RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin distances itself from Moscow election controversy” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Interfax – July 16, 2019) The Kremlin has distanced itself from the controversy surrounding the registration of candidates in September’s Moscow city council election. “Broadly speaking, this is a matter for the electoral commission, and here the Kremlin simply has neither the authority nor any intention to intervene in this situation,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on 16 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Meeting with Moscow City Elections Commission chair didn’t take place – opposition candidates to Moscow City Duma” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. July 15 (Interfax) – A meeting between Moscow City Elections Commission Chairman Valentin Gorbunov and the candidates from the opposition effectively did not take place, Ilya Yashin, a Moscow City Duma candidate in the 45th constituency, told journalists in front of the elections commission’s building. Media were not allowed to enter the building. “Instead of what was publicly announced […]

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Managing To Win: Sagging Popularity Forces Russia’s Ruling Party To Dig Into Its Box Of Election Tricks

Russia Regions Map

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – July 4, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/sagging-popularity-forces-russia-s-ruling-party-to-dig-into-its-box-of-election-tricks/30036639.html) Oleg Shein might seem like a perfect choice of a candidate to challenge the ruling-party incumbent in the race for governor in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast. A State Duma deputy who endured a 40-day hunger strike […]

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Dirty Tricks: Navalny Aide’s Bid For Moscow Duma Seat Brings Out The Worst

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dmitry Volchek, Robert Coalson – June 26, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/dirty-tricks-navalny-aide-bid-for-moscow-duma-seat-brings-out-the-worst/30022120.html) On the face of it, the task ahead of 31-year-old lawyer Lyubov Sobol seems simple enough. To qualify as a candidate for the September 8 Moscow City Duma elections, Sobol just needs to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow, St. Petersburg Become Cheaper for Expats, Ranking Says” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 26, 2019) Moscow and St. Petersburg are becoming more affordable for expats, according to new rankings from a global consulting firm. Moscow placed 27th and St. Petersburg 75th out of 209 cities worldwide for the most expensive locations to work abroad in Mercer’s 2019 ranking, dropping by 10 and 26 spots from last year […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The new musketeers; The improbable careers of Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards; Proximity is power” – The Economist

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Putin has become closer than most to the men of Russia’s Federal Protective Service (fso). Since 2016, four fso officers from his personal guard have been appointed regional governors …. A fifth became head of the newly formed National Guard. … [Alexey] Dyumin was elevated in 2013 to a post in the defence ministry … command[ing] special forces … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The Kremlin’s Statecraft and Russia’s Freeze-Thaw Cycle”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – June 20, 2019) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Siberia Could Be The Tourist Hotspot Of The Future, Literally” – Forbes/ Eric Mack

File Photo of People Working on Car in Siberian Woodlands

“The massive Asian side of Russia is often forgotten, as much of it consists often frigid and uninhabitable Siberian wilderness. … A team of Russian and American researchers looked at a number of computer models … [U]nder the most extreme scenario … [regarding] greenhouse gases … parts of Siberia where average January temperatures dip below minus 30 will be warmer […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Drowning in waste, Russians fume over lack of recycling” – AFP

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… rubbish towers above the Timokhovo dump outside Moscow, one of the biggest in Europe. Authorities plan to build an incinerator to burn some of the trash, but … activists are fighting for it to be recycled instead. Since 2013, residents have complained of foul sulphurous smells and worry that effluents are polluting ground water. … [A]uthorities acknowledged the smell […]

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Kremlin Likely to Fire Mayors and Governors Where Protests Occur, Causing Even More Problems

Moscow Protest File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 3, 2019) The most likely and immediate consequence of mass protests be they against the construction of a church as in Yekaterinburg, against building dumps for Moscow trash as in the Russian North, or against border changes as in Ingushetia will be the dismissal of governors and even mayors where such […]

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Landing At Pushkin: Putin Decree Assigns Russian Airports The Names Of Cultural Figures

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – May 31, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/landing-at-pushkin-putin-decree-assigns-russian-airports-the-names-of-cultural-figures/29974519.html) It’s already pretty hard to travel to Russia without hearing the name of the beloved 19th-century poet Aleksandr Pushkin. Now it may be impossible, if you fly into Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree attaching the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Major Russian Cities Need 100 Years to Reach Moscow’s Development Level, Study Says” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 27, 2019) Russian cities with populations of 1 million or greater will need at least 100 years to catch up to Moscow’s level of economic development, according to research by the Strelka Consulting Bureau. The 16 cities contributed almost one-third of Russia’s GDP in 2017, more than half of which came from Moscow, the […]

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Russian Officials Scrap Yekaterinburg Church Plan After Public Outcry

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – May 22, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-officials-scrap-yekaterinburg-church-plan-after-public-outcry/29957227.html) Officials in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region have scrapped plans to build an Orthodox church in a Yekaterinburg park after a rare public outcry over the project that prompted President Vladimir Putin to urge all sides to find a comprise […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin denies intervening in Yekaterinburg church row” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – May 17, 2019) Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has downplayed suggestions of Kremlin interference in the row over construction of a church in Yekaterinburg, after the city’s mayor announced he was suspending the project. Following days of protests, Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky said on 16 May that he was suspending the controversial project until a survey is carried out, […]

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Yekaterinburg ‘Beginning of the Revolution,’ SerpomPo Says

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 14, 2019) “Thus [the revolution] begins,” the SerpomPo telegram channel says, with the population ready to come into the square to defend its rights and dignity against the powers of “the mafia state, in this case, the state’s church department,” a segment of the regime which has failed to draw the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “New Russian Documentary Brings the Horrors of the Gulag to the YouTube Generation; Yuri Dud’s documentary has garnered millions of views in days. From Global Voices.” – Transitions Online/ Alexey Kovalev

File Photo of Kolyma Mountains Satellite Image, adapted from image at noaa.gov

“… former sports reporter … [Yuri Dud] runs his own YouTube interview show …. generat[ing] millions of views … a serious competitor even to state-owned TV. … [T]he subject of Dud’s latest show shocked his … 5 million [subscribers] and the general public: a two-hour documentary about the Kolyma region, in Russia’s far northeast … almost synonymous with Stalin-era repressions. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Health-Care Cuts Spark Protests in Russian Heartland” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov

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

“The country has 100 billionaires, and yet more than a third of Russians can’t afford to buy two pairs of shoes a year.” “… Concern … that traditionally loyal sections of the population are turning against the authorities [have] raised an alarm in the government [sources say] …. Protests used to be confined to the big cities. Now they’re in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hegemony of state in Russian economy deepens, warns watchdog” – bne Intellinews

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

“… the state is no longer simply setting the rules of engagement, but attempts to regulate the whole economic system of the country, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) watchdog warns …. [as is] evident on both federal and regional levels, where authorities are interfering in local business relations and engage in regional protectionism. … Before the 1998 crisis the state’s share […]

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A Horrific Vision of Russia’s Future: 25 Big Cities Surrounded by Dumps and Connected by Pipelines

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 10, 2019) A major reason Russians in the regions are furious at Moscow for viewing their territories as nothing more than suitable sites for trash dumps is that many of them fear that the country’s leadership is quite happy with a vision of Russia’s future in which there will be 25 […]

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As Opposition Wins Mount, Russians Increasingly Believe Their Votes Matter, Analysts Say

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 26, 2019) With every victory of opposition figures at the municipal or regional level, the most recent being that of a 28-year-old homemaker in Ust-Ilimsk, Russian experts say, ever more Russians especially outside of major cities like Moscow are realizing that their votes matter and that voting can be both an […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Abandoning United Russia Is the Road to Nowhere for the Kremlin” – Carnegie Moscow/ Andrey Pertsev (Kommersant)

Russia Regions Map

“…. The disgruntled public ask global questions: Why is the retirement age being raised? Why are prices and utility bills increasing, while salaries are not? Is it worth spending so much on Syria, Venezuela, and the arms race? Independent candidates running for governor or regional legislator can answer them easily by saying, ‘That’s a federal issue for which I’m not […]

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RUSSIALINK: “It is necessary to fairly distribute money resources between cities, villages – Medvedev” – Interfax

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) – The difference between the incomes of people living in cities and villages should decrease and the budget funds will be distributed more fairly, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Of course, agglomerations, cities are where our country is developing. They are very important, a considerable number of people live there. But we should not forget […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stroppy in Strunino; The lessons from protests in small-town Russia; The government is getting less and less popular” – The Economist

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

“… in this sleepy town some 120km north-east of Moscow … when local activists organised a march … against planned cuts to medical services, more than 100 people took to the streets. …. an example of shifts in public opinion … reshaping the country’s political landscape. … The rapture [over Ukraine] began to fade … when the government announced plans […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian population put in its first full-year decline in a decade” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

Bne Intellinews reports on Russian demographics and population decline, citing statistics from state agency Rosstat that Russian population fell from 146,880,432 at the beginning of 2018 to 146,793,744 at the start of 2019, a decrease of 86,688. Says bne intellinews: “The fall in the natural population has been partly offset by inbound migration, which covered half of the fall in […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Winter. What do we do in the village?…’ Pushkin ‘Зима. Что делать нам в деревне?’ Пушкин [PHOTOS: Manzherok Village, Altai Republic Siberia, New Year Holiday 2019]” – Medium/ Sarah Lindemann-Komarova

Snowy Scene with Trees and Hills file photo, adapted from NWS image

“Manzherok Village, Altai Republic Siberia, New Year Holiday 2019 Манжерок Новогодный праздник 2019 … Photos: “

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘The art of rejection’ A new report reveals the hidden mechanisms authorities use to restrict protests in Russia” – Meduza

Moscow Protest File Photo

“Article 31 of the Russian Constitution states that citizens of the Russian Federation ‘shall have the right to assemble peacefully.’ However, when protests are not approved by local authorities, those who join them can face arrest, professional consequences, and even criminal charges. The anti-corruption protests that swept Russia on March 26 and June 12, 2017, as well as the Voters’ […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Russian town that might save the world; Torzhok is experiencing a resurgence because of one woman’s activism” – Christian Science Monitor/ Mark Sappenfield

“… Before Ms. Sokolova intervened, why had Torzhok been forgotten? The simplest answer is that it had grown mentally stale. … Sokolova’s ideas for new festivals and civic renewal projects were not rocket science. Yet they have begun to push Torzhok into an entirely new orbit, symbolized by restored train service from Moscow and St. Petersburg. …” Click here for: […]

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Growing Russian Nostalgia for Soviet Past Far More Dangerous than It Appears, Kirillova Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 7, 2019) New polls show that the share of Russians who would like to go “back to the USSR” is at its highest levels over the last 15 years, a development many find troubling because it will make the future evolution of Russia toward a normal state far more difficult. But […]

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One Russian in Four Lacks an Indoor Toilet, One of Many Signs There are Now ‘Four Distinct Russias’

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 7, 2019) According to a new report by Russia’s state statistical agency, Rosstat, 35 million Russians live in houses or apartments without indoor toilets, 47 million do not have hot water, 29 million don’t have any running water inside their residences, and 22 million do not have central heating (ehorussia.com/new/node/17679). In […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Stalin’s Soaring Moscow Towers Sorely Need Body Work” – New York Times/ Neil MacFarquhar

Moscow State University file photo

“… Most of [Moscow’s] so-called ‘Stalin high-rises’ – both residential and government buildings – desperately need renovating. … stuck in limbo … over who will foot the substantial bill. Since the residential apartments were privatized in the 1990s, the government considers the owners responsible. The residents, particularly … impoverished elderly who inherited apartments from … now deposed Soviet elite, believe […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Every fifth Russian worker earns less than $250 per month” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Every fifth Russian worker earns less than RUB15,000 ($250) per month, according to … a study by the RIA Rating agency [cited by] … RIA Novosti …. Over 33% of people living in 22 regions earn less than this amount, according to the survey. [The worst were] Dagestan … (46%) … [and the] Karachay-Cherkess Republic (44%). In six regions, two […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Baron Sobyanin; Moscow’s mayor squashes competition but transforms his city; Sergei Sobyanin has turned his city around” – The Economist

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“… The previous mayor, Yuri Luzhkov… ruled Moscow as a medieval fief since 1992, developing a reputation for corruption and crass taste. Historic buildings … crashing down, glitzy shopping malls … traffic [grinding] to a halt … his [construction magnate] wife became the country’s richest woman. … Sobyanin set out to break with the Luzhkov era …. focus[ing] on urban […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Dozens leave St. Petersburg’s Yabloko branch over differences with Yavlinsky” – Interfax

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 22 (Interfax) – Mikhail Amosov, a deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, said he is leaving the Yabloko party. Several dozen others in the region have also left. “The wish to decide from Moscow who will run the organization, who will be included in the bureau, the issuance of yarlyks for princedoms – unfortunately, these things […]

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Russian Educational System Threatened by Privatization, Underfunding

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 15, 2018) The explosive growth of private for-profit higher educational institutions and mounting anger in the regions about the costs of public schools at the primary and secondary level are threatening the quality of the Russian educational system, a system on which the future of that country heavily depends. If the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The tenth city: Rostov-on-Don; We move to Russia in our series on Europe’s second-tier cities; Ancient trading traditions have survived Bolshevism and war” – The Economist

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… [Rostov-on-Don has] roots as a trading hub …. Russia’s gdp growth is slow at around 1.5% … [yet] the Rostov region is … at twice that … powered by booming farming, retooled manufacturing and an active citizenry. … [G]eography, tradition and mild weather make[] Rostov among Russia’s most entrepreneurial cities. … [where] 44% of the workforce is employed in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin not considering cancellation of ‘municipal filter'” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Nov 2 (Interfax) – The Kremlin does not deem the cancellation or liberalization of the “municipal filter,” the assignment of another date for the unified elections day, or other drastic modifications of the electoral system to be necessary, a source close to the presidential administration told Interfax. “Drastic modifications of election laws are not on the agenda of the […]

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‘They’ve Stolen Everything’: In Russia’s Far East, Dreams Deferred Amid Grim Mood Over Pension Reform

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – October 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/in-russia-s-far-east-dreams-deferred-amid-grim-mood-over-pension-reform/29542683.html) USSURIYSK, Russia — An unusually warm spell in early October filled this Far Eastern city’s central square with couples and schoolkids enjoying the last bright evenings before the onset of winter. Steps from the main landmark, a monument honoring […]

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NEWSLINK: “Voronezh and the re-branding of post-Soviet Russia; The writer returns to the university she studied at in the 1970s to find a city transformed” – Mary Dejevsky

Russia Map

“… Voronezh is, in many ways, unrecognisable from its Soviet self. Even its layout has been altered to restore the 19th-century plan. A vast new church rises from what was once a scruffy park. The skyline boasts a dozen gleaming domes and crosses. Old vistas have been reopened. Voronezh is, once again, a river town. … But the history told […]

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Tension Builds In Russian Far East Region After Disputed Vote Count

Russia Regions Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – August 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/tension-builds-in-russian-far-east-region-after-disputed-vote-count/29495661.html) Rival contenders for the governorship in a Russian Pacific region girded for court battles, and more protests, after an unusual last-minute vote count in a runoff election gave victory to the ruling party incumbent. Supporters of Russia’s Communist Party have cried foul […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Communists Say Election Stolen by Pro-Putin Candidate” – Reuters

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

“… With 95 percent of votes counted on Sunday night, Kremlin-backed United Russia incumbent Andrei Tarasenko was trailing his Communist rival by around 5 percent. But on Monday, the local election commission said Tarasenko had won by just over 1 percent, an unlikely turnaround that the Communists said was evidence of rigging. The scandal is awkward for Putin, who met […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Runoffs in Four Regional Races Reveal the Kremlin’s Vulnerability” [Excerpt] – Stratfor

Russia Regions Map

“… Putin … in his fourth and perhaps final term as Russia’s president, faced a key political test in regional elections …. though the ruling party, United Russia, won most of the races – which included gubernatorial elections in 22 regions, legislative elections in 16 regions and a mayoral election in Moscow – it faced stiffer competition and more unrest […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Authorized protest against higher retirement age held in Novosibirsk” – Interfax

Cash, Calculator, Pen

NOVOSIBIRSK. Sept 13 (Interfax) – A protest against the higher retirement age took place in Novosibirsk on Thursday at the initiative of the Novosibirsk regional federation of trade unions. ‘The organizers expected a 3,000 turnout, yet the Interior Ministry counted 600 people at the rally,” Novosibirsk city administration spokesman Sergei Polyansky told Interfax. The chair of the Novosibirsk regional federation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fury Over Pension Changes Hurts Putin Allies in Russian Regional Elections” – Reuters

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s ruling United Russia Party suffered a rare setback in regional elections despite winning most of the seats, a reversal its leaders and election chiefs blamed on unpopular plans to raise the pension age. … [R]esults in weekend voting for heads of about one third of Russia’s regions were the worst for United Russia … since elections for regional leaders […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin views organization of Sept. 9 elections as good, but not without some minor flaws” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 10 (Interfax) – The regional elections in Russia on September 9 passed appropriately and without serious irregularities, even though there might have been some minor imperfections, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “On the whole, the election campaign passed decently and orderly, with quite a high voter turnout, perhaps with some minor imperfections,” Putin said at a State Council […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Fury Over Pension Age Hike Clouds Moscow Mayoral Election” – Reuters

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“Polls show … [that Sergei Sobyanin] will comfortably be re-elected Moscow’s mayor on Sunday, but public anger over planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, tarnishing his win. … [in] the first test at the ballot box for the authorities since Putin, whose popularity has tumbled by around 15 percent due to anger over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Wages in Russia’s regions are well behind the national average” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Wages are starting to grow again …. However … the recovery is clearly very mixed.  … mega-cities … Moscow and St Petersburg … had incomes … 51% and 117% more than the average national wage of RUB42,640 ($625) per month … according to Rosstat … [but] two-thirds of Russian regions have incomes well below that level. In general the poorest […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “At Asia’s heart, Lake Baikal stirs Russians to protect nature” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Lake Baikal and Environs Satellite Photo

“… [Lake Baikal] is the only natural feature in Russia … [with] its own law … which bans many types of industry, including mining, and chemical-based farming in a buffer zone around the lake that includes most of Buryatia. … that makes Baikal a double-edged sword for the economically stagnant republic. The region’s beauty and largely untapped resources give it […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Upcoming gubernatorial election in Russia to be mostly uncompetitive – FoRGO” – Interfax

Russia Regions Map

MOSCOW. Aug 30 (Interfax) – A competitive scenario will be an exception from the rule in the upcoming gubernatorial elections, the Foundation for Civil Society Development (FoRGO) said. The reasons for that are the fact that the process participants understand that there is no point in artificially stimulating competition and the low effectiveness of opposition campaigns, FoRGO said. “Competition in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Moscow’s Newest Park, All of Russia Comes Together” – New York Times/Roslyn Sulcas

Russia Map

“[The author visits] ….Zaryadye Park, Moscow’s first new green space in 50 years, designed by … American architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro … one of the most ambitious and expensive architectural projects in Russia in decades. … [with] numerous buildings on [a] 35-acre site … tucked under curving, plant and tree-filled slopes. Each … represents an aspect of Russia’s varied […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin is spearheading a new ‘social-media monitoring system’ to hold local officials more accountable” – Meduza

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Kremlin is reportedly spearheading a new social-media monitoring system called ‘Incident Management’ … follow[ing] social networks in real time …. being tested in two regions [one of which is] Moscow.  … monitor[ing] … Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram[], creating an ‘incident’ whenever related disgruntled posts … appear[] on multiple networks. Local officials are … supposed to respond … […]

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