RUSSIALINK: “In Quotes: Putin Speaks on State of the Nation” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 21, 2021) Russian President Vladimir Putin is addressing the nation in the annual speech to the Federal Assembly as tensions brew at home and abroad. The Russian president’s address to lawmakers and regional heads comes hours before planned nationwide protests in support of hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, whose failing health in prison has […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “My Latest” — “When Activists Become Elected Officials: Two Governance Strategies”

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

Subject: My latest Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2021 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> When Activists Become Elected Officials: Two Governance Strategies By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova Has lived in Siberia since 1992. Was a community development activist for 20 years. Currently, focuses on research and writing. For PONARS Eurasia Online Workshop on Social Activism Thanks to the PONARS scholars who so generously offered […]

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‘Why Don’t You Like Putin?’: Russian Students Pay A Heavy Price For Political Protests

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

… In the weeks since the demonstrations, local officials … have cracked down on young people … who participated …. Many have found themselves facing expulsion from their educational institutions, serious criminal charges, or … both […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Central Bank sees no risks in disconnecting Russia from international payment systems; it would be very unfavorable for them – CBR first deputy governor” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) does not see any risks in disconnecting Russia from the international payment systems, as this would be unfavorable for them, CBR first deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova said during a briefing on Wednesday. “If we are talking about the current situation, then I believe that it is rather calm and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Receives Second Coronavirus Vaccine Dose” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 14, 2021) President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that he has received his second Covid-19 vaccine shot with one of Russia’s domestically developed jabs and that he hoped Russians would follow his example. Putin, 68, received his first dose on March 23. “I want to inform you that right now, before entering this room, I […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “House of the dead: Does the Kremlin want Alexei Navalny to die in prison? It is beginning to look like it” – The Economist

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

“… Putin may have hoped that locking up … political opponent [Navalny] in a harsh [Pokrov] penal colony would finally put him out of sight and out of mind. … [Navalny] has been on a hunger strike … protesting … the appalling conditions of his confinement … deprived … of sleep and … medical care. … [with] a fever and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Virus-Driven Migrant Shortage Keeps Russia From ‘Ambitious Plans’ – Kremlin” – Moscow Times

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

… Russia’s government estimates … the country’s population decline hit a 15-year high in 2020, driven by record-setting excess deaths and outmigration linked to Covid-19 border closures […]

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U.S. Vows ‘Consequences’ for Russian Actions

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(Voice of America – Ken Bredemeier – WASHINGTON, March 28, 2021) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there will be “costs and consequences” for Russia for its allegedly malign activities against the United States. “We will take the steps necessary to defend our interests” at the time of the U.S.’s choosing, Blinken said in a CNN interview that aired […]

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Russia’s Navalny Says Risks Solitary Confinement Over Prison Infractions

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

Jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny says he fears the possibility of solitary confinement in a punishment cell after being accused of minor infractions. … six reprimands within two weeks at the correctional colony where he is being held. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin felt minor side effects from COVID-19 vaccine – Ifax” – Reuters

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

“… Putin said … he … experienced minor side effects from the coronavirus vaccine … Interfax … reported, citing a TV interview. [According to Putin, symptoms included] ‘… slight pain in [his] muscles[,] … [but his] temperature was normal,’ …. [with] an uncomfortable feeling on the [injection] site …. Putin did not reveal which of three Russian vaccines he [received] […]

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Russian Oversight Commission Meets Navalny In Prison

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

Members of the Public Oversight Commission in the Vladimir Region have met with jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny following … complaints about … declining health and poor medical treatment […]

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Putin Regime Rests Less on Support than on Absence of Resistance, Lev Gudkov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, March 26, 2021) Vladimir Putin’s continued high ratings and the absence of any mass willingness to protest against him reflect less unqualified support for his person and policies than the absence of alternative leaders and the continuing impact of traditional Russian attitudes about a national leader, Lev Gudkov says. Even Russians who […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Facing Heightened Threats, Russia’s Main Independent Paper Contemplates a Bleak Future” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Woman's Hands Typing on Computer Keyboard, adapted from image at fbi.gov

The latest attack on Novaya Gazeta is making some of its editors wonder how long it can survive in the country. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Pjotr Sauer – March 25, 2021) On the way to work at Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta last Monday morning, journalists noticed a strong chemical stench on the street outside their central Moscow […]

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In Russia’s Provinces, Navalny’s Besieged Movement Says It’s ‘Again Gathering Force’

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

… [Navalny’s supporters] have been systematically targeted with raids, criminal charges, and police beatings …. [H]is team … announced … 10 new regional offices to add to its Russia-wide network … [to] investigate local corruption, organize protests, and contest elections […]

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The Dzerzhinsky Discord: Who Will Fill the Vacancy in Lubyanka Square?

FSB Headquarters file photo

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo – Maria Lipman – March 19, 2021) Maria Lipman is an affiliate of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) and the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia) at George Washington University. For about a decade, negative, anti-Western, and anti-liberal ideological trends have been on the rise in […]

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

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

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

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JRL RUSSIALINK: “Katherine Zubovich’s Magnificent ‘Moscow Monumental’; The story of Moscow’s skyscrapers and the lives they changed” – Moscow Times

Moscow State University file photo

“In its 874-year history, Moscow has grown from an obscure twelfth-century military outpost into a world-class capital city of over 20 million inhabitants. Along the way, the city has been reinvented over and over to suit the needs of its rulers. Ivan the Great made Moscow “The Third Rome” after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, raising stone cathedrals inside […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Could Putin Launch Another Invasion?” – Politico/ Leon Aron

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“The same factors that led up to his incursion into Ukraine are in place again, including domestic protests, a struggling economy and a desire for glory” “… [O]n the seventh anniversary of the Crimean Anschluss, many of the same vectors that produced the invasion of Ukraine are here again. … There are at least two reasons for Putin to be […]

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Putin’s New Authoritarianism Existential Threat to Russia and the West, Skobov Says

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

… Skobov says … Putin’s new authoritarianism reflects … worldwide trends and specific Russian realities … a far more dangerous threat to Russia and the West than many imagine … fundamentally different from … authoritarianisms of the past […]

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VIDEO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Putin keeps his grip over Russia, even with support waning” – ABC

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

“How much of a challenge does Alexey Navalny pose to the Russian leader?” “[VIDEO FOLLOWS BELOW:] … [After] Navalny … survived a nerve agent poisoning … [and returned to] Moscow … The Kremlin[] … swiftly sentenced [him] to … prison in a trial condemned internationally as … politically motivated. … [Subsequent] large protests … were swiftly and robustly suppressed … […]

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Navalny Moved To Penitentiary In Pokrov, Says Russian News Agency

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

Russia state news outlet TASS has been reporting that opposition politician Aleksei Navalny is being held in a penitentiary in … Pokrov, though the anti-corruption campaigner’s staff say they have not received official confirmation of his whereabouts […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The brutal third act of Vladimir Putin; After eras of prosperity and patriotism, Russia’s president is now ramping up repression to hold on to power” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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

“… For Russians … oppos[ing] Putin, Navalny’s imprisonment represents a bellwether moment … long expected and feared. … [A] forceful, sweeping effort to tighten political freedoms … signposts a new era for a regime … extending into its third decade. … Putin’s rule … propped up first by economic prosperity … then … pugnacious patriotism, now pivot[s] to repression as […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘We Need Our Government’: Surging Food Prices Put Kremlin on Edge” – Moscow Times

Wheat in Field, adapted from image at usda.gov

Food prices are rising fast in Russia and the government has rolled out temporary price caps, but discontent is simmering. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell, Uliana Pavlova – March 12, 2021) Lyubov, a 59-year-old pensioner doing her weekly shop, doesn’t know why her Russian state pension isn’t going as far as it used to, but is sure the […]

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Young Russians Want a Normal Country, Not One Based on the Past or Some Ideological Vision

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

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, March 5, 2021) The “We Speak Russian” blog suggests younger Russians reject both a Russia modeled on the past as offered by “state father” Putin and “the beautiful Russia of the future” modeled on an ideological vision as offered by Aleksey Navalny. Instead, the rising generation wants “a normal Russia” (echo.msk.ru/blog/govorimporusski/2800326-echo/). Young […]

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Top Moscow Police Official Rejects Criticism Over Excessive Use Of Force Against Navalny Supporters

Flashlight and Beam file photo, adapted from image from lbl.gov

… More than 10,000 … were detained across Russia during the protests, sparking an international outcry over what rights groups and some Western governments called tactics of intimidation and the use of excessive force [… ]

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Navalny’s Team Looks To Expand Ahead Of September Parliamentary Polls In Russia

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

… Navalny’s team has announced plans to open offices in 10 cities where it believes the ruling United Russia party is most vulnerable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians name rising prices as the main problem facing society” – Meduza

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Russians consider rising prices the main problem facing their society, according to survey data from the independent Levada Center shared with Meduza. This opinion was held by 58 percent of survey respondents. … Those surveyed also named poverty (40 percent), corruption (39 percent), and rising unemployment (36 percent) as important issues. … Bloomberg listed Russia among ‘five hotspots’ where rising […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Leans On Twitter to Delete Content; Accusations by communications regulator could subject platform to fines” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Ann M. Simmons, Nonna Fomenko

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Russia’s communications watchdog accused Twitter … of violating Russian law … failing to delete banned content …, putting more pressure on a platform used by Kremlin opposition activists …. [The Russian government asserts that] [i]f the company fails to remove the content it could face fines of $100,000 or more …. [and for] a second offense, the fine is increased […]

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Navalny’s Movement Faces Tough Obstacles To Expanding Into Russia’s North Caucasus

Caucasus Mountains Satellite Image

Although Navalny’s team has long touted ambitions to become a truly national movement in opposition to the rule of longtime authoritarian President Vladimir Putin, the movement has made no inroads in the North Caucasus […]

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Nicolai Petro: “New book by Marlene Laruelle [‘Is Russia Fascist? Unraveling Propaganda East and West’]”

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

Subject: New book by Marlene Laruelle Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2021 From: Nicolai Petro <npetro@uri.edu> Dear David, I think JRL readers would be interested to learn about Marlene Laruelle’s new book. Here is an excerpt from the Cornell web page: Is Russia Fascist? Unraveling Propaganda East and West by Marlene Laruelle | Hardcover | Cornell University Press Publication date: 03/15/2021 […]

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Navalny’s Failure To Renounce His Nationalist Past May Be Straining His Support

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – MOSCOW, Feb. 25, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/navalny-failure-to-renounce-nationalist-past-support/31122014.html) An assassination attempt made Aleksei Navalny into a globally recognized dissident, a Russian opposition leader whom German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited in his Berlin hospital room and who collaborated with leading Western news outlets […]

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Putin’s Speech to Chekists Highlights His Increased Focus on Domestic Opponents and Foreign Enemies

FSB Headquarters file photo

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Feb. 25, 2021) Vladimir Putin’s speeches to the FSB are often the most important he delivers because he speaks more frankly and openly to his colleagues in the security agency and thus signals what his real thinking is and where he is heading, Moscow commentator Roman Popkov says. In these speeches, Putin […]

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‘Enemy Of My Enemy:’ In Ukraine, Mixed Feelings About Kremlin Foe Navalny

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

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dan Peleschuk – KYIV, Feb. 24, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/navalny-ukraine-attitudes-mixed-feelings-russia-nationalism-putin/31120106.html) Few patriots would appreciate an outsider comparing a chunk of their country to finger food. But when Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny did just that to Ukrainians in 2014 — saying that Moscow-annexed Crimea […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Navalny and the Kremlin: Politics and Protest in Russia” – NYU Jordan Center, Columbia University Harriman Institute

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

“On February 1st, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on Alexei Navalny as part of the New York–Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Yana Gorokhovskaia, Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia; Pjotr Sauer, Journalist at the Moscow Times; Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Reader in Russian Politics at King’s College London; and Aleksandra Urman, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Communication and […]

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COVID-19 in Russia: What Russians Expected, What They Got, and What They Think About It

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo – Sarah Wilson Sokhey – Feb, 22, 2021) Sarah Wilson Sokhey is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. The coronavirus pandemic in Russia posed the same myriad challenges as in many countries: a devastating loss of life, strained healthcare resources, and an economic crisis. In Russia’s case, the pandemic also came at […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin: Attempts to meddle in Russia’s sociopolitical affairs from outside have no prospects” – Interfax

Putin at Desk

MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) – The line that is being pursued by some foreign countries to interfere in Russia’s sociopolitical affairs has no prospects, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We’ve been exposed to a purposeful information campaign involving categorical and unwarranted accusations on a whole variety of issues. Even some absurd and ridiculous conspiracy theories have been employed in an […]

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Russians Want Moscow to Spend Less on Military and More on Domestic Needs, Higher School of Economics Poll Shows

Cash, Calculator, Pen

[According to polls,] more Russians now than two years ago want their government to spend more on healthcare and education and only half as many want it to devote more money to defense and security […]

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Most Russians Can’t or Won’t Rate Lenin but Overwhelmingly Oppose Taking Down Monuments to Him

Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square, Kremlin Walls

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton – Feb. 17, 2021) In most other former Soviet republics, people favor taking down statues of Lenin or renaming any place or street bearing his name – Ukraine, for example, has completed these tasks (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/01/last-lenin-statue-in-ukraine-falls.html). But a new Public Opinion Poll suggests Russians have a very different view. It found that while […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Has One of the World’s Highest Excess Death Rates. Why Aren’t Russians Angrier?” – Moscow Times

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

… A Russian tendency to place less value on human life than people in more developed countries may also play a role in the tendency to accept large numbers of Covid-19 fatalities […]

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