Category Archives: Regions, Cities, Municipalities

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

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(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

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(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

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(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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Russian financial watchdog says regions lack funds to implement Putin’s orders

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti -January 29, 2014) The Russian regions do not have sufficient funds to implement the May [2012] orders of Russian President [Vladimir Putin], the Audit Chamber has said. The watchdog has come to this conclusion as a result of the monitoring of the regional situation. The most acute situation has emerged in connection with order No 600 about measures […]

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Why are there so many presidents in Russia? Russia’s complicated administrative division explained.

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – January 9, 2014) Russia’s regional administrative division is complicated. There are regions, territories, republics, and federal districts. All these are formally equal under the constitution, but in reality there are considerable differences. Experts say this complex state administration system is a legacy of the Russian Empire and the Soviet […]

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Putin’s New National Conservatism Resonates in Russian Regions

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 9, 2014) Support in the city of Moscow for Vladimir Putin’s new conservative message has always seemed “insincere,” according to a Russian commentator. But in ethnic Russian regions, that message has been warmly echoed by the actions of national conservative groups. In an essay on the Svobodnaya pressa portal yesterday, Vladislav […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin-Led Civic Movement Registers First Regional Branch

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

MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) ­ A pro-Kremlin civic movement headed by President Vladimir Putin has registered its first regional office in Russia, the party’s website said Friday. The All-Russia People’s Front (ONF) said it registered the office in the city of Lipetsk, located some 440 kilometers (270 miles) south of Moscow, with Russia’s Justice Ministry. “I hope that in […]

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Russian village becomes extinct

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Pravda.ru – Nadezhda Alexeeva – December 17, 2013) Previously, Russian village life used to be associated with rosy village women, fresh air and clean snow. Nowadays, village life in the minds of many Russians brings up such associations as rickety black huts, deserted villages, bad roads, or their absence. What crippled the Russian village? Russia was traditionally considered an agrarian […]

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Russian Village Reformer Granted Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ A former painter from Moscow, whose quest to bring culture to provincial villagers resulted in a jail term for bribery, was granted parole on Tuesday. The Tver Region Court upheld a parole request filed by 36-year-old Ilya Farber, who had already spent two years and nine months behind bars. Farber left Moscow for the […]

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Putin calls for liberal reforms

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG – December 13, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his state of the nation speech on December 12 where he laid out his plans for the coming year. In a nutshell he called for decentralisation and for the regions to take more responsibility for promoting their local economies. These speeches are important […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Governors and Mayors

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

Subject: No. 139:  Governors and Mayors Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 18 November 2013/No. 139 GOVERNORS AND MAYORS To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2781 Analyses Dynamics of Regional Inequality in the Russian Federation: Circular and Cumulative Causality, by David Lane, Cambridge The Revival of Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections: Liberalization […]

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Interfax: Putin: direct gubernatorial elections a key political trend but specific features of regions must be taken into account

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

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Direct elections of governors will remain a key provision of the Russian electoral system, President Vladimir Putin President Vladimir Putin has said. “The right of voters to elect the heads of regions is the main political trend. We will undoubtedly follow it,” he said at a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of nonparliamentary parties in […]

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Russia Can Escape Crisis Only by Ending Hyper-Centralization, Zubarevich Says

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 19, 2013) Russia’s regions are overwhelmingly in a deep crisis, the result of a confluence of factors that can be overcome only by ending “hyper-centralization,” restoring budgetary federalism, and somehow reversing the “degradation” and rapacity of the Moscow elite and its faith in gigantist projects, according to Natalya Zubarevich. In a […]

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The Other Russia

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 30, 2013) Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington described the alternative universe of the poor in the United States in his classic and transformative “The Other America.”  Now, Russian researchers are pointing to the re-emergence of what might be called “the other Russia,” those from rural areas living in the shadows in […]

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Putin Makes Local Governors Responsible for Ethnic Relations

Migrant Workers file photo

UFA, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday giving local authorities more responsibility for handling relations between ethnic communities in a sign the government is growing nervous at evidence of a surge in nationalist-tinged discontent. Speaking at the Interethnic Relations Council in the Urals town of Ufa, Putin lashed out at local governments for what […]

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Shuvalov: Time to hand additional powers to regions

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 21, 2013) The time has come for the federal government to hand additional powers over to the regions, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told a world economic forum in Moscow. “It’s time indeed to transfer additional powers to the regions,” he said. “Certain financial resources could also be additionally provided to the municipal level,” he […]

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World Economic Forum Gathers Leaders to Reignite Russia’s Economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 18, 2013) Kaluga shines so brightly in the regional investment firmament that it has regularly drawn cheers from President Vladimir Putin and various economists. Some of the reasons why the region, 160 kilometers southwest of Moscow, is leading the way as a target for new business ventures include the decision by […]

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Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 16, 2013) The conflict that started in the capital has spread to other major cities. In the Russian regions, people have started taking to the streets in support of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulovo, who staged riots in response to the murder of a young man […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Government to Cull Federal Officials

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 13, 2013) ­ Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a cull of federal officials in the regions ahead of an upcoming three-year state budget crunch. Medvedev did not give any estimates for the number of officials facing the sack in 2014-2015 in his order, published on the government’s website on Sunday. The cull, to […]

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Four Very Different Russias Moving in Four Very Different Directions, Zubarevich Says

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 25, 2013) Russia cannot be understood as a single whole, according to Natalya Zubarevich, but only as four different Russias whose increasingly different situations are pushing them in four different directions, a pattern that is often obscured by the use of data sets for the country as a whole. In yesterday’s […]

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Moscow’s Grasp of the Regions: For Development or Power? Experts Argue

Map of Russia

(Howard Amos, RIA Novosti – VALDAI, September 16, 2013) ­ Russian officials, opposition leaders and pundits wrestled on Monday with the disjuncture between the country’s capital and its far-flung provinces at an international conference, where two erstwhile political rivals from the mineral-rich Urals region surprised observers by publicly settling their differences. The newly elected mayor of Yekaterinburg and outspoken Kremlin […]

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Navalny may head party, have problems with opening party offices in regions – expert

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Opposition activist Alexei Navalny will most likely continue his political career not in the 2014 Moscow City Duma elections but by opening of party offices in regions where problems are likely to occur, General Director of the International Institute for Political Expertise (IIPE) Yevgeny Minchenko said. “A lot depends on whether or not the People’s […]

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Systemic parties losing support, elites shift to new parties – Civic Initiatives Committee report

Map of Russia

(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Parliamentary parties are losing the support of regional and local elites some of whom are shifting towards new political forces, the Civil Initiatives Committee think tank suggested. “There is an outflow of regional and local elites and voters from practically every “systemic” party [which has seats at the State Duma]. Candidates are moving from one […]

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Roizman Called In for Questioning 2 Days After Mayoral Win

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 11, 2013) Opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman, who won Sunday’s mayoral vote in Yekaterinburg, was scheduled to be questioned by investigators Tuesday as a witness in a criminal case against a former employee of his City Without Drugs foundation. Roizman, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, was one of the few opposition members to win […]

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Increasingly Defined by Negation, Russian Nation Fraying at the Edges and Even at the Core

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 11, 2013) Their identity increasingly defined not by what they are or want to be but by what they fear and view as alien, Russians as a nation are fraying at the edges with some like the Siberians identifying in terms of a region, others like the Cossacks in terms of […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Urges Governors to Strengthen Relations With Opponents

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – NOVO-OGARYOVO – Moscow Region, September 10, 2013) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called on newly elected heads of Russian regions to get in contact with their former opponents and use their proposals. “I am urging you to build relationships not only with your support groups but with all your opponents as well, bearing in mind […]

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Roizman’s Victory a Blow to United Russia, Analysts Say

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – September 10, 2013) Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, elected outspoken opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman as its mayor on Sunday, in a move that dealt a blow to pro-Kremlin forces but gave little actual power to the winner, pundits said. Roizman’s success likely stems from voters’ disappointment with regional authorities and Roizman’s reputation as […]

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40 percent of Russian Internet users are small-town

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dan Pototsky – September 5, 2013) People in small towns and villages are quickly getting the hang of the Internet. They account for more than 40 percent of all Internet users in Russia ­ a total of 27.5 million ­ according to TNS Russia. The fastest-growing segment of Russian Internet users is residents […]

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Taken from Chita, Made in China

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – August 24, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, is part of Russia’s DNA, and many romantic ballads sing of its size and beauty. Beyond the lake […]

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Medvedev: All regions should ultimately switch to direct elections

Map of Russia

(Interfax – PYATIGORSK, August 19, 2013, 2013) All Russian regions should ultimately switch to direct elections, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. A young man asked Medvedev at the Mashuk-2013 North Caucasus youth forum on Monday whether regional elections should be direct like national elections, or if regional leaders should be appointed depending on the a region’s specific situation. “Elections should […]

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Kremlin Funds Regions Based on Their Loyalty – Study

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 16, 2013) ­ Russian regions, most of which heavily rely on federal subsidies to survive, are funded in part based on how strongly they support the ruling United Russia party at elections, a new study claimed. The rule only applies to poorer regions with slow economic growth, according to the study by experts from the […]

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Investment Standards Face Hurdles

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – July 22, 2013) The Russian government faces an uphill struggle to make underdeveloped regions more attractive for investors. Officials and business leaders disagree on the feasibility of a draft set of mandatory standards designed to improve the investment attractiveness of districts and towns, which are set to enter into force by 2014. […]

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Former Tula Governor Sentenced to 9 1/2 Years

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 23, 2013) Former Tula Governor Vyacheslav Dudka will spend nearly 9 1/2 years in a high-security prison in what marks the first time a former governor has received such a harsh sentence in modern Russia. Dudka was sentenced by a local court Monday for accepting 40 million rubles ($1.3 million) in […]

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Putin Preferred in Moscow With Protests Seen Shifting to Regions

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – July 11, 2013) The mood for protest has shifted from Moscow to the regions as Russia’s economy slows, according to the Center for Strategic Studies in Moscow. Approval ratings for President Vladimir Putin, 60, have stabilized, and he’s now more popular in the capital than in the rest of Russia, according to the […]

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Foreign Agents, Small Towns, and ‘The Crucible’

Map of Russia

(RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News – July 2, 2013) Last week, a couple of foreign journalists I know traveled to a small town very far from Moscow in order to explore local culture ­ and possibly write about it. Before they went, they posted an innocent question on a local forum, […]

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