RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: [Vladimir Putin and Igor Borisov at] Meeting of Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (transcript concluded)” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2017) [Full transcript here en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55947] Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin …. Igor Borisov: Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor. I have just a few words about the elections. I understand we have a very compressed schedule; Mr Fedotov is ready to […]

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Putin notes big drop in number of “foreign agent” NGOs

Kremlin and River

(Interfax – October 30, 2017) The number of Russian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) registered as foreign agents has nearly halved over the past year, President Vladimir Putin has said. “Currently the number of such organisations in the register of foreign agents has almost halved. Their number dropped from 165 to 89. This is only 0.39 per cent of the total number […]

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Fred Weir (facebook profile)

Europe Map

(Fred Weir – facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/fred.weir – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of abbreviated facebook post should load below; or click here for direct link to full post on facebook, with accompanying comments]

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Top Russian official ‘unaware’ of plans for new ‘foreign agent’ law

Kremlin and River

(Interfax – October 18, 2017) The first deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, Sergei Kiriyenko, has said he is unaware of any forthcoming Russian legislation which would designate individuals with the status of “foreign agents”. “I don’t know anything about this,” Kiriyenko said on 18 October when asked about the matter. Media reports on 9 October, citing a source, said: […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s surveillance state is giving us a false sense of security The Russian state’s mass expansion of surveillance online and offline is not making citizens any safer.” – OpenDemocracyNet – Damir Gainutdinov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Human rights defenders moving around the country regularly encounter increased attention from law enforcement agencies — they are detained, searched and questioned about why they’re travelling ….”

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Five years of Russia’s Foreign Agent Law; Russia’s Foreign Agent Law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions.

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(opendemocracy.net – Daria Skibo – August 14, 2017) Daria Skibo is a sociologist and researcher at the Centre for Independent Sociological Research, St Petersburg. Russian civil society received July’s news happily: the case against Valentina Cherevatenko, the first person to face criminal charges under Russia’s Foreign Agent law, was dropped. In June 2017, Cherevatenko, head of the Women of the […]

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Released Russian Activist Udaltsov Vows To Continue Protests, Won’t Back Navalny

File Photo of Sergei Udaltsov Speaking Outdoors, Holding Microphone and Gesturing

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 10, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-calls-us-senator-mccain-old-world-but-admires-his-patriotism/28537171.html) Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent Russian opposition activist who was released on August 8 after nearly five years in custody, has vowed to revive his dormant Levy Front (Left Front) movement and hold new protests. But at a news conference in Moscow on […]

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New U.S. Website Aims To Track Russian ‘Disinformation’ On Twitter

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 3, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-pro-democracy-group-german-marshall-fund-launches-website-tracking-russian-disinformation-twitter/28656024.html) WASHINGTON — A pro-democracy group has launched a new website to monitor and highlight what it says is Russian-backed disinformation on Twitter. The site, called Hamilton 68, which was launched on August 2, is a project of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with representatives of socially oriented and charitable organisations and volunteer movements

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 26, 2017) Before the meeting, the President visited the Petrozavodsk State University IT park, where he was taken around a display area with projects that are being implemented with support from the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, good afternoon. I have always liked meeting with people who spend years doing what […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin visits veteran dissident Alekseyeva on her 90th birthday. (with video)” – RussiaFeed

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

“… On Thursday, July 20, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid a visit to Lyudmila Alekseyeva to congratulate the veteran activist on her 90th birthday and thank her for her long-term service to the nation. …”

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NEWS RELEASE/TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Lyudmila Alexeyeva

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 20, 2017) [Photos here http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55105] Vladimir Putin congratulated human rights champion and public activist and Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva on her 90th birthday. Before leaving for a trip to Yoshkar-Ola, the President visited Ms Alexeyeva at her home and presented her with a bouquet of flowers and an engraving depicting a view of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. [excerpt re: NGOs]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Kremlin.ru – June 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Valentina Matviyenko: Mr President, we also organised public hearings on a subject that was long ripe for discussion. We simply gave this discussion a formal framework through these hearings on the inadmissibility of interference in Russia’s internal affairs. We know how […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Civic Chamber members

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – June 20, 2017) Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin with members of the 6th Civic Chamber. The Civic Chamber’s new membership was established in a three-stage process. Forty members were approved by the Presidential Executive Order of March 20, 84 were delegated by regional civic chambers, and 43 were selected in a vote from among 403 candidates put […]

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Russian prosecutor general suggests giving Justice Ministry right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs that breach legislation

Yury Chaika file photo

MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) – Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has suggested giving the Justice Ministry the right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs. “We suggest giving the Justice Ministry the right to conduct extraordinary inspections of NGOs if there is information that they are in breach of any bans and restrictions envisaged by the law,” Chaika told a parliamentary […]

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Behind the Russian mirror; For Russia’s media, social inequality has never been a hot topic. Meet the people behind a new media organisation trying put injustice on Russia’s political agenda.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards – April 15, 2017) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. He writes on nationalism, migration, minorities and memory, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His articles have appeared in Al-Jazeera, Al Monitor, Souciant and the Forward among other publications. Read the latest in our ongoing Unlikely Media series. As part of this series, oDR profiles […]

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NEWSLINK: “A New Organization Is Battling Russia’s Culture of Impunity. To end the attacks on journalists, activists, and writers, Freedom of Speech is standing for the best traditions of Russian civil society.” – The Nation/ Nadezda Azhgikhina

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… the declaration of the new association, Freedom of Speech, appeared on the website of Ekho and other media, demanding that the perpetrators of the threats be held responsible and also that there be an end to the culture of impunity in general. …”

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Russia May Shrink Its ‘Foreign Agents’ Registry by Half

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 24, 2017) Russia may drastically shrink its registry of “foreign agents” – non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding and political activities, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reports. The government will likely remove half of the organizations from the registry following an analysis of the law’s application by a presidential administration working group. More than 50 […]

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Surviving on the streets: Stories from those that care for the homeless

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

According to various estimates, between a 1.5 million and 3 million people in Russia are homeless. An RBTH correspondent accompanied volunteers from the Moscow adaptation center for the homeless as they went on their nightly rounds and learned how the homeless survive in the most densely populated city in the country. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEVGENY LEVKOVICH, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/TASS: “Putin orders to submit NGO ‘foreign agents’ report until late March”

Kremlin and River

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the presidential staff, Justice Ministry and the presidential envoy for environmental protection to analyze regulatory enforcement of the non-governmental organizations operating as foreign agents and financed by state. The list of Putin’s instructions made following the meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights held on December 8, 2016 was […]

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Kremlin Official Admits Problems With Foreign Agent Law

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 7, 2016) First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko told members of Russia’s Human Rights Council that while the controversial Foreign Agents law on NGOs cannot be repealed, it could be improved. Kiriyenko admitted the law was problematic during a conversation with members of the council held on Dec. 6, which lasted […]

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Putin presents state awards for achievements in human rights, charity

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin handed over state awards for outstanding achievements in the field of charity and human rights activities for the first time in the Kremlin on Thursday. In September 2015, the president signed a decree establishing the award in the field of charitable and human rights activities in Russia from January 1, 2016. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – December 8, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. It is a pleasure to greet you all here at this meeting, which, by tradition, takes place on the eve of Human Rights Day. As you know, two new national […]

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Human rights council to continue attempts to improve law on foreign-agent NGOs – Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) – The Russian presidential Council for human rights will be seeking changes to the law on foreign-agent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) until it becomes workable, the Council’s chairman Mikhail Fedotov said. “We did not promise that we’d quit our attempts to improve it. We will continue these attempts until it becomes a normal, a quite workable law,” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Makes U-Turn After Evicting Amnesty From Moscow Office” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

… Amnesty International can return to the Moscow office it was evicted from this week, a Kremlin human rights adviser said on Thursday …. Amnesty has been a vocal critic of Russia over its bombing campaign in Syria and had said it believed the eviction might be part of an official crackdown on civil society groups. … Kremlin officials have […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post/Daniel Drezner: “Five things I learned about Russia last week. I was in Sochi all last week with a healthy fraction of the Russian foreign policy elite. Here’s what I learned”

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

… 1) Russian-American relations are going to be bad for a good long spell. Regardless of the nationality or ideological predisposition of the participant, everyone attending Valdai thought this to be true…..

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club (complete text)

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Kremlin.ru – October 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the final session of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s 13th annual meeting, which this year took the theme The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow. Over the three-day event, 130 experts and political analysts from 35 countries examined current issues concerning development of international relations, internal political organisation, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russia seeks to shape global political debates with new award”

Valdai Club Gathering at Long Tables in Large Hall

“Russia seeks to gain more voice in shaping global political debates amidst increasingly partisan rhetoric on international politics with a newly announced award by the Valdai Discussion Club.”

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Russians May Care Far Less about Foreign Agent Designations than Kremlin Thinks

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 8, 2016) Vladimir Putin clearly expects that Russians will be put off by and avoid any organization his regime designates as “a foreign agent” because it receives money from abroad. But the experience of the Levada Center, one of the institutions he has classed in this way, suggests that the epithet […]

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Russian Memorial NGO receives “undesirable” funds – ministry

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Interfax – October 5, 2016) Russian human rights NGO Memorial has received funds from foreign organisations officially designated as “undesirable”, the Russian Justice Ministry press service has said, as quoted by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 5 October. On the previous day, the ministry included Memorial on the list of “foreign agents” under controversial 2012 amendments to the law […]

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Russian Justice Ministry to consider Anti-Maidan leader’s request on checking several NGOs for foreign financing

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Aug 20 (Interfax) – The Russian Justice Ministry will consider an appeal by Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin, the founder of the Anti-Maidan movement, on checking a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) for receiving financing from abroad. “The Russian Justice Ministry has received an appeal from Russian Federation Council member Dmitry Sablin. The appeal will be considered within the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Restoring Old Churches Inspires a New Philanthropy in Russia” – New York Times

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

In a country where the state has traditionally maintained extensive control, private charity is still in relative infancy. Foundations and groups that receive funds from abroad usually must register as foreign actors. Restoring churches is one area where Russians have seized the volunteer spirit, however. Both churches in Tarusa have been restored with a mixture of state, church and private […]

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Helping Russia’s broken women to get back on their feet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Dozens of crisis centers operate in Russia to help women caught up in desperate situations and left without help from their families. Some of them have nowhere to live, while others are trying to get away from their alcoholic, wife-beating husbands. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG SKRIPNIK, SPECIAL TO RBTH – July 14, 2016) There are three […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In the ‘lungs of Moscow’ forest, Russia’s civil activists make their mark; Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the ‘lungs’ of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

A diverse band of urban activists, communicating largely through social media, are combating plans to build an enormous high-rise housing development amid the forested ring around the capital  …. The protesters who make up the Mortongrad Nyet! coalition have no shared ideology, and certainly aren’t interested in criticizing the Kremlin. Yet they are redefining the limits of Russian civil society […]

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Russian Artist Pavlensky Stripped of Award Over Support for Police Killers

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ed Crowther – July 8, 2016) The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has stripped radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky of the Vaslav Havel prize, awarded to him in May, the Dozhd news website reported Friday. The decision was a result of Pavlensky’s support for the Primorye Partisans, a group recognized as a criminal organization by […]

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Grant policy should counterbalance ‘foreign agents’ – Russian human rights ombudsman

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) – Russian human rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova called for the streamlining of grant policies in Russia to support socially-oriented organizations. “[It is necessary] to change or improve grant policies, it is significantly important for counterbalancing these developments which resulted in so-called ‘foreign agents’,” she said at an Open Tribune meeting on issues of civil society development […]

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Russian Charities to Be Exempt From ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) Charities are no longer to be classified as “foreign agents” if they receive money from abroad, according to a new amendment approved by the Russian State Duma. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in areas such as art and culture will also be exempt from the “foreign agent” label, the Interfax news agency reported […]

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‘All Its Members Faced Jail’: Alekseyeva Recalls Birth Of Russia’s Oldest Rights Group

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg, Yelena Polyakovskaya – May 12, 2016) Few activists today can speak firsthand about the creation of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest operating human rights organization, 40 years ago. Lyudmila Alekseyeva is one of them. At 88, she is Russia’s best-known human rights activist and among the last Soviet-era dissidents still active in the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Long Arm of Russian ‘Soft’ Power” – Atlantic Council/Orysia Lutsevych

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Anxious about losing ground to Western influence in the post-Soviet space and the ousting of pro-Russia elites by popular electoral uprisings in the early 2000s, the Kremlin has developed a range of proxy groups in support of its foreign policy. This network of pro-Kremlin groups promotes the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), a flexible tool that justifies increasing Russian actions in […]

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“Johnson’s Russia List Want Ad” – The JRL Needs Your Support

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Dear JRL recipient, I want and need your support. It’s obvious. Johnson’s Russia List is needed more than ever these days. No further elaboration or exhortation is required. Please do also check out the fabulous and lively JRL archive at russialist.org $50 is the normal annual contribution. Business-users should contribute more. A minimum contribution of $25 is suggested. HOW TO […]

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NEWSLINK Newsweek.com/Ben Nimmo: “PUTIN’S PARANOIA IS DRIVING HIS FOREIGN ADVENTURES”

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Russia May Label Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation ‘Foreign Agent’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – March 16, 2016) The All-Russian Interethnic Union of Youth has filed a request with the Russian Justice Ministry that they add the Anti-Corruption Foundation NGO – headed by the oppositioner Alexei Navalny – to its list of “foreign agents.” The group also requested that the Prosecutor General’s Office investigate Navalny for inciting […]

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Interfax: Number of inspections of NGOs declining – Justice Minister

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) – Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said the number of inspections of non-government organizations (NGOs) scheduled for this year is declining. “When organizing inspections of NGOs, the Justice Ministry uses information received from other public administration agencies, and it has to be said that the total number of inspections conducted in 2015 went down 12% from […]

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Russian Duma Introduces Amendment Defining ‘Political Activity’ to NGO Law

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 20, 2016) Representatives of all factions in the State Duma have introduced an amendment to the law on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that specifies the notion of “political activity,” the RBC news agency reported Friday. The draft law, published by the Justice Ministry in January, suggests that operations in a number of spheres including national […]

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Putin’s Pre-emptive Strike: Kremlin Moves to Liquidate ‘Foreign Agents’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – February 19, 2015) Activist Pavel Chikov could react only with sarcasm when a court handed down a winding up order against his Agora legal advocacy association. “As the first NGO ever to have been liquidated in a Russian court, we are so proud,” he wrote on Twitter. The next day, another organization, […]

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A law beyond improvement; Defining “political activity” may seem like an academic exercise, but in Russia, it is an existential one.

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Defining “political activity” may seem like an academic exercise, but in Russia, it is an existential one. (opendemocracy.net – Tanya Lokshina – February 8, 2016) Tanya Lokshina is Russia program director at Human Rights Watch. In May 2013, as Russia was craving positive international publicity before the Sochi Olympic Games, the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, […]

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NEWSLINK: “How a liberal bastion is persevering in an increasingly illiberal Moscow. The Andrei Sakharov Center, one of the last safe spaces for Russia’s liberal community, has been fined and fined again for its purported ‘political activity.’ But celebrity support and crowdsourcing have kept it alive.” – Christian Science Monitor

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Russian Justice Ministry suggests determining NGOs’ political activity by participation in public actions and influence over state authorities’ work

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

MOSCOW. Jan 22 (Interfax) – The Russian Justice Ministry has drafted amendments to the country’s law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) that explain the notion of NGOs’ political activity. “The bill proposes determining that political activity can be conducted only through organizing and holding public actions in the form of assemblies, rallies, demonstrations, processions and pickets, or different combinations of these […]

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Grounds For (A Little) Optimism? Russian public opinion on human rights

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Despite Putin’s clampdown on Russian civil society, public opinion trends point to growing support for civil liberties. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights. (opendemocracy.net – Theodore P. Gerber – January 18, 2016) Theodore P. Gerber is the Director of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia and Professor of Sociology at the […]

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Russian Culture Minister Says Burning Books ‘Completely Unacceptable’

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2016) Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has denounced an incident in which 53 publications funded by the George Soros Foundation were reportedly incinerated in northern Russia’s Komi region. Medinsky told the Meduza news portal on Thursday that the burning of books and the destruction of monuments, is “completely unacceptable” because it “looks terrible […]

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