Russian Village Reformer Granted Parole

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

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Putin calls for liberal reforms

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG – December 13, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his state of the nation speech on December 12 where he laid out his plans for the coming year. In a nutshell he called for decentralisation and for the regions to take more responsibility for promoting their local economies. These speeches are important […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Governors and Mayors

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

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

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Interfax: Putin: direct gubernatorial elections a key political trend but specific features of regions must be taken into account

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

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – Direct elections of governors will remain a key provision of the Russian electoral system, President Vladimir Putin President Vladimir Putin has said. “The right of voters to elect the heads of regions is the main political trend. We will undoubtedly follow it,” he said at a Wednesday meeting with the leaders of nonparliamentary parties in […]

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Russia Can Escape Crisis Only by Ending Hyper-Centralization, Zubarevich Says

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 19, 2013) Russia’s regions are overwhelmingly in a deep crisis, the result of a confluence of factors that can be overcome only by ending “hyper-centralization,” restoring budgetary federalism, and somehow reversing the “degradation” and rapacity of the Moscow elite and its faith in gigantist projects, according to Natalya Zubarevich. In a […]

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The Other Russia

File Photo of Car on Road in Siberian Town

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

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Putin Makes Local Governors Responsible for Ethnic Relations

Migrant Workers file photo

UFA, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday giving local authorities more responsibility for handling relations between ethnic communities in a sign the government is growing nervous at evidence of a surge in nationalist-tinged discontent. Speaking at the Interethnic Relations Council in the Urals town of Ufa, Putin lashed out at local governments for what […]

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Shuvalov: Time to hand additional powers to regions

Igor Shuvalov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 21, 2013) The time has come for the federal government to hand additional powers over to the regions, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told a world economic forum in Moscow. “It’s time indeed to transfer additional powers to the regions,” he said. “Certain financial resources could also be additionally provided to the municipal level,” he […]

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World Economic Forum Gathers Leaders to Reignite Russia’s Economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – October 18, 2013) Kaluga shines so brightly in the regional investment firmament that it has regularly drawn cheers from President Vladimir Putin and various economists. Some of the reasons why the region, 160 kilometers southwest of Moscow, is leading the way as a target for new business ventures include the decision by […]

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Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 16, 2013) The conflict that started in the capital has spread to other major cities. In the Russian regions, people have started taking to the streets in support of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulovo, who staged riots in response to the murder of a young man […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Government to Cull Federal Officials

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 13, 2013) ­ Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a cull of federal officials in the regions ahead of an upcoming three-year state budget crunch. Medvedev did not give any estimates for the number of officials facing the sack in 2014-2015 in his order, published on the government’s website on Sunday. The cull, to […]

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Four Very Different Russias Moving in Four Very Different Directions, Zubarevich Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 25, 2013) Russia cannot be understood as a single whole, according to Natalya Zubarevich, but only as four different Russias whose increasingly different situations are pushing them in four different directions, a pattern that is often obscured by the use of data sets for the country as a whole. In yesterday’s […]

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Moscow’s Grasp of the Regions: For Development or Power? Experts Argue

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(Howard Amos, RIA Novosti – VALDAI, September 16, 2013) ­ Russian officials, opposition leaders and pundits wrestled on Monday with the disjuncture between the country’s capital and its far-flung provinces at an international conference, where two erstwhile political rivals from the mineral-rich Urals region surprised observers by publicly settling their differences. The newly elected mayor of Yekaterinburg and outspoken Kremlin […]

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Navalny may head party, have problems with opening party offices in regions – expert

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Opposition activist Alexei Navalny will most likely continue his political career not in the 2014 Moscow City Duma elections but by opening of party offices in regions where problems are likely to occur, General Director of the International Institute for Political Expertise (IIPE) Yevgeny Minchenko said. “A lot depends on whether or not the People’s […]

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Systemic parties losing support, elites shift to new parties – Civic Initiatives Committee report

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(Interfax – September 16, 2013) Parliamentary parties are losing the support of regional and local elites some of whom are shifting towards new political forces, the Civil Initiatives Committee think tank suggested. “There is an outflow of regional and local elites and voters from practically every “systemic” party [which has seats at the State Duma]. Candidates are moving from one […]

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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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Increasingly Defined by Negation, Russian Nation Fraying at the Edges and Even at the Core

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 11, 2013) Their identity increasingly defined not by what they are or want to be but by what they fear and view as alien, Russians as a nation are fraying at the edges with some like the Siberians identifying in terms of a region, others like the Cossacks in terms of […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Urges Governors to Strengthen Relations With Opponents

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(RIA Novosti – NOVO-OGARYOVO – Moscow Region, September 10, 2013) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called on newly elected heads of Russian regions to get in contact with their former opponents and use their proposals. “I am urging you to build relationships not only with your support groups but with all your opponents as well, bearing in mind […]

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Roizman’s Victory a Blow to United Russia, Analysts Say

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – September 10, 2013) Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, elected outspoken opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman as its mayor on Sunday, in a move that dealt a blow to pro-Kremlin forces but gave little actual power to the winner, pundits said. Roizman’s success likely stems from voters’ disappointment with regional authorities and Roizman’s reputation as […]

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40 percent of Russian Internet users are small-town

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dan Pototsky – September 5, 2013) People in small towns and villages are quickly getting the hang of the Internet. They account for more than 40 percent of all Internet users in Russia ­ a total of 27.5 million ­ according to TNS Russia. The fastest-growing segment of Russian Internet users is residents […]

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Taken from Chita, Made in China

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(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – August 24, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, is part of Russia’s DNA, and many romantic ballads sing of its size and beauty. Beyond the lake […]

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Medvedev: All regions should ultimately switch to direct elections

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(Interfax – PYATIGORSK, August 19, 2013, 2013) All Russian regions should ultimately switch to direct elections, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. A young man asked Medvedev at the Mashuk-2013 North Caucasus youth forum on Monday whether regional elections should be direct like national elections, or if regional leaders should be appointed depending on the a region’s specific situation. “Elections should […]

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Kremlin Funds Regions Based on Their Loyalty – Study

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 16, 2013) ­ Russian regions, most of which heavily rely on federal subsidies to survive, are funded in part based on how strongly they support the ruling United Russia party at elections, a new study claimed. The rule only applies to poorer regions with slow economic growth, according to the study by experts from the […]

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Investment Standards Face Hurdles

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – July 22, 2013) The Russian government faces an uphill struggle to make underdeveloped regions more attractive for investors. Officials and business leaders disagree on the feasibility of a draft set of mandatory standards designed to improve the investment attractiveness of districts and towns, which are set to enter into force by 2014. […]

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Former Tula Governor Sentenced to 9 1/2 Years

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 23, 2013) Former Tula Governor Vyacheslav Dudka will spend nearly 9 1/2 years in a high-security prison in what marks the first time a former governor has received such a harsh sentence in modern Russia. Dudka was sentenced by a local court Monday for accepting 40 million rubles ($1.3 million) in […]

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Putin Preferred in Moscow With Protests Seen Shifting to Regions

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – July 11, 2013) The mood for protest has shifted from Moscow to the regions as Russia’s economy slows, according to the Center for Strategic Studies in Moscow. Approval ratings for President Vladimir Putin, 60, have stabilized, and he’s now more popular in the capital than in the rest of Russia, according to the […]

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Foreign Agents, Small Towns, and ‘The Crucible’

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(RIA Novosti – Natalia Antonova – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News – July 2, 2013) Last week, a couple of foreign journalists I know traveled to a small town very far from Moscow in order to explore local culture ­ and possibly write about it. Before they went, they posted an innocent question on a local forum, […]

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Rush for regions at St. Pete Economic Forum

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – ST. PETERSBURG, June 21, 2013) Russia’s government was rushing in where investors feared to tread ­ and used the St. Petersburg Economic Forum as a rallying call for aggressive spending in the country’s regions. Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East have especially attracted attention in recent years in terms of the […]

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Pundit says Islamism greatest threat to Russia’s national security

Russian Mosque File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, May 22, 2013) Radical Islam has taken roots in 55 Russian regions, former Interior Minister and president of the Club of Russian Military Commanders Army Gen Anatoliy Kulikov said at a scientific conference “Islamism and Russia’s national security” today. “Radical political Islam, or Islamism, which has declared jihad on our country, is the most real threat to […]

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Medvedev still against government involvement in media

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 22, 2013) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is not changing his position regarding the need for the government to keep out of the media, especially in the regions, and he regrets that this has yet to be done. “It’s a shame that we didn’t bring this topic to its conclusion. The government’s presence in the media […]

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Navalny Defense Aided by Kirov Governor Testimony

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(RIA Novosti – KIROV, May 22, 2013) ­ Russia’s beleaguered opposition figurehead, Alexei Navalny, was given a boost in his fight against controversial embezzlement charges on Wednesday when a regional governor testified in his favor. Navalny and a former political ally, Kirov businessman Pyotr Ofitserov, are charged with heading a criminal group that investigators say embezzled 16 million rubles’ ($500,000) […]

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Interfax: Three-fourths of Russians insist government should ban public display of homosexuality – poll

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(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 17, 2013) Homophobia is rather common in Russian society and attitudes toward the LGBT community have been changing slowly throughout the past year, sociologists said. The same as a year ago, three-fourths of Russians brand gays and lesbians as morally loose (43%) or mentally deficient persons (35%). Only 12% acknowledge homosexuality’s right to existence, the Levada […]

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Most Russian Regions to Opt for Governor Polls – Putin

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

(RIA Novosti – BOCHAROV RUCHEI (Sochi), May 16, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the majority of Russian regions is likely to choose their leaders by direct popular vote. The return of direct gubernatorial elections, scrapped in 2005, was signed into law last year in the aftermath of a wave of anti-Kremlin protests. Earlier this year, Putin […]

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Two Russias – Moscow and the Rest – Once Again Eye Each Other Warily

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, May 13, 2013) The idea that “Moscow is not Russia” has long been a commonplace among both residents of the capital and residents of the portions of Russia beyond the ring road, but the two are increasingly dissimilar, raising the possibility that a conflict between the capital and the rest of the […]

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Desperation and hope in a Russian village

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alexandra Ilina, Moskovskiye Novosti – May 8, 2013) GALKINSKOYE, Sverdlovsk region – The village of Galkinskoye is no different from any of the other towns and villages around the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, with its old wooden houses, rickety fences and decaying former farm buildings. However, in 2008, Vasily Melnichenko came up with the idea […]

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Russian Regions Increasingly Hollowing Out Demographically, Statistics Show

File Photo of People Working on Car Amidst Siberian Woodlands and Meadows

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 23, 2013)  The demographic decline of the ethnic Russians is leading to a hollowing out of predominantly Russian regions, leaving many of them with only a few cities surrounded by a decaying and increasingly empty countryside, according to the latest demographic data. With the release of ever finer-grained data from the […]

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Ethnically-Based Force Structures Make Clashes between Republics More Likely

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-ethnically-based.html) The clash between Chechnya and Ingushetia over the border between the two became possible and is more serious because the authorities in each, with Moscow’s approval, have formed units in their force structures that consist largely or entirely of people from the titular nationality. And because that […]

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Most Russian regions would rank speculative grade – S&P

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 17, 2013) Most of Russia’s regions would rank speculative grade, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said. In an article published on April 16 and titled “Most Russian Regions’ Creditworthiness Is Below Investment Grade Due To A Weak Intergovernmental System, Economy, And Management”, S&P explains its estimate of the credit quality of all 83 Russian regions. The […]

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Raids on opposition spread to regions

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 2, 2013) Russian law enforcement authorities have widened their search for opposition figures involved in the violent May 6 protest rally last year, with a series of raids in at least four regional cities, activists said. The raids were part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the violence that broke out […]

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Putin Signs Law Allowing Regions to Cancel Governor Polls

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

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that allows regions to decide whether they want to elect a governor by a direct popular vote or let regional legislatures choose them from nominees approved by the president. The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament whose members initiated the bill, passed […]

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Ombudsman concerned about rights violations in regional Russia

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – March 28, 2013) Russia’s rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin presented a report on the observation of human rights in Russia in 2012 to President Vladimir Putin, the Interfax news agency reported on 28 March. He highlighted that not enough attention was paid to rights issues in some regions and expressed concern about pressure on regional ombudsmen. Lukin said that […]

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136 National Languages Now at Risk in Russia, UNESCO Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-136-national.html) Some 136 national languages of the Russian Federation are at or already beyond “the edge of extinction,” according to UNESCO. Many of these languages are subgroups of others, but the danger of disappearance exists for groups as large as Avars, Bashkirs and Chechens. According to the United […]

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Russia’s indigenous languages at risk of dying out

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 17, 2013) Around 250 languages are spoken in Russia, including Russian, which is spoken by some 150 million people. Russian, along with several Turkic-based languages, is doing fine. However, the linguistic situation for many lost tribes and Small Indigenous People in Russia is far more  Dmitry Sukhodolsky, special to RBTH Russia’s many […]

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Russia’s Regions Go Back to the Streets to Protest

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Olga Doronina, special to RBTH – March 12, 2013) While Moscow’s street politicians take a breather, experts observe a rise of social activity in the Russian regions. In contrast to the capital, the demands of the Russian hinterland are social rather than political. In its monthly analytical ranking of social and political stability […]

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Moscow-Centrism Russian Opposition’s ‘Main Mistake,’ Activist Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 11, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-moscow-centrism.html) The “main mistake” of the Russian opposition in the past has been its focus that on Moscow rather than on the regions, but clashes between demonstrators and the authorities in Russia’s regions are prompting them to redirect their attention, a shift that will generate “a wave of […]

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Medvedev Cuts Red Tape to Boost Investment in Regions

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – February 19, 2013) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to find ways to reduce bureaucratic obstacles to regional investment amid a drive to boost regional economies. Medvedev has called for the Economic Development, Finance and Regional Development Ministries to present proposals to increase regional investment, RIA-Novosti reported Monday, citing the […]

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Now That The Thaw Is Over

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 14, 2013) Does anybody remember Skolkovo? What seems like eons ago, back when iPads were still must-have gadgets for the Russian elite, the scientific and technological center was the showcase project in Dmitry Medvedev’s efforts to modernize the country’s economy to make it less dependent on oil and gas. Well Skolkovo is back […]

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Russia beyond Moscow’s Ring Road Anything But Quiet and Stable

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 13, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-russia-beyond-moscows.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin operates on the assumption, which many observers in Moscow and abroad appear to share, that Moscow may be bubbling with popular unhappiness and organized dissent but that the rest of the Russian Federation is quiet and stable. But a survey conducted by Igor […]

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Russian city to bear Stalin’s name six days a year

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – February 7, 2013) Disputes about Stalin’s role in history have flared up again, as the legislature of the city of Volgograd rules that the city shall be called Stalingrad on dates commemorating key anniversaries of World War II. Volgograd, one of 15 Russian cities with a population of […]

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Russian Regions Compete with ‘Reactionary’ Legislation, Threatening Country’s Common Legal Space, Experts Say

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 6, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-russian-regions.html) Encouraged by Vladimir Putin, Russian regions over the last year have come up with new and often harshly reactionary legislation that taken together has the effect of undermining something the incumbent Russian president took so much pride in creating during his first two terms, a common legal […]

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