The Train Won’t Stop Here Anymore – the Sad Fate of Russian Regions

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 1, 2015) Russian Railways announced yesterday that it will end some 220 local train routes this month, effectively cutting off the residents of many rural areas from access to medical and other services available only in oblast capitals. But the corporation insisted that Moscow is not to blame: local governments have […]

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Russians in Biggest Cities Feel the Most Pain from Crisis, Gudkov Says

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 22, 2014) Russians living in the largest cities, the people who benefited the most from the oil-driven boom of the last decade, now feel the greatest concern about the impact on their lives of the economic crisis because they are better informed than those in smaller ones and rural areas, a […]

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Russia’s Cities Becoming Less Moscow- and Russia-Centric, New Studies Find

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 13, 2014) Two studies about how residents of Russia’s cities feel about where they live and identify themselves suggest that the residents of Russian cities away from the core of the country are ever less focused on Moscow as the center of their lives and identify instead either with their own […]

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Majority of Russia’s Urban Population Is Breathing Highly Polluted Air

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) The majority of Russia’s urban population is breathing highly polluted air, including at least 14 million people in 38 cities where pollutant concentrations are 10 times above acceptable levels, according to a recent report by the national weather and environment service. Moscow was among cities that rated high on air pollution, mostly […]

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New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A reform is under way in […]

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Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – April 17, 2014) The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia’s largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin. The bill was approved Tuesday by […]

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The Kremlin’s Interest in “Local Business”

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Tatiana Stanovaya – February 12, 2014) The question of whether or not the Kremlin will abolish direct mayoral elections in major Russian cities is likely to be one of the major political intrigues of 2014. Although the Russian Constitution prohibits cancellation of direct mayoral elections, as does the European Charter of Local Self-Government, […]

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What you need to know about safety in Russia

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ajay Kamalakaran, RBTH – January 4, 2014) Most Russian cities are generally safe by international standards but being street smart never harmed a visitor. One of the most common and misplaced fears about Russia in the minds of foreign visitors is of violence on the streets. Thankfully, most visitors have stopped associating the […]

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‘Yaroslavl ­ graveyard of the Russian spring’

File Photo of Yevgeney Urlashov Standing Near One of His Campaign Posters

(opendemocracy.net – Elena Vlasenko – January 2, 2014) Elena Vlasenko is a Russian correspondent writing for Sovershenno Sekretno and Index on Censorship. When Yevgeny Urlashov became the democratically elected mayor of Yaroslavl, the tourist city on the Volga, he described it as the ‘birthplace of the Russian spring.’ A year later, Urlashov is in jail… Russia’s protest movement was at […]

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Russian Village Reformer Granted Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ A former painter from Moscow, whose quest to bring culture to provincial villagers resulted in a jail term for bribery, was granted parole on Tuesday. The Tver Region Court upheld a parole request filed by 36-year-old Ilya Farber, who had already spent two years and nine months behind bars. Farber left Moscow for the […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia’s Mayors Should Be Elected, Says Putin

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Mayors of Russian cities should be elected, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, following recent media speculation that direct mayoral elections could be abolished. “Mayors certainly should be only elected… The municipal level is the closest level of power to people,” Putin told journalists at his annual televised press conference. “Municipal heads should be people […]

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Interfax: Putin calls for bolstering local self-government system in Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for introducing legislative guarantees next year for establishing an independent and financially self-sufficient local self-government system in Russia. “I am addressing the All-Russian Local Self-Government Council, municipalities, governors, the Federation Council members and the Russian government: let’s look at all aspects of these problems once again so as to […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Governors and Mayors

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

Subject: No. 139:  Governors and Mayors Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 18 November 2013/No. 139 GOVERNORS AND MAYORS To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2781 Analyses Dynamics of Regional Inequality in the Russian Federation: Circular and Cumulative Causality, by David Lane, Cambridge The Revival of Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections: Liberalization […]

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Former Finance Minister Kudrin Proposes Major Reform of Law Enforcement

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 12, 2013) Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will present a proposal Monday to completely restructure Russia’s law enforcement system through the creation of independent municipal, regional and federal authorities. The reforms were formulated by The Institute for the Rule of Law at the European University in St. Petersburg and anti-corruption NGO […]

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The Other Russia

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 30, 2013) Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington described the alternative universe of the poor in the United States in his classic and transformative “The Other America.”  Now, Russian researchers are pointing to the re-emergence of what might be called “the other Russia,” those from rural areas living in the shadows in […]

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Kremlin advises municipal authorities to cooperate with NGOs

Sergei Ivanov file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Ivanov has called on the municipal authorities to cooperate with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) instead of shunning them. “You should not be afraid of NGOs. Rather, you ought to work together with them,” Ivanov said at a meeting of city mayors and city managers on Thursday. Practice shows that the municipal authorities […]

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Russians think local authorities are becoming increasingly corrupt – poll

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) – Russians believe that the degree of corruption in Russia as a whole remains high with the local authorities being the most corruption-ridden sphere, sociologists tell Interfax. Studies conducted by VTsIOM public opinion center over the years indicate that presently 80% of respondents find the current degree of corruption high while last year the opinion was […]

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Three Disturbing New Russian Legal Initiatives

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 16, 2013) The Kremlin’s moves against the principles of the Russian Constitution and basic human rights are currently coming at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up with its assault on what remains of democracy in that country. This week alone featured three initiatives that are particularly […]

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Roizman Called In for Questioning 2 Days After Mayoral Win

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 11, 2013) Opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman, who won Sunday’s mayoral vote in Yekaterinburg, was scheduled to be questioned by investigators Tuesday as a witness in a criminal case against a former employee of his City Without Drugs foundation. Roizman, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, was one of the few opposition members to win […]

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Experts Say Upcoming Elections More Competitive

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – July 26, 2013) The upcoming Sept. 8 regional elections across Russia will be more competitive than the previous ones, amid declining public support for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, experts say. Despite compounded bureaucratic obstacles for the registration of candidates, ongoing regional election campaigns show an increased outflow of candidates from the […]

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Russian Mayor Allied With Prokhorov Is Held on Suspected Bribery

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky – July 3, 2013) A Russian mayor who won a landslide victory against a candidate backed by President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party last year was detained by police on suspicion of demanding a 14 million-ruble ($421,000) kickback. Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov and two deputies threatened to stop payments to a local businessman for a […]

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Opposition Candidates Woo Municipal Deputies in Mayoral Race

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov and Natalya Krainova – June 17, 2013) In a preview of what to expect in the fight for post as Moscow mayor, several opposition candidates presented their campaign platforms to municipal deputies on Saturday in an effort to gather the required amount of deputies’ signatures to run in the election set for Sept. […]

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Moscow’s 2014 Election: Will the Democrats Unite?

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

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Vladimir Kara-Murza – May 23, 2013) Next year, Moscow will hold its legislative elections. Traditionally, elections in Russia’s capital city are considered a national event. IMR Senior Policy Advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza contends that the democratic opposition stands a significant change of success-but only if it finally manages to unite. Russian politics are made […]

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Navalny Again Calls for an End to Russian Federalism

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 28, 2013) Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny says that Russia does not need federalism and should become a unitary state in which cities rather than the current federal subjects would be the fundamental political link between individual Russian citizens and the Russian state. In an interview published in the May issue […]

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Local Self-Government Flounders in Obscurity

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – March 11, 2013) Two municipal deputies picketed outside the Moscow City Duma last month, but nobody seemed to notice. Few passers-by stopped to ask what their handmade signs meant, and only a handful of journalists showed up to record their entreaties. To be ignored, it seems, is the plight of the municipal […]

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Try being constructive: When protesters on municipal councils ‘get in the way’ of democracy

Map of Russia

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – Anna Arutunyan is the politics editor of The Moscow News – Dec. 17, 2012) I should say something about the latest anti-government protest ­ how about 2,000 people showed up to the first white-ribbon demonstration that failed to get City Hall authorization, but… snore. The rallies have disintegrated into a mere tribute […]

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