Russian human-rights NGOs ignore new rule to register as ‘foreign agents’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 18, 2012) No Russian non-government organizations have registered as “foreign agents” nearly a month after being required to do so under a new law, Interfax news agency reported on 18 December. The Ministry of Justice has added a section to its website with the rules for the register, an application form and the register itself. “We’re awaiting […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry’s ombudsman slams EU’s human rights

EU Map

(Interfax – December 17, 2012) The Russian Foreign Ministry’s ombudsman for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, has criticized the human rights situation in the European Union. Dolgov was speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) conference in Turin, as reported by the Russian news agency Interfax on 17 December. Speaking about some EU countries’ involvement in the […]

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In 20 years 341 journalists have been killed in Russia

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

MOSCOW. Dec 16 (Interfax) – In 20 years 341 journalists have been killed in Russia, the Russian Journalists’ Union announced on Saturday. The list includes reporters killed in conflicts and counterterrorist operations, in peaceful times, reported missing and dead under uninvestigated circumstances. On December 15 the union marks the Day of Remembrance of Killed Journalists and on that day the […]

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NEWSLINK: Details of U.S. bill on Russia trade, human rights

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

[Factbox: Details of U.S. bill on Russia trade, human rights – Reuters – Dec. 13, 2012 – http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/13/uk-usa-russia-trade-idUKBRE8BC18120121213] Reuters sets out bullet points recent U.S. legislation consider trade and Russian human rights, developed in response to Russia’s August 22, 2012, accession to the WTO. Regarding trade, the legislation repeals the Jackson-Vanik amendment and looks to ensure investment-related rule of law, […]

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NEWSLINK: U.S.-Russia ties take a hit: As the Jackson-Vanik amendment is finally repealed, the controversial Magnitsky act provokes similar legislation from Russia and may hamper U.S.-Russia relations.

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

[U.S.-Russia ties take a hit: As the Jackson-Vanik amendment is finally repealed, the controversial Magnitsky act provokes similar legislation from Russia and may hamper U.S.-Russia relations. – Russia Beyond the Headlines – Alexander Gasyuk – Alexander Gasyuk is Rossiyskaya Gazeta’s Washington D.C. Bureau chief  – Dec. 14, 2012 – http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/12/14/once_again_us-russia_ties_take_a_hit_21107.html] Russia Behind the Headlnies covers U.S. Congressional passage of the […]

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Putin Calls for ‘Adequate’ Response to Magnitsky Act

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted a US bill targeting alleged Russian human rights violators as an “unfriendly act,” but said Russia’s response should be “adequate and not excessive.” “We certainly have to have an appropriate response. The State Duma has taken the initiative, which in my opinion is absolutely correct. But we need to […]

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Fear and loathing in Dagestan

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – Dec. 10, 2012) Doctor Marat Gunashev didn’t even have time to change his slippers when masked law enforcement officials led him out of the surgery room on the morning of Nov. 28 and placed a bag over his head. The patient he was administering anesthesia to was left lying on the table. […]

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Russia may retaliate against Magnitsky Act with Dima Yakovlev Law

Duma Session file photo

(Interfax – Dec. 11, 2012) The United Russia faction at the State Duma has proposed to name the bill retaliating against the Magnitsky Act after 18-months-old Dima Yakovlev who died after his adoptive American father left him in a locked car in a parking lot for nine hours on a hot day. “They named their act after Magnitsky and United […]

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Duma Deputies Strike Back Over Magnitsky Act

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Dec. 11, 2012) In a widely expected response to the passage of the U.S. Magnitsky Act, State Duma deputies on Monday introduced a bill that would make Americans suspected of mistreating Russians personae non gratae. The bill bans Americans from traveling or investing in Russia if they are deemed to have “illegally” […]

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EU Under Pressure to Draft Magnitsky List

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – Dec. 10, 2012) Buoyed by the U.S. Senate’s endorsement of the Magnitsky Act, Russian opposition leaders and some European lawmakers are calling on the European Union to adopt similar legislation that punishes presumed human rights offenders. Mikhail Kasyanov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Boris Nemtsov, the chairmen of the “Republican Party of Russia […]

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Magnitsky List won’t have serious effect on Russia-U.S. relations – Primakov

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

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – Former Russian Prime Minister, Academician Yevgeny Primakov thinks that the Magnitsky Act will not have a serious effect on Russia-U.S. relations. “We can make a similar list, but I do not think things will go further and have a serious effect on our relations with the United States,” he said on Friday while answering questions […]

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Magnitsky Bill Likely to Reopen Old Wounds

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Dec. 10, 2012) Historical mistrust and relatively weak trade links could amplify the Magnitsky Act’s damage to U.S.-Russian relations, although Washington will likely use caution in applying sanctions to Russians suspected of human rights violations, analysts said. “In the absence of a solid background of trust and partnership, even relatively insignificant episodes […]

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39% of Russians Approve of Magnitsky Act – Poll

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ More than twice the number of Russians approve of recent US legislation imposing sanctions on Russian officials deemed to have violated human rights than disapprove, according to a nationwide poll released this week by the respected Levada Center. The center found that 39 percent of Russians fully or mostly agree with the Sergei Magnitsky […]

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Ombudsman tells Putin prison system needs reforming

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

SOCHI, Russia. Dec 7 (Interfax) – Russia’s human rights ombudsman argued at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the country’s prison system needs reforming, citing increasingly frequent protests by prison inmates, and asked for measures to prevent accidental explosions at military training sites. “This year there has been no big difference between the quantity and quality of […]

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Russian senators call Magnitsky Act unfriendly

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – Dec. 7, 2012) The passage of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. Senate came as no surprise, Alexander Torshin, first deputy speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, told Interfax. “The passage of this act by the Senate was to be expected. Moreover, it is beyond any doubt that this bill will be signed […]

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Moscow has blacklist of unwelcome U.S. citizens – Pushkov

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) – The Russian Foreign Ministry has drafted a blacklist of U.S. citizens Moscow suspects of violations of human rights, State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said in an interview with the Russian News Service radio on Friday. “In fact, the Foreign Ministry has a classified list, same as the U.S. Department of State. It […]

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Magnitsky Act Sparks Russian Fury

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – Dec. 7, 2012) Russia will impose a visa ban on U.S. citizens accused of human rights abuses in response to the “absurd” trade and human rights bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We will also close entry to Americans who are guilty of human rights […]

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NEWSLINK: US Senate to consider Magnitsky Act

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

[US Senate to consider Magnitsky Act – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – Dec. 5, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/589715.html] Itar-Tass covers Senate action on a bill replacing the Jackson-Vanik amendment with the Magnitsky Act. Click here for the full article: http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/589715.html

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Russia Riot Prison Dubbed ‘Hell’ by Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, December 6 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A prison in Russia’s Urals region where inmates rioted last month against alleged abuse and extortion was compared to a “concentration camp” on Thursday by a member of the Kremlin’s human rights council. “We saw a splendid park and a beautiful church, marble ­ but behind the facade there was hell,” Maxim […]

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Shuvalov: Russia’s response to U.S. Magnitsky Act would not affect businessmen

Igor Shuvalov file photo

NEW YORK. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said while visiting the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday that he expected the frictions about the so-called Magnitsky Act should not affect contacts between businessmen. “As you know, Russia is preparing measures in response to the Magnitsky list. This is a political aspect of relations between […]

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Almost 80% of working-age Russians with disabilities are out of job

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Interfax – Dec. 3, 2012) Only 20 percent of working-age Russians with disabilities are employed, the Labor and Social Protection Ministry said on Monday. “Just 816,200 out of 3.39 million working-age persons with disabilities are employed. Some 2.6 million persons with disabilities or 79.7 percent do not have jobs. The rate of employed persons with disabilities is 20.3%, percent,” the […]

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Magnitsky, the Accidental Symbol of Global Injustice

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – Dec. 3, 2012) Magnitsky’s life reveals a man who was in many ways ordinary and felt compelled to fight a state machine he had trusted his whole career. When a childhood friend said he was thinking of not returning to Russia after a concert tour abroad in 2000, Sergei Magnitsky gave him […]

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NEWSLINK: Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Senate fight coming over Russian human rights bill – Foreign Policy – Josh Rogin – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) ForeignPolicy.com covers the U.S. Senate’s handling of the Magnitsky Act and related trade regulation, and the question of whether to broaden its scope to human rights violators world-wide: The Senate is set to do battle over […]

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NEWSLINK: The Magnitsky Bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(The Magnitsky Bill: The Sources of America’s Obsession with Russia – US-Russia.org – featuring Vlad Sobell, Ron Paul, Edward Lozansky, Willism Dunkerley, Alexander Rahr, Alexandre Strokanov, Nicolai Petro,  Mark Nuckols, Patrick Armstrong, and Sergei Roy – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) US-Russia.org features remarks in Congress by Cong. Ron Paul, as well as commentary by Vlad […]

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Medvedev vows both symmetrical and asymmetrical response to Magnitsky Act

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thinks that the support of the Magnitsky Act by European countries is pointless and vows that Russia will respond to such a decision by the U.S. Congress. “If we speak about this act, it will invoke both symmetrical and asymmetrical reactions on our behalf. We passed all of these in […]

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Bringing out the dead: Why Sergei Magnitsky’s story remains relevant for the arts

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – Nov. 26, 2012) Let’s get one thing out of the way first ­ I am married to one of the actors starring in “One hour and eighteen minutes,” a documentary play about the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. And I am not here to talk to you about the quality of the […]

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Prison Revolt Yields More Questions Than Answers

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Nov. 29, 2012) There were either 250 participants or about 1,000. They demanded improved conditions or nothing at all. Their protest was plotted by criminal masterminds or it was spontaneous. Almost nothing is clear about last weekend’s revolt at a maximum security prison in the Urals, as official statements, media reports and […]

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Medvedev: Repression Charges Are Pure Politics

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 29, 2012) Saying the “repressive” label given to new laws on treason and other civil issues is “a pure political tactic,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev voiced support for the State Duma’s reinstating of criminal charges for libel ­ which overturned one of his own initiatives as president. In a wide-ranging interview published in Kommersant […]

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NEWSLINK: Constitutional Court considering law on rallies

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Constitutional Court considering law on rallies – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – November 28, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/583381.html) ITAR-TASS reports on the Russian Constitutional Court’s review of a law on protests: Russia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday began to consider complaints filed by parliamentarians of the State Duma and opposition leader Eduard Limonov. They oppose new rules for organizing rallies and […]

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Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) [Whether Massive Prison Protest Reported]

Map of Russia

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 Subject: Response to your question (re Masha Gessen) From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> A response to David’s request concerning the accuracy of Masha Gessen piece “In the Penal Colony. This Being Russia, A Massive Prison Protest Isn’t Being Reported”. By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova The temperatures here in Novosibirsk are currently ranging between -20 and -30.  That allows […]

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Chelyabinsk Prison Revolt Ends With Calls for Reform

Map of Russia

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com  – Jonathan Earle – November 27, 2012) A revolt at a maximum security prison in the Chelyabinsk region by prisoners complaining of corruption and abuse has ended, regional prison officials said in a statement Monday. But the fallout appears to be just beginning, as prosecutors quickly opened a check into the incident, and two senior officials […]

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NEWSLINK: Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska – November 25, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/25/us-russia-scientist-idUSBRE8AO02V20121125) Reuters interviews Russian physicist Valentin Danilov after his release from a Siberian penal colony, where he was previously jailed on allegations of espionage.  Danilov sees little change in Russia’s political or ethical climate, blaming Russian voters at least in part: […]

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Russia’s oldest NGO asks public for aid as ‘foreign agent’ law takes effect

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 25 November) Russia’s oldest NGO, the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), has called upon Russians to make donations for human rights projects as the law on “foreign agents” came into force (on 21 November). “Dear fellow citizens! The Moscow Helsinki Group is calling on all individuals and legal entities to participate in raising funds in order for MHG […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to France Presse and Le Figaro

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(premier.gov.ru – November 26, 2012) Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Question: Good afternoon. Mr Prime Minister, you plan to visit France soon, next week. We know that you had good relations with Nicolas Sarkozy. How would you assess your cooperation with the new President of France, Francois Hollande? Do you expect any changes? Dmitry Medvedev: I believe that our relations with […]

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NEWSLINK: As ‘Foreign Agent’ Law Takes Effect in Russia, Human Rights Groups Vow to Defy It

Kremlin and St. Basil's

[As ‘Foreign Agent’ Law Takes Effect in Russia, Human Rights Groups Vow to Defy It – Ellen Barry – New York Times- November 22, 2012 – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/world/europe/rights-groups-in-russia-reject-foreign-agent-label.html?_r=0] Ellen Barry and the New York Times cover Russia’s adoption of its “Foreign Agent Law” impacting nonprofits: Workers at the human rights organization Memorial arrived at work on Wednesday morning to see a […]

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Russia’s ‘Foreign Agents’ NGO Law Hit By Paperwork Snarl-Up

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s insistence that NGOs of a “political” nature funded from abroad register as “foreign agents” has been tied down in paperwork – or, rather, the lack of it. The NGOS affected by the controversial law were required by law to register their new legal status with the Justice Ministry by November 21, but the […]

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Investigators Refuse to Open Case Into Razvozzhayev ‘Torture’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 23, 2012) The Investigative Committee won’t open a criminal case into claims by detained opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev that he was kidnapped and tortured by security services. Instead, investigators launched an inquiry into the activist’s allegedly illegal entry into Ukraine, from where he mysteriously vanished last month. The decision was […]

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Amid Crackdown on NGOs, U.S. Group Moves Staff Out of Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – November 23, 2012) The National Democratic Institute, or NDI, a U.S. based nonprofit that promotes democratic development, has moved its Russia country director and other senior staff to Lithuania, amid an unpredictable and increasingly hostile climate for NGO workers in Russia. The organization, which is partly funded by the U.S. government, fired […]

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US Magnitsky Bill Collides With New Russian Nationalism

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Voice of America – James Brooke – November 21, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR) MOSCOW ­ Next week, the United States Senate is to take up the Magnitsky Act, a bill that would ban visas for, and freeze the bank accounts of, about 60 Russian officials believed to have been […]

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Russian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 21 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ The Moscow headquarters of two influential human rights groups were vandalized on Wednesday, the first day a controversial new law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) took effect. The entrances to the offices of Memorial and For Human Rights, two prominent civil rights groups headed by veteran activists, were spray-painted with the words “Foreign […]

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Russian MPs Mull Potential Response To USA’s Magnitskiy Law

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(RIA Novosti – November 20, 2012) Russian MPs have put forward various proposals for how Russia should respond to the USA’s “Magnitskiy list”, such as compiling a similar list of US officials or stepping up cooperation with the USA’s opponents, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 20 November. The House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the “Magnitskiy […]

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Making of Magnitsky List a Murky Affair

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

WASHINGTON, November 21 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – With the Magnitsky Act moving through the US Congress, American lawmakers are making clear their intent to punish Russian officials deemed by Washington to be responsible for human rights abuses. Less clear is who will end up on this blacklist­and how. The Magnitsky bill passed Friday by the US House […]

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Moscow Bans ‘Political Repression’ Protest – ‘No Such Thing’

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – The Moscow authorities have refused to grant permission for an opposition rally against “political repression” that was to be held later this week on that grounds that there is no such thing in Russia. “The current law does not provide any measures used by the state for repression based on political motives,” according to […]

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Activists Scoff at NGO Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 20, 2012) Although much-debated amendments for nongovernmental organizations go into force this Wednesday, do not expect foreign-funded NGOs to rush to re-register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Ministry. Prominent rights activists have announced they would boycott the new law, which they have lambasted as imposing an insulting title that makes […]

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Georgia won’t close Soviet Occupation Museum in Tbilisi

Map of Georgia

TBILISI. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection does not intend to revise the status or name of the Soviet Occupation Museum functioning in Tbilisi, a ministry statement says. With the change of government in Georgia activist groups have stepped up efforts in the past few weeks demanding that the museum be closed or renamed. […]

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Food for thought ­- Stalin documentary to be released this week

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – November 19, 2012) Well-known personalities who are descendants of Stalin-era forced collectivization victims are to tell their family stories in a film screening at Moscow’s center for documentary films DOC on Wednesday. The center is holding a screening of a new film, “Bread for Stalin. Stories of the dispossessed,” which was created […]

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Russian human rights activists boycott Law on Foreign Agents

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – November 19, 2012) Leading Russian NGOs intend to ignore the legislative amendments which require the registration as “agents of foreign influence” of non-governmental organizations with Western backing. The law will enter into force on Nov. 20, Tuesday. “I do not know a single human rights organization, which has appealed for being registered as a “foreign agent,” said Lyudmila […]

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Magnitsky Act ‘Law by New Year’

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – November 19, 2012) U.S. President Barack Obama could sign the Magnitsky act into law by the end of this year, backers of the bill have said. The landmark legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. The bill would allow permanent normal trade relations with Russia and at the […]

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Moscow forestalled U.S. Magnitsky Act by its own law on NGO as foreign agents – analyst

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Moscow forestalled the adoption of the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the U.S. by enacting the law on NGOs acting as foreign agents, which is quite painful for Washington, but it should be prepared to see a number of European Union countries considering bills analogous to the one just passed by […]

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Putin and Merkel Trade Barbs in Kremlin Talks

Angela Merkel file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 19, 2012) President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel traded barbs over Pussy Riot, human rights and democracy during Kremlin talks Friday that marked a turn in Berlin’s policy toward Moscow. Merkel, who had been under pressure not to be soft on Putin, seemingly enjoyed confronting her host about […]

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