Russia is a temporary phenomenon; a temporary tool to balance out the current situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The idea of import substitution is not, in and of itself, universal and is not what we should be aiming for in the long run; import substitution mustn’t disrupt competition. This is an […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin Takes His Campaign to Leading Industrial Town” – AP

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

“… Putin … took his campaign to one of Russia’s leading industrial companies, vowing to bolster high-tech industries and improve living standards. … travel[ing] to … the Urals to visit Uralvagonzavod, a huge factory producing … battle tanks … and railroad cars. … seek[ing] to shore up his support base before the March 18 presidential election. * * * The Uralvagonzavod […]

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82% of Russians Favor Gender Equality in Families – Poll

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 6, 2018) [https://wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=116735] As many as 82 percent of surveyed Russians say they are in favor of gender equality within the family, according to a state-run poll published Tuesday. Despite high rates of divorce and abortion, Russia has positioned itself as a country of conservative family values against modern liberal trends. Russia was among […]

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Russians Increasingly Blasé about Major Corruption Cases But Infuriated by Local Ones

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 4, 2018) The anti-corruption cases Moscow has launched in recent months no longer shock most Russians who view them as a kind of theater or surrogate for a genuine struggle against corruption because it is hard for them to view money in the capital as if it were their own, Aleksey […]

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Interfax: External funding of foreign NGOs in Russia grows to 7.1 bln rubles within less than year, while their number reduces by 10% – report

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. March 5 (Interfax) – The external funding of foreign NGOs operating in Russia has grown to more than 7 billion rubles in less than a year, the Federation Council’s commission for counteracting foreign interference in Russian affairs said in a special report presented on Monday. “In 2015, Russian socio-political NGOs received 80 billion rubles from the United States alone […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin says he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed. Many Russians agree.” – Washington Post/Adam Taylor

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

“A day after unveiling dramatic new weapons – including a nuclear-powered cruise missile – that sparked talk of a return to Cold War tensions … Putin suggested that he’d reverse the collapse of the Soviet Union if he could. Putin’s comments on the 1991 fall of the U.S.S.R. – which bound Russia and many of its neighbors while exerting influence […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Truth and Justice forum of regional and local media” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 2, 2018) Vladimir Putin took part in the Fifth Truth and Justice Forum of Regional and Local Media organised by the Russian Popular Front. The President answered questions from regional and local media representatives. Meeting with regional and local media representatives at the Fifth Truth and Justice Media Forum organised by the Russian Popular Front. During the […]

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As Russia’s presidential election approaches, apathy is running high; On 18 March, Russians go to the polls to elect a new president (or rather, re-elect the old one. But there’s little enthusiasm around.

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(opendemocracy.net – Elena Solovyova – March 2, 2018) Elena Solovyova is a journalist for 7×7-Horizontal Russia. She won the Redkollegia Prize for her research into the links between the leadership of the Komi Republic and the nationalist organisation Rubezh Severa (Northern Frontier). She lives in Syktyvkar. In Syktyvkar, the capital of Komi in northwestern Russia, there is a junction where […]

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NEWSLINK: “He’s trying to say: Take us seriously. We’re not joking anymore’ Russian political and security experts interpret Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech” – Meduza

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… Putin addressed the Federal Assembly, devoting a significant part of his speech to a presentation of Russia’s latest weapons, including nuclear missiles, and calling on NATO to cease its eastward expansion. … Meduza asked several political and security experts to explain why Putin demonstrated all these weapons and what the speech means for his next presidential term. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “If Russia’s minorities are excluded from national political life, then why are they the most “loyal” on paper? By rejecting popular support in Russia’s national republics, you can win more votes than you lose.” (Excerpt) – OpenDemocracy/Badma Biurchiev

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Badma Biurchiev – March 1, 2018) [Full text opendemocracy.net/od-russia/badma-biurchiev/If-russias-minorities-are-excluded] Badma Biurchiev was born in Kalmykia in 1973, and has worked as a journalist since 2003. He currently works for Kavpolit, where he covers Dagestan and Kalmykia. He has previously worked for Bolshoy Kavkaz and Caucasian Knot. On 20 February, Alexey Navalny, banned from standing as a candidate in […]

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CEC refuses to assess candidates’ behavior at debates

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – The Central Elections Commission (CEC) has no right to assess the behavior of presidential candidates at debates; if need be, they can protect their integrity and reputation in court, CEC head Ella Pamfilova said in a statement obtained by Interfax on Thursday. “It is not within the Russian CEC’s purview to assess the behavior of […]

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Russia should allocate at least 3.4 trln rubles for demographic development within next 6 years – Putin

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – At least 3.4 trillion rubles should be allocated for demographic development within the next six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday. “We will have to allocate at least 3.4 trillion rules for demographic development measures and for the welfare of mothers and children within the […]

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RUSSIALINK VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin]Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin Addressing Federal Assembly, adapted from video at kremlin.ru

(Kremlin.ru – March 1, 2018) [Video and text in Russian kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56957] The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. The presentation of the Address was attended by Federation Council members, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, leaders of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, governors, speakers […]

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NEWSWATCH: “External Interference Narratives in Russian and U.S. Politics: Conspiracy Theorizing Meets Whataboutism” [Excerpt]

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

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Serghei Golunov – February 2018) Serghei Golunov is Professor at the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University, Japan. [Full text ponarseurasia.org/memo/external-interference-narratives-russian-and-us-politics-conspiracy-theorizing] (PONARS Policy Memo) Conspiracy theories about covert external interference play significant roles in the political discourses of many countries worldwide. In Russia, conspiracy theorizing about U.S. clandestine interference is a long-time, long-term […]

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