Magnitsky Act Sparks Russian Fury

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – Dec. 7, 2012) Russia will impose a visa ban on U.S. citizens accused of human rights abuses in response to the “absurd” trade and human rights bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “We will also close entry to Americans who are guilty of human rights […]

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NEWSLINK: US Senate to consider Magnitsky Act

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[US Senate to consider Magnitsky Act – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – Dec. 5, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/589715.html] Itar-Tass covers Senate action on a bill replacing the Jackson-Vanik amendment with the Magnitsky Act. Click here for the full article: http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/589715.html

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Russia Riot Prison Dubbed ‘Hell’ by Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, December 6 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) ­ A prison in Russia’s Urals region where inmates rioted last month against alleged abuse and extortion was compared to a “concentration camp” on Thursday by a member of the Kremlin’s human rights council. “We saw a splendid park and a beautiful church, marble ­ but behind the facade there was hell,” Maxim […]

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Magnitsky, the Accidental Symbol of Global Injustice

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – Dec. 3, 2012) Magnitsky’s life reveals a man who was in many ways ordinary and felt compelled to fight a state machine he had trusted his whole career. When a childhood friend said he was thinking of not returning to Russia after a concert tour abroad in 2000, Sergei Magnitsky gave him […]

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NEWSLINK: The Magnitsky Bill

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(The Magnitsky Bill: The Sources of America’s Obsession with Russia – US-Russia.org – featuring Vlad Sobell, Ron Paul, Edward Lozansky, Willism Dunkerley, Alexander Rahr, Alexandre Strokanov, Nicolai Petro,  Mark Nuckols, Patrick Armstrong, and Sergei Roy – Nov. 28, 2012 – click here for full article) US-Russia.org features remarks in Congress by Cong. Ron Paul, as well as commentary by Vlad […]

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Bringing out the dead: Why Sergei Magnitsky’s story remains relevant for the arts

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – Nov. 26, 2012) Let’s get one thing out of the way first ­ I am married to one of the actors starring in “One hour and eighteen minutes,” a documentary play about the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. And I am not here to talk to you about the quality of the […]

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Prison Revolt Yields More Questions Than Answers

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – Nov. 29, 2012) There were either 250 participants or about 1,000. They demanded improved conditions or nothing at all. Their protest was plotted by criminal masterminds or it was spontaneous. Almost nothing is clear about last weekend’s revolt at a maximum security prison in the Urals, as official statements, media reports and […]

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NEWSLINK: Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia – Reuters – Gabriela Baczynska – November 25, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/25/us-russia-scientist-idUSBRE8AO02V20121125) Reuters interviews Russian physicist Valentin Danilov after his release from a Siberian penal colony, where he was previously jailed on allegations of espionage.  Danilov sees little change in Russia’s political or ethical climate, blaming Russian voters at least in part: […]

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Russia’s oldest NGO asks public for aid as ‘foreign agent’ law takes effect

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, 25 November) Russia’s oldest NGO, the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), has called upon Russians to make donations for human rights projects as the law on “foreign agents” came into force (on 21 November). “Dear fellow citizens! The Moscow Helsinki Group is calling on all individuals and legal entities to participate in raising funds in order for MHG […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to France Presse and Le Figaro

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(premier.gov.ru – November 26, 2012) Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. Question: Good afternoon. Mr Prime Minister, you plan to visit France soon, next week. We know that you had good relations with Nicolas Sarkozy. How would you assess your cooperation with the new President of France, Francois Hollande? Do you expect any changes? Dmitry Medvedev: I believe that our relations with […]

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Investigators Refuse to Open Case Into Razvozzhayev ‘Torture’

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 23, 2012) The Investigative Committee won’t open a criminal case into claims by detained opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev that he was kidnapped and tortured by security services. Instead, investigators launched an inquiry into the activist’s allegedly illegal entry into Ukraine, from where he mysteriously vanished last month. The decision was […]

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US Magnitsky Bill Collides With New Russian Nationalism

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

(Voice of America – James Brooke – November 21, 2012 – James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR) MOSCOW ­ Next week, the United States Senate is to take up the Magnitsky Act, a bill that would ban visas for, and freeze the bank accounts of, about 60 Russian officials believed to have been […]

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Russian Human Rights NGO Offices Vandalized

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, November 21 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ The Moscow headquarters of two influential human rights groups were vandalized on Wednesday, the first day a controversial new law on non-governmental organizations (NGO) took effect. The entrances to the offices of Memorial and For Human Rights, two prominent civil rights groups headed by veteran activists, were spray-painted with the words “Foreign […]

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Making of Magnitsky List a Murky Affair

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

WASHINGTON, November 21 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – With the Magnitsky Act moving through the US Congress, American lawmakers are making clear their intent to punish Russian officials deemed by Washington to be responsible for human rights abuses. Less clear is who will end up on this blacklist­and how. The Magnitsky bill passed Friday by the US House […]

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Law on foreign agents needs to be enforced – Naryshkin

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has criticized the statements made by representatives of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial, Golos, and the For Human Rights movement, which have publicly refused to comply with the law on foreign agents. “I can only say that the law has been adopted and needs to be observed,” Naryshkin told […]

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Activists Scoff at NGO Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 20, 2012) Although much-debated amendments for nongovernmental organizations go into force this Wednesday, do not expect foreign-funded NGOs to rush to re-register as “foreign agents” with the Justice Ministry. Prominent rights activists have announced they would boycott the new law, which they have lambasted as imposing an insulting title that makes […]

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Georgia won’t close Soviet Occupation Museum in Tbilisi

Map of Georgia

TBILISI. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection does not intend to revise the status or name of the Soviet Occupation Museum functioning in Tbilisi, a ministry statement says. With the change of government in Georgia activist groups have stepped up efforts in the past few weeks demanding that the museum be closed or renamed. […]

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Russian human rights activists boycott Law on Foreign Agents

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – November 19, 2012) Leading Russian NGOs intend to ignore the legislative amendments which require the registration as “agents of foreign influence” of non-governmental organizations with Western backing. The law will enter into force on Nov. 20, Tuesday. “I do not know a single human rights organization, which has appealed for being registered as a “foreign agent,” said Lyudmila […]

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Magnitsky Act ‘Law by New Year’

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – November 19, 2012) U.S. President Barack Obama could sign the Magnitsky act into law by the end of this year, backers of the bill have said. The landmark legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. The bill would allow permanent normal trade relations with Russia and at the […]

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Moscow forestalled U.S. Magnitsky Act by its own law on NGO as foreign agents – analyst

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – Moscow forestalled the adoption of the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the U.S. by enacting the law on NGOs acting as foreign agents, which is quite painful for Washington, but it should be prepared to see a number of European Union countries considering bills analogous to the one just passed by […]

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Putin and Merkel Trade Barbs in Kremlin Talks

Angela Merkel file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 19, 2012) President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel traded barbs over Pussy Riot, human rights and democracy during Kremlin talks Friday that marked a turn in Berlin’s policy toward Moscow. Merkel, who had been under pressure not to be soft on Putin, seemingly enjoyed confronting her host about […]

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NEWSLINK: Top senator eager to clear Russia trade bill

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(The Hill –  Vicki Needham – November 15, 2012 – http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/268385-top-senator-eager-to-clear-russia-trade-bill) The Hill covers Congressional action on legislation normalizing U.S. trade relations with Russia and imposing sanctions on human rights violators.  One lawmaker wants to expand the human rights sanctions to make them global: A top Senate Democrat said he is determined to jump the final hurdle and clear a […]

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Two opposing lobbies behind proposed US Congress bill – senior Russian MP

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Interfax – Moscow, 14 November) Head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Aleksey Pushkov is convinced that the US Congressmen’s intention to pass the so-called Magnitskiy list law’ on Friday (16 November) and to abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment at the same time shows that two different lobbying groups, one political and one economic, are involved. “By now, one […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia threatens tough response if U.S. back rights bill

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Russia threatens tough response if US back rights bill – Reuters – Steve Gutterman – November 15 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/15/russia-usa-idUSL5E8MFA6K20121115) Leading up to House consideration of Congressional legislation impacting trade relations with Russia, and sanctions over human rights issues, Reuters covers Russian warnings: Russia warned the United States on Thursday to expect a tough response if Congress passes “unfriendly and provocative” […]

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Vyatlag: the Gulag then and now

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Ekaterina Loushnikova – www.opendemocracy.net – November 9, 2012 – Ekaterina Loushnikova is radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov Many of the Soviet Gulag camps are now deserted, but Vyatlag is still in operation, though now most of the prisoners are there for criminal rather than political offences. But as Ekaterina Loushnikova has found, memories of the […]

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US Critics Compare Russia’s New Treason Law to Soviet-Era Thinking

Kremlin and St. Basil's

WASHINGTON November 14 (By Suleiman Wali for RIA Novosti) – A controversial new law that expands the definition of treason in Russia is being decried by critics in the United States as the Kremlin’s continuing effort to return the country to a “darker criminal code.” “Over the past six months, a series of laws have been passed in Russia that […]

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Kremlin Silent as Magnitsky Bill Heads to House

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova and Anatoly Medetsky – November 15, 2012) The Kremlin remained silent Wednesday after U.S. lawmakers moved to advance a bill to punish Russian officials for human rights violations. A decision Tuesday by the House Rules Committee will bring the bill, which aroused strong opposition in Moscow, up for a vote by the full […]

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US Firms Eye Big Dollars from Normalized Trade With Russia

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

WASHINGTON, November 15 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) The Louisiana Caviar Company in the southern US coastal city of New Orleans produces a unique fish delicacy that is wildly popular in Russia. But owner John Burke says his company could profit much more if US lawmakers would approve permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia­a move expected to be […]

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Russian Watchdog Strikes 21 Entries Off Blacklist

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia’s telecoms watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has struck 21 entries off its “blacklist” in three days, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. The 21 links and IP-addresses included popular internet resources, whose blacklisting triggered public debate. “This includes the Lurkmore.to resource, links to individual pages in the social networking site Vkontakte and also the […]

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Internet Censorship Faces Obstacles

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – November 14, 2012) As the number of websites banned or blocked under the new Internet law continues to grow, the country’s media watchdog backpedaled Tuesday by acknowledging that censoring content was technically and legally difficult, and it promised to remove popular sites from the blacklist. The Mass Media Inspection Service said […]

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Physicist Convicted of Espionage Gets Parole

FSB Headquarters Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – November 14, 2012) Valentin Danilov, a Siberian physicist jailed on charges of espionage and treason amid a spying frenzy that swept the country in President Vladimir Putin’s first term, was granted parole Tuesday and could be freed next week. Human rights campaigners praised the ruling, saying Danilov should never have been imprisoned […]

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Putin’s Human Rights Council Gets 39 New Members

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 13, 2012) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council gained 39 new members on Monday as its total membership count rose from 40 to 62 in a reshuffle that saw more than a dozen leave. A longtime head of the council told The Moscow Times that, in its expanded form, the panel […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Body Bound to Be Less Critical of Govt – Analyst

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The new composition of the Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, a 39-member Kremlin consultative body, as approved by President Vladimir Putin “significantly devalues the presence of critics of the government” the council, an analyst said on Monday. “If one looks at who has been included in the council, one can say that […]

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Rights activists says torture still used in Russia

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

(Interfax – Moscow, 8 November) According to human rights activists, torture is still practiced in Russia and people complain of ill-treatment received at detention centres, police, army and mental hospitals. “Human rights organizations have registered incidents of torture and ill-treatment in the prison system. They have also seen an increase in complaints in recent years. Tortures in remand centres are […]

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Head of Critical Elections Monitor Joins Rights Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2012) The head of a U.S.-funded elections watchdog famous for its critical commentary on Russia’s electoral system was included in Vladimir Putin’s presidential human rights council on Monday. Putin is expected to chair a council meeting late Monday, Interfax reported, citing the Kremlin press service. Lilia Shabanova, head of the Golos election watchdog […]

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Putin Approves New Kremlin Rights Council

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin approved on Monday the new make-up of the Kremlin’s council on human rights and civil society. The reshuffle comes after a spate of resignations that began in the wake of last December’s disputed parliamentary elections and continued following Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term in May. “We have to […]

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Putin admits grassroots anti-Semitism still exists in Russia

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(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, 7 November) Grassroots anti-Semitism still exists in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted. “You have said that there is less anti-Semitism now, but this means that it still exists,” he said on Wednesday (7 November) at his meeting with chief rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar and president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia Aleksandr […]

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Russian pundit says Magnitskiy list not to affect Russian-US ties

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Interfax – Moscow, 5 November) Russia will not be able to prevent the adoption of the so called Magnitskiy list either in the USA or in Europe, deputy head of the USA and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Kremenyuk said. “The Magnitskiy list will certainly be adopted (in the USA – Interfax) and Europe will also […]

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Why the Foreign Ministry Should Keep Quiet

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michael Bohm – November 2, 2012 – Michael Bohm is opinion page editor of The Moscow Times) Those nostalgic about the Soviet Union got a nice treat on Oct. 22 when the Foreign Ministry released its report on U.S. human rights violations. Reading just a few pages of the report was enough to bring back […]

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About quarter of Russians sure political repressions to hit country again – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Interfax – October 31, 2012) Nearly a quarter of Russians has no doubt about the emergence of a new wave of political repressions in the country, Russian news agency Interfax reported on 30 October, quoting a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM). According to the survey carried out on 21 October among 1,500 people in 100 villages and […]

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Senators Pass Treason Bill Affecting International NGOs

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 1, 2012) The Federation Council on Wednesday passed amendments to the law on treason that could make it possible for law enforcement officials to target people collaborating with international organizations. The changes, which were passed by the State Duma earlier this month, were approved by 138 of 166 senators, despite appeals […]

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NEWSLINK: Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial.

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Prospect of show trial stirs some Russians’ memories of Stalinism; Some Russian activists are drawing parallels between a potential ‘mega-trial’ for leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. But the comparison remains controversial. – Christian Science Monitor – By Fred Weir – October 30, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1030/Prospect-of-show-trial-stirs-some-Russians-memories-of-Stalinism) The Christian Science Monitor reports on concerns by some onlookers […]

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NEWSLINK: ‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(“‘Love of dead tyrants a common human error’ ­ – Medvedev” – Russia Today – October 31, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/love-dead-human-error-654/) Pro-Kremlin Russia Today reports on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s criticism of Soviet Dictator and Mass Murderer Joseph Stalin, and Medvedev’s critique of those nostalgiac for the Stalin era: It is safe to be a Stalinist when you know that […]

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Vigils for victims of political repressions held across Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – October 30, 2012) The victims of Soviet political repressions are being commemorated on Tuesday with vigils held across Russia. Seventy-five years since the Great Purge was started by Soviet leader Josef Stalin, Moscow’s now disused Butovo firing range hosted events honoring the hundreds of thousands who suffered, according to Interfax. The site […]

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Russian PM says Stalin’s crimes deserve ‘the harshest assessment’

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Interfax – Perm, 30 October) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev thinks that Iosif Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet state of that period deserve “the harshest assessment,” because they “conducted a war against their own people”. “For what was taking place back then, it is not only Iosif Stalin but also a host of other leaders who certainly deserve […]

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Russian Protest Leader Udaltsov Charged

Sergei Udaltsov file photo

MOSCOW, October 26 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)-Russian protest leader Sergei Udaltsov was charged with plotting mass disorder on Friday and could face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty. “If anyone expected me to flee abroad, they were mistaken,” Left Front leader Udaltsov, 35, said as he reported to investigators for questioning. “The Putin regime will be on […]

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Russian politicians, experts slam EU for passing Magnitskiy resolution

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – October 24, 2012)  The resolution on the Magnitskiy (Magnitsky) list passed by the European Parliament is “designed to undermine contacts between Russia and Europe”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 24 October, quoting head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Aleskey Pushkov. Politicians On 23 October the European lawmakers passed a resolution requiring the EU to draw […]

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Razvozzhayev Tells Harrowing Tale

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel, Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 25, 2012) Opposition leaders and human rights groups on Wednesday lambasted the apparent kidnapping and torture of Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev as a return to Stalinist political repression and an unprecedented escalation in the crackdown against dissenters. “Our country has entered a new era of Stalin-like repressions,” […]

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Foreign Ministry Slams U.S. on Human Rights

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – October 23, 2012) A senior Foreign Ministry official harshly criticized United States authorities Monday for alleged human rights abuses while presenting a report on human rights in foreign countries. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov condemned what the report described as the often harsh conditions in American prisons, the use of the death […]

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Victims of Stalin’s Terror to Be Remembered in Moscow

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Victims of Stalin’s terror will be remembered at the Solovetsky Stone monument on Moscow’s Lubyanka street on October 29 in a ceremony titled “The Return of the Names.” The ceremony will be held ahead of the Day of Memory for Victims of Political Reprisals, marked on October 30, and it is being organized by the […]

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