RuNet, hate crime and soft targets: how Russia enforces its anti-extremism law

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Natalia Yudina –  opendemocracy.net – Natalia Yudina is chief expert at the Moscow based SOVA hate crime monitoring agency – October 30, 2012 – charts here: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/natalia-yudina/runet-hate-crime-and-soft-targets-how-russia-enforces-its-anti-extremism-la) The internet is a tool that can be used for good, but it can also be manipulated by fanatics preaching violent hate propaganda. Policing is never going to be easy, but the Russian […]

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Law on State Secrets Applies to Limited Number of People, Nothing to Worry About – Kostin

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Civil Society Development Fund Head Konstantin Kostin thinks there is no reason to criticize the latest amendments to the Law on State Secrets. He called the negative reaction of certain human rights activists “emotional.” “I have seen nothing extraordinary in these amendments. Any country wants to protect its interests, including state secrets,” he told Interfax […]

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Putin not abandoning phone-ins, will hold big news conferences – spokesman

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, 31 October) Russian President Vladimir Putin does not intend to abandon the format of “direct-line” (live phone-in conversations) and, in addition, is going to resume the practice of holding big traditional news conferences, the president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “There will be no direct line this year. This does not mean, as some mass media […]

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About quarter of Russians sure political repressions to hit country again – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – October 31, 2012) Nearly a quarter of Russians has no doubt about the emergence of a new wave of political repressions in the country, Russian news agency Interfax reported on 30 October, quoting a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM). According to the survey carried out on 21 October among 1,500 people in 100 villages and […]

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Two-thirds of Russians approve of Putin’s work as president – poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

(Interfax – Moscow, 31 October) According to sociological surveys, Russians support the president, emphasize the need for reforms in the country and believe that there will be improvements in the political and economic life in the near future. Vladimir Putin’s work as president is currently approved of by 67 per cent of those surveyed, a third of citizens (32 per […]

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Half of Polled Russians Support Gradual Reform, One Fifth Want Radical Change

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Russians support the country’s president, stress the need for reform and believe that there will be changes for the better in political and economic life in the nearest future, sociological studies indicate. Currently 67% of Russians support the efforts of Vladimir Putin as president while 32% don’t and the rest are undecided, Interfax was told […]

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Inquiry Begins Into Razvozzhayev’s Abduction – Human Rights Activists

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – An inquiry into the abduction of Russian opposition figure Leonid Razvozzhayev in Ukraine has begun, Moscow Public Oversight Commission head and Moscow Helsinki Group member Valery Borshchev said. Commission members again visited Razvozzhayev at the Lefortovo detention facility on Wednesday. “A detective has been assigned to investigate the abduction. Razvozzhayev has met with him,” Borshchev […]

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Senators Pass Treason Bill Affecting International NGOs

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 1, 2012) The Federation Council on Wednesday passed amendments to the law on treason that could make it possible for law enforcement officials to target people collaborating with international organizations. The changes, which were passed by the State Duma earlier this month, were approved by 138 of 166 senators, despite appeals […]

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NEWSLINK: Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial.

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial. – Christian Science Monitor – By Fred Weir – October 30, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1030/Prospect-of-show-trial-stirs-some-Russians-memories-of-Stalinism) The Christian Science Monitor reports on concerns by some onlookers […]

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NEWSLINK: ‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(“‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev” – Russia Today – October 31, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/love-dead-human-error-654/) Pro-Kremlin Russia Today reports on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s criticism of Soviet Dictator and Mass Murderer Joseph Stalin, and Medvedev’s critique of those nostalgiac for the Stalin era: It is safe to be a Stalinist when you know that […]

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Russian Puzzle: Change Inevitable, Evolution Impossible, Revolution Implausible

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org –  Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 197 – Pavel K. Baev –  October 29, 2012) The Moscow rumor about President Vladimir Putin’s health problems appears well-informed and confirmed by several cancellations of long-scheduled visits and by the postponement of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, but it is remarkable how little […]

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Russian Govt Confirms Mechanism to Block Access to Banned Online Content

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

MOSCOW. Oct 30 (Interfax) – The Russian government has confirmed a mechanism to block Web sites with banned content. On October 26, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a resolution, due to come into force on November 1, that approves a list of banned Web sites and determines the criteria for the list operator’s work, as well as a procedure for […]

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Critics Fear Wide Reach of New Anti-Treason Bill

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

MOSCOW, October 31 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) – The new anti-treason bill approved today by Russia’s upper house of parliament has prompted concern from experts, academics and human rights advocates, who say it could be used against almost anyone. “I see a lot of people around me who are experts and journalists who have become cautious, and who are becoming […]

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The game is afoot: Following a kidnapping and torture allegations, political tensions have escalated

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 29, 2012) When Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov was released from the Investigative Committee on Friday after being charged, he seemed more baffled than relieved. “The investigators are playing some sort of game,” he tweeted ominously. A week after his fellow activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev, was kidnapped in Kiev and claimed he […]

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Vigils for victims of political repressions held across Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – October 30, 2012) The victims of Soviet political repressions are being commemorated on Tuesday with vigils held across Russia. Seventy-five years since the Great Purge was started by Soviet leader Josef Stalin, Moscow’s now disused Butovo firing range hosted events honoring the hundreds of thousands who suffered, according to Interfax. The site […]

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Putin to Avoid Call-in Show Format in 2012 – Newspaper

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti)-Russian President Vladimir Putin will this year avoid a live call-in show that has been held annually for the past 10 years, a leading Russian business daily quoted Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying. “There will be no call-in show this year,” Peskov told Kommersant, adding that the president would field questions “in a different format.” […]

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National Unity Day Still Just a Day Off for Most

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 31, 2012) Only 16 percent of Russians will celebrate National Unity Day this weekend, while for most other people the holiday is little more than a day off work, according to a poll released Wednesday. Despite its growing popularity since 2005, when the Nov. 4 holiday was instituted, a quarter of respondents could not […]

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Russian PM says Stalin’s crimes deserve ‘the harshest assessment’

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – Perm, 30 October) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev thinks that Iosif Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet state of that period deserve “the harshest assessment,” because they “conducted a war against their own people”. “For what was taking place back then, it is not only Iosif Stalin but also a host of other leaders who certainly deserve […]

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Back in time… or not: Standard time did not arrive in Russia ­… but the situation may yet change, and more confusion is expected

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – October 29, 2012) Last Sunday, Russian social network users woke up and began pitching fits over the Daylight Savings time change ­ or lack thereof ­ in Russia. “What time is it really?” demanded bewildered gadget-users whose computer time may have turned back one hour but whose phone clocks remained the same. […]

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Putin Squares Off with Valdai Experts on Economy, Pussy Riot

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(RIA Novosti – Andrei Zolotov, Jr. – October 26, 2012) If there had been any expectations among Russia watchers of “a new Putin” coming back to the presidential office after the elections, they must have been finally put to rest after the Russian president’s meeting on Thursday with a group of political scientists and economic experts known as the Valdai […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin’s Russia: back in the USSR; The president’s crackdown will do nothing to tackle the source of his problems: a corrupt and unreformable system of government

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Putin’s Russia: back in the USSR; The president’s crackdown will do nothing to tackle the source of his problems: a corrupt and unreformable system of government – The Guardian (UK) Editorial – October 29, 2012 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/28/vladimir-putin-russia-crackdown-protest) The Guardian (UK) in an editorial accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating repression unseen since the Soviet Union, despite his supposed public […]

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Vladimir Putin’s ever-decreasing circle of friends

Ksenia Sobchak file photo

(Daniil Kotsyubinsky – opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky is Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg – October 25, 2012) President Putin’s popularity has been dented by the open opposition of two celebrities, hitherto ardent supporters: Lyudmila Narusova and Kseniya Sobchak, respectively widow and daughter of his former political mentor, Anatolii Sobchak. A real stab in the back and evidence […]

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Prokhorov Trades Business for Politics

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 29, 2012) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced at a weekend congress of his new Civic Platform party that he is quitting business to enter politics full time, and delegates overwhelmingly elected him as their leader. Prokhorov, 47, said he would place his fortune, estimated at $13.2 billion by Forbes magazine, in a […]

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Opposition Coordination Council doesn’t view itself as alternative parliament

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – October 28, 2012) The Opposition Coordination Council, whose members were elected a week ago, should consider itself not an alternative parliament but a working body of the opposition movement, says Andrei Piontkovsky, a prominent journalist and a member of the bureau of the opposition group Solidarity. “We have no right to declare ourselves an alternative parliament or a […]

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New Coordination Council Weighs Rally and Magnitsky

Moscow Protest file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  October 29, 2012) Members of the opposition’s newly elected Coordination Council agreed at their first meeting over the weekend to stage their next rally in December and press the U.S. to expand its Magnitsky list of banned Russian officials. The opposition group, which met at a restaurant in central Moscow on Saturday, is tasked with […]

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New Putin Limo Unveiled

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Roland Oliphant – October 29, 2012) After six full years of development, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin finally has a car more beautiful than U.S. President Barack Obama’s, the ZiL auto company announced. A ZIL-4112P prototype, with a 7.7 liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission, was unveiled to federal television channels on Sunday just months after […]

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[TRANSCRIPT: Putin] Meeting with Valdai International Discussion Club participants

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Kremlin.ru – Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region – October 25, 2012) During his meeting with members of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin talked about the current state of the Russian economy and scenarios for Russia’s economic development. The ninth annual conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club on The Future Is Being Made Today: Scenarios for Russia’s Economic Development is […]

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Shuvalov Denies State Boosting Role in Oil

Oil Well file photo

BERLIN, October 26 (RIA Novosti)-State-owned oil giant Rosneft’s acquisition of TNK-BP does not signify an increase in state control of the Russian oil sector, and no one in Russia is building state capitalism, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Friday. “The sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft does not represent an increase in state control of the oil sector, […]

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Russian Protest Leader Udaltsov Charged

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 26 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)-Russian protest leader Sergei Udaltsov was charged with plotting mass disorder on Friday and could face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty. “If anyone expected me to flee abroad, they were mistaken,” Left Front leader Udaltsov, 35, said as he reported to investigators for questioning. “The Putin regime will be on […]

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Economy Is Focal Point for Putin’s Foreign Expert Club

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – October 26, 2012) OVO-OGARYOVO ­ President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Thursday that he had to make a difficult choice when he approved the purchase of TNK-BP by state behemoth Rosneft, as the decision contradicts the government’s policy to reduce its presence in the economy. But he made it clear that the government had […]

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No Time Change This Fall

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – October 26, 2012) When Europe turns its clocks one hour back this Sunday, two countries are going to have it their own way: Russia and Belarus will move out of step with much of the northern hemisphere by sticking with “eternal summer time,” introduced last year by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. Despite […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Russian Analytical Digest No. 118: Russia’s Evolving Political System

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2012 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> Subject: No.118: Russia’s Evolving Political System RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 2 October 2012/No. 118 Russia’s Evolving Political System To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2215 Analyses The Regime, the Opposition, and Challenges to Electoral Authoritarianism in Russia, by Vladimir Gel’man, St. Petersburg/Helsinki Russian Riot: Senseless and Ruthless or […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available.

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2012 From: Peter Lavelle <untimelythoughts.lavelle@gmail.com> Subject: Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available. Press Release: October 7 the book “Putin’s New Russia” is available. [Find text here: http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin%27s%20new%20Russia.pdf] The editors Jon Hellevig and Alexandre Latsa have brought in a host of contributors that have the independence and courage to speak out against […]

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NEWSLINK: Hand-wringing at dinner with Putin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Hand-wringing at dinner with Putin – Financial Times – Neil Buckley – October 25, 2012 – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ced25a3a-1deb-11e2-901e-00144feabdc0.html The Financial Times examines growing limitations on Russian economic prospects, and the resulting impact on the latest “Valdai Discussion Club” dinner: … the event, and the context, has changed a lot. In Valdai’s early years, Russia was growing at 7 per cent a […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian Attitudes toward Putin and His System Increasingly Negative since March Vote, Study Finds

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

Russian Attitudes toward Putin and His System Increasingly Negative since March Vote, Study Finds – Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2012/10/window-on-eurasia-russian-attitudes.html Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ratings are becoming more negative: Since the Russian presidential election in March 2012, Russians have become increasingly negative about Vladimir Putin personally and about his current impact on the country, according to a […]

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NEWSLINK: More Russian Election Intrigue

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

Russia: Other Points of View – Gordon M. Hahn – October 24, 2012 – http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2012/10/more-russian-election-intrigue.html Gordon M. Hahn examines recent Russian gubernatorial, legislative assembly, mayoral, and municipal council elections across the country: Russian authorities’ at all levels in the United Russia (UR) party continued use of the infamous ‘administrative resources’; that is, using state institutions to give their party and […]

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Putin’s favourite monastery. The wooded island of Valaam, in a large lake in northern Russia, is a beacon for Russian Orthodox believers – among them President Putin.

Valaam file photo showing Monastery church on wooded island

From: Lucy Ash <lucy.ash.05@bbc.co.uk> Subject: BBC online stories Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 Audio slide show for “Putin’s favourite monastery. The wooded island of Valaam, in a large lake in northern Russia, is a beacon for Russian Orthodox believers – among them President Putin.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20041504

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EVENT: Central Asia Security Workshop at IERES, GWU, on October 30 [in Washington, D.C]

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 Subject: Central Asia Security Workshop at IERES, GWU, on October 30 From: Marlene Laruelle <laruelle@gwu.edu> Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies http://www.gwu.edu/~ieresgwu/ Elliott School of International Affairs George Washington University THE CENTRAL ASIA SECURITY WORKSHOP October 30, 2012, 9.00am ­ 4.15pm George Washington University 1957 E Street NW, Washington D.C. Lindner Commons, 6th Floor […]

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Russian Senators, MP Pour Scorn On Opposition’s Coordination Council

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Moscow, 23 October) The opposition’s Coordination Council will not be a viable structure due to the ambitions of its members, Federation Council deputy speaker and member of One Russia (United Russia)’s supreme council Svetlana Orlova thinks. “The process of preparations for this election (to the Coordination Council) and the way it took place shows that there is no […]

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Razvozzhayev Tells Harrowing Tale

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel, Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 25, 2012) Opposition leaders and human rights groups on Wednesday lambasted the apparent kidnapping and torture of Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev as a return to Stalinist political repression and an unprecedented escalation in the crackdown against dissenters. “Our country has entered a new era of Stalin-like repressions,” […]

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Putin’s Domestic Support Growing – Poll

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russia’s Cabinet are becoming more popular among Russians, an opinion poll suggests. The Levada Center, a Moscow-based opinion research group, told Interfax on Wednesday that 67% of respondents in a poll this month – compared with 63% in a survey in August – said they approved of […]

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Kremlin Disagrees With Russian Think Tank’s ‘Apocalyptic’ Scenarios

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo – 24 October) The report issued by the Centre for Strategic Research contains unduly pessimistic scenarios for the country’s development, which can not be accepted, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said. “The report is quite extensive, and gives an expert point of view, of which there are many. Of course, it will take us […]

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Senior Lawmaker Slams Think Tank’s Grim Forecast For Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – One of the leaders of the ruling United Russia party and a deputy chairman of the State Duma has given lie to a pessimistic economic forecast in a report by Russia’s Strategic Projects Center released on Wednesday, a paper that blamed the country’s alleged degradation on its leaders. “The report itself has been done not […]

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Report Shows Plunging Support for Putin -­ and Protest Leaders

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 25, 2012) Russians view the ruling elite as aggressive and predatory and believe that revolution is one of the only realistic ways to change the government, according to a report released Wednesday by an influential think tank. The report, ordered by the Committee of Civic Initiatives, a group of political and […]

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Russia’s corruption tsar

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – October 25, 2012) Boris Titov would eschew the title “Russia’s Corruption Tsar”, but if he achieves half of what he is setting out to do, then that is what he will become. Appointed Russia’s new ombudsman for business by President Vladimir Putin in July, Titov’s job is to try […]

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TNK-BP Deal a Boon for State, Welcome Sign for Foreigners

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 23, 2012) Rosneft’s deal to take over TNK-BP masterfully achieves the dual purpose of strengthening the state’s hand in the oil industry to spectacular proportions and showcasing its benevolence to foreign capital at the same time. Officially confirmed Monday, the gradual $56 billion purchase of the country’s third-largest crude producer will […]

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Navalny, Kasparov Win Seats in Opposition’s ‘Shadow Government’

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – October 23, 2012) Well-known opposition figures like anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and former chess champion Garry Kasparov joined lower-profile personalities like former Kremlin G8 sherpa Andrei Illarionov and political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky in a new 45-member “shadow government,” according to election results. The online election, which was extended into a third day Monday after hacker attacks disrupted […]

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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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