Russian Opposition Plans Next Mass Protest In Spring

Moscow Protest file photo

(RIA Novosti – January 20, 2013) The opposition Coordination Council has decided to hold the next mass protest march in spring, Russian RIA Novosti news agency reported on 20 January. Twenty-six members of the Coordination Council voted for the proposal “to hold a nationwide mass protest in spring 2013, with the working title March against the Hangmen”. The exact date […]

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Opposition Figures’ Legal Woes Mount

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – January 21, 2013) Two opposition figures saw their legal troubles mount on Friday, as investigators pressed ahead with an embezzlement charge against protest leader Alexei Navalny and opened a criminal case into allegations that leftist activist Leonid Razvozzhayev falsely maligned them. Investigators presented the final version of a charge against Navalny that […]

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Politics and rivalries hinder Investigative Committee

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – January 21, 2013) Alexander Bastrykin’s Investigative Committee – which just celebrated its second birthday – is flexing its muscles in a much-touched anti-corruption crusade. But a look at its achievements in recent months suggests that while the body’s crime-fighting intentions may be sincere, Bastrykin’s caped crusaders are still far from Eliot Ness’ […]

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Russian Justice Ministry finds no NGOs falling foul of anti-Magnitskiy law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – January 18, 2013) Russia’s Justice Ministry has said that it has so far found no NGOs headed by or financed by citizens of the USA whose activities could be suspended under the “anti-Magnitskiy” law (also known as the Dima Yakovlev law). The law, better known for its controversial Article 4, which bans US citizens from adopting Russian children, […]

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Navalny says prosecution aims to bar him from elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – Opposition campaigner Alexei Navalny said his prosecution in the fraud case connected with the Kirovles logging company is part of the law enforcement services’ plan to obstruct his political activities and prevent him from running in elections. “The goal is to obstruct my political activities and to prevent my running in elections, all of which […]

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Investigators Open New Case Against Putin Foe

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

MOSCOW/IRKUTSK, January 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Investigators opened a new criminal case against opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev on Friday and denied media reports of his disappearance. Investigators accuse the activist of spreading false information, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told RIA Novosti on Friday, stemming from Razvozzhayev’s continuing claims that he was tortured into confessing his role in organizing mass […]

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‘Final’ Charges Brought against Opposition Figure Navalny

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Final charges in a grand embezzlement case have been brought against Russian opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny, the Investigative Committee said on Friday. Navalny has refused to testify, committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said, adding the investigation into the case “is nearing completion.” Navalny has been charged with “organizing embezzlement on a grand scale” and faces […]

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Key laws come into force in 2013

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines/Ogoniok – Evgeny Kozichev, Ogoniok magazine – January 17, 2013 – http://rbth.ru/society/2013/01/17/ key_laws_to_come_into_force_in_2013_21969.html) This year, Russian citizens will enjoy some new rights, but lose some old ones. Ogonyok has compiled a list of the most important legal novelties of 2013. International relations On January 1, 2013, the Dima Yakovlev law (“On measures against persons involved in abuse […]

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Russia Said to Near Decision to Charge Ex-Defense Minister

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov – January 18, 2013) Russian investigators are said to be near a decision on whether to charge the country’s ex-defense minister amid the biggest anti-graft drive of President Vladimir Putin’s 12 years in power, according to two officials. Anatoly Serdyukov has been implicated by people questioned in an embezzlement inquiry, said […]

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Expect More Anti-Americanism in 2013

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – January 18, 2013) Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times. An increase in anti-Americanism stands out as one of the most dominant features of the Kremlin’s policy in 2012. Since the propaganda campaign worked so effectively on many Russians, we can expect even more state-sponsored anti-Americanism in 2013. The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting on economic issues

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 16, 2013) The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues to discuss the financial results for 2012 and measures to develop Russia’s economy. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues. We will discuss the results for 2012 today and look at additional measures to ensure economic growth. The situation in the global economy […]

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Medvedev Wants Economy to Grow 5% Annually

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – January 17, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday urged the Cabinet to ensure stable economic growth of at least 5 percent a year in the near future, a goal some officials said might require changes to current budget policy. The major goal for the country’s government is “to ensure transition to […]

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Russians Doubt Public Smoking Ban – Poll

No Smoking Symbol

MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) – Most Russians do not support the government’s move to impose a complete ban on smoking in public places and believe the emphasis should be on helping smokers quit, a pollster said on Thursday. The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, is to consider the anti-smoking bill in its second reading on January 25. […]

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Political modernization must be carried on – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 16 (Interfax) – The political modernization course is unwavering, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Gaidar Forum on Wednesday. “We need political modernization and qualitative broadening of political and economic freedoms,” he said. The other tasks are qualitative renovation, comprehensive modernization of various spheres of the country’s life, technological modernization, economic diversification, reduced dependence on fluctuations of […]

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Experts See No Exodus Of Discontented Liberals From Russia

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, 16 January) On the basis of official statistics, researchers from the Centre of Political Information have made a conclusion that the “liberal panic” in Russia has not led to a mass outflow of “the discontented” from the country. In addition, having analysed the dynamics of migration from Russia to countries other than former Soviet republics, experts […]

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Shuvalov Firm on Tax Policy

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 16, 2013) First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Wednesday that the government would not raise taxes for business before 2018, provided that events of a “global” scale do not influence the situation. In an interview published in Kommersant on Wednesday, Shuvalov said that the government finalized its midterm tax strategy last year. “Up […]

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Year 2012 showed that Russia has learned to deal with problems – Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – January 16, 2013) Year 2012 was calm politically and good economically, despite the difficult State Duma and presidential elections, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of Kommersant. “To me, as a government official, our condition at the end of 2012 is an additional confirmation that the country has learned […]

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The ‘Nuanced Look’: Russia’s Defense Minister Considers Majors Reform Reversals

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 7 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Robert McDermott – January 15, 2013) Russia’s new defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, under the guise of pursuing “nuanced changes” to the Armed Forces’ reform managed by his predecessor Anatoly Serdyukov, is reportedly considering systemic revisions to the entire process. These range from revising the reformed military […]

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Court Dismisses Pussy Riot Member’s Deferral Plea

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

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Russian court on Wednesday rejected a plea from a jailed member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot to have her prison term deferred until her young son reaches adolescence. Maria Alyokhina, 24, mother of five-year-old Filipp, asked for her two-year sentence to be delayed until her son turns 14, as allowed under […]

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Senior Russian politician says Twitter account is fake, he avoids social media

File Photo of Vladislav Surkov with Mike McFaul

(Interfax – January 15, 2013) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov does not do social media and the Twitter account in his name, although “witty and sometimes even funny”, is an impostor, Interfax news agency reported on 15 January. Surkov conceded that the account had fooled many. “My friends increasingly think that @SurkovRussia is actually me,” he told an Interfax […]

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Russia’s Legislature Opens Spring Session

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) ­ The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, kicked off its spring session Tuesday with promises to consider, within weeks, a raft of bills on everything from the return of independent candidates in legislative elections to bans on smoking and the “propaganda” of homosexuality. The legislative body also gave preliminary approval to a bill […]

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Only president can evaluate efficiency of ministers – Medvedev

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

NOVOZAPOLYARNY, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. Jan 15 (Interfax) – Evaluation of the government efficiency is an exclusive area of the Russian president, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes. “In the opinion of Medvedev, the only person eligible to evaluate the efficiency of certain ministers and the government is the president,” the prime minister’s press secretary Natalia Timakova said. She thus commented on […]

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Only One Russian NGO Registered as Foreign Agent

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said on Wednesday that only one non-governmental organization in Russia has so far registered as a foreign agent under a recently introduced law on NGOs. Russia’s controversial new law, obligating non-governmental organizations financed from abroad and involved in political activity to register as “foreign agents,” came into force last […]

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NEWSLINK: Political reforms failed to change anything in Russian politics; Failed Reforms: Political Reforms: Gubernatorial Elections Resemble Appointments, Competition Among Parties Remains Inadequate

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

[Failed Reforms: Political Reforms: Gubernatorial Elections Resemble Appointments, Competition Among Parties Remains Inadequate – Vedomosti – Maria Zheleznova – January 15, 2013 – no public link to English-language version] Vedomosti covers analysis by Alexei Kudrin’s Civil Initiatives Committee (CIC) that finds that gubernatorial elections resembled appointments, competition among political parties remained inadequate, and turnout continued to decline. Changes in party […]

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Russia’s pension impasse — is there a way out?

File Photo of Two Elders Walking Outdoors

(www.opendemocracy.net – Andrei Zaostrovtsev – January 11, 2013) Andrei Zaostrovtsev is lecturer at the M-Centre at the European University, St. Petersburg and professor of the Higher School of Economics One way Vladimir Putin has retained his popularity among Russians has been by increasing retirement pensions and other social benefits, and as a result the state pension fund is deep in […]

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Poll shows Russians know more, largely approve of Investigations Committee

Map of Russia

(Interfax – 14 January) Moscow – According to the poll carried out by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), the Russian Investigations Committee (RIC) is the most effective law-enforcement body in the fight against corruption. The poll was conducted in 38 regions in 146 population centres among 1,600 respondents on 22-24 December. Its results were published on the eve […]

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Back to the Soviet era? A tougher law on registration has alarmed rights activists

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – January 15, 2013) President Vladimir Putin has introduced a bill into the State Duma calling for tougher penalties for Russians and foreigners who violate registration rules, in a bid to “civilize” internal migration. The bill, introduced into the lower house of Parliament last Wednesday, echoed an earlier proposal by Russian lawmakers to […]

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To be or not to be: Buried within the adoption scandal is a bigger and more essential dilemma

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – January 14, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News “Children are [expletive] sacred,” one protester was overheard telling another at Sunday’s March against Scoundrels. That was one of the reasons that the march, widely expected to continue a trend of dwindling turnout for the spate of mass anti-government […]

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Five Cabinet Ministers Given Poor Grades in Kremlin Survey

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2013) Five ministers in Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet have failed to live up to the expectations of certain Kremlin administration officials, according to a survey conducted by Izvestia. The lowest rating went to five Cabinet members: Far East Development Minister Viktor Ishayev, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov, Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev, Transportation […]

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Russia’s ‘tandem’ govt era over – Primakov

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

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – The “tandem” government era in Russia is over, argued former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov, president of the Mercury Club and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “Today Russia has some new characteristics that distinguish it from the previous period. One of them is the end of the tandem era. This does not at […]

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Privatization Destroyed Russia’s Chance for Freedom and Must Be Reversed, Pastukhov Says

Empty Boardroom

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 11, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-privatization.html) Staunton, January 11 ­ The Russian people “who 20 years ago dreamed about freedom today are choosing slavery” because they were deceived by the elites about privatization and thus no longer “believe anyone,” according to an analysis by Vladimir Pastukhov, a Russian scholar who now works at […]

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Russia Now Faces ‘Years of Reaction,’ Moscow Commentator Says

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 12, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-russia-now-faces.html) In the absence of any deep division within the power elites ­ — and there is none evident now ­ — Vladimir Putin’s current turn to repression is completely logical from his point of view and guarantees that the Russian Federation now faces “years of reaction,” however much […]

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Human rights activist believes mass protests have a future in Russia

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – January 14, 2013) Mass opposition protests have become more serious and they have a future, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, told Interfax on Sunday. The opposition organized a march demanding the dissolution of the State Duma and the reversal of the so-called anti-Magnitsky law, which bans U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children, in central […]

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Russia’s U.S. Adoption Ban Protesters Lament State TV Coverage

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, January 14 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ Opponents of a Kremlin-approved ban on US nationals adopting Russian children expressed anger on Monday at a state TV program that suggested they were betraying their homeland. “State television is brainwashing people,” said Maria Orlovskaya, who helped promote and organize Sunday’s peaceful protest march in central Moscow against the ban. “The authorities […]

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Russian Orphan Adoption ‘Appeal’ Sparks Furor

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Russian news website has provoked a furor after publishing what it claimed was an appeal from a Russian teenage orphan whose adoption by a US family was prevented by a new law banning adoptions by Americans. The 1obl.ru news portal in the Chelyabinsk region published a story claiming a boy in a local […]

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Putin Playing Regions against the Capital to Maintain Himself in Power, Oreshkin Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 9, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-putin-playing-regions.html) Like Nicholas II and Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Putin is putting the regions and their more traditionalist values in play against the emergent civil society in Moscow as part of his effort to keep himself and his allies in office and in control of Russia’s enormous natural wealth, […]

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U.S. to have to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ till 2018 – analyst

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The fact that Foreign Policy magazine has declared Russian President Vladimir Putin last year’s most influential figure in global politics, business and public affairs means “the so-called ‘Putin factor’ will play a significant role in the foreign policy of the United States for the next five years,” a Russian political scientist said. “Foreign Policy is […]

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State Duma to review calls for dissolution

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – January 10, 2013) An initiative for the State Duma’s dissolution accumulated more than 100,000 signatures, forcing the lower house of parliament to discuss it. However, the deputies must consider the opinion of 60 million people who supported them during elections, said State Duma Deputy Speaker and Deputy Head of the United Russia […]

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Protests, Political Pressure on Media Behind Rise of ‘New Russian Journalists’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 8, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-protests-political.html) The rise of a new generation of independent journalists in Russia who use technology to report directly to their audience and who are not shy about declaring their interest in promoting civil society is an entirely natural response to the increasing government restrictions on the official media […]

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Russia Takes Pause After Incredible Year of Discoveries and Disappointments

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 1 – Pavel K. Baev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 7, 2013) Early January is a period of partying and hibernation in Russia. Yet, this pause also provides an opportunity to reflect on the incredible ups and downs of the past year. Designated by the Kremlin as a year of return to […]

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Opposition Activist Charged with Coup Plot Sent to Siberia

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

MOSCOW, January 9 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A leftist activist charged with plotting to overthrow President Vladimir Putin was sent on Wednesday from the central Russia holding cell where he had spent the New Year holidays to Siberia, prison officials said. Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev’s lawyer told RIA Novosti he had not been informed that his client was […]

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Russians to March Against US Adoption Ban

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Opponents of a law banning US nationals from adopting Russian children were granted permission on Wednesday to hold a protest march in central Moscow on January 13, officials and rally organizers said. The ban is part of a wider response by Moscow to the Magnitsky Act, a US law that imposes travel bans and […]

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NEWSLINK: Speak up: Moscow introduces ‘Hyde Parks’ for public gatherings

Gorky Park file photo

(Speak up: Moscow introduces ‘Hyde Parks’ for public gatherings – January 7, 2013) Pro-Kremlin Russia Today reports that areas are being designated at two Moscow parks for demonstrations, requiring advance notification to authorities. Click here for full article: http://rt.com/politics/moscow-demonstration-special-parks-484/

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Analyst: Alleged stability apparent source of Putin’s top Foreign Policy rating

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

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – A Russian analyst has argued that this year Russian President Vladimir Putin will keep the leading role in global politics attributed to him by Foreign Policy magazine, which declared Putin the world’s most influential political, business and public figure in 2012. “The fact that President Putin is recognized as the most influential person of the […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian patriarch says religion law must not go too far

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Russian patriarch says religion law must not go too far – Reuters – Alexei Anishchuk – January 6 – click here for full article) In the aftermath of the Pussy Riot prosecution, Reuters covers the Russian Orthodox reaction to Russia’s law on anti-religious offenses: Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a long-standing ally of President Vladimir […]

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TRANSCRIPT: News conference of Vladimir Putin

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

(Kremlin.ru –  December 20, 2012) Kremlin.ru December 20, 2012 News conference of Vladimir Putin Moscow Vladimir Putin’s news conference took place at the World Trade Centre on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment. Over 1,000 Russian and 200 foreign journalists were accredited to cover the news conference. Channel One, Rossiya-1 and Rossiya-24 TV channels and Radio Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations […]

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NEWSLINK: USA to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ after magazine power ratin – pundits

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

[USA to reckon with ‘Putin factor’ after magazine power rating – pundits – BBC Monitoring/Ekho Moskvy Radio – January 4, 2013 – no open link exists to this product] Ekho Moskvy Radio addresses what it terms Foreign Policy magazine’s move to call Russian President Vladimir Putin the world’s the most powerful person, including the fact that the magazine actually listed […]

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2012 in Review: Russia Turns in on Itself

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Voice of America – Russian Service Crossfire – Donald N. Jensen – January 3, 2013) Russian state has struggled unsuccessfully since 1991 to reconcile ­three disparate, somewhat contradictory sources of legitimacy.  It portrays itself as democratic, but the trashing of the 1990s by the Putin regime deprives the current system of a founding myth.  During the Putin era there have […]

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[Putin] Merry Christmas greetings

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 7, 2013) Vladimir Putin wished Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens a Merry Christmas. The message reads, in part: “Over the centuries this holiday has brought us the light of faith, hope and love. It unites us around traditional moral values that play a special role in Russian history and are the backbone of our society. Christmas […]

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NEWSLINK: Rich Russians Also Lament New Tax Hikes

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

(Rich Russians Also Lament New Tax Hikes – Forbes – Kenneth Rapoza – January 3, 2013 – click here for full article) Forbes covers Russian tax hikes on the wealthy, largely impacting individuals, sole proprietors and with high-end luxury items such as homes, cars, boats, airplanes and helicopters: Not only rich one percenters in the U.S. are going to see […]

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