Party led by Navalny can’t run in elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – March 30, 2015) The Moscow City Court has upheld the Justice Ministry’s refusal to include the Progress Party in the register of parties that have the right to run in elections, an Interfax correspondent has reported, citing a decision made by the judicial collegium on civilian cases read on Monday. The court declined the complaint filed by representatives […]

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Witness can’t recognize suspected Nemtsov assassin – newspaper

Nemtsov March of Mourning

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The confession of Zaur Dadayev, the suspected perpetrator of the killing of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, is not confirmed by a direct witness to the crime, Kommersant reported on Friday. Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the investigator, that Ukrainian model Hanna Durytska, who was accompanying Nemtsov at the time he was killed, was […]

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Soviet-Era ‘Objective Truth’ Bill Would Imperil Presumption of Innocence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-FarberMarch 27, 2015) A freshly introduced draft law proposing to redefine the roles of Russian judges has courted controversy among legal circles who fear that if adopted, the measure would endanger the presumption of innocence by blurring the lines between judges and prosecutors. State Duma Deputy Alexander Remezkov of the ruling United Russia submitted an […]

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Lawyer Claims Main Suspect in Nemtsov Killing Has Alibi

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 17, 2015) Three more suspects in last month’s assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have been officially charged with his murder, the Interfax news agency reported Monday, as the main suspect’s lawyer said his client had an alibi. Zaur Dadayev’s lawyer, Ivan Gerasimov, told the RBC newspaper Monday that his client had […]

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Interfax: All defendants in Nemtsov murder refusing to cooperate with police – source

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 17, 2015) Defendants in the murder of politician Boris Nemtsov have refused to cooperate with the police, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax. “The defendants have declined to help the detectives,” he said. He also confirmed that some of the defendants had refused to answer police questions on the basis of article 51 of the […]

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Russia: All five men in custody charged with Nemtsov’s murder

Nemtsov March of Mourning

(Interfax – March 16, 2015) All five men held in custody in connection with the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have now been formally charged, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency has reported. Three men – Shadid Gubashev, Khamzat Bakhayev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov – were charged on 16 March, the agency reported the same day. Two others, Zaur […]

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Charges dropped against Russian woman accused of treason

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – March 13, 2015) Russian prosecutors have dropped their charges against Svetlana Davydova, a mother of seven from the town of Vyazma accused of treason after calling the Ukrainian embassy about Russian troop movements in April 2014, due to the absence of any crime, the woman’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov told Interfax on Friday. “Davydova was cleared of all high […]

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Russian court says Nemtsov murder suspect’s guilt not established

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – March 11, 2015) The Basmannyy Court has given Zaur Dadayev, accused in the case of murder of politician Boris Nemtsov, an opportunity to state his position regarding the investigators’ request for his arrest, the press-service of the court has said. “Dadayev was given the right to speak. But he thought that the criminal case was being heard, while […]

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Court finds high treason suspect Davydova’s arrest unlawful

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – February 16, 2015) The Moscow City Court on Monday found the arrest of Svetlana Davydova, a resident of the Smolensk region, accused of high treason, unlawful, an Interfax correspondent reported. Davydova remained under arrest between January 22 and February 3, and was freed with travel restrictions. Davydova’s defense lawyers had agued from the start that their client’s arrest […]

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Victory for Memorial in court ruling but survival battle is only half-won

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH – February 3, 2015) Russia’s Supreme Court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry against the country’s oldest human rights organization Memorial, seeking its closure. However, despite the court’s decision, the ministry has refused to abandon the lawsuit and is now pursuing legal action against Memorial’s international […]

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‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears” Russians have about the year […]

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Kremlin Foe Navalny Fined $10 For Cutting Ankle Bracelet

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 14, 2015) Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been convicted of large-scale theft twice and spent many nights in jail after street protests. The latest punishment meted out to one of the Kremlin’s fiercest foes is perhaps the least severe: a $10 fine. On his website on January 14, Navalny posted a note from Russia’s […]

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Russian court explains decision not to jail Kremlin critic Navalnyy

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – January 12, 2015) A Russian court has explained its decision to give a suspended sentence to anti-corruption campaigner and Kremlin critic Aleksey Navalnyy while jailing his brother, Oleg, Interfax news agency reported on 12 January. Interfax quoted Moscow’s Zamoskvoretskiy court saying that “in handing down punishment, the court took into account the actual facts in the case, information […]

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Interfax/RIA Novosti: Russian human-rights figures divided over Navalnyy sentence

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax/RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) Human-rights activists have greeted the conviction and sentencing of Aleksey Navalnyy and his brother for financial crimes with a mixture of anger and acceptance, with some denouncing it as politically-motivated hostage taking but others regarding it as justified. Aleksey and Oleg Navalnyy were found guilty of fraud and money laundering by Moscow’s Zamoskvoretskiy court […]

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NEWSLINK: Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

[“Who Ordered Politkovskaya’s Murder?” – New York Times editorial – June 10, 2014] The New York Times comments on the recent convictions of five additional men for involvement in the 2006 assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya: Almost eight years after the gruesome murder of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most respected investigative journalists, Moscow’s highest criminal court has finally sentenced five […]

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RIA Novosti: Politkovskaya Case Russia’s Biggest Justice Achievement – Prosecutor

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow City Court prosecutor said on Monday the life sentence handed down to those found guilty of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was the highest achievement of Russian justice, but the outcome will only satisfy the complainants when the mastermind of the murder is established. “We find the sentence lawful, founded and just. This is […]

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Intellectual Property Rights Case Load Overwhelming Fledgling Court

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – March 12, 2014) Overworked and understaffed, Russia’s fledgling Intellectual Property Rights Court is watching nervously as its case load continues to climb. “Compared to analogous courts in Europe, we have a very high case load … and an increase in workload leads to the risk of a decline in the quality of […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Signs Contentious Courts Merger Into Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave final approval to a contentious reform to streamline the justice system by merging two top courts. According to the terms of the law, the merger of the Supreme Arbitration Court, which oversees business disputes, and the Supreme Court, which handles criminal cases and civil lawsuits, will be […]

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Trial of Politkovskaya murder case postponed again

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – January 20, 2014) The Moscow City Court has postponed until January 27 the trial of the criminal case involving the killing of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Thus, the court has granted a request filed by one of the defense lawyers, who needed more time to read the case materials, an Interfax correspondent has reported. The prosecutor was […]

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Rights activists to work for judicial, penitentiary system reform in 2014 – Moscow Helsinki Group chair

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – Russian human rights activists will give priority to reforms of the judicial and penitentiary systems in 2014, Moscow Helsinki Group Chair Lyudmila Alexeyeva told Interfax. “The absence of independent courts is our main problem. Another problem on which we need to work in 2014 is the situation in the penitentiary system,” she said. “The improvement […]

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RIA Novosti: Moscow Court Halts Prosecution of Four Accused Rioters

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Moscow court said Thursday that it was halting prosecution of four protesters accused of attacking police last year at an opposition rally that deteriorated into mass riots. The Nikulinsky Court decided to halt the proceedings as part of a sweeping amnesty that is being granted to thousands of prisoners and defendants in honor […]

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Amnesty Bill Passes 2nd Duma Reading

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Anna Dolgov and Christopher Brennan – December 19, 2013) The State Duma gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to an amnesty that could set free members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot among other high-profile inmates, and was expected to pass the bill in its final reading later in the day. Hopes and expectations still […]

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Interfax: Amnesty declared not resolving issue of disproportionate charges in Russia – human rights activists

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – The amnesty declared by the State Duma on Wednesday does not resolve one of the main issues in the Russian justice system, the Human Rights Watch international human rights organization said. “The amnesty will allow the release of a number of citizens and this is good. This is better than nothing but the amnesty does […]

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Interfax: Evidence collection for third Yukos case started directly after 2nd conviction – source

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – Investigative procedures in the so-called “third Yukos case” started two weeks after the second sentence was handed down on former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Two weeks after Khodorkovsky and former top manager Platon Lebedev were sentenced, i.e. in the beginning of 2011, the police started to collect evidence for the third case,” a source familiar […]

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RIA Novosti: Ex-Defense Minister To Be Formally Charged Friday ­ Source

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) ­ Investigators plan to formally charge a former Russian defense minister with negligence on Friday, according to a police source familiar with the situation. Investigators said last week they were opening a criminal case on negligence charges against Anatoly Serdyukov over claims he caused 56 million rubles ($1.7 million) of damage to the state by […]

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Navalny Testifies at Bolotnoye Riot Trial

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 3, 2013) Contrary to investigators’ claims, organizers did not intentionally orchestrate riots at the demonstration on Bolotnaya Ploshchad on May 6 last year, opposition leader Alexei Navalny told a Moscow city court on Monday. “Officials intentionally instigated the crush so as to claim there were riots,” Navalny, who was present at the protest as […]

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RIA Novosti: Two Russian Courts Denounce Kremlin’s Legal Reform Plan

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) ­ Two top Russian courts have criticized a proposed reform of the legal system spearheaded by the Kremlin, arguing that some of the provisions are unconstitutional, a newspaper reported Tuesday. The Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court are under an imminent reform set to be merged into a single body, a move that has […]

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Interfax: Most bribe givers, takers in Russia sentenced to fines

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) – The sentencing of corruption suspects to fines has practically doubled in Russia in the past two years, the Supreme Court said. “The number [of suspects] sentenced to fines has grown in the past two years, since the moment the amendments that significantly raised fines for corruptive practices came into force. Some 46.5% of all persons […]

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Former Prosecutor Details Violations in Magnitsky Case

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 28, 2013) A former senior federal prosecutor has accused her one-time colleagues of illegally intervening in the probe into the 2009 death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as committing legal violations in connection with other high-profile cases. Galina Tarasova, who says she was fired from the Prosecutor General’s […]

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Interfax: Russians are divided on unification of Supreme Court, Supreme Arbitration Court – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 27 (Interfax) – Russian citizens are divided on the bill on the unification of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court and a relative majority of them do not understand the authorities’ motives, a public opinion polls show. A poll conducted by Levada Center in November shows that Russians are evenly divided on this initiative 26% of […]

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Delays Beset Politkovskaya Case

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 27, 2013) Seven years and 51 days have passed since journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in her apartment building in central Moscow, but so far only one person has been convicted in connection with the crime, leaving her family and former colleagues frustrated with the lack of progress in the case. […]

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Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 Subject: Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter From: Robert Teets <rmtlaw@gmail.com> Hope Springs Eternal Even On The Very Brink Of Winter Today saw the first snowfall in Moscow, albeit with its melting as soon as the snowflakes touched the still unfrozen earth. With a constitutional jubilee soon to be upon us, […]

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RIA Novosti: Detained Greenpeace Activists Deserve Clemency – Putin

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Greenpeace activists detained in Russia over a protest at an Arctic oil rig should be granted clemency, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday as 10 of them were released and many others granted bail. When asked to comment on their case at a meeting with Russian writers, publishers, critics and booksellers, Putin said […]

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Interfax: Astakhov Criticizes Western Juvenile Justice, Nontraditional Families

Pavel Astakhov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The Western form of juvenile justice will not work in Russia, Russian children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov said. “My principled stance is that the Western style, a virtually bankrupt form of juvenile justice is not viable,” Astakhov told reporters on Tuesday. “It is not viable in Russia because the equality between parents and a child […]

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Interfax: Unlawful arrests become common when prosecutors lose oversight functions – Prosecutor

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

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The dominant role of Investigators in criminal prosecution leads to numerous unfounded arrests, said Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. “The law enforcement mechanism is apparently misbalanced, given that prosecutors have lost some of their oversight functions. Paradoxically, the prosecutor’s powers to ensure one of the most constitutional guarantees – the right to freedom and personal […]

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Interfax: Hearing of Memorial, Golos Complaints Against Prosecutors Postponed Until February

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow Zamoskvoretsky Court has postponed until February 4, 2014 the hearing of the complaint filed by the human rights center Memorial about the prosecutors’ demand to register as a foreign agent. Thus, the court has postponed the hearing of the human rights activists’ until the Strasbourg court or the Russian Constitutional Court give their […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Lawyers Protest Putin’s Court Reform

File Photo of YUKOS trial judge and courtroom staff

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian lawyers criticized the Kremlin on Tuesday in a rare display of public discontent, speaking against a court reform that would abolish what they called the most progressive branch of Russia’s judiciary. Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed in July to merge the Supreme Arbitration Court, which oversees business disputes, into the Supreme Court, which […]

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Interfax: Constitutional Court chairman opposed to alteration of constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 14 (Interfax) – The 20-year-old Russian constitution has commendably withstood the test of time, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. “The constitution has been tested during this drastic historic turn in the country’s life,” he told the audience at a conference, “Modern Constitutionalism. Conclusions and Prospects”, in St. Petersburg on Thursday. “It [the constitution] prevented the […]

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Lawmakers Approve Bill to Merge Top Courts

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov and Ivan Nechepurenko – November 13, 2013) The State Duma on Tuesday approved in the first reading a bill seeking to merge the Supreme Arbitration Court into the Supreme Court, as the former warned that the move could signal the end of the entire arbitration court system. Arbitration courts, which hear commercial disputes, […]

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Interfax: Council of Europe’s rights commissioner expects Russia to strengthen courts’ independence

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Trials in Russian courts are not sufficiently adversarial, while acquittals are seen as a systemic flaw, said the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks. “The criminal justice system is still set up to deliver guilty verdicts and acquittals are perceived as the system’s failure. In the rare cases where acquittals do take […]

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Putin’s Plan to Merge Courts Criticized by Judges

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 12, 2013) Supreme Arbitration Court judges have lambasted President Vladimir Putin’s plans to merge the legal body with the Supreme Court, saying that the resulting superstructure will be too cumbersome and less independent in administering justice. The way judges will be appointed to the new structure does not “conform with the […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Accepts Khodorkovsky’s Damages Claim

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian government said Thursday it had not appealed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that could prompt a rollback of the Yukos case. The Strasbourg-based court ruled in July that the rights of former Yukos oil company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky were violated during his trial and continuing imprisonment in Russia […]

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The writing on the wall?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky – November 5, 2013) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is a Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg On Friday, a Russian news agency had its publishing licence revoked, supposedly for publishing two ‘profane’ Youtube clips. For Daniil Kotsyubinsky, however, the episode was but the latest example of a ‘summary execution’ ­ intended as a warning to any […]

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Moscow Times: Russians See Greenpeace Protest as a Foreign Plot

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 29, 2013) State pollster VTsIOM released survey results Monday regarding last month’s Greenpeace protest in the Arctic that indicate more than a third of Russians believe the protest was a foreign plot and more than two-thirds disagree with the group’s message of needing to protect the environment from oil drilling. Armed […]

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Russians Must Accept Court Decisions as Law – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russians must learn to perceive the decisions of courts and investigators as legitimate for the country to develop forward, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised interview Saturday. Answering a question about a high-profile corruption case that has ensnared several top Defense Ministry officials since late last year, Medvedev said that evaluating the […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia to Consider Letting Ex-Convicts Run for Office

Russian Duma Building

MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian lawmakers will consider letting people who have been convicted for serious crimes run in elections, on the condition that voters are told about their criminal records. “As it turns out, people’s rights are affected, even though they’ve already been punished,” state lawmaker Sergei Ivanov of the nationalist LDPR party and author of the […]

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Russian cynicism: symptom of a stagnant society

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Lev Gudkov – October 22, 2013) Lev Gudkov is a Russian sociologist, director of the analytical Levada Center and editor-in-chief of the journal The Russian Public Opinion Herald. He is the author of numerous books and articles on sociology and inter-ethnic relations in Russia. Cynicism, originally a philosophy in ancient Greece, is now the prevailing mood in Putinist […]

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Russia Softens Charge in Greenpeace Case

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Goryachev and Christopher Brennan – October 24, 2013) The Investigative Committee said it had dropped the piracy charges against 30 people who were on board Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship, replacing them with accusations of hooliganism. If convicted of the new charges, the 28 activists and two journalists who were taken into custody in September […]

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Russian NGOs accused of being ‘foreign agents’ vindicated – report

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – October 23, 2013) A report published on the website of the Human Rights Council under the Russian president says practically all the cases in which the Prosecutor-General’s Office (PGO) accused NGOs of being in breach of the controversial recent law on “foreign agents” have been thrown out by courts, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 23 October. […]

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Prisoners of the psyche: Forced psychiatry in today’s Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 16, 2013) A court last week ordered activist Mikhail Kosenko to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment for attacking a riot police officer during the May 6, 2012 protest rally on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration. The ruling sparked concerns among rights activists that Soviet-era punitive psychiatry, when dissidents were found to […]

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