Pyotr Ofitserov: The Man Who Stood Beside Navalny To The Bitter End

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – July 18, 2013) Opposition politician and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny got all the press during the nearly four months of his trial. But he was not alone in the dock, as he took pains to point out during his closing remarks on July 5. “First, I would like to take this opportunity to […]

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Russia faces economic costs from Navalny’s conviction

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – July 19, 2013) The Kremlin was hit with what is like to be a serious of extremely expensive bills following the conviction of opposition blogger Alexei Navalny to five years in jail on corruption charges by a court in Kirov on July 19. Russia’s stock market tanked as the […]

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Navalny’s Co-Defendant: Corrupt Biznes-man or Collateral Damage?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 18, 2013) ­ This week, a little-known Russian business consultant named Pyotr Ofitserov finally took his eldest daughter on a long-promised visit to Moscow’s famed Tretyakov Gallery. They squeezed in the outing between errands on Tuesday afternoon, as Thursday Ofitserov expects to be jailed for up to five years. “It’s funny how much […]

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Navalny Verdict Dominates Russian News, Social Networks

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 18, 2013) ­ Russian public figures and foreign diplomats on Thursday weighed in on the five-year jail sentence handed down to anti-Kremlin activist Alexei Navalny, with opinions ranging from grim pessimism among liberals and “disappointment” from the U.S. ambassador to mixed forecasts by economic analysts and claims of a fair trial by pro-Kremlin pundits. – […]

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RIA Novosti: Convicted Navalny to Drop Moscow Mayor Bid Says Campaign Office

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 18, 2013) ­ Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigning blogger who was handed a five-year-jail term on Thursday, is to withdraw his candidacy for the upcoming election for Moscow mayor, his campaign office said. Navalny’s campaign office will proceed with canceling his registration for the early Moscow mayoral vote, scheduled for September 8, […]

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Navalny’s sentence to lead to outflow of young lawyers, businessmen from Russia – Prokhorov

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 18, 2013) The sentence of opposition activist Alexei Navalny is affecting the interests of small and middle-sized businesses and will lead to the outflow of young lawyers and businessmen from Russia, leader of the Civil Platform party Mikhail Prokhorov said. “The sentence passed on Alexei Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov is not just a sentence to the […]

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Interfax: Superior court might change Navalny sentence – Russian Federation Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 18, 2013) Russian senators said they proposed waiting for a superior court ruling on the case of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, sentenced in Kirov to five years, and that if there was a political component in the trial, then only that Navalny’s violations had been checked in priority. “It is not a fact that superior agencies […]

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Putin Foe Navalny Faces Jail as Investors Fret About Selloff

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jason Corcoran & Henry Meyer – July 17, 2013) Alexey Navalny faces possible imprisonment tomorrow in the highest-profile case against a critic of President Vladimir Putin since the prosecution of former oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky. A judge in Kirov, 900 kilometers (560 miles) northeast of Moscow, will rule on charges that Navalny defrauded state-owned timber company […]

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Vox Pop: Muscovites On The Navalny Verdict

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – July 17, 2013) RFE/RL correspondent Tom Balmforth asked Moscow residents ahead of the verdict on July 18 what they expected in the embezzlement case against Aleksei Navalny. Here are some of their answers: Igor, 25, transportation sector “I think Navalny will be found guilty. It’s most likely a political case and possibly was initiated to stop […]

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Investigative Committee denies Estemirova murder probe stalled

File Photo of Flowers and Photo of Natalya Estemirova

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 15, 2013) Russia’s Investigative Committee has denied allegations that the investigation of the 2009 assassination of Chechen human rights activist Natalya Estemirova has stalled and reiterated that, contrary to what is claimed by rights defenders, it sees militant Akhazur Bashayev as the primary suspect in the case. Investigations into Estemirova’s murder “have never been suspended” and […]

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Navalny to Be Registered for Elections on Eve of KirovLes Verdict, Report Says

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 16, 2013) Opposition leader Alexei Navalny will be registered on Wednesday as a candidate for the Moscow mayoral elections, just one day before the verdict for the KirovLes embezzlement case is scheduled to be delivered, Kommersant reported. The Kremlin critic is awaiting the verdict in a criminal case alleging that he embezzled 16 million […]

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Rights commissioner denounces Magnitsky’s postmortem conviction

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 11, 2013) Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin has denounced the postmortem conviction of late Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky by Moscow’s Tverskoi Court. “I object to trying people post mortem. There is an element of some ancient pagan mentality in this,” Lukin told Interfax on Thursday. “Then let’s arrange the trial of Ivan the Terrible […]

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Hermitage Capital blasts Magnitsky’s posthumous conviction

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 11, 2013) British investment fund Hermitage Capital has attacked Thursday’s posthumous conviction of its lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and in absentia conviction of its chief executive William Browder. “This trial reflects the authorities’ disrespect for fundamental international legal values and personal rights and freedoms,” Hermitage said in a statement made available to Interfax. Moscow’s Tverskoi Court convicted […]

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Putin Officials, Judges Seen Topping Russia Corruption in Survey

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anton Doroshev & Ilya Arkhipov – June 9, 2013) Police, judges and lawmakers, as well as bureaucrats, are seen in Russia as the most corrupt groups, fueling popular discontent with the government, according to a global survey by Transparency International. Five percent of Russian respondents rated President Vladimir Putin’s anti-corruption campaign as effective, a sharp drop […]

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Supreme Court Clarifies Difference Between Bribes and Payment

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 10, 2013) The receipt of payment for professional services cannot be considered a bribe, the Supreme Court has ruled, a news report said Wednesday. A bribe is the receipt of money or services in return for actions performed by a public official using the authority delegated to him, the court said. The ruling may […]

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Navalny’s day in court: politics and protection

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow News – Anna Arutunyan, Editor & Correspondent at themoscownews.com – July 8, 2013) With the verdict in opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s trial scheduled for July 18, the bets are on: will he get six years in jail like the prosecutors asked? Or a suspended sentence? What’s interesting about this question is that the answer has very little to do […]

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First businessmen to be released under amnesty in several days

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW. July 3, 2013) Convicts eligible for the economic amnesty, which comes into effect on July 4, will be released in several days because the procedure of releasing convicts under amnesty is held in several stages, spokesperson of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service Kristina Belousova said. “From the day the amnesty comes into effect, head of a correction […]

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Russia: Detained Opposition Mayor Pleads Innocence

Yevgeny Urlashov file photo

(RIA Novosti – July 4, 2013) Yaroslavl mayor Yevgeniy Urlashov has pleaded not guilty to charges of extorting a bribe, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 4 July. He made the statement at a court session that had been convened to decide whether to keep him in custody. Urlashov, who belongs to Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civil Platform opposition party, […]

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Russian Opposition Mayor Arrested in Corruption Case

Yevgeny Urlashov file photo

(RIA Novosti – July 5, 2013) A court in Yaroslavl ruled early on Friday to arrest an opposition politician who won a rare landslide victory against the ruling United Russia party in a mayoral election last year. Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov was charged along with four of his colleagues on Thursday with extorting a 14 million ruble ($420,000) bribe, investigators […]

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Case Against Yaroslavl Mayor Looks Legitimate, Rights Activists Say

Yevgeny Urlashov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 5, 2013) Investigators officially charged Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov and a group of his subordinates with attempted bribery Thursday as members of the Kremlin human rights council met to discuss the case, which Urlashov’s supporters say they suspect has been fabricated by his political enemies. But members of the council, generally […]

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Lawyer of Magnitsky’s relatives says trial of deceased auditor illegal

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – MOSCOW,. July 3, 2013) The defense team of Hermitage Capital’s auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a detention facility, said that a guilty verdict within the framework of the trial in absentia of Magnitsky was needed to justify his death. “The trial is needed just for this – to tell the entire world – here, look, the court […]

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Twelve Suspects Deny Charges as Bolotnoye Trial Begins

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 26, 2013) A Moscow court on Tuesday opened the trial of 12 people suspected of taking part in “riots” and clashing with police at a now-infamous anti-government rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad last May. More than 400 people were detained at the protest on May 6, 2012, and at least 14 participants […]

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Putin’s Initiative to Merge Courts Faces Scrutiny

File Photo of YUKOS trial judge and courtroom staff

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 24, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his initiative to combine the Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court into a single body has been met with suspicion that such a move would deepen current problems within the judicial system. “In order to introduce unified judicial procedures for individuals, organizations, state […]

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Jury selection fails in Politkovskaya murder trial

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 20, 2013) The Moscow City Court has failed to select the jury for the investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya murder trial. A court representative told Interfax the Thursday attempt to form the panel of jurors was unsuccessful. A lawyer for the defendants said the majority of candidates refused to become jurors. “Everybody asked for withdrawal for various […]

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Navalny’s Game

Alexei Navalny file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – June 19, 2013) [Video here: rferl.org/content/navalny-game-russia-opposition-moscow-trial/25022010.html] Aleksei Navalny may be on the ropes, but at the same time he’s also on something of a roll. The on-the-ropes part was in full display in Kirov on June 18 when Judge Sergei Blinov flat-out refused to allow Navalny to call any defense witnesses in his […]

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Over 6,000 people were convicted for corruption in Russia in 2012 – newspaper

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 19, 2013) The judicial department of the Russian Supreme Court has published statistics of punishments for corruption in 2012, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on Wednesday. “A total of 6,014 people were convicted for corruption in 2012,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported. According to the paper, some one-third of these people were convicted for giving bribes. “It is equally illegal […]

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Russian Court Refuses To Hear Defence Witnesses In Navalnyy’s Embezzlement Trial

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(RIA Novosti – Kirov, June 18, 2013) Judge Sergey Blinov refused on Tuesday (18 June) the request of the defence that 13 witnesses, including an auditor and several experts, be summoned to court in at the Kirovles (Kirov Timber) trial, a RIA Novosti correspondent has reported from Kirov’s Leninskiy court. On Monday, defence lawyer Svetlana Davydova submitted a request for […]

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Khodorkovsky’s son says has no official info on ‘third Yukos case’

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) The family of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has no information on the possible third criminal case against the former Yukos CEO. “No charges have been filed, and the Investigations Committee and the prosecutors have not sent anything yet. However, I know what they say about the questioning of experts who stated their opinion on the second […]

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Navalny says his brother’s home searched by detectives

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, founder of Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on Twitter on Monday that detectives were currently searching his brother’s apartment. Interfax has been unable to obtain confirmation of Navalny’s words. In December, brothers Alexei and Oleg Navalny were charged with fraud and money laundering. “Alexei Navalny set up a limited liability company […]

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Navalny Defiant in KirovLes Testimony

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 18, 2013) Opposition leader Alexei Navalny took the stand in court on Monday, denying charges that he stole 10,000 cubic meters of timber from KirovLes in 2009 and saying he had tried to fight corruption at the state-owned company. Navalny, who is also a prominent anti-corruption blogger and a lawyer, began […]

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Russian Clans’ Ongoing Feud

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Donald N. Jensen – June 13, 2013) The fundamental driver of Russian elite politics is the clan: a network of personal contacts that cuts across facile divisions between “state” and “oligarchs,” liberals” and “conservatives,” and “reformers” and “siloviki.” According to Donald N. Jensen, Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the […]

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Navalny says authorities want to block his mayoral nomination

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Interfax – June 13, 2013) Opposition activist Alexei Navalny believes that the Kirov Court hearings on the Kirovles case scheduled by the court for June 13 and 14 are aimed at blocking his nomination for Moscow mayor, said his lawyer Sergei Kobelev. The lawyer said that his client Navalny had notified him that he was supposed to attend a meeting […]

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Navalny Tries to Boot Judge From KirovLes Trial

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – June 11, 2013) The trial against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his business partner Pyotr Ofitserov on embezzlement charges entered its 12th day on Monday, with the defense demanding that the judge in the case recuse himself for allegedly creating unequal conditions for the defense and prosecution. The judge, Sergei Blinov, of […]

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Navalny Judge Digs in Heels Again

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 10, 2013) The KirovLes trial judge Sergei Blinov has once again rejected motions for his removal by Alexei Navalny’s defense team who complained about procedural violations and case prejudice, a new reports said Monday. “The court has taken the decision to reject the defense’s request to remove the presiding judge,” Blinov announced, adding that […]

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Court Extends Detentions as Bolotnoye Trial Begins

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 7, 2013) The trial against 12 people charged with violence against police and participation in alleged mass riots in the so-called Bolotnoye case ­ a case observers say is one of the largest politically motivated trials in recent history ­ opened at the Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Thursday. More than 400 […]

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Moscow Court Orders Release of Opposition-Backed Businessman

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

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 31, 2013) ­ Moscow’s City Court ordered the release from prison on Friday of a businessman whose freedom was among the demands of the recent opposition rallies in the Russian capital. Alexei Kozlov was given eight years in prison in 2009 for fraud and “legalization of stolen property,” or the use of illegally obtained property […]

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Why Navalny Will Most Likely Be Convicted

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – May 23, 2013) Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader currently on trial for fraud, has expressed certainty that he has slim chances of getting a not guilty verdict, and he is almost certainly right. The inevitability of the ruling is not due to the fact that he is such an outspoken critic of […]

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Court Upholds Right to Appeal Election Results

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – April 23, 2013) The Constitutional Court has ruled that Russian voters should be allowed to appeal election results directly, overruling earlier judgments that permitted only political parties and candidates to dispute official vote counts in the courts. The court’s ruling, published on its official website on Monday, follows complaints by human rights […]

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Voters have the right to directly protest election returns in court – Constitutional Court

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, April 22, 2013) The Russian Constitutional Court has confirmed the right of voters to protest election returns in court and declared the practice of banning direct applications to courts unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court announced a corresponding resolution on Monday after checking several provisions of Civil Proceedings Code and federal laws on guarantees of electoral rights and […]

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Khodorkovsky sentence fair, Pussy Riot ruling could be softened – Moscow City Court chairman

File Photo of Pussy Riot Member in Courtroom Cage, Grinning and Gesturing with Clasped Hands

(Interfax – April 8, 2013) Moscow City Court Chairman Olga Yegorova believes the sentences handed down on former Yukos CEOs Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev are fair, but the sentence on the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot could be softened. “It would be a shame if the Supreme Court changes the sentence handed down on Mikhail Khodorkovsky. […]

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Courts and Prisons the Focus of Human Rights Complaints

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 3, 2013) Unfair court judgments, poor prison conditions and abuse of authority by law enforcement officials were among the main complaints received by Kremlin human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin last year, which he said in an annual report was the “most difficult” for him since taking his post in 2004. Last […]

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NEWSLINK: Sergei Magnitsky: The enemy within: A saga that has been a parable of the self-mutilating way Russia is governed

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

[Sergei Magnitsky:  The enemy within: A saga that has been a parable of the self-mutilating way Russia is governed – The Economist – Editorial – March 9, 2013 – http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21573119-saga-has-been-parable-self-mutilating-way-russia-governed-enemy-within] The Economist issues an editorial on the Magnitsky saga and its aftermath, and what it shows about brutal, deadly elitism in Russia: Martyred human rights activists; fatally brave journalists: Russia, […]

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Moscow Court Orders Officials to Respond to Protester Appeals

Moscow Protest file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 17, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-russian-officials.html) Russian officials have ignored a 2004 law requiring them to respond to appeals lodged by demonstrators, but now some protesters and their lawyers are using the courts to force at least some government agencies to respond, a development that some say opens the way to a new […]

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NEWSLINK: In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

[In Ex-Soviet States, Russian Spy Tech Still Watches You – wired.com – Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan – December 21, 2012 – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/russias-hand/all/] Wired.com reports on Russian security services spying on citizens, with the Russian legal system deeming citizen activities such as opposition protests to be extremist and a justification for surveillance: On November 12, the Russian Supreme Court okayed […]

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The nuts and bolts of it [Russian legal reform]

File Photo of Russian Constitutional Court

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – October 22, 2012) Last week, we at The Moscow News hosted a debate on legal reform in Russia ­ and while the topic itself is a hot one, we were reminded of the fact that real reform is always pretty boring and prosaic. In our discussion, which involved the UN’s Senior Human […]

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