Putin To Bail Out Russian Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 25, 2020) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with implementing a set of measures aimed at supporting the oil industry for the duration of the OPEC+ production cut agreement. According to a document published on the website of the Russian presidency, the measures include a prescription not to sanction companies that stray […]

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Pandemic has Destroyed Putin’s ‘Sacred’ Standing in the Eyes of Russians, Tsipko Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 21, 2020) Before our eyes and in a remarkably short time, Aleksandr Tsipko says, the coronavirus pandemic has destroyed the hitherto widely held belief among Russians that the fate of their country and the fate of Vladimir Putin were ineluctably intertwined and even one and the same thing. The senior Moscow […]

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Russia Demands Apology From Bloomberg Over Report About Putin’s Low Ratings

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

… The report on Bloomberg noted that only 27 percent of respondents in the poll, published on April 27, named Putin when asked to name a politician they they most trust. […]

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‘Rage Is Brewing’: Navalny Warns Of Public Anger Over Russia’s COVID-19 Response

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Russian citizens are expressing greater protest sentiment as the spread of the coronavirus and the state’s fight against it has left many people dissatisfied, including doctors and small-business owners, said one of the nation’s most influential opposition activists. […]

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2020, Intended to Be Putin’s Triumph, Becoming Instead His Waterloo, Shevtsova Says

Putin Descending a Staircase

This year was supposed to be the Kremlin’s “year of triumph,” one in which the life rule of Vladimir Putin would be confirmed, but instead, Liliya Shevtsova says, 2020 is rapidly becoming his Waterloo, a time at which both he and his system have sailed into disaster. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Economy Suffers Double Hit From Oil Slump and Coronavirus” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Georgi Kantchev

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

“As infections grow, Russia finds a shortfall in oil revenue hurts its ability to offer the kind of emergency support provided in the West.” “… [Russia’s] slump … began … when coronavirus lockdowns in China and elsewhere pushed oil prices lower. … Putin’s hesitance in joining … big producers to curtail output compounded the problem, driving oil to its lowest […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Wants Russia to Get Back to Normal. New Outbreaks Show It May Be Too Early.” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

Budget deficits are driving regions to lift quarantine restrictions. But poor data could be hiding a second coronavirus wave. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – May 21, 2020) Before 136 employees of the distribution center for the popular Krasnoe & Beloe discount liquor chain in central Russia’s Sverdlovsk region tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the region […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s GDP shrinks by 20% in April, but government maintains a triple surplus” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Russia’s nominal GDP shrank … 28%, of which two-thirds was due to the nation-wide lockdown … another third … due to … oil prices, the Ministry of Finance said …. The real contraction of the economy in April could be 20%, according to the Ministry …. [T]he government has reported … surplus[es] [for] the trade balance, currency account and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Anatomy of lies; Russia’s covid-19 outbreak is far worse than the Kremlin admits” – The Economist

Kremlin and River

“Like its Soviet predecessor, Vladimir Putin’s system is steeped in falsehoods.” “… official numbers reveal less about covid-19 than they do about Russia’s political system … like its Soviet predecessor, … saturated with lies. Russian elections throw up similarly strange graphics. Many Russian athletes … took performance-enhancing drugs … their cheating … covered up … with official connivance. … [One […]

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Global Cities Versus Russian Rustbelt Realities

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

… According to Kudrin, Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s only “global cities” and the rest of Russia’s cities are “barely noticeable on the map of the world.” …

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RUSSIALINK: “As the Coronavirus Contagion Grows in Russia, Putin’s Strongman Image Weakens” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

With an economic crisis heaving into view, the Russian president ‘looks like an old, sick wolf.’ (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – May 14, 2020) If you were taking your cues from Russia’s longtime leader Vladimir Putin this week, you would have been left thinking that the country’s worst struggles with the coronavirus pandemic were over. “Starting tomorrow, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Is a ‘Distinct Civilization,’ Putin Says” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2020) Russia is a distinct civilization that must be protected through genetics and other advanced technologies, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that aired Sunday. Putin told state television that “it would be impossible to secure the future of our civilization” without artificial intelligence, genetics and unmanned vehicles, as well as hypersonic […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia reports almost 10,600 new Covid-19 cases (+4.2%), 113 deaths in past 24 hours – HQ” – Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – Russia detected 10,598 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours [9,974 cases in 84 regions the day before], the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Friday. “Over the past day, 10,598 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 85 regions of Russia, including 4,504 active asymptomatic cases (42.5%),” the statement said. The cumulative number […]

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Russia Was Falling Apart ‘Everywhere’ When He Came to Power, Putin Says

File Photo of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 12, 2020) Vladimir Putin rose to the presidency because he restarted the Chechen war and argued that only by fighting and suppressing Chechnya could Russia retain its territorial integrity, but now he is suggesting that he feared Russia in 2000 was at risk of disintegration not just in the North Caucasus […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow shifts to new Covid-19 testing level, ELISA tests – Sobyanin” – Interfax

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, also known as ELISA, will increase the daily number of coronavirus tests carried out in Moscow to 100,000, or even 200,000, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday. “We have a new objective today: we need to achieve a new level of quality and quantity of testing using ELISA systems. Moscow […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Coronavirus crisis leaves Russian government rudderless” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy, Max Seddon

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

Prime ministerial stand-in faces task of managing pandemic while getting economy moving again ….

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Eases Nationwide Virus Lockdown as Russia Becomes 3rd Most-Infected Country” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

… Putin has eased Russia’s “non-working” period imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus even as Russia emerges as Europe’s new coronavirus hotspot. …

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Kto-Kogo: Putin vs. COVID-19

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

“… the situation could evolve in a bleaker direction, eroding Putin’s authority and enticing elites to consider alternatives, such as blocking Putin’s bid for reelection in 2024. But, for the past twenty years, Putin has been a skillful and a lucky leader. That has kept him at the top of the system. This year will tell whether his skill or his luck – or both – have run out.”

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Luis Alcalá: “Re: ‘Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows'”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings

Subject: [UTExpertsDiscGrp] Re: “Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows” Date: Thu, 7 May 2020 From: Luis Alcalá <luismalcala@gmail.com> It is a waste of time to comment on these news. In England and the USA, medical personnel commit suicide and nobody says it is the fault of Trump or Boris, but in the news about Russian suicides or accidents they […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Arrears now main threat for production chains in Russian economy – Belousov” – Interfax

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. May 6 (Interfax) – The main threat for production chains in the Russian economy is now arrears; governors must bring this problem under their supervision, said First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, who is currently acting prime minister. “Where do I see the problem? I see the problem in the fact that now, as enterprises are launched, breaks will […]

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Poll: Majority of Young Russians Distrust NATO, Don’t Consider Russia a European Country

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Schaffner, Angelina Flood – May 5, 2020) A majority of young Russians distrust NATO more than any other organization and disagree that Russia is a European country, according to a recent poll conducted by Russia’s independent Levada Center and Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation. These organizations’ research on the opinions of Russia’s “Generation Z” (aged […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As coronavirus hits record numbers in Russia, this is a dangerous moment for Putin” – CNN/ Nathan Hodge

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russia hit a grim milestone … officially recording the highest number of coronavirus cases the country has seen in a 24-hour period, with 10,633 people testing positive. … [T]he economic pain is worsening … Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state television … ‘I don’t recall anything like this,’ … adding that plummeting global oil prices — a primary source […]

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Russia To Adjust Spending On Putin’s ‘National Projects’ As Economy Hit By Coronavirus

Kremlin and River

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – May 3, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-to-adjust-spending-on-putin-s-national-projects-as-economy-hit-by-coronavirus/30590575.html) Russia may alter spending plans for a series of national goals promoted by President Vladimir Putin two years ago as the spread of the coronavirus slashes budget revenues. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on May 3 that the […]

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First Russian Opposition Online Meeting Attracts Widespread Interest and 4800 Participants

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 30, 2020) The “No!” campaign organized on YouTube a virtual protest action against the amendments to the constitution and the failure of the Kremlin to act to help the population during the pandemic. It attracted only 4800 participants but far more likes and visits, observers said. This virtual protest (youtube.com/watch?v=gYDkz-tjn7E), which […]

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Poll Finds Russians’ Trust In Putin Dips To Lowest Point In 14 Years

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

A survey by Russia’s main state-funded pollster shows that trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin fell in March to its lowest in 14 years. The poll … by … VTsIOM … showed those who chose Putin when asked to name a politician whom they trust[] dropped to 28.3 percent ….

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Censorship row threatens Russia’s top business newspaper; Journalists at Vedomosti in open revolt against new editor” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

“A row over censorship has plunged Russia’s top business newspaper into a crisis that could either see it fall under the Kremlin’s control or torpedo a deal to sell it, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy. Staff at Vedomosti are in open revolt against new acting editor Andrei Shmarov … they say he banned writing about taboo topics for […]

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Russia’s Energy Czar, Disliked And Feared, Catches Blame As Oil Prices Collapse, Venezuela Deals Crumble

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

March was the cruelest month for one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving and most hawkish confidants[,] Igor Sechin … head of state oil company Rosneft …

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin, Russia’s Man of Action, Is Passive, Even Bored, in the Coronavirus Era” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“The pandemic has derailed Vladimir V. Putin’s plans for a big military parade and a referendum extending his rule – and now knocked out his prime minister – as the Russian leader struggles to find his stride.” “This was supposed to be a moment of triumph for … Putin, a celebration of his grand successes … restoring the Russian state […]

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RUSSIALINK: “4 in 5 Young Russians Are Apolitical: Poll” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 30, 2020) More than 80% of young Russians have no interest in politics, according to a new survey on Generation Z’s values published by the Vedomosti business daily Thursday. Russian authorities have targeted the country’s youth with several initiatives, including a ban on minors attending protests, funding for military and patriotic education and a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin Using Virus Outbreak to Push Through Putin’s Reforms: Proekt” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 29, 2020) The Kremlin is attempting to take advantage of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak to maintain President Vladimir Putin’s popularity and ensure that the public votes for his constitutional reforms, the Proekt investigative outlet reported Wednesday, citing unnamed federal officials. The reforms would potentially allow Putin, 67, to extend his 20-year rule into 2036. Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economic woes will clip Vladimir Putin’s wings; Pandemic combined with collapsing oil prices spells real hardship” – Financial Times

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

“… Putin’s … oil price war with Saudi Arabia … was disastrously timed. … days before the coronavirus pandemic began forcing economies around the world into lockdown, cutting crude demand. Russia then succumbed to the virus itself. … [Putin] had to cancel a referendum to approve constitutional changes …. The IMF forecasts Russian [GDP] could contract by 5.5 per cent […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Extends Russia’s Coronavirus Lockdown as New Infections Continue to Rise” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 28, 2020) [Transcript and video in Russian: kremlin.ru/events/president/news/63288] President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday extended the national “non-working” month through May 11, warning that Russia has yet to see the peak of its coronavirus outbreak. Russia now ranks eighth in the world for coronavirus infections, with 93,558 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Tuesday. Putin originally […]

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Putin has Serious Problems But Likely Doesn’t Face the Threat Now to His Power Some Suggest

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 24, 2020) Like the leaders of all personalist regimes that have built their authority by de-institutionalizing their states, Vladimir Putin is in important ways trapped by the system that he has created. He has to constantly be seen as the demiurge; and when he doesn’t appear for a time, that alone […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Starts Drawing Up Lockdown Exit Plans; Putin’s spokesman said the situation will become ‘easier’ in June” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 27, 2020) Russia will begin drawing up lockdown exit plans to switch the economy back on, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Monday. In a meeting with ministers, Mishustin ordered various government departments to start working out how businesses could get back to work once the coronavirus pandemic becomes less severe, news site RBC reported. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia may begin easing coronavirus restrictions after May 12 – Rospotrebnadzor head” – Interfax

Russia Map

MOSCOW. April 27 (Interfax) – The restrictions introduced in Russia to slow the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic may begin to be relaxed step by step after May 12, on the condition that people strictly observe these restrictions in the beginning of May, Anna Popova, head of the Russian Federal Service for Health and Consumer Rights (Rospotrebnadzor), said in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Coronavirus Could Imperil Putin’s Presidency” – Wall Street Journal/ Leon Aron

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Russia entered the crisis with a stagnant economy, and its oil-price war with the Saudis isn’t helping. “… the pandemic could hardly have come at a worse time …. Russia entered the crisis in a weakened state. Its longest stagnation in modern history …. 12%[] were below the subsistence minimum …. Most of the impoverished were working. … Rosstat, reported […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Made men; The enduring grip of the men-and mindset-of the KGB” – The Economist

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

A meticulous account of Vladimir Putin’s consolidation of power in Russia. “… as [Catherine] Belton shows [in Putin’s People], the continuity between the Soviet agency that nurtured … Putin as a young officer, and the security-based behemoths that bestride today’s Russia lies less in institutions than in mentality. … that believes anybody can be turned; that advantage can be sought […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Easter in Russia: Between Church and State, a New Divide Has Risen” – NYU Jordan Center/ Kathryn David

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

“… The enormous variances in how priests chose to observe Easter this year in Russia hints at the broader context that frames the divide between those following church-related COVID restrictions and those ignoring them: the complex relationship between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian state. While many commentators have remarked on the tight partnership between the church and state in […]

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Pandemic has Changed Russians, But Can It Change Russia?

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 17, Issue 54 –  Paul Goble – April 21, 2020) The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed Russians more fundamentally than any past revolution. In particular, the government’s response and the changes in day-to-day life for the average Russian has destroyed traditional widespread faith in society that Russia’s authorities are omnipotent while […]

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The Devil and Mr. Putin

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

Subject: The Devil and Mr. Putin Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2020 From: Norman Pereira <9ngop6@gmail.com> The Devil and Mr. Putin By Norman Pereira Professor Emeritus, Department of History, Dalhousie University The post-Soviet era presents new challenges for the student of Russian history. It is not difficult to find fault with the USSR over the course of its seventy plus years’ […]

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Lenin At 150: Even Without COVID-19, Russia Was Set To Snub The Soviet Union’s Founder

Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square, Kremlin Walls

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Sergei Medvedev, Robert Coalson – MOSCOW, April 21, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/lenin-at-150-even-without-covid-19-russia-was-set-to-snub-the-soviet-union-s-founder/30568383.html) When the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth rolled around in 1970, the Soviet Union pulled out all the stops to mark the occasion. Commemorative stamps were printed; coins were minted; medals […]

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‘While Russians Maintain Social Distancing, Putin Keeps Political Distancing’ — from Problems, People and Elites, Pastukhov Says

Putin at Desk

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 17, 2020) For the first time, it is extremely difficult to locate the exact position of Vladimir Putin on the political map of Russia, Vladimir Pastukhov says, and consequently, Russians and others concerned about Russia are focusing on those whose positions they can see more clearly. But the University College of […]

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The Week In Russia: The Coronavirus And Kremlin Control

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

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – April 17, 2020 – article text also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/week-in-russia-coronavirus-kremlin-control-putin/30561478.html) When Russian President Vladimir Putin was cracking down on opponents, critics, and protesters dismayed by his return to the Kremlin in 2012, I asked the human rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva how far he would go […]

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Russians See Putin as More of a Champion of the Oligarchs, Polls Show

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Angelina Flood, Simon Saradzhyan – April 15, 2020) Angelina Flood is the assistant editor for Russia Matters. Simon Saradzhyan is the founding director of Russia Matters. Russians have come to think that President Vladimir Putin represents the interests of oligarchs above everyone else, according to the latest Levada Center poll. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “In 4th Coronavirus Address, Putin Calls for Stronger Business Support” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 15, 2020) President Vladimir Putin announced a new package of measures to support Russia’s businesses hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday. In the Russian president’s fourth televised statement in as many weeks about the coronavirus pandemic, he promised direct financial support to businesses hit hardest by the nationwide lockdown, including […]

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As Economic Crisis Deepens, More Russians Say Putin Defends the Interests of the Oligarchs than Say He Supports Those of the Siloviki

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 12, 2020) Something remarkable has happened: For the first time since he became president, more Russians say that Vladimir Putin works to defend the interests of the oligarchs than the number who say he defends the positions of the siloviki, according to a Levada Center poll reported by Vedomosti. The percentage […]

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Referendum on Russian Constitutional Amendments Raises Ever More Questions

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 10, 2020) Because of the pandemic, the Kremlin has delayed its plans for a constitutional amendment referendum from April 22 to some as yet unspecified date in the future, a delay that has not calmed but rather intensified discussions about it, both political and technical, Yuliya Krivonosova says. The Moscow journalist […]

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RUSSIALINK: “How Do Moscow’s Coronavirus Lockdown Passes Work?” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 13, 2020) Moscow is tightening its lockdown with digital passes this week as the Russian capital’s coronavirus count surpassed 10,000 cases and officials warned of a continued influx of patients. Here’s an overview of what the citywide pass system means for Muscovites’ everyday life: When does it start? Digital passes will become mandatory this […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Happens if Putin Gets Coronavirus? Who take over the Russian Government? What is the line of succession?” – The National Interest/ Charlie Gao

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

“… While many countries have a clear ‘line of succession’ …. [f]or Russia, this line of succession is not clear beyond the first step, which is the prime minister assuming the duties of the president. But recent measures in response to COVID may provide some level of insight …. Most leaders in Russia are still out and about, making statements […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Coronavirus Upends Putin’s Political Agenda in Russia” – AP

Kremlin and River

“… A nationwide vote on April 22 was supposed to finalize sweeping constitutional reforms that would allow [Putin] to stay in power until 2036 …. But after the coronavirus spread in Russia, that plebiscite had to be postponed – an action so abrupt that billboards promoting it already had been erected in Moscow and other big cities. Now under threat […]

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