Human rights activists fear Soros Foundation to leave Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – August 3, 2015) The Soros Foundation could follow the MacArthur Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy and leave Russia, veteran of the human rights movement and head of the Civil Assistance committee Svetlana Gannushkina said. “I am afraid that the Soros Foundation is leaving Russia,” she said. According to Gannushkina, the probability exists that the Soros Foundation will […]

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Putin Hurts a Think Tank by Not Banning It

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 28, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not cunning when it comes to dealing with his adversaries. When he signed a law allowing the government to ban any nongovernmental organization deemed “undesirable,” it was clear some foreign NGOs would suffer. What was less obvious — though, in hindsight, inevitable — […]

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Interfax: Kremlin: Prohibition of NGOs’ operations in Russia does not mean restriction of access to democratic values

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – July 29, 2015) The inclusion of one or several non-governmental organizations (NGO) in a list of those whose operations on Russian territory are undesirable does not restrict access of Russian citizens to democratic values, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “It would be absolutely wrong to say that, with the prohibition of this or that organization, Russian citizens would […]

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U.S. embassy in Moscow concerned about NED’s designation as ‘undesirable organization’ in Russia

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is concerned about the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s decision to designate the U.S. nonprofit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an undesirable foreign organization in Russian territory. “We are deeply concerned about the effect of the so-called law on undesirable organizations,” U.S. embassy spokesperson Will Stevens told Interfax when asked […]

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U.S. National Endowment for Democracy declared unwelcome foreign organization in Russia

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

(Interfax – July 28, 2015) The United States’ National Endowment for Democracy has been declared an unwelcome foreign organization on Russian territory, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced on July 28. “Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Malinovsky signed a resolution declaring the National Endowment for Democracy an unwelcome foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) on Russian territory,” the agency said. The activity […]

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Russian human rights activists lodge appeals against law on “foreign agent” NGOs

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) A number of Russian human rights advocacy organizations have lodged court appeals against their classification as “foreign agents”, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 July. Earlier the Russian Justice Ministry released a statement saying it had sent messages to a number of NGOs working in the human rights sector and included on the […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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MacArthur Foundation to close office in Russia over restrictive new laws

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH, combined report – July 22, 2015) The U.S.-based MacArthur Foundation has announced that it is to cease its work in Russia in connection with new legislation that seeks to limit the activities of foreign organizations seen as a threat to national security. The MacArthur NGO, which receives no funding from […]

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Will the patriotic stop list kill Russia’s NGOs? Since 2012, Russian NGOs receiving funding from abroad have had to register as ‘foreign agents’. A new patriotic ‘stop list’ might shut this funding off forever.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Kozlov – July 22, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared in Novaya Gazeta and Lenta.ru. […]

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Human rights NGOs hope to prove they are not foreign agents after Justice Ministry warning

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

(Interfax – July 22, 2015) Leading Russian human rights organizations that have received warnings from the Justice Ministry intend to go to court to seek their removal from the register of NGOS classed as foreign agents. “We disagree with being entered on this register. We will go to court,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the committee Civil Assistance, told Interfax […]

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NEWSWATCH Deutsche Welle: Russia less-than-charitable toward charities.

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

Deutsche Welle covers governmental threats to charitable activities in Russia, including the saga of Dynasty and “foreign agent” labeling. … A law that calls those who receive funds from outside the country ‘foreign agents,’ an economic downturn that’s seen the market contract by 10 percent with no end in sight … sanctions that have seen the value of the ruble plummet to … anywhere […]

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Russian Senators Propose Ban of 12 Foreign NGOs, Reining In Civil Society

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 9, 2015) In what experts see as Moscow’s latest bid to rein in civil society, Russian senators released a list Wednesday of 12 foreign NGOs whose work they believe poses a threat to national security, and who should thus be declared “undesirable” and prohibited from operating in the country. The Federation […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian officials express “regret” over closure of prominent “foreign agent” NGO

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

(RIA Novosti – July 8, 2015) Russian officials have reacted with “regret” to the closure of the Dynasty (Dinastiya) NGO, Russian news agencies reported on 8 July. The Dynasty Foundation, headed by telecommunications tycoon and philanthropist Dmitriy Zimin, is one of major donors of academic research in Russia. In a highly controversial move, the Russian Justice Ministry has put it […]

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Russia Can No Longer Afford to Be the Militarist and Expansionist Power It has Always Been, Shevtsova Says

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2015) After a brief attempt to escape from its past in the 1990s, Russia under Vladimir Putin is “again returning to militarism … the model of existence in which Russia had existed for centuries” in order to prepare for war. No other such civilization exists in the world now, but Russia “cannot militarize as […]

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Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights slams law on “foreign agents”

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

(Interfax – Moscow, July 7, 2015) The Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights insists on the immediate cancellation of the Justice Ministry decision to include Dynasty [Dinastiya] and Liberal Mission foundations in the list of NGOs that are foreign agents and review of the law on NGOs. “Since the first days of the existence of this very approximate and therefore […]

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Federation Council to present ‘patriotic stop-list’ of 12 NGOs to Prosecutor General’s Office, Foreign Ministry

Russia Regions Map

(Interfax – July 7, 2015) The ‘patriotic stop-list’ drawn up by the Federation Council consists of twelve foreign NGOs, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has said at a press conference. “At our meeting tomorrow we will pass a related appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry and will present our patriotic stop-list consisting of twelve foreign […]

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Overwhelming Support for Putin among Russian Intelligentsia has Three Sources, Kirillova Says

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2015) There are three reasons why support for Vladimir Putin is so high even among educated Russians: fear that their country might descend into chaos without him, their lack of a positive image about the future, and a traditional Russian deference to the state on foreign policy issues, according to Kseniya Kirillova. One of […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Dismissal of American vice rector in Nizhny Novgorod causes controversy

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – July 3, 2015) The dismissal of an American lecturer from a leading position at a Russian university following an “incriminating” report on television sparked talk of an increase in the harassment of foreigners. Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce a “patriotic stop list” – a list of foreign funds […]

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Russians See Western Sanctions as Plot to Weaken Them, Poll Shows

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 30, 2015) Two out of three Russians believe that Western governments want to “weaken and humiliate” Russia with their sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, and only 5 percent think the measures are aimed at ending the bloodshed in Ukraine, a new poll indicates. Nearly half of Russians – 46 percent – […]

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Consumer-Rights Advocate Calls Putin ‘Paranoid’ After ‘Foreign-Agent’ Slur

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 24, 2015) A Russian consumer-protection group lambasted by President Vladimir Putin as a “foreign agent” after giving cautionary advice to Russians traveling to annexed Crimea has accused Putin of “paranoia” and called him “badly informed.” Mikhail Anshakov, chairman of the Moscow-based Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights (OZPP), said his […]

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Majority [of Russians] See FIFA Scandal as Attack on Russia

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – June 18, 2015) Most Russians think that corruption allegations against officials at FIFA, football’s governing body, leveled by U.S. investigators last month are an attempt to prevent Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup, according to a survey published Wednesday by state-run pollster VTsIOM. A total of 65 percent of respondents said […]

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Beleaguered Russian Science Foundation Dynasty Delays Decision on Closure

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 9, 2015) Beleaguered science organization the Dynasty Foundation, which has been grappling in recent days with whether or not to shut its doors, announced that a decision on the matter will be delayed to provide time to wrap up ongoing projects, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday. Following its inclusion on […]

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Interfax: Russians like Belarus and China, have aversion to U.S., EU and Ukraine – poll

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – June 8, 2015) Most Russians speak ill of the United States, the European Union and Ukraine and see Belarus, China and Kazakhstan as friends, the Levada Center has told Interfax. Seventy-three percent of 1,700 respondents polled in 134 populated localities on May 22-25 expressed negative feelings for the U.S., 15 percent said the opposite, and 12 percent were […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: For fear of ‘foreign agents,’ Kremlin blacklists a Russian charity

Dynasty, which promotes scientific education, is funded almost entirely by Russian communications tycoon Dmitry Zimin. Because he’s using offshore accounts to do so, he’s run afoul of Kremlin bureaucrats. Critics say it’s time for a rethink.

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Russian Rights Activist Alexeyeva Returns to Kremlin Council

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 28, 2015) One of Russia’s best-known human rights advocates and the founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, has rejoined the Kremlin’s human rights council, saying she intended to look into the persecution of nongovernmental organizations under the country’s “foreign agents” law. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday appointing […]

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Rights Groups Condemn ‘Dangerous’ Russian Undesirables Law

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) Rights groups named as potential targets of a new law allowing the government to brand international organizations “undesirable” and shutter their Russia operations have criticized the legislation, calling it a “dangerous” new weapon in a Kremlin campaign to suppress civil society. Activists expressed concern on May 26 that the […]

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Russia agrees to remove some NGOs from its “foreign agents” register

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

(Interfax – May 25, 2015) Three nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have become the first to be taken off the Russian government’s register of “foreign agents” after changes to the law made their removal possible, Interfax news agency reported on 25 May. In autumn 2014 an NGO in St Petersburg complained that it could not get itself off the register because there […]

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Dmitry Zimin plans to stop financing Dynasty Foundation

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

(Interfax – May 26, 2015) Founder of Russia’s non-profit Dynasty Foundation Dmitry Zimin has announced plans to stop providing money to the organization after it was assigned ‘foreign agent’ status by the Russian authorities. “Certainly, I will not spend my own money acting under the trademark of some unknown foreign state. I will stop funding Dynasty,” Zimin told Interfax on […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: Legally silencing Russia’s undesirables

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to […]

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More and More Russians See America as a Threat, Poll Reveals

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Gladkova – May 13, 2015) Amid soaring tensions over the Ukraine crisis, Russians have grown increasingly leery of the intentions and capabilities of the United States, according to the results of a survey released by independent pollster the Levada Center on Tuesday. According to the poll, which was conducted in April among 1,600 adults […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: A Parade Hailing Russia’s WWII Dead and Marching Further From the West

File Photo of Parade in Red Square from 2005

The New York Times covers Russia’s celebration of Victory Day amidst current international tensions. … Putin has recast what he calls the country’s most important holiday to celebrate the might of the Russian state, the days are over when … Western leaders joined Mr. Putin on the bleachers …. The nationalistic fervor surrounding the parade and the tensions over Ukraine mean that the […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians.

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

Mr. Putin’s remarks reflect a deep-seated paranoia. It would be easy to dismiss this kind of rhetoric as intended for domestic consumption, an attempt to whip up support for his war adventure in Ukraine. In part, it is that. But Mr. Putin’s assertion that the West has been acting out of a desire to sunder Russia’s power and influence is a […]

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Persecuted Russian Lawyer Finds New Ways Around Foreign Agents Label

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sergey Chernov – April 29, 2015) The life of St. Petersburg human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. After his American wife was deported as a “threat to national security” in August, the family moved to Prague, but Pavlov returns regularly to lead high-profile cases and manage a group […]

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Civil Assistance NGO defies ‘foreign agent’ status, ready to go to ECHR

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

(Interfax – April 21, 2015) The Civil Assistance human rights organization will appeal the Russian Justice Ministry’s decision to assign it ‘foreign agent’ status. “Naturally, we will lodge an appeal against this decision with the district court,” the organization’s lawyer Kirill Koroteyev has said. “We will also request a suspension of the Justice Ministrys ruling because the filing of a […]

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Experts: Putin’s New Ethnic Affairs Agency Aims to Thwart Political Threats

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to launch a government agency charged with maintaining interethnic and interfaith harmony in Russia is a bid to prevent foreign powers and internal opposition factions from seeking to exploit a weak spot in Russia’s power structure, analysts told The Moscow Times. Since the collapse of the […]

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Russians’ Hatreds Easy to Unleash But Difficult to Limit, Reverse or Overcome

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 30, 2015) Many are taking comfort in the notion that just as Russians appear to have reduced their hatred of immigrants when encouraged by the Kremlin to hate Ukrainians instead so too their hatred against the latter could be ended relatively easily if Moscow changed course — and in any case […]

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Putin Urges FSB: Harder, Faster, Stronger

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 27, 2015) Western governments will attempt to discredit and destabilize Russia, but their efforts will be futile, President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s top security officials Thursday. “We have always had and always will have a proper response to all internal and external threats to national security,” Putin told senior officers of the […]

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Putin marks 15 years in power with harangue against West

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – March 27, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 26 marked 15 years since he was elected as Boris Yeltsin’s successor by summoning the heads of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and warning them sternly that there was a western conspiracy to undermine and contain Russia. Putin struck a dark […]

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Botched Law Could Close Hundreds of Foreign Firms’ Rep Offices in Russia

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 11, 2015) Representative and branch offices of foreign companies working in Russia are in a race against time to re-register with the authorities or lose their license to operate in the country. The re-registration was intended to streamline bureaucracy for foreign firms, but organizational failures and lack of proper warning have […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New law will allow NGOs to lose ‘foreign agent’ tag – on certain conditions

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – March 3, 2015) Non-governmental organizations that were forced to register as “foreign agents” under controversial legislation will soon be able to lift that status – but only if they meet certain conditions that some NGOs say are unrealistic. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court has taken action to free NGOs from […]

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Moscow Times: Russians Increasingly Worried About Foreign Military Threat

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 24, 2015) Russians are increasingly worried about foreign states being a military threat, a new poll revealed. The independent Levada Center pollster said Saturday that 68 percent of Russians believe a foreign power threatens Russia’s national security, a 24 percentage point increase over the decade. The poll, taken Jan. 23 to 26, revealed that […]

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Interfax: Russians say external military threat has grown – poll

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Interfax – February 20, 2015) Sixty-eight percent of Russian citizens recently interviewed by the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) believe that their country faces a real military threat from outside, as compared with 52 percent of respondents in 2014, and 49 percent in 2000. Twenty-eight percent of those polled took the opposite view (42 percent in 2014). […]

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Interfax: Putin proposes bill on removing NGOs from foreign-agents list

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, Feb 4, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a bill on how to remove nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from the register of foreign agents. The bill has been registered in the lower house’s electronic database. Under the federal laws concerning public associations and NGOs functioning as a foreign agent, public associations which are legal entities and other […]

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Legislation proposes regulation of ‘undesirable’ foreign organizations

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – January 16, 2015) A bill that has passed its first reading the Russian State Duma would give the government the right to fine or ban foreign organizations it deems a security threat. Russia is trying to tighten its control over foreign organizations operating in the country. According to a […]

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Provincialism Keeping Russia from Becoming Great, Inozemtsev Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 18, 2014) Russia’s latest turn to authoritarianism and isolationism was possible because of the provincialism of its leaders and people, a sense of being on the margins of the real world and one that prevents them from achieving greatness because they are less interested in that than in “seeking to present […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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Justice Ministry Adds Moscow School to List of ‘Foreign Agents’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has added a Moscow school to the federal register of “foreign agents,” a move that the school’s founders decried as “baseless,” and vowed to fight in court. The Moscow School of Civic Education has become the 18th nongovernmental organization to wind up on the controversial list, which sees nonprofit […]

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Moscow Times: Theory Blaming West for Collapse of Soviet Union Gaining in Popularity, Poll Shows

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 3, 2014) More Russians blame the collapse of the Soviet Union on a “conspiracy” of hostile Western forces than seven years ago, in a sign the wave of anti-Western state media coverage unleashed during the Ukraine crisis is influencing Russians’ view of the past. A report published Monday by independent pollster Levada Center showed […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Vox Pop: Does Russia have friends or enemies? (video)

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Stakheev, Pavel Gazdyuk, RBTH – November 28, 2014) According to a survey that polled 1,600 people from 45 regions of Russia, 78% of respondents think that Russia has enemies. RBTH’s correspondent went out on the streets of Moscow to ask people who these enemies are and if Russia has any friends. [Video […]

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