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

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

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

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Putin: Land market in Russia permeated with corruption

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

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

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

Vladimir Putin file photo

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

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Opposition Expose Incites Investigation

Russian Duma Building

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

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

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

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

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

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

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

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

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

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

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

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

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

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Putin’s Birthday Marked With Praise and Protests

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

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

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

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

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

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Kudrin Offered Mega-Regulator Job

Alexei Kudrin file photo

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

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Levada Center releases report on the protest movement ‘without a plan’

Moscow Protest file photo

Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Toohey – October 3, 2012 The independent Levada Center polling agency has released an analytical research paper on potential future scenarios for the protest movement. The research was carried out based on interviews with the leaders of the opposition and rally participants, also incorporating data from public opinion polls. The research was conducted with […]

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Putin Signs Law Creating Single Voting Day in September

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – October 4, 2012 President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a law introducing a single voting day for regional and federal elections, a measure that opposition politicians said was illegal and would benefit the ruling party. Meanwhile, the Central Elections Commission proposed restrictions on how people can take photographs and make video recordings […]

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New NTV Documentaries Likely to Cause a Stir

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – October 4, 2012 State-controlled NTV television is scheduled to air two new politically themed documentaries this weekend ­ an opposition expose on Friday and a feature about the day-to-day life of President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, his 60th birthday. The channel has a history of producing controversial documentaries about Kremlin foes ­ […]

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Russia’s unnoticeable elections – unnoticeable results?

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

Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – October 5, 2012 A round of 73 regional and municipal elections that start on October 14 will be the first real test for Russia’s nascent protest movement. The first protests were sparked by popular outrage to rigged Duma elections last December and were followed by large crowds protesting against […]

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Not Possible to Support Social Protections, Large Army, Many State Properties Simultaneously – Dvorkovich

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 3 (Interfax) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has called it impossible for Russia to simultaneously have a high level of social protection, a large army, and a lot of state properties. “We cannot allow ourselves to simultaneously have a very high level of social protection in a system built on paternalistic principles, at the same time […]

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NEWSLINK: Why I Lost My Right To Speak in the Duma

Duma Session file photo

Why I Lost My Right To Speak in the Duma – Ilya Ponomaryov- Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 1, 2012 – click here to read full text of original article Ilya Ponomaryov is a State Duma deputy with A Just Russia. Ilya Ponomaryov writes in his Moscow Times op-ed about being banned from speaking in the Russian State Duma […]

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USAID Gone, Kremlin Tightens Control Over Non-Profits

Kremlin and St. Basil's

Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – October 2, 2012 On Monday, the same day that the U.S. Agency for International Development ended its 20-year presence in Russia, President Vladimir Putin proposed bringing nonprofit groups that provide social services under closer government supervision. A plan outlining criteria for evaluating the quality of services provided by nonprofits, as well as […]

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PACE Report Strongly Criticizes Russia

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

RFE/RL – October 2, 2012 A report debated on October 2 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe strongly criticized Russia, highlighting limitations on free speech, political meddling in the judiciary, and multiple violations of human rights. The report was the first produced by the Strasbourg-based body to address Russia’s obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe […]

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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

USAID From the American People Logo

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

USAID From the American People Logo

(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.

USAID From the American People Logo

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

USAID From the American People Logo

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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