Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions the City’s Future

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Vanina – April 29, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/moscows-chief-architect-envisions-the-citys-future/567455.html] For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript square across from Moscow’s beating heart. It was an occasional meeting point for anti-regime protesters, a space to get across to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully lit Scandinavian oasis […]

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Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

Russia Regions Map

Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground. (opendemocracy.net – Badma Byurchiev – April 21, 2016) Badma Byurchiev was born in Kalmykia in 1973, and has worked as a journalist since 2003. He currently works […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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The ordinary, yet exceptional people of Russia’s provinces; A significant part of Russia remains unknown to many of its citizens – mainstream media have no interest in the provinces. This photoblog captures a provincial life otherwise left behind.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Itkin – March 3, 2016) Vladimir Itkin is a journalist and literary critic from Novosibirsk, Russia. [Photos here opendemocracy.net/od-russia/vladimir-itkin/ordinary-yet-exceptional-people-of-russia-s-provinces] In 2009, Valery Klamm, a photographer from Novosibirsk, launched a photo project about elusive provincial Russia. This photoblog, called “Birthmarks on the map” (Rodinki na karte) [http://rodinkinakarte.ru/], quickly became popular for introducing poorly-known people and places. The idea […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russian blogger stands trial on charges of insulting believers’ religious feelings”

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

Why did Kadyrov publish ‘revelatory’ report about himself?

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov has chosen to make public himself a report that accuses him of creating a quasi-Islamic state within Russia and not obeying Russian laws. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 26, 2016) The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has chosen to publish a report called “A National Security Threat” […]

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‘Putin’s Children’ – Life, Crime, Terror on the Edge of Russia

Russia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oliver Carroll – February 26, 2016) The driver’s voice teeters between depression and aggression. “What kinduva life do yoo call this?!” he shouts. “Weerrall peepul … peeeeepul, for sheeettin sake! … Fook, Ruussia, yoo make me want to cry!” We veer from side to side of the snow-covered track. Outside, the mercury pushes twenty under, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Muslims in Russia See Putin’s Antiterrorism Efforts at Home as Backfiring. North Caucasus residents say crackdown often leads to new recruits for Islamic State.” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

The Wall Street Journal covers concerns that Russian government policies will fuel more terrorist recruits for the so-called Islamic State. President Vladimir Putin justifies his military action in Syria in part as a way to head off the terrorist threat at home, especially here in the mostly Muslim north Caucasus. But residents say the government’s often heavy-handed measures are instead […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Popular Front’s (ONF) interregional forum

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Kremlin.ru – Stavropol – January 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the Russian Popular Front public movement’s interregional forum. The Russian Popular Front’s first interregional forum addressed specific issues the regions face in their work to implement presidential executive orders of May 2012 and instructions issued following ONF meetings. More than 600 people took part […]

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In Forgotten Karelian Village, Frustration With Moscow Runs High

Russia Regions Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Sergei Khazov-Cassia – December 19, 2015) VEGARUS, Russia — The stream bounces gaily on its bed of pebbles as it passes through this tiny village in Russia’s republic of Karelia, some 70 kilometers from the Finnish border. Up until 1939, the pristine, wooded area was part of Finland. Today, despite its proximity to one of Europe’s […]

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‘Traditional Family’ Said Making a Comeback in Russia– But It’s Mostly Rural and Muslim

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2015) The “traditional” family that Vladimir Putin and Russian nationalist want in which couples marry early and have three or four children is in fact becoming more numerous in the Russian Federation, but that comeback may not please everyone because most such families are either in villages or in traditionally […]

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Yekaterinburg: Russia’s Next Capital of Culture

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Galina Stolyarova – October 20, 2015) If you ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of Yekaterinburg, they’ll probably say that it’s a highly polluted industrial city and the site where the Romanov family was executed. But the truth is quite different. This town in the Urals has established itself as […]

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The opposition’s last mandate

Russia Regions Map

Deputies of the Pskov regional assembly are attempting to remove a colleague from their ranks-opposition lawmaker and journalist Lev Shlosberg (opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Prokopyeva – September 23, 2015) Svetlana Prokopyeva is a journalist from Pskov, Russia and former editor in chief of Pskovskaya Guberniya. When the regional assembly of Russia’s north-western Pskov region convenes on 24 September, it promises to […]

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A Loyal Governor Feels Putin’s Wrath

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 21, 2015) Russia has never seen a corruption case like this. The successful governor of the Komi Republic, who was faultlessly loyal to President Vladimir Putin, has been accused of leading a criminal organization that allegedly included a number of his region’s top officials. As cheap oil forces Russians to tighten their […]

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Poll: Most Russians do not want to live in Moscow

Russia Regions Map

According to a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), only 13 percent of Russians would like their children to live in Moscow. The most popular option among those polled (23 percent) would be to live in a small town. According to another poll, the Siberian city of Tyumen rates highly among Russian urban areas. (Russia Beyond […]

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Russia’s Regional Elections Marred by Pressure on Observers, Fraud

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 14, 2015) Multiple violations were registered by independent elections watchdogs during Sunday’s regional elections across Russia, and in the most drastic development, the office of an observers’ organization was raided by police who said they had reason to believe it was a murder scene. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) said it […]

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Lack of Manifestos Points to Political Complacency in Russian Regions – Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 4, 2015) Only five acting governors taking part in elections in 21 Russian regions next week have published electoral manifestos, the Petersburg Politics think tank said in a report published Thursday. The lack of manifestos attests to a deficit of clear vision among potential heads of Russian regions – as well […]

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Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign

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

Subject: Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the […]

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Running for Office in Siberia

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

Subject: Running for Office in Siberia Part III Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council: Part III: Becoming an Official Independent Candidate By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for […]

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VIDEO: Conversation: Russia’s Perfect Economic Storm

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Stratfor.com – August 11, 2015) Video Transcript: Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen, I’m a managing editor here at Stratfor, and with me today is Stratfor’s senior Eurasia analyst, Lauren Goodrich, who will be talking to me about the state of the Russian economy. So Lauren, Russia is struggling at the moment. […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: Kazan, a Russian Cultural Hub, Finds It’s Good at Sports

Kazan file photo

The New York Times covers Russian efforts to turn Kazan into a center for sporting events. A cultural hub for 1,000 years, the city has spent the decade since its 2005 millennium celebration reinventing itself as the cynosure of Russian sports. Since 2007, the city has hosted world and European competitions in field hockey, ice hockey, fencing, boxing, bandy and […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Locusts, Spiders, Snakes Plague Russian Regions

Tarantula file photo, adapted from image at usgs.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 30, 2015) Several Russian regions have been plagued recently by locusts, spiders and snakes, media reports and government officials said Monday. Locusts have destroyed large swaths of crops in the republic of Bashkortostan and the Orenburg region, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency, Channel One reported. An aircraft was scrambled to […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian: Is the ‘Moscow experiment’ over?

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

The plan was to create a new type of city that answered the needs of Moscow’s creative middle classes. But did the exit of Sergei Kapkov, the culture minister who ushered in these changes, also signal the end of the city’s urban revival?

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Putin Faces New Kind of Parade of Sovereignties in Degraded Russian Regions

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 27, 2015) Russian governors, “even the most loyal” to the Kremlin, as a result of the intensification of the economic crisis, find themselves between a rock and a hard place and are beginning to complain about Moscow’s failure to articulate an anti-crisis strategy which takes the interests of their regions into […]

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New website offers three centuries’ worth of historical statistics on Russia

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Interfax – April 27, 2015) A new electronic archive has been launched, making it possible to trace the social and economic development of Russia’s regions over the past three centuries. The Electronic Repository for Russian Historical Statistics [https://ristat.org/] was proposed and created by Gijs Kessler from the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and Andrei Markevich from the New […]

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Why Foreign Investment in Russia’s Regions is Falling

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – April 28, 2015) Ninety-five percent of Russian regions are unattractive to foreign investors, a study released last week in Moscow found, in a sign that investment is likely to remain sluggish after Russia emerges from a deep recession. Only a few regions are managing to create favorable investment conditions for foreigners, according […]

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Experts: Putin’s New Ethnic Affairs Agency Aims to Thwart Political Threats

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to launch a government agency charged with maintaining interethnic and interfaith harmony in Russia is a bid to prevent foreign powers and internal opposition factions from seeking to exploit a weak spot in Russia’s power structure, analysts told The Moscow Times. Since the collapse of the […]

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New Report Names and Shames Russia’s Worst Regional Governors

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2015) A Kremlin-linked think-tank released a rating of Russia’s regional governors on Monday that names the head of the Leningrad region, which surrounds St. Petersburg, as the most effective manager and the head of the Sverdlovsk region in the Ural Mountains as the least effective. The rating, which was conducted […]

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Uproar in Murmansk as Teachers’ Salaries Withheld Amid Economic Crisis

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 26, 2015) Teachers’ salaries have been withheld en masse in Murmansk as Russia’s economic crisis bears down on the regional budget, news site FlashNord reported Wednesday. The Murmansk branch of Russia’s national teachers’ union filed a complaint with regional governor Marina Kovtun, claiming that a large number of employees of Murmansk’s […]

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Health Care Workers to Hunger-Strike in Protest of Labor Conditions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 24, 2015) Health care workers in central Russia threatened to stage a hunger strike starting Monday to protest what they described as “repercussions” against co-workers who demanded better working conditions and higher salaries at previous protests, media reports said. The hunger strike, planned in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, […]

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A Tour Through Russia’s Five Poorest Cities

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – January 21, 2015) While Moscow offers some wealthy residents a level of luxury on par with other world capitals, urban life in the dozens of other cities across Russia is quite another story. A study released this week offers a peek into this other side of urban living in Russia. Published by […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Five reasons to watch Leviathan

Movie Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anton Dolin, special to RBTH – January 16, 2015) Andrei Zvyagnitsev’s film has already taken home a Golden Globe and Palme d’Or at Cannes for best foreign film and it is now up for an Oscar. Still wonder if you should see it? Let RBTH erase any remaining doubts. 1. This is not […]

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Primakov’s ‘Anti-Crisis Federalism’ Seen Threatening Russia’s Non-Russians

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 15, 2015) Many in Russia and the West are celebrating Yevgeny Primakov’s argument presented at the Mercury Club this week that hyper-centralization, a policy associated with Vladimir Putin, is a threat to the Russian Federation and its economic recovery and his call for devolving more powers to the regions of the country. […]

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Russia’s Oscar Hopeful Is Dark, Critical — And Patriotic

Map of Russia

(RFE/RL – Robert Coalson – January 5, 2015) In the film Leviathan, a drunken mechanic in a far northern Russian town clashes with a greedy, drunken mayor who is determined to expropriate the man’s land for his own mansion. The mayor contemptuously refers to his subjects as “insects” and, in a fit of vodka-fuelled honesty, pulls back the curtain on […]

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The Train Won’t Stop Here Anymore – the Sad Fate of Russian Regions

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 1, 2015) Russian Railways announced yesterday that it will end some 220 local train routes this month, effectively cutting off the residents of many rural areas from access to medical and other services available only in oblast capitals. But the corporation insisted that Moscow is not to blame: local governments have […]

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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Russia’s Cities Becoming Less Moscow- and Russia-Centric, New Studies Find

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 13, 2014) Two studies about how residents of Russia’s cities feel about where they live and identify themselves suggest that the residents of Russian cities away from the core of the country are ever less focused on Moscow as the center of their lives and identify instead either with their own […]

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New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A reform is under way in […]

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Regions to Gain Control of Russia’s Special Economic Zones

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – June 9, 2014) From next year, responsibility for Russia’s special economic zones – key institutions that have proved an invaluable boon to domestic and international companies investing in Russia – may be transferred from the federal to regional governments, a news report said Friday. The decision to delegate management of the zones […]

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Crimea Sucks Funds from Infrastructure Mega-Projects in Russia’s Regions

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – May 14, 2014) Crimea has become a multi-billion dollar sponge soaking up funds slated for crucial infrastructure projects in other regions, as the government scrambles to support its newest territory’s economy. On Tuesday, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said that the federal budget would have to fork out from 160 billion rubles […]

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Russia’s regions threaten to become an Achilles’ heel

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 8, 2014) Russia’s economy is slowing dramatically, but the pain is not evenly spread. While a few Russian regions are making rapid progress and modernising, the bulk are getting into deep financial trouble. “Since the 2009 financial crisis, the Kremlin has allowed Russia’s regions to take the brunt […]

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The Kremlin’s Interest in “Local Business”

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – February 12, 2014) The question of whether or not the Kremlin will abolish direct mayoral elections in major Russian cities is likely to be one of the major political intrigues of 2014. Although the Russian Constitution prohibits cancellation of direct mayoral elections, as does the European Charter of Local Self-Government, […]

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Ethnic Clashes Replacing Political Protests as Dominant Form of Public Activism in Russia, Pain Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 13, 2014) Ethnic clashes especially in the regions appear to have displaced political protests in Moscow as the dominant form of activism in the Russian Federation, a trend certain to have dangerous consequences given that the authorities are far less concerned about the former than the latter, according to Russia’s leading […]

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Kaluga – Russia’s regional pioneer

Map of Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – February 11, 2014) Moscow is home to much of Russia’s wealth and has always been treated as a country and an investment destination in its own right. But over the last decade a handful of regions have got their act together and now are emerging as even more attractive […]

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Rich cities and dying company towns

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Travin – February 6, 2014) Dmitry Travin is Research Director at the European University in St. Petersburg’s Centre of Modernization Studies. Russia’s unemployment figures look low, but they are rising, and there is a great gulf between the prosperous centre and failing regions. A foreigner coming to Moscow or St Petersburg as a tourist or on business […]

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Growing Inequality among Russia’s Regions Undermines Power Vertical, Moscow Geographer Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble) Staunton, February 2 – Growing inequality in the economic performance of Russia’s regions requires that the regions be given more authority to make decisions, a grant that many in Moscow are reluctant to make because that will undermine Vladimir Putin’s “power vertical” and threaten the country with disintegration, according to a Moscow geographer. In […]

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