RUSSIALINK: “Russian Opposition Calls Foul After Ruling Party Landslide in Parliamentary Elections” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Controversial online voting cut the early leads of candidates supported by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russia’s opposition called for protests on Monday after accusing the authorities of rigging highly anticipated elections to the country’s parliament […]

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A Win For United Russia? A Loss For Navalny’s Smart Voting? Five Takeaways From Russia’s Elections

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Here’s the first thing you need to know about the now-concluded election campaign for Russia’s State Duma: It’s been carefully managed from the start, with the opposition largely barred from running and a crackdown on government opponents that shows no sign of abating […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “A Change Candidate Runs for the Russian State Duma”

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Despite nerves and head winds, Natalia Pinus’s biggest challenge is defeating her and all change supporters biggest opponent: low voter turnout from an apathetic, cynical, and distracted population […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Crushes Last of Opposition Ahead of Parliament Elections” – Bloomberg

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin has sidelined the last of his independent political opponents, jailing some and driving others into exile, as his ruling party seeks to extend … control in parliamentary elections despite simmering discontent. … United Russia … recorded some of the lowest ratings in nearly a decade earlier this year, scorned by voters angry over stagnant living standards and unpopular […]

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Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ Backs Communist Candidates In Bid To Loosen Grip Of Ruling United Russia

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

Smart Voting, an idea that Navalny came up with in 2018, is an online strategy designed to promote candidates that have the best chance to defeat those from United Russia, the Kremlin-linked ruling party […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘The Leftward Turn Is Inevitable’: In Lenin’s Hometown, Russian Communists Strive for Soviet Revival” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Despite Kremlin pressure, the party is hoping to use popular discontent over falling living standards to gain a strong showing in parliamentary elections this week. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light – ULYANOVSK, Sept. 14, 2021) When Airat Gibatdinov was born in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika had already set the Soviet Union on its path to oblivion. But now, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “From Jail, Navalny Urges Russians to Vote Out Pro-Kremlin Candidates” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

With a number of independent and opposition candidates barred from running, Navalny’s team has in recent years switched tactics to promote a “Smart Voting” strategy that seeks to rally support behind the most promising challengers to United Russia […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Opposition Candidates Are Fighting Among Themselves. Again.” – Moscow Times

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s Smart Voting system has added a new dimension to an old problem. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Jake Cordell – Sept. 13, 2021) If there’s one district Russia’s beleaguered opposition should be able to win in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, it’s Moscow’s 197th, Kuntsevsky. Named for the suburb where Josef Stalin had his dacha, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “In Small-City Russia, Elections Feel Irrelevant For Local Business Owners” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Saransk’s entrepreneurs are divided over whether the government is on their side, but discontent is unlikely to be reflected in the upcoming Duma vote. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – SARANSK, MORDOVIA – Sept. 7, 2021 For barbershop owner Oleg Kechin, the first 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic were a breeze. After shutting for just four weeks […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ahead of Duma Vote, Affluent Voronezh Remains Loyal to Putin and Stability” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

On Sept. 19, Russians will vote in important elections to the country’s State Duma national parliament, the first major test of public opinion since a major crackdown […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Announces $7Bln Pre-Election Handouts” – Moscow Times

File photo of Russian paper currency, adapted from image at csce.house.gov

Putin has called for one-off cash payments to be awarded to Russia’s pensioners and military service personnel in a highly anticipated pre-election move […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Communist Party to be on top of ballot paper in Duma elections by draw” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 16 (Interfax) – The Russian Communist Party will be on top of the ballot paper in the upcoming State Duma elections as a result of a draw between parties held by the Central Elections Commission. The Greens will go second, and the Liberal Democratic Party will go third. The New People party will be on the fourth position, […]

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Disqualified In 2019, Prospective Russian Duma Candidate Pulls Out All The Stops This Time

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… In the meantime, her team is putting their heads down to fight for every vote and the atmosphere on the street seems very different this time around, with United Russia polling record-low support […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Ruling Party Wants a Big Win in Upcoming Elections; United Russia has seriously limited the opposition but is losing popularity itself” – Foreign Policy

Russia Regions Map

“… United Russia … is defending their super majority … but faces increasing challenges due to its own unpopularity and mounting grievances. … [with] a large majority .. key … to ensuring its own cohesion and shoring up legitimacy of the Putin government. …  [An] effort to secure the vote results from the government’s need for credibility in … a […]

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Russia May Soon Move Toward a Two-Party Model, Zemskova Says

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Aug. 4, 2021) The September Duma elections are unlikely to bring any serious surprises in the party composition of the Russian parliament, Elena Zemskova says; but rumors are swirling that the Kremlin, on the one hand, and the three systemic opposition parties, on the other, are unhappy with the current situation. And […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Congress Seeking Inspiration From Medieval History Is Quashed by Authorities” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

The crackdown is being seen as a sign that the Kremlin is playing closer attention to local power structures ahead of fall elections […]

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Russian Lawmakers Take Step Toward Ban Of Navalny Supporters From All Elected Posts

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

… The measure appears aimed at neutralizing the foundation of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, which Russian authorities are seeking to have declared “extremist” ahead of parliamentary elections […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tentative recovery in sight as Russia’s real wages, unemployment improve” – Reuters

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… [Russia’s] central bank expects the economy to return to pre-crisis levels before the end of [2021] … central bank [governor] Elvira Nabiullina, said … after a surprise 25-basis-point rate increase, brought about by rising inflation and geopolitical risks. … [The government’s] Rosstat[] said … real wages … rose 0.1% year-on-year in January. … Economic growth and … recovery in […]

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Russian Duma OKs Bill To Fine Violators Of Controversial ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… First passed in 2012 and expanded …, the law gives authorities the power to brand nongovernmental organizations, human rights groups, news media, and individuals working for organizations deemed to receive foreign funding for political activity as a “foreign agent” […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Over 20 NGOs appeal to Russian ombudsman, Council of Europe over broadening of foreign agent list, tightening of requirements” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

… The authors of the address added that, if these bills are passed, it will become far more challenging to organize rallies, demonstrations, processions, and pickets […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s authorities increase pressure on NGOs with plans to strengthen ‘foreign agent’ laws” – Meduza

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Russia’s Government Cabinet … submitted a bill to the State Duma … strengthening the Justice Ministry’s control over NGOs … [designated as] foreign agents[.] [The bill would] empower[] … authorities to dissolve these organizations or … hinder their work. … requir[ing them] to inform Russia’s Justice Ministry of all of … [planned] programs and events … [T]he Justice Ministry […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian MP Konstantin Zatulin and head of the Duma’s foreign relations committee calls Belarus’ election results a hoax” – bne Intellinews

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“… Putin was amongst the first of a handful of foreign leaders to call and congratulate … Lukashenko on his ‘victory’ in last weekend’s presidential election [in Belarus], but MPs in the Russian Duma said the results were faked and the official numbers are a hoax,] [t]he … elections … held in an ‘atmosphere of total falsification, so [that] their […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians Join Calls Urging Turkey Not to Revert One of Christendom’s Most Famous Churches into a Mosque” – CNS News/ Dimitri Simes

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“Russian lawmakers adopted a resolution … calling on Turkey not to change the status of Istanbul’s famed Hagia Sophia from … museum to … mosque, warning that Russia’s … relations with Turkey could be harmed …. Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 900 years before being turned into a mosque in the 15th century. […]

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Putin Driving Russia to Where the USSR was in 1991, Zyuganov Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 22, 2020) Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the KPRF which is the only parliamentary party that has come out against approving the constitutional amendments by referendum, says that Vladimir Putin’s recent actions have been “not simply disappointing but depressing.” In the course of a wide-ranging 3,000-word interview with Anastaya Melnikova of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin signs Arctic master plan; The strategic document paves way for a massive industrialization of the country’s far north” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“… The document covers the period until year 2035 … authored by the Ministry of the Far East and Arctic. … approved by government and the national Security Council in late 2019. … [In addition to other factors cited, i]t prepares the ground for a major natural resource exploitation in the region and helps develop the Northern Sea Route, the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin Kicks Off Search for New Lawmakers in Reality Show-Style Contest” – Moscow Times

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 26, 2020) The Kremlin is hosting a nationwide search for candidates to the Russian parliament ahead of next year’s elections, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. Similar to past contests that sent potential regional leaders jumping off cliffs and diving under tanks, the latest competition is open to Russians aged 21 to 55 and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Bill on amendments to Russian Constitution may pass 2nd reading in State Duma on March 10 – Krasheninnikov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – A proposal will be made to hold the second reading of the bill on amendments to the Russian Constitution in the State Duma on March 10, Pavel Krasheninnikov, co-chair of the working group in charge of amendments to the Constitution, said. “We will suggest holding the second reading on March 10,” Krasheninnikov said at a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Parliament Passes Putin’s Constitutional Plans on First Reading” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev, Thomas Grove

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Proposals could allow Russia’s president to exercise power beyond his 2024 term limit “Russia’s parliament … gave preliminary approval to … Putin’s constitutional overhaul … [which] could allow him to maintain control over the country’s political scene after his term ends in 2024. The Kremlin-controlled State Duma … unanimously passed the constitutional amendments bill in the first of three readings. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Amendments to Constitution to be put to public vote following approval by State Duma, Federation Council – Krasheninnikov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – Head of the State Duma State Building and Legislation Committee Pavel Krasheninnikov has clarified the procedure for endorsing the bill on constitutional amendments. “Today, the text, to which amendments will be added for a second reading, was submitted. We have plenty of proposals; in particular, the issue concerning a Russian nationwide vote. It is clear […]

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Russian Duma Approves ‘Foreign Agents’ Bill That Threatens Journalists With Label

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Nov. 21, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-duma-approves-foreign-agents-bill-threatens-journalists/30284789.html) The Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved the final reading of a bill allowing reporters who work for organizations officially listed as foreign agents to be designated as foreign agents themselves. The bill, approved on […]

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AUDIO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “In New Book, Journalist Alleges Russian Links To Mysterious Deaths Abroad” – NPR/ Dave Davies

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“In 2006, as Russia was preparing to host the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, its parliament passed a law legalizing extrajudicial killings of accused ‘extremists’ abroad. … [Journalist Helen] Blake maintains that Russia subsequently engaged in an assassination program that targeted exiled Russian oligarchs, security officials and others critical of the Kremlin. … Her new book From Russia with Blood, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Comes Into Force; Experts say the country lacks the technology to implement the controversial legislation” – Moscow Times/ Jan Lindenau

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 1, 2019) When the chairman of Russia’s Committee on Informational Policy, Leonid Levin, stepped on stage in Moscow’s Lomonosov building on Oct. 28 to give a speech during the second All-Russian Digital Forum he couldn’t have chosen a better place. The venue is not just the home of Russia’s fastest supercomputer, it’s also overshadowed […]

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The Kremlin is pushing for a “sovereign internet”. But at what cost? As Russia’s moves towards a “sovereign internet” gather speed, Russia’s IT sector is weighing up the cost of isolation.

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Liliia Zemnukhova – July 30, 2019) Liliia Zemnukhova is a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Federal Scientific Sociological Centre and the Centre for Researching Science and Technology at the European University at St Petersburg. “The best programmers are actively leaving the country,” Pyotr, the head of a St Petersburg IT start-up, tells me. “Many major western […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The evictors For the past five years, loan sharks have forced more than 500 Muscovites from their homes. Here’s how the industry works.” – Meduza

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

“In Moscow and [environs] … ‘black creditors’ – microfinance institutions (MFOs) … deceive [debtors] and seize … homes. Meduza … [found ] almost 500 apartments lost … over the past five years without so much as a court order. … more than simply ‘squeezing’ people from their homes … possibly part of a wider, international money-laundering system. * * * […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Some ‘aspects’ of Russian Constitution could be adjusted – Matviyenko” – Interfax

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. July 25 (Interfax) – The basic provisions of the Russian Constitution do not require any radical amendments; however, some minor adjustments are possible, Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said. “I have always believed and do believe that the basic provisions of our constitution do not require any radical amendments. We’ve achieved a balance and separation of powers. That […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Opens Door to Changing Constitution as Succession Looms” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“The Kremlin raised the possibility of changing Russia’s Constitution after a top lawmaker proposed bolstering parliament’s powers, in a move that could help to extend … Putin’s rule. … constitutional amendments, including allowing parliament a say in forming the government, received ‘a widespread response’ and are ‘a matter for discussion,’ Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters …. Putin in 2024 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Adjustments to Russian Constitution have to be pinpointed – Volodin” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 17 (Interfax) – The basic values envisaged by the Constitution should stay unchanged and amendments should help realize them in life, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said. “No doubt, we are not talking about changing and revising the basic provisions of the Constitution. They are unshakeable. On the contrary, we need to speak about how to realize […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Visa and Mastercard May Soon Exit Russia Under Draft Law – Reports” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 12, 2019) New Russian payment system laws could lead the world’s largest credit and debit card companies Visa and Mastercard to exit the country’s market, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday. U.S.-based Visa and Mastercard stopped servicing bank cards in annexed Crimea after the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014. Russia […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with Russian journalists” – KremlinRu

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Kremlin.ru – July 9, 2019) Following the II Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, Vladimir Putin met with Russian journalists and answered their questions. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Question: First question is about Georgia. May I? Vladimir Putin: We are at such a good international event on technology. Does it [Georgia] demonstrate any achievements in terms of applying […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Medvedev approves plan for creating ‘regulatory guillotine’ mechanism” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. June 4 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has endorsed a plan for making changes to legislation aimed at cancellation of all outdated laws regulating control and oversight activities effective January 1, 2021. The relevant document was published on the government’s website on Tuesday. The plan was drawn up in line with the president’s instructions on implementing the […]

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JRL RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky should prove readiness to settle Donbas conflict by complying with Minsk agreements – Slutsky” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. May 20 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky has said he is counting on the new Ukrainian parliament’s ability to pass legislation ensuring the implementation of the Minsk agreements. “In assuming office [Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr] Zelensky was saying the right things about the need to cease fire in Donbas. […] If that is […]

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Russian Duma Approves Sovereign-Internet Bill

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 16, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-duma-approves-sovereign-internet-bill/29883847.html) The lower chamber of Russia’s parliament has passed a controversial bill that critics say is part of efforts by President Vladimir Putin to expand government control over the Internet. In a 307 to 68 vote on April 16, […]

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Tired of Strong Hand, Ever More Russians Want a Parliamentary Republic, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 2, 2019) Twenty years ago, Russians overwhelmingly wanted a strong hand to restore order; but now, having seen what that order looks like and what it doesn’t deliver, ever more of them both among the systemic liberals and the population as a whole would like to see Russia transformed into a […]

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