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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Interfax: Two thirds of Russians take positive view of police, many ready to help – poll

Russian Riot Police file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The attitude of Russians to police has improved lately, the Public Opinion Foundation said. “There has been an improvement of every essential parameter of personal security and police performance during nationwide monitoring; the situation looks better in 2013 than it was throughout the entire period of monitoring since 2009,” the Foundation said in a press […]

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Business Leaders Ask Putin to Review Tax Case Authority

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – November 7, 2013) Prominent members of the business community have sent an appeal to President Vladimir Putin asking for a reevaluation of amendments to the Criminal Code, which Putin himself submitted to the State Duma on Oct. 11, Vedomosti reported Thursday. The amendments would authorize investigators to open tax cases at their […]

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RIA Novosti: Bribery, Arrests Among Language Topics in Textbook for Migrants

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ “Why are you arresting me?” “Isn’t it just easier to give money to the policeman?” “What do you do if the police beat you?” Practice conversations in a special Russian language-learning textbook ­ handed out at an experimental new cultural integration center for migrants ­ focus on topics considered most relevant to guest workers […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Fires Slew of Top Interior Ministry Officials

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed a number of senior Interior Ministry officials on Wednesday, including the police head of the Moscow district that was the scene of violent nationalist riots earlier this month. Putin dismissed Alexander Podolny, the police chief of Moscow’s southern administrative district, from his post effective immediately, according to a Kremlin […]

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RIA Novosti: ‘Foreign Agent’ NGO Forced to Stop Work in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

KOSTROMA, October 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Russian rights organization that promoted public initiatives said Tuesday that it was suspending operations because it is unable to pay a $9,000 fine imposed for failing to register as a “foreign agent.” The NGO, based in the central Kostroma Region, said it was able to raise 100,000 rubles ($3,000) to pay a fine […]

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Interfax: Opinion polls mirror improved public attitude to police – Interior Ministry

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Interfax – October 24, 2013) The number of Russians who claim that the police are one of the worst corrupt authorities has declined over the past year, a source from the Russian Interior Ministry told Interfax, referring to a Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) poll. “Currently, this opinion is expressed by 19 percent of the respondents. The indicator stood […]

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FSB wants to record Internet communications

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yaroslava Kiryukhina, RBTH – October 23, 2013) Just several months after granting temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia prepares to implement electronic surveillance that looks similar to the infamous PRISM. But is it actually the same? Russia’s Communications Ministry has drafted an order that would require Internet providers to install monitoring […]

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Police find 2,000 flats with illegal migrants in Moscow’s Biryulyovo

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 23, 2013) Police have uncovered some 2,000 apartments housing illegal migrants in the southern Moscow district of Biryulyovo, where nationalist riots broke out earlier this month over the stabbing death of a Russian by a suspected foreigner. The figures were the latest in an ongoing crackdown on migrants in the wake […]

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Russian Rights Council Asks Prosecutor To Suspend Checks On NGOs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – October 21, 2013) The Russian presidential human rights council has sent a letter to Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka, asking for checks on NGOs to be suspended until a complaint about the law “On foreign agents” is considered in the Constitutional Court, council head Mikhail Fedotov told state news agency RIA Novosti on 21 October. “Today we sent a […]

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Investigators think Orhan Zeynalov driven by hooliganism to kill Biryulyovo resident

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 21, 2013) Orhan Zeynalov was driven by hooliganism when he murdered resident of Moscow’s Biryulyovo district Yegor Shcherbakov, the Russian Investigative Committee said. “Zeynalov has been charged with committing a murder driven by hooliganism,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Friday. According to investigators’ information, “Zeynalov denies the charges brought against him, and, as […]

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Migrant raids in Moscow largely waste of time

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief, October 18, 2013) The weekly sweeps targeting illegal migrants in Moscow are certainly an ambitious project. It’s just too bad that they won’t do much good. The police plan on going door-to-door, to find out exactly where and from whom that migrants are renting living space, according to Moscow Police Chief […]

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Police to Raid Migrants’ Apartments Every Friday

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – October 21, 2013) In the latest step by authorities to fight unlawful immigration following an anti-migrant riot earlier this month, the city’s police chief said that Moscow police will raid apartments reportedly occupied by illegal migrants every Friday until the end of the year. The initiative, announced by top cop Anatoly Yakunin […]

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Ethnic Tensions Still High In Moscow In Wake Of Suspected Killer’s Arrest

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg and Arifa Kazimova – October 16, 2013) Footage detailing the heavy-handed arrest of an Azerbaijani native suspected of killing a Russian man in Moscow has escalated mounting ethnic tensions between the two nations. Russian police detained Orkhan Zeynalov on October 15 on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 25-year-old ethnic Russian man, Yegor Shcherbakov, in […]

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Biryulyovo Killing Suspect Confesses, Investigators Say

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 17, 2013) The Azeri suspect in a deadly stabbing that triggered an anti-migrant riot in Moscow’s Biryulyovo district has confessed to the killing and requested an interpreter for his case, saying he “forgot Russian,” investigators said Wednesday. The news of the apparent language barrier further emphasizes the ethnic dimension of the […]

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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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Police Detain Suspect in Biryulyovo Killing

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 16, 2013) Police on Tuesday detained the suspect in a killing that provoked a wave of ethnically charged riots in Moscow’s Western Biryulyovo district on Sunday. The alleged murderer, Orkhan Zeinalov, 30, who came to Moscow more than 10 years ago from the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, was detained 100 […]

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Nationalist Riots In Moscow Send Fear Through Muslim Migrant Communities

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, October 14, 2013) Moscow’s migrant workers have seen this story before and they believe they have reason to be afraid. When an unidentified man — believed to be from the Caucasus — stabbed and killed a young ethnic Russian on October 10, triggering the capital’s worst ethnic riots in three years, police […]

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Alekseyeva backs police actions in Biryulyovo

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 14, 2013) Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, said the police officers ‘ actions during riots in the Moscow district Western Biryulyovo were right. “In this case, what has occurred should be classified as hooliganism. It truly was hooliganism, and the law enforcement agencies should punish the perpetrators,” Alekseyeva told Interfax on Monday. […]

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Moscow – Riots and Working Class Antiheroes

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News – October 15, 2013) There is a kind of sad poetry to Moscow’s working class neighborhoods. The box-like Khrushchev-era buildings that seem like gigantic children’s toys rather than real housing, the hilariously poor grammar on thousands of tacked up advertisements, the cracked pavement, the whispering trees, and  the stars […]

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RIA Novosti: 1,200 Detained at Vegetable Warehouse Targeted in Anti-Migrant Riots

Kremlin and St. Basil's

[Video here http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131014/184131781/380-Held-Overnight-After-Anti-Migrant-Riot-in-Moscow-Suburb.html] (RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 14, 2013) ­ Russian police said Monday that 1,200 people had been detained at a vegetable warehouse in a Moscow suburb that was one of the main targets of anti-migrant rioters during a night of violent clashes in the area. Helicopters and over a thousand police officers were dispatched to Biryulyovo in […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Parliamentary Committee Approves NGO Snap-Check Bill

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, September 18, 2013) ­ A relevant parliamentary committee on Wednesday recommended that lawmakers pass a bill providing additional grounds for unscheduled checks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The committee for public unions and organizations recommended that the bill, submitted by the Russian government in June, be passed in its first reading. According to the bill, grounds for […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Prosecutors Probe Opposition Figure for ‘Extremism’

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RIA Novosti – YAROSLAVL, September 17, 2013) ­ Russian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov is under investigation for publicly inciting “extremist activity,” local prosecutors told RIA Novosti Tuesday. Prosecutors in Yaroslavl did not indicate which statements concerned them, but Boris Nemtsov, who is co-leader of the Parnas opposition party and a local lawmaker, links this to […]

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Russian and U.S. Authorities Could Look Into Extradition

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 12, 2013) Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office and the U.S. Justice Department have agreed to sign a memorandum on cooperation in order to work together on criminal matters, in a move that could put the thorny issue of extradition between the two countries up for discussion. The agreement was reached at a meeting that took […]

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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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Moscow Gives Office to Evicted Human Rights NGO

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, September 5, 2013) ­ The Moscow authorities have donated an office to a Russian human rights NGO, a source in the city administration told RIA Novosti Thursday, after it was evicted from its previous home in July. The For Human Rights movement’s new downtown office will be free of charge to the organization for 49 years, […]

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Uralkali Arrest Ratchets Up Moscow-Minsk Tension

Belarus Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 28, 2013) The Russian Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that detention of the chief executive of potash giant Uralkali in Minsk could cause Moscow’s relations with Belarus to deteriorate as the conflict takes on political overtones. Putting Vladislav Baumgertner in a pretrial detention facility is “unacceptable” and “doesn’t comply with friendly relations […]

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Russian rights watchdog head queries security service anonymous tip-off proposal

File Photo of Partial FSB Headquarters Building Facade

(Interfax – August 21, 2013) A proposal that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) should react to anonymous tip-offs could lead to an increase in such messages and would in practice duplicate work done by the police, Tatyana Lokshina, head of Human Rights Watch’s Moscow bureau, told Interfax news agency on 21 August.(1) On the same day, government-owned Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya […]

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No political will to find rights activist Estemirova’s real murderers – activists

File Photo of Flowers and Photo of Natalya Estemirova

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 15, 2013) Russian human rights activists do not believe the murder of Memorial center activist Natalya Estemirova in Grozny is being properly investigated and say there is no political will to find the actual murderers. “It is certain that there is no political will to solve this case,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the Civil Assistance […]

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Apartment Raid Leaves Navalny Supporters Baffled

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – August 15, 2013) Supporters of mayoral hopeful Alexei Navalny on Wednesday were struggling to find answers over an incident that took place Tuesday evening that saw police force their way into a central Moscow apartment to seize what they said were illegal campaign materials. In a statement released Wednesday, police explained the […]

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Russian nationalism: tip of the iceberg

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – August 5, 2013) Every few years, the specter of Russian nationalism rears its head, sending people who think they understand a thing or two about this country screaming in horror in all directions. The reason, I think, is that in Western democracies, “nationalism” is understood as a chauvinistic sense of supremacy that […]

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RIA Novosti: Activists Who Reported ‘Putin’s Palace’ Jailed for Extortion

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 5, 2013) ­ Four environmental activists in southern Russia have been given lengthy jail terms for extorting money from a real estate developer, though they denied the accusations, Russian media reported. Four employees of the Gelendzhik Human Rights Center in the Krasnodar Region were given jail terms of between eight and 13 years in a […]

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‘Foreign Agents’ fight for survival

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Yuri Dzhibladze – July 30, 2013) Yuri Dzhibladze is founder and president of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy NGO. The Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights has achieved much in fifteen years, but now, like so many NGOs, it has been branded a ‘foreign […]

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Let’s Say “No” to the Erosion of the Constitution

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – July 29, 2013) Russia’s leading legal experts have published an open address in which they detail the threats to the country’s constitutional order. IMR Advisor Ekaterina Mishina, a co-signatory of the address, emphasizes that, for the lawyers, to point out the dangers of the current situation is a professional, civic, […]

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Intel, IBM Feel Putin Pinch as Medvedev Tech Hub Falters

Skolkovo File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik & Jason Corcoran – July 17, 2013) When Russian agents stormed the downtown offices of the Skolkovo technology hub being built near Moscow on April 18, a startled Intel Corp (INTC). executive got caught up in the raid. Dusty Robbins, head of global programs for the world’s largest chipmaker, was forced to […]

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Russian NGOs received over 30 billion rubles of financing in six months – Prosecutor General

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – July 9, 2013) Over 2,000 non-governmental organizations (NGO) operating in Russia received over 30 billion rubles since the new law on NGOs came into effect, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said. “Since the law came into effect – since November 2012 until April 2013 – NGOs received generally (…) 30.8 billion rubles,” Chaika told Russian President Vladimir Putin. […]

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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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Police Raid Academy of Sciences in Illegal Immigration Sweep

Adaptions of Image from Livermore.gov of Element 118 Atoms

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 5, 2013) ­ Russia’s prestigious Academy of Sciences, whose members are currently engaged in a fierce battle against government-proposed reforms, found itself under fire yet again Friday when police raided the basement of its Moscow headquarters for illegal immigrants. After receiving a tip-off late Thursday that the basement was being used as a makeshift hostel, […]

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Pressure ratchets up on major Russian NGO

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, RBTH – July 1, 2013) The Movement For Human Rights is among dozens of organizations teetering on the brink of a shutdown for protesting new legislation on NGOs and the first one that authorities have evicted by force. Lev Ponomarev, a 71-year-old human rights activist, is going through a hard time […]

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Leading Russian Internet Companies Object To New Anti-Piracy Law

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, June 27, 2013) Russian internet companies have published an open letter against the “anti-piracy” bill, which was approved by the senators on Wednesday (26 June). It was posted on the website of the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC). The authors of the appeal are Mail.ru Group, Yandex, Afisha-Rambler-SUP, Google Russia, Ozon.ru, the Association of Internet […]

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Moscow Prosecutors to Look into NGO Eviction

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Moscow prosecutors have launched a probe into Saturday’s eviction of a Russian human rights organization from its office, a Moscow deputy prosecutor said on Wednesday. “The city’s prosecutor instructed to probe actions by Moscow Mayor’s office officials and by police officers,” Moscow First Deputy Prosecutor Alexander Kozlov said, adding that prosecutors would also […]

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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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Participant in Yukos case expertise says it was purely non-profit and voluntary

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 25, 2013) Mikhail Subbotin, a participant in the public expertise of the second Yukos case and senior scholar from the Institute of Economics and International Relations, who is expected at the Investigative Committee on Wednesday, has drawn a parallel between the current case of experts and “doctors’ plot” at the end of the Stalin era. “It […]

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Billionaire to Pay Lease for Evicted Human Rights Group

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 25, 2013) ­ Russian billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov, who leads the Civil Platform party, will donate 1.5 million rubles ($45,870) to pay the annual rent for a Russian human rights group evicted from its office last weekend, a party member said on Tuesday. Prokhorov made his pledge at a meeting with Lev Ponomaryov, leader of the […]

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Yukos Report Authors to Face Questioning

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 25, 2013) Two of the co-authors of the expert report into the second Yukos case have been asked to attend interviews by the Investigative Committee, a news report said Tuesday. Lawyer Mikhail Subbotin told Kommersant that he would attend an interview Wednesday, while earlier this week it was reported that former Constitutional Court Judge […]

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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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Unscheduled inspections trigger push to amend NGO law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – June 18, 2013) The Law on Nongovernmental Organizations will be adjusted and its provisions dealing with unscheduled inspections will be amended, the Russian government said on its website citing its resolution of June 17. Article 32 will be amended and it will list the following reasons for ordering unscheduled inspections on nonprofit organizations: expiration of the deadline for […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Praises Russia’s ‘Liberal’ NGO Legislation

Vladimir Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti – NOVO-OGARYOVO, June 14, 2013) ­ Russian legislation regarding non-governmental organizations is far more liberal that of other countries, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, in an implicit response to Western criticism that recent Russian legislation on NGOs is too restrictive. “Our legislation is more liberal,” he said in Moscow at a meeting of the Civil 20, the arm […]

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Law on NGOs-foreign agents must be nullified, not elaborated – Memorial head

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 14, 2013) Head of a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) in Russia, the Historical, Enlightenment and Human Rights Society Memorial, Arseny Roginsky, said he did not see any sense in elaborating the law obliging NGOs with foreign financing to register as foreign agents. “It is impossible to elaborate this law. It violates the right on freedom of […]

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