NEWSWATCH: “Oil is the cause of Russia’s outsized corruption problem” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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

“#Russia was wracked by protests over the weekend when an estimated 60,000 people took to the street in more than 80 cities large and small to decry rampant corruption. Russia does have an outsized corruption problem and its #oil wealth is to blame.  … the Russian government has identified corruption as probably the biggest drag on growth and has launched a […]

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Russia May Shrink Its ‘Foreign Agents’ Registry by Half

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 24, 2017) Russia may drastically shrink its registry of “foreign agents” – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and political activities, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports. The government will likely remove half of the organizations from the registry following an analysis of the law’s application by a presidential administration working group. More than 50 […]

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Interfax: March 26 rally organizers warned of illegality of staging rallies in city center – Moscow authorities

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) – Moscow authorities have considered all the applications filed by organizers for public events to be held in central Moscow on March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, head of the Moscow Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption, told Interfax on Thursday. “The Department has received five applications from a group of people for public events to be […]

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Putin to Stress Superpower Status in Presidential Campaign; Restoring Moscow’s global influence will be a dominant theme of the 2018 election, experts say

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Matthew Kupfer – March 23, 2017) In 2016, Donald Trump rode a wave of popular discontent to the White House on the promise that he would “make America great again.” As Russia’s presidential election, scheduled for March 2018 draws nearer, President Vladimir Putin may try a similar tactic – by contending that he […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Live longer! Putin calls for improving life expectancy. Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths.”

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

“Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths. …”

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Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects meeting

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Participants in the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of priority projects in healthcare, as well as measures aimed at enhancing labour efficiency. Transcript of the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects President […]

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NEWSLINK: “Manafort had plan to benefit Putin government” – AP Exclusive/JEFF HORWITZ, CHAD DAY

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

“… Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of … Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for […]

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Interfax: Idea of appointing Russian Academy of Sciences president deserves attention – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – The idea that a Russian Academy of Sciences head may be appointed by the president of Russia deserves attention, yet no decisions have so far been made to this effect, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “All of us have been watching the developments around the election of a [Russian Academy of Sciences] president. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot live with the west – or without it; Technological backwardness increases its dependence on liberal democracies” – Financial Times/Lilia Shevtsova

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“Great power status and the desire for external domination have long been central components of the Russian system of personalised power. … With diminishing resources, the Kremlin has increasingly resorted to intimidating … liberal democracies into accepting Russia’s grand ambitions. At the same time, the country has to wrestle with … how to preserve its role as a global power without […]

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Interfax: Moscow authorities believe their rejection of Navalny’s requested anti-corruption rally final

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow authorities do not plan on reconsidering their refusal to approve the anti-corruption march scheduled by opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Moscow for March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, the head of the regional security and anti-corruption department for Moscow, said. “This decision is final,” Chernikov said, replying to a relevant question from […]

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Russian Civic Nation ‘Already Exists,’ Doesn’t Need to be Declared or Defined, Kremlin Official Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – March 18, 2017) Staunton, March 18 – Two weeks ago, efforts by the working group Vladimir Putin set up to define the meaning of a civic Russian nation (rossiiskaya natsiya) collapsed when the leaders of that group announced that they were refocusing a draft law on nationality policy more generally (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/putin-tishkov-push-to-define-civic.html). But yesterday, […]

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NEWSLINK “Russia Quality Of Life Indicators Worse Than China’s” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

Moscow Roads

“… According to the big data cost of living number crunchers at Numbeo, Russia’s biggest problems are weather; Moscow traffic that makes the 405 in Los Angeles and the Marginal in Sao Paulo seem tame; outrageous real estate prices in city centers, and pollution. Russia may be known for great culture, world-class great museums and home to one of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For the Kremlin, Boosting Turnout Is Key Task for 2018 Vote” – AP

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

“With a year to go before #Russia’s presidential election …. #Putin is set to glide easily to another term against a familiar pack of torpid rivals – leftovers from past races. But the Kremlin must figure out how to overcome one major problem in Russia’s political environment: public apathy. Putin’s strategists are searching for ways to draw more people to […]

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Regional Elites Now Excluded from Politics Seek a Bigger Role, Kudrin Center Study Finds

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 16, 2017) Russia’s regional elites say that they do not have any influence on the political process but that they would like to, especially concerning policies that affect their particular regions, according to a new study prepared by Aleksey Kudrin’s Center for Strategic Development. The study itself, “Russian Elites in 2016: […]

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NEWSLINK: “Was Yahoo a sanctioned FSB operation or a rogue operation?” – Jeffrey Carr/Medium

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… In 2014, Chinese cyber attacks were in the political spotlight in Washington leading up to a summit between Obama and Xi. Cybersecurity firms like Crowdstrike published attribution reports blaming the Chinese government and the Dept of Justice charged five PLA officers/hackers with acts of cyber espionage. In 2016 and 2017, Russian cyber attacks took the spotlight, with Crowdstrike and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Unquiet American; Putin is unlikely to be brought in from the cold, says former U.S. envoy to Moscow Michael McFaul” – Politico.eu

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“… How does the #Putin era end? ‘When Putin is no longer in power,’ responds #McFaul. ‘And I think he’ll stay in power for as long as he can.’ A natural end to Putin’s presidency is ‘unlikely,’ he says, ‘given the kind of system he’s built around himself, that really relies on one charismatic individual at its core.’ The #Russians […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of Congress of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin addressed a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The congress is being held as part of the X Russian Business Week (RBW) on March 13-17, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The RBW participants coordinate proposals on key areas of interaction between the […]

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Almost Half of Russians Say They Can’t Distinguish Truth from Lies in Moscow Media

Satellite Dishes

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 15, 2017) Almost half of Russians – 46 percent – say that they often cannot distinguish “false information from truth” in media reports, while a similar percentage – 46 percent say that they can, numbers that are relatively constant across groups of different ages and social classes, according to Aleksey Levinson […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with General Director of Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 15, 2017) Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives [ASI] Svetlana Chupsheva. The discussion focussed on the Agency’s work on key activity areas, in particular, developing the investment climate and business activity in Russia and support for social and business projects. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Chupsheva, have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In defence of the Romanovs: the centenary of the February Revolution” – The Spectator (Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

Romanov Family Photo

“A century ago today, as the Imperial Train sat impounded at a provincial station 180 miles from Petrograd, Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II (1868-1918), signed an act of abdication. The Russian Revolution was formally in motion. Slightly more than eight months later, the liberal republic that succeeded the Romanov autocracy had given way to seven decades of Communist dictatorship. … most […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Study Russian History?” – American Historical Association Blog/E. Thomas Ewing and Virginia Tech Students enrolled in HIST 3604: Russia to Peter the Great

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

“… we often took examples from current news or recent history and established connections to the historical period covered . … Russian history from its founding in the ninth century until the beginning of the era of Peter the Great in the late 17th century illustrates how this emerging nation-state navigated complex processes such as building a national political order, sustaining […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Revolution, A Century On” – The Interpreter (Lowy Institute for International Policy-Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“A century ago today, Emperor Nicholas II, ‘Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias’, pencilled his name to a document renouncing a throne three hundred years in his family’s possession, not only for himself but also his son and chronically ill heir, Alexis. The date, according to the old Russian calendar, was 3 March 1917. So definitively began, after days […]

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Who will make Russia “great again”? Russia’s legal-rational establishment has yet to emerge. But the rise of Alexei Navalny demonstrates that when it does, it will inevitably be nationalist.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Arutunyan – March 15, 2017) Anna Arutunyan is a Russian-American journalist and the author of The Putin Mystique. A former fellow at the Kennan Institute in Washington, she currently lives and writes in Moscow. There has been quite a bit of whiplash in the way Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most promising opposition leader, has been regarded. One moment, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 14, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members in the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We will begin with s number of current issues. The epidemic level seems to be on the decline, but the situation is still serious. Even Mr Medvedev could not stay out of harm’s way, and caught […]

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Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t;  While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 14, 2017) [Text with photos here bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-14/russia-s-alternative-universe-immigrants-welcome] On a brutally cold February day, hundreds of laborers from Uzbekistan mill around in the snow and mud of a construction site 10 miles outside Moscow. Surrounding them are a series of unfinished 18-story apartment blocks meant to serve as homes for Russian military officers. […]

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Navalny No Supporter of Federalism

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 13, 2017) Opposition presidential candidate Aleksey Navalny may offer a variety of positive ideas for the future of Russia compared to those of Vladimir Putin. But in one critical area, he does not represent a break from the current Kremlin leader: he is just as opposed to real federalism as Putin […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Melting glaciers threaten to inundate Russia’s Far North and Siberia”

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

Scientists say that the melting permafrost and the cryosphere’s destruction might lead to massive flooding in the Arctic and Siberian regions of Russia in the next 20 years, as well as foster the resuscitation of dormant pathogens and the destruction of vital infrastructure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLGA DOBROVIDOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 14, 2017) Maria […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Prosecutor General Office’s Board

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

(Kremlin.ru – March 14, 2017) Vladimir Putin attended a meeting of the Prosecutor General Office’s Board, where he assessed the prosecution agencies’ performance in 2016 and outlined their priority tasks for 2017. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, As usual at these board meetings, we will discuss the prosecution agencies’ performance in 2016 and set the priorities for […]

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Shevtsova on 15 Paradoxes of Putin’s Russia

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 11, 2107) Liliya Shevtsova, a Moscow-based analyst for the Brookings Institution, has once again provided a useful guide to some of the terminology that #Russians and analysts of #Russia often use without reflecting on the paradoxical quality of much of it and the ways in which that quality undermines their utility. […]

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Navalny: Political Change in Russia Is Only Solution to Corruption

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Danila Galperovich – March 10, 2017) MOSCOW – Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny recently caused a stir on the internet with a documentary-style video about the lifestyle of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that has already been viewed millions of times. According to the 50-minute film, Medvedev owns palatial mansions, yachts […]

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NEWSLINK: “A film about a slain Putin critic gets a screening – just off Red Square” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

“It takes about 700 steps at a leisurely pace to stroll from the lavish mall along Red Square to the bridge over the Moscow River where … Russia’s most prominent opposition leader was gunned down as he made that walk with his girlfriend. … in the shadow of the red brick Kremlin walls, an informal shrine marks the spot and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Fareed Zakaria on the most powerful man in the world” – CNN

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

“… Zakaria’s documentary on … Putin, ‘The Most Powerful Man in the World,’ [airs] … Monday at 9 p.m. ET. … CNN Politics sat down to talk with Zakaria about that enmity and other aspects of Putin’s worldview. An edited version of the conversation follows. …”

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Peoples of Russia have Nothing in Common Except Loyalty to Putin, Kashin Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 9, 2017) Historians have often observed that one of the fundamental weaknesses of tsarist Russia was that the country was held together only by personalist ties of loyalty to the tsar and so that when the tsar was removed from the equation, Russia had little or no reason to continue to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Online dissidents expose the Russian prime minister’s material empire; The truth about Dmitry Medvedev lives on the Internet” – Washington Post

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

“… #Medvedev has been seen in [items] … ordered online and delivered to an address linked to a web of companies and charities controlled by close confidants and relatives. After months spent probing the network, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, headed by opposition activist Alexei #Navalny, has released a video and documentation it says show … Medvedev has accumulated more than $1 billion worth of […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russian marches on Women’s Day seen as an attempt to revive feminism”

Kremlin and River

This year’s International Women’s Day was marked by feminist protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Experts note that the idea of gender equality remains unpopular in Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – March 10, 2017) “March 8 is the day of women’s solidarity in their fight against gender inequality, not the day of spring, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “CHARISMATIC LEGITIMACY” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“In pre-revolutionary China, the Emperor’s legitimacy was said to derive from the ‘mandate of heaven’. On the one hand, proof that an Emperor had such a mandate came from his success. On the other hand, if the Emperor was unsuccessful, that was evidence that he did not have a mandate from heaven, in which case rebellion against him was justifiable. … […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian corporate governance comes in from the ‘Caveman era'” – bne Intellinews/Jason Corcoran

“Russia’s new corporate governance code … in place for two years, is being increasingly adhered to, according to market participants. Other reforms undertaken by the Moscow Exchange – as well as an increase in domestic liquidity – is accelerating the trend for more companies to list in the Russian capital rather than in London. …” [featured image is file photo, […]

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Defeat of Russian Civic Nation Law Shows Putin Isn’t All-Powerful, Krasheninnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 7, 2017) “The most interesting aspect” of Moscow’s retreat from its efforts to promote a civic Russian nation is not that it shows “society isn’t very prepared” for that as Valery Tishkov says (kommersant.ru/doc/3235995), but rather the way in which it represents “a personal defeat for Vladimir Putin,” according to Fyodor […]

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Yavlinsky Says 1917 ‘Detour’ Led Russia Into 100-Year ‘Dead End’

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – March 5, 2017) “The past isn’t dead,” goes American novelist William Faulkner’s famous aphorism. “It isn’t even past.” As Russia looks back on the fateful events of a century ago, when a pair of revolutions overthrew a tsar and installed Bolsheviks, liberal politician and Yabloko party candidate for the 2018 presidential election Grigory […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia pushes to rid itself of ‘Potemkin’ banks by 2019” – Reuters/Alexander Winning, Andrey Ostroukh

“Russia plans to extend a review of bank licenses for another two years, shutting down scores more banks after closing hundreds in the past four years, mostly for committing fraud or other crimes …. Vasily Pozdyshev, a deputy governor at Russia’s central bank, says … his team is still finding more propping up criminal activity and would need until 2019 …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “This Is the Russia You’re So Afraid Of?” – New York Times/Maria Antonova

Russia Regions Map

“… neglect began after the Communist system collapsed and has continued …. Russia is projecting its power from Ukraine to Syria to Western Europe…. [there are] allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the American presidential election …. support for … Putin is high and disdain for America … serves as … an artificial social cohesive …. Most people’s lives focus on economic survival … but … state television […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia dismisses sweeping corruption allegations against Medvedev” – Washington Post/David Filipov

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

… Navalny, who has said he will run for president in 2018, released … a report and … video detailing allegations that Medvedev has funneled more than $1 billion in bribes through companies and charities run by his associates to acquire vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions. The Russian government quickly dismissed the accusations as an attention-grabbing stunt by a self-proclaimed presidential […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – March 3, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin to discuss the Year of the Environment in Russia, including ways to reduce emissions and the adverse impact on the environment, to introduce best available technologies, and to protect rare animals. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khloponin, the Year of the Environment is underway in […]

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NEWSLINK: “A TALE OF TWO CITIES” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“‘Putin projects Russian might. A decaying town tells a different story’. So says Maria Antonova in an article in Sunday’s New York Times. Antonova comes from the town of Donskoi in Tula province, a few hours south of Moscow, and her grandfather was mayor in Soviet times. After the USSR collapsed, Donskoi’s industry collapsed too. Now, says Antonova, the town […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Russian Threat? Americans Shouldn’t Be Running Scared Of Moscow” – Doug Bandow/Forbes

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

“… Russia lacks the global reach to challenge America. … Moscow also lacks the economic foundation to match the U.S. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, ‘One effect of the country’s deteriorating economic situation has been the delay in concluding the next State Armament Program; originally intended to have been started in 2016, this has now been pushed back […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia: The Kremlin Moves to Keep Putin in Power” – Stratfor

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

“The #Kremlin is taking steps to ensure … #Putin’s continued control of #Russia. Of the measures it is considering, a plan to hold local referendums ahead of and alongside the 2018 presidential election is perhaps the most important. … to encourage voters to come out and support the government at the polls and … legitimize Russia’s political system. … Putin […]

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Moscow Court Overturns Fine for Independent Russian News Outlet RBC

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2017) A Moscow court has overturned the decision to fine independent Russian news outlet RBC for libelling oligarch and Putin ally Igor Sechin. An RBC report published in April 2016 claimed that Sechin, the CEO of Russian oil giant Rosneft, had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to block the company’s minority stakeholder from […]

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