Controversial journalist Mamontov films defense-scandal documentary

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com –  Alina Lobzina – November 14, 2012) Controversial journalist Arkady Mamontov, best known for authoring programs accusing Kremlin-critics of being the servants of Western powers, has prepared his latest round of revelations, this time over the recent embezzlement scandal in the Defense Ministry. The state-owned federal Rossia 1 TV station aired his investigation under the title […]

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Magnitsky-linked official under spotlight over Defense Ministry scandal

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – November 14, 2012) An official linked with the case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody awaiting trial, has reportedly come to the attention of investigators in connection with the recent Defense Ministry’s embezzlement scandal. Investigators re-opened a case over illegal VAT recovery, dating back to 2010, when Olga Stepanova headed […]

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Putin Backs Russian Pension Revamp Opposed by Finance Ministry

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Olga Tanas – November 14, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a planned pension overhaul opposed by the Finance Ministry, Economy Ministry and asset managers, who warn it would curb economic growth. The Labor Ministry plan would divert taxes from future retirement plans to meet current pension payments and narrow the state system’s […]

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Putin’s Human Rights Council Gets 39 New Members

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 13, 2012) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council gained 39 new members on Monday as its total membership count rose from 40 to 62 in a reshuffle that saw more than a dozen leave. A longtime head of the council told The Moscow Times that, in its expanded form, the panel […]

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Brezhnev’s Children

Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon Sitting and Talking, as Nixon Gestures, with Third Man Standing and Leaning Closely Between Them

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – November 8, 2012) In many ways, the current battle for Russia’s future began 30 years ago this week. On November 10, 1982, Leonid Brezhnev died, sparking a generational change in the Soviet leadership and setting in motion an ongoing cycle of reform and reaction in Russia that remains incomplete and inconclusive to this day. The […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Body Bound to Be Less Critical of Govt – Analyst

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The new composition of the Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, a 39-member Kremlin consultative body, as approved by President Vladimir Putin “significantly devalues the presence of critics of the government” the council, an analyst said on Monday. “If one looks at who has been included in the council, one can say that […]

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Rumors in Moscow hint that new Defense Minister Shoigu may eventually replace Putin: Andropov’s Shadow over the Kremlin Clan Feuds

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 207 – Pavel K. Baev – November 12, 2012) The Russian political class had hardly any time last week to contemplate the consequences of US President Barack Obama’s re-election for a second term or to follow the tense atmosphere at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing­it was the […]

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Pozner Show Will Continue Airing on Channel 1 – TV Personality

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Famous TV anchor Vladimir Pozner has said that his show will continue airing on Channel 1 and that he has not had to apologize to anyone for his comments about the Russian law enforcement system. “Let me get things clear. I did not apologize, I was not fired, reports of my departure are absolute nonsense, […]

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Billionaire Businessman Says Putin Sent “From God”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2012) Gazprom contractor and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, 60, has said that his childhood friend President Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia “from God.” Rotenberg, a longtime judo sparring partner of Putin’s who has investments in the construction and finance industries, is ranked as Russia’s 94th wealthiest man by Forbes with a personal fortune […]

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Rights activists says torture still used in Russia

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

(Interfax – Moscow, 8 November) According to human rights activists, torture is still practiced in Russia and people complain of ill-treatment received at detention centres, police, army and mental hospitals. “Human rights organizations have registered incidents of torture and ill-treatment in the prison system. They have also seen an increase in complaints in recent years. Tortures in remand centres are […]

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Ousted Senator Narusova laments the way Putin changed

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – November 9, 2012) Former Senator Lyudmila Narusova, widow of President Vladimir Putin’s political mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, and mother of opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak, has given an extensive interview to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Narusova was kicked out of the Federation Council last month after having voiced criticisms of the recent crackdowns on […]

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Head of Critical Elections Monitor Joins Rights Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2012) The head of a U.S.-funded elections watchdog famous for its critical commentary on Russia’s electoral system was included in Vladimir Putin’s presidential human rights council on Monday. Putin is expected to chair a council meeting late Monday, Interfax reported, citing the Kremlin press service. Lilia Shabanova, head of the Golos election watchdog […]

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Putin Approves New Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday the new make-up of the Kremlin’s council on human rights and civil society. The reshuffle comes after a spate of resignations that began in the wake of last December’s disputed parliamentary elections and continued following Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May. “We have to […]

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Russians’ Confidence in Police Grows a Little – Poll

Russian Police Officer file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Nothing changed with renaming of Russian militia into police, said 64% of 1,600 respondents polled by the Superjob.ru portal in late October. The opinion was expressed by 71% in a similar poll in 2011. Ten percent believe there is a certain deterioration (8% last year), and 5% claim changes for the better (3% in 2011). […]

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Putin: Police Reform Cannot Be Considered Finished

Russian Police Officer file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – The reform of the Russian police system cannot be considered finished, and further efforts are needed to improve it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev on Saturday. “The reform of which it has been said so much and which is being carried out perhaps cannot be considered finished. […]

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Shady dealing, sex scandals and Russia’s defense crisis

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 12, 2012) When Anatoly Serdyukov, reportedly clad in a bathrobe and slippers, opened the door to a police unit raiding his former employee’s apartment, it was the tipping point for Russia’s beleaguered defense minister. But it wasn’t the only reason by far why the catastrophically unpopular defense minister was sacked last […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform

File Photo of Segei Serdyukov with Bob Gates

(Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform – The Economist – November 10, 2012 – http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21566006-firing-russias-defence-minister-may-be-setback-military-reform-reform-and-be-sacked) The Economist covers the sacking of former Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov: “Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia’s defence minister from 2007 until November 6th when President Vladimir Putin fired him, was never much of […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal

File Photo of Russian Tanks on Parade

(Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal – Reuters – Timothy Heritage – November 9, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-putin-defence-idUSBRE8A80RC20121109) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reshuffling of his top military staff, following the replacement of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov with Sergei Shoigu: Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced the chief of his military staff on Friday in a reshuffle that […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts

Map of Russia

(Russia is on the verge of change, say Valdai Club experts – Valdai Discussion Club – November 8, 2012 – http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html) The Valdai Club announces that a “survey of the Valdai Club international experts point to conflicting trends in the development of Russian institutions and society.” Click here to read the full article: http://valdaiclub.com/event/51120.html “The text of the report both […]

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Russian opposition leader targets corruption, mismanagement in utilities

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – November 8, 2012) Moscow, 8 November: Opposition figure and blogger Aleksey Navalnyy has announced the launch of a new project, called RosZhKKh, for fighting corruption and shortcomings in the work of utilities and municipal services companies. “It is common knowledge that ZhKKh (Russian abbreviation for utilities and municipal services) in Russia is a black hole that sucks in […]

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Shoigu Inherits Armed Forces at Crossroads

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky and Jonathan Earle – November 9, 2012) When Sergei Shoigu took the reins of the Defense Ministry on Thursday, he officially inherited a military at a crossroads, torn between tradition and the half-completed reforms of his disgraced predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Shoigu will have to decide between maintaining a large, conventional force or pursuing […]

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Few Russians know about and believe in opposition Coordination Council – poll

Moscow Protest file photo

(Interfax – November 8, 2012) Only 5 per cent of people surveyed by Russian pollster FOM consider themselves to be properly informed about the opposition Coordination Council (CC), Interfax news agency reported on 8 November, citing the latest survey data. Another 19 per cent of the 1,500 respondents from 43 Russian regions said they had “heard something” about the Council […]

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Russians Have Little Interest in Politics, Doubt Their Ability to Influence National Life – Poll

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – Politics is yet to evoke interest among Russians; 66% of them pay no attention to political events, Levada Center told Interfax. Only 26% of the respondents polled in 45 regions in October gave an affirmative answer to the question if they wished to take part in political life, at least in their home region. The […]

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Confidence Ratings of Russian President, Premier Stabilize – Poll

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

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The decline in confidence ratings for President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which started after the March presidential election in Russia, has slowed. Their confidence ratings stood at 42-44% and 36-38% respectively in September-October, the Public Opinion Foundation reported on Thursday. The Foundation held its latest poll of 3,000 respondents in 204 towns […]

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Anti-Putin Protest Movement ‘Gaining Influence’ ­- Valdai Index

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s extra-parliamentary opposition has grown in influence since last year, according to almost 70 percent of political analysts who contributed to the Valdai Development Index published on Thursday. The Russia Development Index (Valdai Index) is an analytical initiative which grew out of the Valdai Discussion Club, and which seeks to harness the opinions of […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family”

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family” – Reuters – Thomas Grove and Timothy Heritage – November 8, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-russia-defence-scandal-idUSBRE8A70TG20121108) Reuters covers the sacking of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who allegedly not only offended anti-corruption laws, but also outraged a family close to Putin when he allegedly might have cheated on his wife, who came from that family: […]

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NEWSLINK: Kremlin Can’t Decide Whether Russia is Heir to the Soviet Union or to Imperial Russia, Inozemtsev Says

Romanov Family Photo

(Kremlin Can’t Decide Whether Russia is Heir to the Soviet Union or to Imperial Russia, Inozemtsev Says Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 7 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2012/11/window-on-eurasia-kremlin-cant-decide.html) Paul Goble, in Window on Eurasia, examines an argument by Vladislav Inozemtsev, head of the Civic Force Party, that the Kremlin is wrestling with how to regard Russia’s heritage in terms […]

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NEWSLINK: The Shuvalov Affair: A Case History of a Putin Aide’s Financial Controversy

Igor Shuvalov file photo

British think tank The Henry Jackson Society has issued a report, “The Shuvalov Affair: A Case History of a Putin Aide’s Financial Controversy” by Michael Weiss, observing that: Of all the scandals to rock the Kremlin in recent years, none has been as potentially damaging or as swiftly damage-controlled as the case of Igor Shuvalov, the First Deputy Prime Minister […]

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Think Tank Reopens Shuvalov Corruption Scandal

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 8, 2012) [think tank report here http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/HJS-The-Shuvalov-Affair-Report-4.pdf] A London-based think tank is reigniting the row over allegations of corruption against Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov with the publication of a new report Thursday. The document, produced by the Henry Jackson Society and obtained in advance of its release by The Moscow […]

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Amid Defense Ministry Shakeup, Corruption Case Grows

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 8, 2012) Sergei Shoigu officially took over his new defense minister duties Wednesday, receiving the so-called nuclear briefcase, while prosecutors announced new findings in a corruption case at a ministry agency that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Shoigu, best-known for his long tenure as emergency situations minister, […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms  – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – November 6, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1106/Russian-defense-minister-s-sacking-suggests-political-infighting-video) The Christian Science Monitor covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dismissal of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov.  […]

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The war between the president’s men

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Dmitri Travin – opendemocracy.net – November 6, 2012 – Dmitri Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies) The Russian regime may present a united front to the world, but behind the scenes the cracks are beginning to show. In the week when Putin fired a senior government member, Dmitri Travin looks at […]

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Shoigu Seen as Ideal Fit to Head Defense Ministry

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 7, 2012) Sergei Shoigu said he was surprised by his appointment to replace Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, but his combination of popularity among the public and loyalty to the Kremlin makes him a fitting choice to head one of the country’s most important government sectors. Shoigu, who entered government service […]

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Russian Pundits Say New Governor Of Moscow Region Has Big Shoes To Fill

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, 6 November) Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Anatoliy Serdyukov as defence minister on 6 November and appointed Sergey Shoygu, who has been Moscow Region governor since 11 May 2012, as his replacement. (Passage omitted) Political analysts and politicians believe that the Russian Defence Ministry will get a strong leader, however Moscow Region will “lose out” with […]

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Over half of Russians approve of Serdyukov’s dismissal as defense minister – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – More than half of Russians – 58% – appreciated President Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, and nearly half – 49% – approved of Sergei Shoigu’s appointment to the job, the www.superjob.ru web portal found after polling 1,600 Russians on Tuesday. Putin announced Serdyukov’s dismissal at a meeting with Shogu earlier […]

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Experts welcome Putin’s appointment of new defence minister

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Russian political experts have disagreed whether President Putin’s decision to sack Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and appoint Sergey Shoygu, governor of Moscow Region and former emergencies minister, in his place will lead to changes in military reform and major reshuffles in the top brass of the Russian Armed Forces. At the same time, most experts […]

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Kudrin Does Not See Way Back to Govt For Now

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 6 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister and current head of the Civil Initiatives Committee, Alexei Kudrin, is not upset with Dmitry Medvedev, who sacked him when he was president, and does not regret quitting the government. “I will say that at the moment I do not see the conditions for my return,” Kudrin said in an interview […]

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Putin Fires Defense Minister Amid Scandal [replaces Serdyukov with Shoigu]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova and Roland Oliphant – November 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in connection with a corruption scandal and appointed Moscow Governor Sergei Shoigu in his place. Putin informed Serdyukov and Shoigu, a longtime ally who only became governor in May after serving 18 years as emergency situations […]

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The first big name falls in Russia’s anti-graft drive

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 7, 2012) On November 6, President Vladimir Putin sacked Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is accused of stealing $95m. We have been waiting for this. It’s the first time the Kremlin’s revitalized anti-corruption drive has reached into the inner circle. The sacking appears significant and already has the international press asking if […]

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Putin Faces Anti-Migrant Tide as Opponents Tap Resentment

Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer – November 7, 2012) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opponents are looking to take advantage of a dip in his approval rating by latching on to rising anti-immigration sentiment. With the share of Russians wanting tighter immigration rules at the highest in at least a decade, Alexey Navalny, the country’s most-popular opposition […]

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Russians Divided Over Revolution of 1917 But Want No New Revolts – Poll

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – The Revolution of 1917 had more pros than cons, respondents told the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM). The center polled 1,600 adults in 46 regions on October 27-28. Some 27% believe the revolution spurred on social development of Russia (the indicator stood at 34% in 2002), and 21% believe it opened up a new […]

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Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article [Re: Protests]

Moscow Protest file photo

From: “William Dunkerley” <wd@publishinghelp.com> Subject: Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2012 Vedomosti Misrepresented Survey Results in Recent Article By William Dunkerley William Dunkerley is a media business analyst and consultant specializing in Russia and the former Soviet Union. An October 30, 2012 Vedomosti article titled “No Pathologies in Anatomy: Russians disbelieve that protesters meant […]

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May 6 Detainees Face Dangerous Waiting Game

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle and Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 6, 2012) Six months have passed since bloody clashes between protesters and riot police at an opposition rally on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration appeared to mark the end of the street protest movement’s halcyon days. Subsequent months saw laws on public speech and assembly tightened […]

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All Politics Is Local: Rating Russia’s Regions

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 6 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ Economic progress, a clear political mandate, and good press: these are the things, according to a new report by a leading Russian think tank, that make a Russian region truly stable. It was otherwise largely unnoticed regions, such as Mordovia, that fared best in the rating, despite other ostensibly more likely contenders […]

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Bolshevik Revolution ‘Good for Russia’ – Poll

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) – Almost one-third of Russians believe the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 jumpstarted the country’s development and opened a new page in its history, according to a poll published on Tuesday. However, the share of respondents with a positive view of the revolution has declined over the past decade, from 34 to 27 percent, the All-Russia […]

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Most Russians against allowing revolutions – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Most polled Russians believe that a revolution cannot be allowed to take place in the country nowadays, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on 6 November. According to a poll carried out by the state-funded All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), most respondents are convinced that a revolution cannot be allowed to […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal – Reuters – Thomas Grove – November 6, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/06/us-russia-defence-idUSBRE8A50A820121106) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sacking of defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov after a multi-million dollar corruption scandal.  Putin replaced Serdyukov with former emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu, who has enjoyed a strong  public approval rating: Putin’s announcement made at a meeting with Shoigu […]

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NEWSLINK: Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­- experts [Shoigu replaces Serdyukov]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­ experts – Russia Today – November 6, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/serdyukov-defense-shoigu-minister-061/) Kremlin-backed media source Russia Today reports on the replacement of Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov with former Emergencies Ministry chief Sergey Shoigu: President Vladimir Putin sacked Serdyukov after his ministry was drawn into a major scandal over alleged selling off […]

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Russian MPs and senators praise defence minister’s dismissal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) The dismissal of Russian Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov has been welcomed by senior figures in the Duma and the Federation Council, media sources reported. Serdyukov’s critics pointed to the way the military are being reorganized and to a fraud scandal that has recently erupted at the ministry. They contrasted this to the record of his […]

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Is the Kremlin Writing off Middle-Aged Russians?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Paul Goble – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 201 – November 2, 2012) The Kremlin has created a new “agitation and propaganda” (agitprop) administration, which will focus on the elderly, whom the regime hopes to influence or at least keep in its corner now, and the young whom it can only hope to affect […]

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