Fool. Fool. Holy fool; How Pussy Riot is turning the government into a villain – and a crutch

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 – February 4, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News Just when I thought I was done, they pull me back in. Nearly one year since the girls staged the punk rock dance that got two of them sent to penal colonies, they are still one of the world’s […]

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Quoting the constitution in Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – February 4, 2013) The story, as told by Yekaterinburg-based journalist Aksana Panova on her Facebook page, is nothing short of amazing. Znak.com, an online portal where Panova works, decided to place banners with quotes from the Russian Constitution on the city streets. The banners went up – but not without a struggle. […]

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Minister Seeks Extra $1.4Bln in Farm Subsidies

Field of Grain file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – February 6, 2013) Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov on Tuesday asked for an additional $1.4 billion in farming subsidies this year, as grain prices are growing and WTO commitments are taking effect. Total federal spending on supporting farmers was initially projected at 158 billion rubles ($5.3 billion) this year. Following a less-than-spectacular crop […]

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Law on “foreign agent” NGOs does not work, has “large psychological effect” – Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 6 (Interfax) – The law on “foreign agent” NGOs has not had a legal effect as yet, Presidential Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov told a press conference at Interfax. “The law in its current form has had a psychological rather than legal effect,” he noted. Not a single organization has been registered as a foreign agent, Fedotov […]

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Religious radicalism in Russia: hell, heaven and the state; The emergence of hardline Orthodox activists highlights the links between church and government

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Moscow file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – February 4, 2013) He’s young and slim, with a narrow face and dark beard. Deeply religious and intensely conservative, he supports all the precepts of traditional Christian values: church, family, God. He’s anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, and opposes teaching evolution in schools. “It’s crazy to think that the world is millions or billions of […]

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Moscow likely behind Kirov lawmakers’ idea of no confidence in Governor Belykh – analysts

Nikita Belykh file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) – Political analysts believe the intention of a group of members of the Kirov regional legislature to express no confidence in Governor Nikita Belykh has been endorsed by some influential political forces both in the region and in Moscow. “Mr. Belykh is not very popular with the local elites and is perceived as an outsider. Perhaps […]

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Belykh Faces Ouster by Regional Lawmakers

Nikita Belykh file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – February 6, 2013) Nikita Belykh, the liberal governor of the Kirov region and a former opposition leader, is facing a new wave of pressure from opponents after 19 regional lawmakers announced their intent to put forward a no-confidence vote against him. Investigators raided Belykh’s office last week in connection with the alleged […]

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Putinism In Winter

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

(RFE/RL – www.rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 5, 2013) Somebody is out to get Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Or somebody is setting up Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Or both. Or neither. But regardless, something pretty weird appears to be going on. A slick feature-length video appeared online last week attacking Medvedev for selling out Russia’s interests in the […]

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United Russia’s Liberal Platform Seen as Ploy

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – February 6, 2013) The ruling United Russia party has founded a “liberal” platform calling for a major overhaul of the party in light of heightened political competition. But analysts said that the party, known as a deeply conservative force led by Kremlin loyalists, had no intention of accommodating liberal attitudes and that […]

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Medvedev Seen Clinging to Job as Putin Frets About Economy

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov – February 6, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is clinging to his job as President Vladimir Putin grows increasingly frustrated with his protege’s inability to boost growth, three current and former Kremlin advisers said. Putin criticized Medvedev’s government last week for failing to adapt to a “post-crisis” economic model. That followed […]

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Russian Weapons Sales Shift Away From East – Arms Official

Russian Helicopter file photo

MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia is losing arms markets in Asia and the Middle East, two of its traditional strongholds, but gaining new ones in Latin America and Africa, a Russian arms official said this week ahead of an aviation expo in India, a major buyer of Russian weaponry that has recently been opting for Western hardware. “While […]

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Trial of Putin Foe Shows No Russian Investors Are Safe

Alexander Lebedev file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – February 5, 2013) “Are you totally out of your mind?” Russian newspaper tycoon Alexander Lebedev exclaimed as he jumped to his feet. He stared combatively at property developer Sergei Polonsky, who had taunted Lebedev for ridiculing his claim to be a major charity donor. As tempers flared during the recording of a TV […]

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CORRUPTION WATCH: Putin calls for public oversight of power sector

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.com – February 5, 2013) After dubbing it the most corrupt sector in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved again to crack down on graft in the utilities sector by calling for public oversight of the sector. Public councils are to be set up to oversee the sector and Putin said this will be done […]

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HRW report on Russia’s human rights record biased – Naryshkin

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

LUXEMBOURG. Feb 5 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Human Rights Watch is a politically-biased organization. “Human Rights Watch has long entered Russia on the list of countries with an inferior human rights record,” Naryshkin told reporters in Luxembourg, when asked to comment on the HRW’s most recent report. The HRW’s activities were discussed in the most general […]

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Justice Ministry Requires Approval for Use of ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 5, 2013) The Justice Ministry has called on the ministry’s regional branches to get approval from the central office before applying the controversial law on “foreign agents.” The move was prompted by the Saratov branch issuing a warning to a local non-governmental organization that the central office considered “not fully lawful,” Vedomosti reported Monday, […]

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Police Held Over 5,000 At Russian Political Rallies – Report

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – The police detained at least 5,156 people at political rallies in Moscow and its suburbs in the past 13 months, during modern Russia’s most restive period since the end of the USSR, a new report said. The detentions, often accompanied by violence, were made at some 228 rallies in the period between December 4, […]

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Putin’s Anti-Western Statements are Not About Russian Domestic Politics Alone, Makarkin Says

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 1, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-putins-anti-western.html) Vladimir Putin’s support for “the conservative wave in contemporary Russia” is not just part of his broader effort to set the country’s “silent majority” against the opposition, Aleksey Makarkin says. It is also a reflection of the Russian president’s disappointment in the foreign policy course he pursued […]

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Sochi Olympics Most Expensive in History

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel and Irina Filatova – Februry 4, 2013) One year before they kick off, the Sochi Winter Olympics have already bagged a world record. They will go down as the most expensive games in history. The cost will top 1.5 trillion rubles ($50 billion) in state and private investment, and three-quarters of that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin Speech at a concert marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Battle of Stalingrad

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – February 2, 2013) Volgograd PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon. Dear friends, dear veterans, Over these days our entire country, our entire nation is celebrating a glorious date, the 70th anniversary of our army’ victory in Stalingrad. This is one of the best examples of courage and heroism in international military history. It is no accident that […]

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Stalingrad Victory Commemorated

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 4, 2013) Russia on Saturday celebrated the 70th anniversary of the decisive Soviet victory over the Nazis in the Battle of Stalingrad amid talk of the revival of Stalinism, the temporary renaming of Volgograd to Stalingrad and the launch of buses bearing Stalin’s image. In Volgograd on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin […]

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Police Began Violence At Protest, Panel Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – February 4, 2013) Members of the Kremlin’s human rights council believe that police, not activists, instigated violence at a May opposition protest, a council member said Friday. “The qualification of the Bolotnaya Ploshchad protest as a mass riot was artificially thought up by the Investigative Committee. It does not reflect the reality […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin:] Meeting of the Council for the Local Self-Government Development

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 31, 2013) The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council for the Local Self-Government Development. Participants discussed improving the regulation of local self-government institutions. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues. I am glad to welcome everyone to our Council’s meeting, one which is attended by the new members. Heads of urban districts, […]

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JRL E-Mail Newsletter Table of Contents :: Johnson’s Russia List 2013-#22 – 1 February 2013

Map of Russia

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2013-#22 :: 1 February 2013 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net JRL homepage: www.russialist.org JRL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: http://russialist.org/funding.php POLITICS 1. ITAR-TASS: RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW. Dmitry Medvedev unveils government’s plans until 2018. 2. ITAR-TASS: RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW. Most Russians value Vladimir Putin for his experience. 3. Vedomosti: Putin Plans Institutional Revolution in Russia. 4. […]

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Officials Call for Budget Discipline

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Irina Filatova – February 1, 2013) Finance Ministry and Central Bank officials on Thursday called for strict adherence to existing budget policy, saying the measure is critical to achievement of the high rates of economic growth set by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Attaining an annual 5 percent increase in gross domestic product is “very ambitious,” […]

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Shoigu the most popular Russian minister – poll

Sergei Shoigu file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) – Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ranks first on the Cabinet members popularity chart (the prime minister and deputy prime ministers excluded), with 90% of respondents polled recently giving him highest marks, the Public Opinion Foundation pollster (FOM) has announced. Sixty-eight percent of respondents polled on January 26 and 27 highly appraised his work since he took […]

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Last Year’s Repression ‘Worst’ in Decades

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow  Times – moscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – February 1, 2013) A leading rights group lashed out at President Vladimir Putin on Thursday by saying he had “unleashed the worst political crackdown” in the country’s post-Soviet history after returning to the Kremlin last year. Human Rights Watch’s annual report, released Thursday, says the string of restrictive laws enacted since […]

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Power decentralization should be gradual, finite process – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – The new reform of gubernatorial election law is a step towards decentralization of power, but this process needs to be balanced, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on Thursday. “Moscow has assumed an excessive number of competences for a federal state. That was the right thing to do […]

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United Russia proposes bill allowing regions to forgo direct gubernatorial elections

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – January 31, 2013) Nine months after popular gubernatorial elections were re-introduced on the initiative of former President Dmitry Medvedev, a 90 percent majority in the Russian Duma votes “yes” on a bill that gives regional legislatures the right to scrap them. President Putin believes the measure could prevent […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin chairs meeting on government priorities through 2018

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 31, 2013) Vladimir Putin chaired an expanded meeting of the Government of the Russian Federation. The meeting discussed the guidelines for the Government’s performance through 2018. * * * PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues, Last year we outlined a strategy for our activities in the long term. We identified our priorities and targets in […]

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Civil society needs to be supported, strengthened – Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – Russia needs to develop democratic institutes and strengthen civil society, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday to summarize results of the expanded government meeting. “We have to go beyond the government policy fundamentals until 2018, which have been presented today, so to solve all problems faced by the country and to keep all promises given […]

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Main risks for Russia are internal, not external – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – The main risks that Russia faces are not external, but internal, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at an expanded government session on Thursday. “And all the main risks are not external, but internal. I’m referring to the forecast reductions in the working-age population, the low quality of state management, the far-from-ideal investment climate, the […]

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US-Russian Relations Wither as the Kremlin Seeks out Internal and External Enemies; Medvedev comes under attack for being too pro-Western

File Photo of Barack Hussein Obama and Dmitry Medvedev with Flags, Shaking Hands

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 18 – Pavel Felgenhauer  – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 31, 2013) Since the rebellion against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began almost two years ago, many in the West and in the Arab World have eagerly awaited evidence of Moscow beginning to finally ditch the brutal and seemingly doomed Syrian […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian state TV talk show discusses controversial State Duma bills

Kremlin and St. Basil's

[Russian state TV talk show discusses controversial State Duma bills – BBC Monitoring/Rossiya 1 – January 27, 2013] BBC Monitoring reports on the Rossiya 1 television program “Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyev” and its January 27, 2013, broadcast covering Duma bills: The 27 January edition of the “Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyev” talk show on state-owned Rossiya 1 TV featured […]

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NEWSLINK: Riot Police Stand By and Watch Attack on Homosexual Activists

Russian Duma Building

[“Riot Police Stand By and Watch Attack on LGBT Activists” – Vedomosti – January 31, 2013] Vedomosti reports on a demonstration in front of the Duma featuring homosexual behavior in the form of same-sex kissing, broken up by “Orthodox fundamentalists,” with police reportedly then arresting only the homosexual demonstrators: … Russian authorities seem to have given up their monopoly on […]

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Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era; Government Should Stop Pressure, Reprisals on Civil Society

Kremlin and St. Basil's

From: “HRW Press” <hrwpress@hrw.org> Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 Subject: Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era For Immediate Release Russia: Worst Crackdown Since Soviet Era Government Should Stop Pressure, Reprisals on Civil Society (Moscow, January 31, 2013) ­ The Kremlinn in 2012 unleashed the worst political crackdown in Russia’s post-Soviet history, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report […]

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Indifference Not Support ‘Foundation’ of Putin’s Regime, Gudkov Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 30, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-indifference-not.html) A majority of Russians today does not feel any sympathy for the Putin regime or is not prepared to show any “active support” or “active opposition” to it, according to Lev Gudkov, head of the Levada Center. Instead, they manifest a kind of “inert indifference” about those […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian ex-finance minister tipped to be premier before long

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Russian ex-finance minister tipped to be premier before long – BBC Monitoring/Ekho Moskvy Radio – January 30, 2013) BBC Monitoring reports on Ekho Moskvy and Argumenty Nedeli covered of alleged systematic down-grading of how state-controlled Russian television presents Dmitry Medvedev to the viewing public: Russia’s national TV channels have been told to reduce their coverage of Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev, […]

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Journalist In Recent Row With MPs Is Among Best Trusted On Russian TV – Poll

Russian Duma Building

(RIA Novosti – January 29, 2013) Veteran journalist Vladimir Pozner is one of the three best known and most trusted TV journalists in Russia, a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) has shown, as reported by RIA Novosti news agency on 29 January, citing the organization’s website (http://fom.ru/SMI-i-internet/10793). The poll was conducted on 27 January among 1,500 respondents […]

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Majority of Russians against early Duma elections – poll

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – A little more than half of Russians are against the hypothetical dissolution of the State Duma and early parliamentary elections – about twice as many as those who want new elections, an opinion poll suggests. Moreover, more than two-thirds of Russians don’t want to take part in protests such as those that have been rocking […]

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$60 Oil Price Will Eat up Russia’s Oil Fund ­ Survey

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s Oil Wealth Fund will be totally consumed if world oil prices plunge to $60 per barrel and stay at that level for a year, experts from the Russian School of Economics (VSE) said on Tuesday. That scenario presents “a shock not only for the budget system but also for the economy as a […]

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Pressure Growing on Serdyukov With New Allegations

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2013) The net appears to be closing on former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov after military investigators opened an investigation into extravagant improvements at a dacha belonging to his brother-in-law, a news report said Monday. Serdyukov resigned in disgrace last month amid allegations that several of his close associates had enriched themselves via the […]

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Liberal governor advised by Navalny has office searched; Firebrand opposition leader Alexei Navalny may be linked to the investigation into Nikita Belykh, the head of the Kirov region.

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva – January 29, 2013) The office of Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh was searched by investigators Tuesday in a probe into the privatization of a local vodka factory, which investigators claim was sold for a below-market price in 2010. Prominent opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who served as an adviser […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with CNN

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – January 27, 2013) Fareed Zakaria: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for agreeing to this meeting. In 2009, when you were President of Russia, you wrote a very interesting and important essay about Russia’s future. You said that the two major problems of the Russian economy were excessive dependence on oil and excessive corruption. A look at current statistics […]

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Privatizations should be done in Russia, but infrastructure needs to be readied – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 25 (Interfax) – Privatization deals should be carried out on Russian markets, but the infrastructure needs to be put in place, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting dedicated to stock market development. “These deals should occur on Russian trading floors,” he said. “Privatization done within the country is testament to the fact that our plans to […]

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Dmitry Medvedev doesn’t rule out introducing progressive personal income tax, but not soon

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – January 28, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does not rule out that the issue of introducing a progressive personal income tax might be raised at some point, but not in the near future. “At some point, of course, the issue of progress taxation might be put on the agenda, it seems to me that this is not […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview in Davos with the Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) programme by the Rossiya television network

File Photo of "World Economic Forum" Display at Davos from Past Session

(Government.ru – January 26, 2013) Sergei Brilyov: Mr Medvedev, I would like to come back to the Grand Hall meeting, where you took a seat in the audience. Why didn’t you go up on the stage straight away? Dmitry Medvedev: I wanted to see my colleagues present their scenarios. I enjoyed sitting in the audience. It’s better than being on […]

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Russian civil, administrative laws are quite modern – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 25 (Interfax) – Major amendments have been made to the Russian legal system but accusatory bias and mistrust in judges inherited from “the dark years of history” are still to be overcome, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung. “Concerning the adjustment of laws, the legal system and the […]

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Authorities against legalization of handguns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Interfax – January 26, 2013) The Russian government did not support the Liberal-Democratic Party’s (LDPR) idea to legalize the use of some types of short-barreled firearms for self-defense purposes. “Free circulation of rifled handguns would have a negative effect on public security in the country, would significantly complicate the law and order, and would cause growth in the number of […]

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State Duma may put “Pozner law” on hold

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 28 (Interfax) – The State Duma is ready to accept apologies from television journalist Vladimir Pozner, saying the draft “Pozner law” will be “put on hold.” Pozner apologized for his earlier criticism of the State Duma on his program on Sunday evening. After that criticism, parliamentarians drew up a bill prohibiting journalists who have another country’s citizenship in […]

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‘We Live in Russia, Not Sodom and Gomorrah’

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – January 28, 2013) With a United Russia deputy declaring that Russia is not Sodom and Gomorrah, the State Duma gave tentative approval to a bill that would ban “gay propaganda” to minors. But the measure, which mirrors similar legislation in place in St. Petersburg and several other areas, met with unusually strong […]

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