Rocking the vote? The opposition’s elections have been labeled a ‘toy project’ ­ but proved to be colorful

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Yulia Ponomareva – October 22, 2012) In contrast with official polls, the transparency of the elections to the opposition’s coordination council has not been questioned by watchdogs ­ and this is beside the fact that all of the candidates faced off in televised debates. The results, however, will have little if any practical effect ­ […]

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Udaltsov Won’t Flee Russia, Lawyer Says

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 24, 2012) Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov has no intention of violating the travel restrictions that currently bar him from leaving the country, his lawyer said Wednesday. Defense attorney Violetta Volkova said that her client ­ a prominent organizer of anti-Kremlin protests ­ was under constant surveillance, Interfax reported. Explaining why Udaltsov cannot be reached […]

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Russia’s Rising Red Dawn

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, October 23 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appeared to have sounded the death knell for the ideas of Marx and Lenin in Russia, but just over two decades on, a new wave of young and increasingly visible socialist activists are eager to hoist the red flag over the Kremlin once more. […]

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Valdai Experts Lament Poor Institutions in Russia

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

St. Petersburg, October 23 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Zolotov Jr.) – Lack of efficient institutions and the political will to reform them were the buzzwords among the strategists and experts in economics and public policy at the Valdai Club’s 9th annual conference on Russia’s trajectory. The Valdai Club, which is co-sponsored by RIA Novosti and the Russian Council on Foreign and […]

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Putin Foe Udaltsov Vows to Battle Charges

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russian firebrand opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who could face up to ten years in jail over charges that he plotted to spark nationwide mass disorder, has no plans to flee the country, his lawyer said Wednesday. “On Friday, October 26th, I am planning, along with Sergei, to be at the Investigative Committee,” lawyer Violetta […]

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Analysis: Political Winter Descends on Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Voice of America – James Brooke – October 23, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR.) As gray winter skies descend on Moscow, Russians are adjusting to a political winter. Since taking office nearly six months ago, President Vladimir Putin has methodically reduced civic space in Russia by advocating new laws on […]

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MOSCOW BLOG: Liberals take off gloves in first clash with Kremlin old guard

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 24 ,2012) It was the first head-to-head clash between the young liberal team in Russia’s cabinet and the old guard Siloviki faction in the presidential administration. On balance, the liberals are seen as having sneaked a win. The battle lines have been drawn since Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appointed a surprisingly reform-minded […]

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Rosneft Deal Shows Ex-KGB Spy’s Influence Under Putin: Energy

Igor Sechin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew Campbell – October 24, 2012) As a small army of advisers from eight investment banks huddled in London last weekend to negotiate Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft (ROSN)’s agreement to acquire BP Plc (BP/)’s Russian venture, the deal’s most important player had already left the country. Igor Sechin, 52, a former Soviet spy and […]

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Navalny threatens with a new “Magnitsky list” if the information on the torture of opposition activist is confirmed

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – October 22, 2012) Alexei Navalny, the founder of an anti-corruption fund, said the opposition will make a new “Magnitsky list” if the information on the torture of opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev is confirmed. “If the torture is confirmed, the Razvozzhayev case should become the first case on which we will do such serious work. We will take specific […]

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Less Than Quarter of Russians Content With Cabinet – Poll

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Only 23% of Russians polled by the Public Opinion Foundation on October 13-14 in 43 regions gave good grades to the Cabinet. Moreover, 40% spoke negatively of Cabinet operations while 11% know nothing about the Cabinet’s work. Among ministries the best marks went to the Emergency Situations’ Ministry (56% were satisfied), the Ministry of Communications […]

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Russia Hopes to Improve Doing Business Ranking Through Tax Administration – Minister

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Russia hopes improve its ranking on the Doing Business index by improving tax administration, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. In the last Doing Business index, Russia was number 120. The country’s authorities have selected this index as an indicator of the success of their efforts to improve the business climate. In his first instruction after […]

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Eight Reasons Why Ukraine’s Party of Regions Will Win the 2012 Elections

File Photo of Ukrainians with Ukrainian Flag in Public Square Near Tower with Golden Dome

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume: 9 Issue: 189 – Taras Kuzio – October 17, 2012) Opinion polls have shown a gradual growth of support for the Party of Regions ahead of the October 28 parliamentary elections, which will give them a plurality in the legislature. The United Opposition (Fatherland and Front for Change­UO) and Ukrainian Democratic […]

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Ombudsman Unveils Program for Disgruntled Businesspeople

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 18, 2012) Blocked by bureaucracy? Not appreciated by officials? Look for the red button. Under a new initiative by business ombudsman Boris Titov, people sent packing by government agencies will have someone to help them try again. Due to be drawn up by the end of December, the Red Button program […]

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Udaltsov Calls for Pickets Over Aide’s Detention

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2012) Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, who investigators suspect of plotting mass riots on Russian soil, called on supporters to picket law enforcement agencies on Thursday in support of his assistant charged in the same case. “We must struggle to free Lebedev,” Udaltsov told Interfax on Thursday, referring to his aide Konstantin Lebedev, […]

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Medvedev Backs 3 Extended Holidays for 2013

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 17, 2012) The country will enjoy three extended public holidays next year: 10 days for the New Year, five days for May Day and four days for Victory Day, according to a decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday. After an extra working day on Saturday, Dec. 29, the 10-day New Year […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia’s Putin sacks member of Medvedev’s cabinet

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

Russia’s Putin sacks member of Medvedev’s cabinet – Reuters – Gleb Bryanski – October 17, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/17/russia-putin-government-idUSL5E8LH6ZB20121017 Reuters covers a move by Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove a member of Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet: Putin signed a decree dismissing Regional Development Minister Oleg Govorun, one of two ministers he had publicly criticised last month, and replacing him with Igor […]

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NEWSLINK: After Nosediving In 2011 Vladimir Putin’s Approval Rating is (Mostly) Holding Steady

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

“After Nosediving In 2011 Vladimir Putin’s Approval Rating is (Mostly) Holding Steady” – Forbes – Mark Adomanis – http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/10/17/after-nosediving-in-2011-vladimir-putins-approval-rating-is-mostly-holding-steady/ Forbes.com looks at polls on Russian President Vladimir Putin: Now as you can see from the graph Putin is, at the end of 2012, arguably weaker than he’s ever been. It’s true that he’s previously been in the same territory in […]

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Politkovskaya Murder Suspects to Seek Jury Trial

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

MOSCOW. Oct 16 (Interfax) – The people accused of murdering Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya will ask for a jury trial. “We will certainly make a motion for a trial by jury. Legislation allows us to do so,” Alexei Mikhalchik, a defense lawyer for one of the suspects, told Interfax. According to the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure, a request […]

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Pussy Riot and the party line: Why was Samutsevich set free? The answer is simpler than you think

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

(Moscow News –  themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 15, 2012) Sometimes, the best indication of what’s going on in Russian politics ­ and Pussy Riot is clearly a case of Russian politics ­ comes from simply reading the official line. Forget the experts and the oppositionists, just turn on the TV, curb your instinctive vitriol, and try to take […]

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Towns Face Budget Battles They Can’t Win

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – October 16, 2012) In a recent comedy sketch show, a police officer forks over the pay raise that he hid from his wife after she hears President Vladimir Putin announce the increase on TV. “Vladimir Vladimirovich,” the policeman mutters on the “6 Kadrov” television show, “thank you for raising our salaries, but […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov

Vladimir Putin file photo

Kremlin.ru –  October 15, 2012 – photo is a file photo Meeting with Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region Mr Churov briefed Vladimir Putin on the results of elections held in a number of regions around the country. Local and regional elections took place in 77 regions around Russia on a single voting day on October 14. […]

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Kudrin Criticizes Prevalence of Social, Military Spending in Budget

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – International Expert Council for Russia Chairman Alexei Kudrin said at a World Economic Forum session, attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, that the prevalence of social and military spending in the Russian budget had its shortcomings. “It was noted (during discussions on Sunday) that the structure of the budget was weak and that there […]

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Investigators Wrap Up Politkovskaya Case

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2012) Investigators announced Tuesday that they have wrapped up a second inquiry into the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and charged five suspects with murder and illegal possession of weapons. “The investigative team has collected enough evidence to draw up an indictment,” Vladimir Markin, the official spokesman for the Investigative Committee, said in […]

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The return of Sechin: An apparent compromise in a government rivalry places Putin’s key ally back in the picture

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 15, 2012) President Vladimir Putin has reportedly okayed a plan by the state-owned Rosneft oil company to buy BP’s 50 percent stake in TNKBP ­ and this may be part of a larger compromise with Putin’s key ally, Igor Sechin, who controls Rosneft. That compromise, analysts said, could affect everything from […]

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NEWSLINK: How Will History Judge Putin?

Vladimir Putin file photo

“How Will History Judge Putin?” – US-Russia.org – October 15, 2012 – http://us-russia.org/392-how-will-history-judge-putin.html Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 60th birthday, US-Russia.org holds a discussion about the current state of Putin’s historical legacy, with a panel featuring Vlad Sobell, Sergei Roy, William Dunkerley, Anatoly Karlin, Patrick Armtrong, Alexei Pankin, Richard Sakwa, Alexander Rahr, and Martin Seiff.  Click here for the full […]

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NEWSLINK: The voters do not show interest in the gubernatorial elections

Map of Russia

(“The voters do not show interest in the gubernatorial elections “- ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – October 15, 2012 –http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/546081.html) ITAR-TASS reports on recent regional elections in Russia, termed “dirtier” than the December election and characterized by allegedly low official turnout: On Sunday, the Single Voting Day was held in Russia. The elections and referenda at various levels were […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian elections preserve Putin’s dominance, opponents cry foul

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

Russian elections preserve Putin’s dominance, opponents cry foul – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska and Maria Tsvetkova – October 14, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/14/us-russia-elections-idUSBRE89D0GC20121014 Reuters covers Russia’s recent regional elections.  Vladimir Putin-backed ruling party United Russia came out on top, but amidst widespread allegations of voting violations: The first big elections since Putin began a new six-year term in May will do […]

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One Russia Did Well In Regional Polls But Must Not Rest On Laurels – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 14 October) Russian Prime Minister and One Russia (United Russia) (ruling party) leader Dmitriy Medvedev has said that, judging by preliminary results, the party did better in the (regional) elections held on Sunday (14 October) than in the election to the Russian State Duma (in December 2011). “Regarding elections results in the regions where vote count has […]

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Putin Loyalists Assert Control in Russian Regional Elections

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – October 15, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies dominated Russia’s first gubernatorial elections in eight years that opposition parties said were marred by abuses. The ruling United Russia party’s candidates won all five races for governor and six local legislative contests, according to preliminary results announced today by officials from local election commissions […]

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JRL Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#181 – 15 October 2012

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List 2012-#181 15 October 2012 davidjohnson@starpower.net A World Security Institute Project www.worldsecurityinstitute.org JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: www.russialist.org/funding.php Your source for news and analysis since 1996 In this issue POLITICS 1. Bloomberg: Putin Loyalists Assert Control in Russian Regional Elections. 2. Reuters: Russian elections preserve Putin’s dominance, opponents cry foul. […]

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Q&A: Navalny’s Fundraiser Sees the Power of the Crowd

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 12, 2012) Vladimir Ashurkov Education 1989-1993 ­ Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology 1994-1996 ­ Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Work Experience 1993-1994 ­ PepsiCo Holding, financial analyst 1997-1999 ­ Renaissance Capital, investment banking department 1999-2001 ­ Saint Petersburg Sea Port, financial director 2001-2003 ­National Container Co., president 2003-2004 ­TransCare logistics […]

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Russia Polls Revolve Around Moscow Suburb Vote

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

MOSCOW, October 12 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – Russians vote in regional elections on Sunday from the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to the Pacific coast, but with the focus firmly on the heated battle for ballots in a small Moscow satellite city. The nationwide polls are the most important in Russia since Vladimir Putin was elected to a third presidential […]

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Poll Shows Increase In Support For Russian Leaders

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

(Interfax –  Moscow, 11 October) Sociologists have recorded an increase in confidence ratings of (President) Vladimir Putin and (Prime Minister) Dmitriy Medvedev in early October. Currently, 44 per cent of respondents say that they trust President Vladimir Putin, while a week ago the figure was 42 per cent, and two weeks ago – 41 per cent, according to a survey […]

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Putin Braces for First Russian Election Since Kremlin Return

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Anton Doroshev – October 12, 2012) Russia’s regional elections, including the first gubernatorial polls in eight years, are testing President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to reassert control after the largest protests in more than a decade. Contenders backed by the ruling United Russia party may suffer setbacks in at least 10 mayoral and local […]

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Prokhorov Says He Will Focus on Politics

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

YAROSLAVL. Oct 11 (Interfax) – Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov has confirmed his plans to focus on politics and stop his business activities. “I have virtually stopped my business activities and am going to focus solely on politics. Being a businessman and a politician is wrong, as it leads to a conflict of interests,” Prokhorov told a press conference on Tuesday in […]

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Moscow Helsinki Group chairman regrets that Nobel Peace Prize went to EU

EU Map

(Interfax – October 12, 2012) Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, believes that the decision to award the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union was wrong. “If it were awarded to political prisoners in Iran, it would be clearer to me. I wonder how they will photograph the EU as the Nobel Prize winner and […]

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Curing Homosexuality in Russia and Ukraine

Map of Russia and European Region of Former Soviet Union or Commonwealth of Independent States

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – Leonid Bershidsky, an editor and novelist, is Moscow and Kiev correspondent for World View – October 10, 2012) Forget gay marriage. In Russia and Ukraine, politicians are treating homosexuality like a curable addiction — and even a crime. Last week, acting on a widespread popular belief that sexual orientation is a matter of […]

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Putin’s Jubilee Finds Him Clueless, Isolated and Ridiculed

Vladimir Putin file photo

Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 9 Issue 184 – Pavel K. Baev – October 10, 2012 President Vladimir Putin quietly celebrated his 60th birthday on October 7 behind the high walls of one of his residences. But his minions, viceroys and oligarchs across the country are trying to outdo one another with gifts and other manifestations […]

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Russian Protest Leader Quizzed Over Coup Claims

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 11 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)-Russian protest leader Sergei Udaltsov was questioned by investigators on Thursday in connection with allegations aired on federal TV that he had conspired to launch a violent revolution. State-run NTV broadcast last week what it said was secretly-filmed footage of Left Front leader Udaltsov meeting Georgian politician Givi Targamadze to discuss plans to seize […]

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Samutsevich was freed because she didn’t have time to shout in church – judge

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

MOSCOW. Oct 11 (Interfax) – The Moscow City Court has evaluated the degree of every Pussy Riot member’s participation in the stunt in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The court found that Yekaterina Samutsevich did not shout in the cathedral and she was freed. “Samutsevich, like the others, put on a cap, took out her guitar, got into a […]

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Putin: Land market in Russia permeated with corruption

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

(Interfax – October 9, 2012) The development of land relations in Russia is being obstructed by corrupt officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Arbitrariness and corruption of officials is hampering and obstructing proper development of land relations in Russia, and, as a result, this slows down the country’s progress on the whole,” Putin said at a session of the Russian […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Video address marking the inauguration of the second section of the Nord Stream gas pipeline

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru –  October 8, 2012)  In his video address, Vladimir Putin congratulated the project participants on completing the second section and bringing it to design capacity. The official ceremony marking the pipeline’s completion took place at Portovaya Bay in Leningrad Region. The pipeline crosses the Baltic Sea, passing through the territorial waters of five countries, and links up to the […]

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Opposition Expose Incites Investigation

Russian Duma Building

(Alexander Bratersky – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2012) Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has ordered an investigation into claims in a television expose that opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov received funding from an ally of Georgia’s president and the former head of Bank of Moscow aimed at sowing discord in Russia. It was unclear Sunday what the investigation might […]

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Putin says “talented, smart people” will emerge in opposition

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

VLADIVOSTOK. Oct 7 (Interfax) – People of action alone can become leaders in Russia. The skill of being loudly critical is not enough, President Vladimir Putin said in a film, shown on the Central Television program of NTV television on Sunday. “The unessential will be brushed away in a natural way, and original and smart people will emerge and assume […]

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NEWSLINK: Plaudits vie with “pensioner” jibes as Russia’s Putin turns 60

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

Plaudits vie with “pensioner” jibes as Russia’s Putin turns 60 – Reuters – Alissa de Carbonnel – October 7 click here for original article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/07/us-russia-putin-birthday-idUSBRE8940ZW20121007 Reuters covers how both supporters and opposition detractors marked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 60th birthday. The ruling party’s loyal Young Guard movement published a video on its website portraying Putin as the ultimate ladies’ man, […]

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Pundits argue that Putin became a symbol of stability, but his policy should be adjusted to future challenges

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

(Interfax – October 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin, who has turned 60 on Oct. 7, has gone down in history already as a statesman, who has put Russia back on the path of stability. However, demand has been growing in Russia for “a new Putin,” strong enough to accomplish fresh breakthroughs, political analysts say. “Russia approached the 21st century on […]

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NEWSLINK: RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – Vladimir Putin has marked his 60th Birth Anniversary

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – Vladimir Putin has marked his 60th Birth Anniversary – ITAR-TASS – October 8, 2012 ITAR-TASS provides its take on Russian press accounts of Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s 60th birthday. Click here for the full article: http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/539889.html

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Putin’s Birthday Marked With Praise and Protests

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – October 8, 2012) Senior government officials lavished praise on President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, his 60th birthday, paying tribute to his qualities as leader and saying he rescued the country from disaster. Meanwhile, police detained about 25 opposition activists who had gathered in central Moscow to protest Putin’s rule and poke fun […]

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Putin at 60 Has Rule Rated Positive by Majority, Poll Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stepan Kravchenko and Ilya Arkhipov – October 8, 2012)  President Vladimir Putin, who turned 60 yesterday, had his rule rated “more good than bad” by the majority of Russians more than 12 years after he first became the country’s leader, an opinion poll showed. Sixty-four percent of Russians are positive about the Putin era, the state-run […]

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Kudrin Offered Mega-Regulator Job

Alexei Kudrin file photo

STRASBOURG, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been offered the post of head of Russia’s new financial mega-regulator, he disclosed on Monday. “Yes, I have received the offer but I’m not ready so far to discuss it in detail,” Kudrin said on the sidelines of the global forum for democracy in Strasbourg. First Deputy […]

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