Belykh Faces Ouster by Regional Lawmakers

Nikita Belykh file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – February 6, 2013) Nikita Belykh, the liberal governor of the Kirov region and a former opposition leader, is facing a new wave of pressure from opponents after 19 regional lawmakers announced their intent to put forward a no-confidence vote against him. Investigators raided Belykh’s office last week in connection with the alleged […]

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Life goes on in Russian ghost towns

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Daria Gonzales – February 5, 2013) Today, the provocative label of “dead town” smothers a thousand human tales of departure, relocation, and long waits in the hopes of a flat in a new city. Yet, not all residents of these nearly uninhabited places have the desire to leave. RBTH explores the lives of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin:] Meeting of the Council for the Local Self-Government Development

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 31, 2013) The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council for the Local Self-Government Development. Participants discussed improving the regulation of local self-government institutions. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, colleagues. I am glad to welcome everyone to our Council’s meeting, one which is attended by the new members. Heads of urban districts, […]

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Power decentralization should be gradual, finite process – Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) – The new reform of gubernatorial election law is a step towards decentralization of power, but this process needs to be balanced, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on Thursday. “Moscow has assumed an excessive number of competences for a federal state. That was the right thing to do […]

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United Russia proposes bill allowing regions to forgo direct gubernatorial elections

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – January 31, 2013) Nine months after popular gubernatorial elections were re-introduced on the initiative of former President Dmitry Medvedev, a 90 percent majority in the Russian Duma votes “yes” on a bill that gives regional legislatures the right to scrap them. President Putin believes the measure could prevent […]

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Why Russia is not losing Siberia

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(opendemocracy.net – Ben Judah – January 25, 2013) Ben Judah is the author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin to be published in May 2013 by Yale University Press. He is an associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. The Yellow Peril was a feature of life in Soviet times […]

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Bill to Limit Gubernatorial Elections Approved

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Earle – January 24, 2013) State Duma deputies on Wednesday overwhelming passed in its first reading a bill that would give regional assemblies the right to abolish direct elections for governors, likely weakening a key pro-democracy reform signed last year by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. A total of 403 deputies voted in favor of the […]

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Liquidating Non-Russian Republics Would Be Dangerous for Moscow, Lazarenko Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 23, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-liquidating-non.html) There has been much talk about the possibility that Moscow will liquidate the non-Russian republics, but there has been almost none about exactly how the center would do that.  That makes such talks “unserious” because it means the advocates of such a change do not understand just […]

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Real Opposition to the Authorities is in the Provinces, Lipetsk Writer Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 19 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-real-opposition-to.html) The “real opposition” to the powers that be is not in Moscow but in the provinces, a Lipetsk writer says, because in Moscow, opposition figures simply want to replace one ruler with another while in the provinces people want the authorities whoever they are to play an ever-smaller […]

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Putin Playing Regions against the Capital to Maintain Himself in Power, Oreshkin Says

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 9, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/01/window-on-eurasia-putin-playing-regions.html) Like Nicholas II and Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Putin is putting the regions and their more traditionalist values in play against the emergent civil society in Moscow as part of his effort to keep himself and his allies in office and in control of Russia’s enormous natural wealth, […]

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Governors should be responsible for quality of business climate in regions – Putin

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MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) – The heads of Russian regions ought to bear a political responsibility for their territories, President Vladimir Putin said. “Governors in the regions should bear a political responsibility for the quality of the business climate there. It is a test of his [governor’s] management skills,” Putin said at a State Council session on Thursday. “As for […]

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Putin Urges Regional Investment Roadmaps to Boost Economy

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian regions should prepare regional investment roadmaps with clear-cut goals to attract investors and boost the county’s flagging economy, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. Putin made the statement at a meeting with Russian governors to discuss how to make the regions more appealing as investment destinations. Russia’s regions should demonstrate their potential to […]

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Bill Seeks to End Election of Governors

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – December 19, 2012) A bill that could once again abolish direct gubernatorial elections, which were reinstated this year, was submitted to the State Duma on Tuesday by members of the majority United Russia party. Popular elections of governors were discontinued following the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, when Vladimir Putin, early […]

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Putin calls for revival of provincial intelligentsia as moral pillar of Russia

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MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – Provincial intelligentsia should be revived as a moral pillar of the country, President Vladimir Putin said in the state-of-the-nation address he presented at the parliament on Wednesday. “I would like to speak particularly about the social sphere. Specialists working in this field are formally indentified as ‘public sector employees’. These people have a good education […]

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Putin Ready to Revive Russia’s Far East Mega Plan

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

NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 29 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was ready to rejuvenate government plans to create a mega state corporation to develop Russia’s depressed eastern Siberia and Far East. “The idea of a government corporation was discussed and I know that far from everyone shares this approach,” Putin said at a State Council meeting […]

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Far East Development Hinges on Branding and Diversity

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

(Howard Amos – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 21, 2012) Despite the establishment of a Far East Development Ministry in May, the area from Siberia to the Pacific coast lacks an effective administrative body to coordinate investment projects, according to Alexander Bazhenov, head of the Far East Development Fund. Decaying infrastructure, extreme weather conditions, a decreasing population and the […]

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All Politics Is Local: Rating Russia’s Regions

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MOSCOW, November 6 (Dan Peleschuk, RIA Novosti) ­ Economic progress, a clear political mandate, and good press: these are the things, according to a new report by a leading Russian think tank, that make a Russian region truly stable. It was otherwise largely unnoticed regions, such as Mordovia, that fared best in the rating, despite other ostensibly more likely contenders […]

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Summer is cancelled for Russia’s bureaucrats -­ but will they play ball?

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

(Mikhail Loginov – www.opendemocracy.net –  November 2, 2012- 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”.) October is Russia’s local election month, and some regions have just elected governors for the first time in seven years, part of an electoral reform designed to […]

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Russian Unemployment Spans From 0.6% in Moscow to 47.3% in Ingushetia

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MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) – Differentiation between the levels of unemployment in Russia’s federal districts remains strong – the gap in the districts can surpass four-fold and in the regions 80-fold, the Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat said in a report on employment and unemployment in September. The lowest level of unemployment, in accordance with ILO criteria, was in the […]

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The Far East: Bridging the gap

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Yulia Ponomareva – October 15, 2012) The recent APEC summit hosted in Vladivostok once again brought to the fore the need to develop Russia’s Far East, a region that accounts for a third of the country’s territory but only 4 percent of its population, and which is challenged by the bustling economy of its southern […]

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Russia’s unnoticeable elections – unnoticeable results?

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

Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – October 5, 2012 A round of 73 regional and municipal elections that start on October 14 will be the first real test for Russia’s nascent protest movement. The first protests were sparked by popular outrage to rigged Duma elections last December and were followed by large crowds protesting against […]

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USAID Russia Lessons Learned

USAID From the American People Logo

Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2012 Subject: USAID Russia Lessons Learned From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> USAID Russia Lessons Learned by Sarah Lindemann-Komarova, Siberian based civil society development activist. Almost everyone knew it was time for a USAID end strategy in Russia.  The possible exception to this maybe a few organizations that did not leverage years of generous support from the American […]

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NEWSLINK: Siberia placed to be the new Middle East

Oil Well file photo

Siberia placed to be the new Middle East – Asia Times – By Yong Kwon – September 24, 2012 – http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NI25Ag01.html Yong Kwon is a Washington-based analyst of international affairs. Asia Times examines the impact of Middle Eastern instability on oil and the global economy, and Siberia’s emergence as a significant source of petroleum. Russia actually starting serving as a […]

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‘Russia’s Tibet’ Opens to the Outside World

File Photo of Lake in Altai

By James Brooke –  Voice of America – September 18, 2012 James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. Word of the killings of four American diplomats in Libya took 24 hours to reach me last week. That was fitting as I was contemplating the silence of cedar forests, the grace of wild horses cantering […]

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NEWSLINK: Shrinking Siberia: Why young people are fleeing Russia’s Far East.

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Newsweek.com –  September 17, 2012 –  Shrinking Siberia: Why young people are fleeing Russia’s Far East. – By Anna Nemtsova – click here to read more from original article After first profiling a Siberian policewoman fashion model, Anna Nemtsova addresses Siberian population decline.  Within a generation, Siberia, which is larger than China, will have less people than Moscow or St. […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia reveals shiny state secret: It’s awash in diamonds; Trillions of carats’ lie below a 35-million-year-old, 62-mile diameter asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as Popigai Astroblem. The Russians have known about the site since the 1970s.

Diamonds generic file photo

Russia reveals shiny state secret: It’s awash in diamonds; Trillions of carats’ lie below a 35-million-year-old, 62-mile diameter asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as Popigai Astroblem. The Russians have known about the site since the 1970s. – Christian Science Monitor – September 17, 2012 – By Fred Weir, Correspondent – JRL 2012-165 click here to read orginal article Russia […]

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