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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NEWSLINK: Russia warns U.S. over human rights bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Russia warns U.S. over human rights bill – Reuters – Thomas Grove – November 16, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/16/us-usa-russia-idUSBRE8AF0RA20121116) Reuters covers Russian attempts to pressure the u.S. Congress over human rights legislation before it, being addresses in connection with trade legislation: Russia increased pressure on the U.S. Congress on Friday not to pass legislation that would punish Russian officials for human […]

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NEWSLINK: Museum at heart of Russia’s Jewish culture revival

File Photo of Torah Scrolls

(Museum at heart of Russia’s Jewish culture revival – AP – Nataliya Vasilyeva – November 16, 2012 – click here for full article) AP takes a look at Moscow’s new Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance: The museum, which opened this week, tells the history of Jewry through people’s stories, which come alive in video interviews and interactive displays. The […]

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NEWSLINK: Three cheers for the Magnitsky Act and American values

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Three cheers for the Magnitsky Act and American values- AEIdeas – www.aei.org – Leon Aron – November 15, 2012 – Leon Aron is Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute – http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/11/three-cheers-for-the-magnitsky-act-and-american-values/) Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute addresses the Magnitsky Act legislation currently before Congress: In the next few days, the House and […]

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NEWSLINK: Top senator eager to clear Russia trade bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(The Hill –  Vicki Needham – November 15, 2012 – http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/268385-top-senator-eager-to-clear-russia-trade-bill) The Hill covers Congressional action on legislation normalizing U.S. trade relations with Russia and imposing sanctions on human rights violators.  One lawmaker wants to expand the human rights sanctions to make them global: A top Senate Democrat said he is determined to jump the final hurdle and clear a […]

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Two opposing lobbies behind proposed US Congress bill – senior Russian MP

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Interfax – Moscow, 14 November) Head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Aleksey Pushkov is convinced that the US Congressmen’s intention to pass the so-called Magnitskiy list law’ on Friday (16 November) and to abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment at the same time shows that two different lobbying groups, one political and one economic, are involved. “By now, one […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia threatens tough response if U.S. back rights bill

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Russia threatens tough response if US back rights bill – Reuters – Steve Gutterman – November 15 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/15/russia-usa-idUSL5E8MFA6K20121115) Leading up to House consideration of Congressional legislation impacting trade relations with Russia, and sanctions over human rights issues, Reuters covers Russian warnings: Russia warned the United States on Thursday to expect a tough response if Congress passes “unfriendly and provocative” […]

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Vyatlag: the Gulag then and now

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Ekaterina Loushnikova – www.opendemocracy.net – November 9, 2012 – Ekaterina Loushnikova is radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov Many of the Soviet Gulag camps are now deserted, but Vyatlag is still in operation, though now most of the prisoners are there for criminal rather than political offences. But as Ekaterina Loushnikova has found, memories of the […]

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US Critics Compare Russia’s New Treason Law to Soviet-Era Thinking

Kremlin and St. Basil's

WASHINGTON November 14 (By Suleiman Wali for RIA Novosti) – A controversial new law that expands the definition of treason in Russia is being decried by critics in the United States as the Kremlin’s continuing effort to return the country to a “darker criminal code.” “Over the past six months, a series of laws have been passed in Russia that […]

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Kremlin Silent as Magnitsky Bill Heads to House

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova and Anatoly Medetsky – November 15, 2012) The Kremlin remained silent Wednesday after U.S. lawmakers moved to advance a bill to punish Russian officials for human rights violations. A decision Tuesday by the House Rules Committee will bring the bill, which aroused strong opposition in Moscow, up for a vote by the full […]

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US Firms Eye Big Dollars from Normalized Trade With Russia

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

WASHINGTON, November 15 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) The Louisiana Caviar Company in the southern US coastal city of New Orleans produces a unique fish delicacy that is wildly popular in Russia. But owner John Burke says his company could profit much more if US lawmakers would approve permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia­a move expected to be […]

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Russian Watchdog Strikes 21 Entries Off Blacklist

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s telecoms watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has struck 21 entries off its “blacklist” in three days, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. The 21 links and IP-addresses included popular internet resources, whose blacklisting triggered public debate. “This includes the Lurkmore.to resource, links to individual pages in the social networking site Vkontakte and also the […]

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Internet Censorship Faces Obstacles

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 14, 2012) As the number of websites banned or blocked under the new Internet law continues to grow, the country’s media watchdog backpedaled Tuesday by acknowledging that censoring content was technically and legally difficult, and it promised to remove popular sites from the blacklist. The Mass Media Inspection Service said […]

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Despite Putin’s ‘Promise,’ Anti-Treason Law Comes into Force

Vladimir Putin file photo

MOSCOW, November 14 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A controversial law on state treason that critics fear could be used to stamp out political dissent came into force in Russia on Wednesday, two days after President Vladimir Putin told human rights workers he was ready to “review” it. The law, initiated by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and signed by […]

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Physicist Convicted of Espionage Gets Parole

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 14, 2012) Valentin Danilov, a Siberian physicist jailed on charges of espionage and treason amid a spying frenzy that swept the country in President Vladimir Putin’s first term, was granted parole Tuesday and could be freed next week. Human rights campaigners praised the ruling, saying Danilov should never have been imprisoned […]

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Putin’s Human Rights Council Gets 39 New Members

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 13, 2012) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council gained 39 new members on Monday as its total membership count rose from 40 to 62 in a reshuffle that saw more than a dozen leave. A longtime head of the council told The Moscow Times that, in its expanded form, the panel […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Body Bound to Be Less Critical of Govt – Analyst

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The new composition of the Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, a 39-member Kremlin consultative body, as approved by President Vladimir Putin “significantly devalues the presence of critics of the government” the council, an analyst said on Monday. “If one looks at who has been included in the council, one can say that […]

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Rights activists says torture still used in Russia

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

(Interfax – Moscow, 8 November) According to human rights activists, torture is still practiced in Russia and people complain of ill-treatment received at detention centres, police, army and mental hospitals. “Human rights organizations have registered incidents of torture and ill-treatment in the prison system. They have also seen an increase in complaints in recent years. Tortures in remand centres are […]

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Head of Critical Elections Monitor Joins Rights Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2012) The head of a U.S.-funded elections watchdog famous for its critical commentary on Russia’s electoral system was included in Vladimir Putin’s presidential human rights council on Monday. Putin is expected to chair a council meeting late Monday, Interfax reported, citing the Kremlin press service. Lilia Shabanova, head of the Golos election watchdog […]

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Putin Approves New Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday the new make-up of the Kremlin’s council on human rights and civil society. The reshuffle comes after a spate of resignations that began in the wake of last December’s disputed parliamentary elections and continued following Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May. “We have to […]

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Putin admits grassroots anti-Semitism still exists in Russia

Map of Russia

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, 7 November) Grassroots anti-Semitism still exists in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted. “You have said that there is less anti-Semitism now, but this means that it still exists,” he said on Wednesday (7 November) at his meeting with chief rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar and president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia Aleksandr […]

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