USAID Stops Operations in Russia

USAID From the American People Logo

MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti)-The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has funded Russian non-governmental organizations, stops its operations in Russia from Monday. Russia said in September that USAID, which provided financing for pro-democracy and human rights groups that have irked the Kremlin, would have to close its offices in the country by October 1. President Vladimir Putin […]

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Russia is running out of cash

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

Dmitri Travin – www.opendemocracy.net – September 28, 2012 Dmitry Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies As the Russian government tries to put together its budget plan for 2013-2015, it is clear that it cannot possibly meet all its pre-election promises. Dmitry Travin looks at the financial crisis facing the country. The […]

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Nearly 40% of Russians Justify Islamic Anger With Innocence of Muslims – Poll

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 28 (Interfax) – Sixty-two percent of Russians are aware of the Innocence of Muslims scandalous film released in the United States. Thirty-three percent of them have heard a lot about the film, and 6% are monitoring the situation closely, the Levada Center told Interfax. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents learned about the film in the poll of 1,601 […]

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Working Group Supports Closing Entire Websites

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Rachel Nielsen – October 1, 2012 The working group responsible for defining the rules to accompany the law restricting Internet content that goes into effect next month decided last week to continue pressing for blocking whole websites rather than individual Web pages. Officials are also advocating giving broader jurisdiction under the law to government agencies […]

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Rogozin’s Rodina Party Reinstated

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Alexander Bratersky – October 1, 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin did not attend Saturday’s reunification of his nationalist Rodina party, but the re-emergent bloc is likely to become his political vehicle, pundits and party insiders said. Alexei Zhuravlyov, a longtime Rogozin ally, was elected chairman of the party at a congress Saturday. He aims […]

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NEWSLINK: Kremlin oil control drive could backfire

Oil Well file photo

Kremlin oil control drive could backfire – Reuters – By Dmitry Zhdannikov – September 27, 2012 –  click here for original article Reuters reports on the Russian government’s efforts to bring more oil assets under state control.  Critics charge that growing state control could cripple industry, strain budget resources and even cause social unrest. Some observers warn that paradoxically the […]

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Free Elections Are Coming To Russia! No, Really!

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

RFE/RL –  By Brian Whitemore – September 27, 2012 Russia will have free and fair elections in October. There will be real choice with multiple, viable candidates. There will be vigorous televised debates. The vote will be open and transparent, with clear rules of the game. No, I’m not delusional. And no, I am not talking about the local elections […]

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Pussy Riot Members Unmasked – Nashi Head

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

MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti) – More members of the anti-Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot have been unmasked, pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi’s head Konstantin Goloskokov claimed on Friday. Nashi earlier announced that they had set up a “prize fund” which would go to anyone sharing reliable information with them regarding the identities of the remaining activists. Three members of […]

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Sobchak to Get Her Money Back

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  September 28, 2012 Federal investigators will return the almost $2 million in cash they seized from the apartment of it-girl-turned-political activist Ksenia Sobchak in June, the Investigative Committee said late Thursday. “Checks conducted by investigators revealed no tax evasion by Sobchak,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its website. The money will […]

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NEWSLINK: USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION

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USAID ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA WILL BE CONTINUED BY NDI AND THE FORD FOUNDATION – The U.S. Agency for international development (USAID) will continue to carry out its programs with the help of its partners – Izvestia – Anton Lednev – September 28, 2012 [no link available to English-language version of article] Izvestia reports that, while the U.S. Agency for international […]

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NEWSLINK: Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM

Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet Russian PM – AFP – September 28, 2012 click here to read original article AFP covers plans for Facebook social network founder Mark Zuckerberg to visit Russia and meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.  Facebook is holding an event in Moscow, and already has ties to Russian IT. “Zuckerberg will be visiting Russia at a […]

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Medvedev Seen Hanging in the Balance

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

Nikolaus von Twickel – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 28, 2012 When Dmitry Medvedev announced on Sept. 24, 2011, that he would step aside to let Vladimir Putin return as president, he disappointed critics and supporters alike. Disgruntled observers described him as a “political corpse.” A year later, Medvedev is prime minister and leader of United Russia ­ two […]

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Russia Is Turning Into Iran

Russian Duma Building

By Michael Bohm – Moscow Times –  themoscowtimes.com – September 28, 2012 Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times. On Tuesday, members of the four parties represented in the State Duma introduced a bill that would carry a three-year prison sentence for “insulting the religious feelings of others.” Given the bill’s widespread support in the Kremlin and […]

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Rejoinder to Alexander Rahr; West Is Punk?!

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

Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 From: Sergei Roy <SergeiRoy@yandex.ru> Subject: rejoinder to Alexander Rahr Attached is my rejoinder to Alexander Rahr’s statements posted on JRL 25 September. West Is Punk?! By Sergei Roy [Former editor of Moscow News] Recently I was invited to take part in a panel discussion on US-Russia relations (reported on JRL 25 September 2012, item #36). […]

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Billionaire Lebedev Charged With Hooliganism

Alexander Lebedev file photo

Moscow Times –  themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – September 27, 2012 Kremlin critic and billionaire Alexander Lebedev has been charged with hooliganism over a fistfight on a television show last year, the Investigative Committee said Wednesday. The charge, which carries a five-year prison sentence, is for “hooliganism motivated by political, ideological, racial, ethnic or religious hatred or enmity,”  the […]

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Protest sentiment abating over restructuring in civil society

Moscow Protest file photo

(Interfax – September 24, 2012) Restructuring in civil society and in the protest movement may give birth to fresh and serious ideas, said Russia’s ex-Finance Minister and Civil Initiative Committee chairman Alexei Kudrin. “One shouldn’t fear abatement in the [protest] sentiment. I think we are witnessing a restructuring in civil society, including the protest movement, which may give rise to […]

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Russian Opposition Leaders See Their Name Recognition, Disapproval Ratings Go Up

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

Interfax – Moscow, 24 September: In the past six months, most leaders of the unofficial opposition have managed to increase their name recognition, but their approval ratings have remained the same, while their rejection levels have gone up, according to the results of polls that became available to Interfax. The growth of Russian opposition leaders’ name recognition is especially noticeable […]

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Kremlin considering resumption of election bloc practice

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – September 24, 2012) The formation of party blocs, which proved efficient in the elections of 1999, may resume with the weakening of the United Russia position, Nezavisimaya Gazeta said on Monday. “The law on election blocs may become a part of Russian politics again in the next election cycle. The Presidential Administration is considering this initiative. The reason […]

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Politics, Orthodoxy a Potent Mix at Winzavod

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

Maximilian Gill – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 24, 2012 Chaos ruled at the opening of an exhibition of “real icons” inspired by Pussy Riot, resulting in the arrest of nine protesters. On Thursday evening, about 20 Orthodox activists and Cossacks blocked the entrance to the Gelman Gallery at Winzavod Modern Art Center, where artist Yevgenia Maltseva’s exhibition “Spiritual […]

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Senior MP Says USAID Knew Russia Was Unhappy With It

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(Interfax Moscow, 20 September) As early as two years ago Russia warned the USA about its grievances over the Agency for International Development (USAID), head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov has said. “We warned the US side a long time ago – I think this story is already two years old – that we were not […]

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Golos Vows to Carry on Monitoring Despite USAID Moscow Office Shutdown

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

MOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) – The independent election monitor Golos is searching for Russian sponsors to substitute grants from the closing Moscow office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Golos said some of its projects were endangered by the USAID pullout. “Nevertheless, we will continue election monitoring no matter what,” says the Golos statement received by Interfax […]

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Battle between liberals, Siloviki heats up over Rosneftegaz cash

Igor Sechin file photo

(Business New Europe – September 21, 2012) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered his cabinet to draw up urgent plans to “seize” 95% of the RUB130bn (€3.2bn) sitting on Rosneftegaz’s accounts to meet President Vladimir Putin’s demands to increase spending on state salaries and infrastructure investment. The move would emasculate Rosneftegaz CEO and Kremlin insider Igor Sechin’s plans to […]

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Russian Finance Minister Answers Putin’s Criticism Of Three-Year Federal Budget

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 19 September)  The Russian president’s decrees of 7 May, which reflect (Vladimir Putin’s) election campaign ideas, are a priority, and R1,145bn (36.7bn dollars) is to be spent on their implementation over the next three years, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists. “The implementation of the decrees is a priority. For all the ministries and agencies, this […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry says Russia’s ‘mature’ society can do without USAID

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website – September 19, 2012 The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on September 19, 2012, addressing Russia’s expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), leveling accusations regarding the influence of elections and political processes. But the Ministry also decried any international aid: “It should also be noted that Russia has […]

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Kremlin boots USAID for ‘interference’ in Russian politics; The Kremlin, already suspicious of US involvement in the street protests against Vladimir Putin, ordered development agency USAID to cease operations in Russia by Oct. 1.

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By Fred Weir – Christian Science Monitor – September 19, 2012 [click here for original article] The Christian Science Monitor reports on Russia’s decision to shut down USAID operations in that country, with Russia accusing them of interference in Russian internal politics. While USAID has funded a wide variety of programs in Russia, there is speculation that heightened sensitivity is […]

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Duma May Call For Stronger Liability For Insulting Religious Feelings on Sept 25

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Moscow file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) – Members of all four State Duma factions have submitted a draft resolution in defense of the religious feelings of members of all creeds which the lower house may mull next Tuesday. “We will make the decision on behalf of the committee and submit the issue to the Duma Council so that it (the draft resolution) […]

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USAID Sums Up Outcomes of Its Activities in Russia Before Closure

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WASHINGTON. Sept 19 (Interfax) – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided financial support in drafting the Russian Constitution and a number of federal codes over the 20 years of its work in Russia, USAID said in a statement posted on its website. “USAID-funded Rule of Law implementers helped draft the Russian Constitution, Part I of the Russian […]

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Foreign Ministry Accuses USAID of Meddling in Politics

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

By Nikolaus von Twickel –  Moscow Times –  September 20, 2012 Moscow’s abrupt decision to kick out the U.S. Agency for International Development raised new worries Wednesday about a widening crackdown on pro-democracy groups. The Foreign Ministry bluntly accused the agency, better known as USAID, of meddling in domestic politics. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Wednesday that the agency had […]

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Russia’s Yabloko Cannot Accept Leftist Dominance In Protest Movement – Leader

Sergei Mitrokhin File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 18 September) The March of Millions that took place on 15 September in Moscow has highlighted a disturbing trend – namely, the strengthening of positions and the prevalence of leftist nationalist powers, the leader of the Yabloko party, Sergey Mitrokhin, has said. “Unfortunately, our forecasts about the prevalence of red-brown colours at this march were proved right. […]

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Next Mass Protest Postponed Until December – Russian Opposition Activist

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Interfax – Moscow, 19 September): The opposition organizing committee has postponed the next March of Millions event from 20 October until early December, Left Front leader Sergey Udaltsov has said. “The opposition organizing committee decided today to hold the next March of Millions in early December, the (first) anniversary of the start of mass protest,” Udaltsov told Interfax on Wednesday […]

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‘Russia’s Tibet’ Opens to the Outside World

File Photo of Lake in Altai

By James Brooke –  Voice of America – September 18, 2012 James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. Word of the killings of four American diplomats in Libya took 24 hours to reach me last week. That was fitting as I was contemplating the silence of cedar forests, the grace of wild horses cantering […]

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Putin Slams Officials Over Election Promises

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

By Irina Filatova – Moscow Times – September 18, 2012 President Vladimir Putin slammed government officials Tuesday for failing to implement the decrees containing his election promises, with the regional development minister and the labor and social services minister coming under fire. Putin said that he had discussed the assignments with almost all ministers, but there had been major failures […]

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Nemtsov: Left-wing, Liberal, Nationalist Opposition Wings in Agreement on Political Demands

Boris Nemtsov file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) – Boris Nemtsov, one of Russia’s opposition leaders, said on Saturday that the liberal, left-wing and nationalist wings of the opposition had reached agreement on political demands such as the ouster of President Vladimir Putin and new presidential and parliamentary elections. “New elections for the Duma, a new presidential election under public control,” Nemtsov, who is […]

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Duma Kicks Out Kremlin Critic

File Photo of Gennady Gudkov

By Alexander Bratersky – Moscow Times –  September 17, 2012 The State Duma voted Friday to strip prominent opposition figure Gennady Gudkov of his seat for engaging in unlawful entrepreneurship, marking the first time that a deputy has been kicked out of the lower house of parliament without first being convicted of a crime. The United Russia-backed vote also removed […]

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Putin Redux: Continuity and change

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

Is Putinism a static system, or is it in need of renewal after the events of the past year? Richard Sakwa discusses the options before the Russian president and the elites that surround him. By Richard Sakwa – www.opendemocracy.net – September 14, 2012 Richard Sakwa is professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, England. Among his […]

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NEWSLINK: Shrinking Siberia: Why young people are fleeing Russia’s Far East.

Map of Russia

Newsweek.com –  September 17, 2012 –  Shrinking Siberia: Why young people are fleeing Russia’s Far East. – By Anna Nemtsova – click here to read more from original article After first profiling a Siberian policewoman fashion model, Anna Nemtsova addresses Siberian population decline.  Within a generation, Siberia, which is larger than China, will have less people than Moscow or St. […]

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Putin Moves Towards Conservative Electorate; Healthy Forces Around Unhealthy ‘Vertical’

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Putin Moves Towards Conservative Electorate – Argumenty Nedeli – September 13, 2012 – Article by Andrey Uglanov: “Healthy Forces Around Unhealthy ‘Vertical’.” [no link available to English-languge version of article] Argumenty Nedeli reports that, according to the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), the number of citizens on whom Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a favorable impression […]

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Opposition Calls for More Rage in Fight With Kremlin

Moscow Protest file photo

Moscow Times –  September 17, 2012 – by Jonathan Earle Sending a signal of defiance to President Vladimir Putin, an eclectic crowd of tens of thousands marched peacefully through central Moscow over the weekend, although their numbers appeared smaller than at previous protests. While opposition leaders trumpeted the protest as the largest yet ­ more than 100,000 turned out, they […]

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Putin ‘Tightening Screws’ – In Politics: Vladimir Putin’s Universal Screwdriver. Russian President Once Again Demonstrates His Signature Harshness

  Putin ‘Tightening Screws’ –  Nezavisimaya Gazeta – September 10, 2011 – Article by Ivan Rodin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta political observer: “In Politics: Vladimir Putin’s Universal Screwdriver. Russian President Once Again Demonstrates His Signature Harshness.” [no link available to English-language version of original article] Nezavisimaya Gazeta observes that recently “the Russian president once again demonstrated his traditional harshness.” … specifically before […]

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NO LONGER IMPRESSIVE: Pollsters say that support for Vladimir Putin dropped 20% over the last ten years

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

NO LONGER IMPRESSIVE: Pollsters say that support for Vladimir Putin dropped 20% over the last ten years – Kommersant – September 11, 2012 –  Maxim Ivanov, Sofia Samokhina [no link available to English-language version of article] Kommersant reports that a poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) shows a 20% drop in the number of Vladimir Putin supporters […]

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Putin’s perks: Nice work

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Putin’s perks: Nice work – The Economist – September 1, 2012 click here to read original article The Economist covers a report by Boris Yeltsin deputy prime minister, and current opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, addressing or alleging the life of  wealth and luxury enjoyed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov and journalist Leonid Martynuk suggest Putin is motivated to maintain […]

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Search at factory of Navalny’s parents underway in Kirovles case

Alexei Navalny file photo

Search at factory of Navalny’s parents underway in Kirovles case – Itar-Tass – August 28 click here to read the orginal article Russian source Itar-Tass reports that authorities pursuing an investigation of Alexei Navalny have now conducted a search of his parents’ willow-weaving factory in the Moscow region.  [Navalny is an opposition leader and anti-corruption lawyer-blogger.] The factory was first […]

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11 POINTS FROM PUTIN: Starting from 2013, the effectiveness of the work of the governors will be evaluated in a new way

Map of Russia

11 POINTS FROM PUTIN: Starting from 2013, the effectiveness of the work of the governors will be evaluated in a new way –  Vedomosti editorial – 8.24.12 [no link available to English-language translation] A Vedemosti editorial reports that a presidential decree issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 21, 2012, and effective in 2013, will change how regional governors […]

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For Russians, August is the cruelest month

Kremlin and St. Basil's

For Russians, August is the cruelest month – Washington Times – August 23, 2012 –  Marc Bennetts click here to read original article The Washington Times explains that August, or “Black August” has somehow been the month when some of the worst disasters in recent Russian memory have occurred:  in 1991, the attempted coup by communist hard-liners opposed to Gorbachev […]

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POLITBURO 2012: Political scientists came up with the list of most powerful people in Russian politics

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

POLITBURO 2012: Political scientists came up with the list of most powerful people in Russian politics – Moskovskiye Novosti 8.22.12 [no link available to English-language version] Moskovskiye Novosti listed out leading figures in Russian politics by category or venue, indicating they were basing their list on analysis from Minchenko Consulting that “determined individuals’ closeness to the pinnacle of political power […]

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