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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Stalin billboards appear in Russian city indicating recreation of Soviet past

Posted by Kris Roman on June 24, 2009

stalinaffiche KP Voronezh 2009Ten billboards depicting images of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin appeared on the streets of Voronezh to everyone’s surprise. The bright-colored billboards prepared for the 130th anniversary of “the leader of all time and nations” show Stalin wearing his parade uniform. The slogan on the billboards says: “Victory will be ours.”

The Voronezh-based division of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation acknowledged that the billboards appeared on the streets of the city upon their initiative. The city authorities are now investigating whether the street advertisements shall be considered as inappropriate, The Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.

The city authorities showed a reaction to Stalin’s images in the streets only after the billboards attracted the attention of the local media.

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A ‘Russian Sarah Palin’? Meet pro-Putin activist Maria Sergeyeva, Russia’s rising political star

Posted by Kris Roman on March 12, 2009

maria_sergeyevaBY ELLIOT OLSHANSKY  DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

 

She’s fiercely patriotic, known for her looks as much as for her views, and she can see Russia from her house.

No, it’s not Sarah Palin.

Maria Sergeyeva, a 24-year-old philosophy student and political activist, has emerged as a rising star in Russian politics since a January 31 speech praising Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and president Dmitry Medvedev. The burgeoning Internet sensation – Russia’s largest political blog had to ban further posts about “Masha” due to excessive traffic – has become one of the stars the Kremlin‘s campaign to fire up patriotism.

“I was brought up to be a patriot from day one,” Sergeyeva told the Times of London. “My love for Russia came with my mother’s milk. I loved listening to my grandparents’ heroic tales from the war.

“Putin has given us stability and economic growth. It’s good that he’s hardline and tough.”

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Interview of president Medvedev to the Spanish Media

Posted by Kris Roman on March 5, 2009

 

http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2009/03/01/1002_type82914type82916_213434.shtml

medvedevarendJOSE CARLOS GALLARDO: Mr Dmitry Medvedev, His Majesty the King of Spain Juan Carlos was the first to visit Moscow in 2008 to congratulate you as the new President of Russia. And at the time, that visit was viewed as a manifestation of good relations between our countries. What stage are these relations at now, in you view?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Thank you. I think they are excellent. They are at such a stage that whenever we have discussions with our Spanish counterparts we find answers to the most complex issues and challenges facing our countries, in the bilateral as well as multilateral formats, including the issues of European security, and overcoming the consequences of the world financial crisis. That is why I am looking forward to the visit to Spain with great optimism and pleasure. We value greatly the respect that the King of Spain Juan Carlos has for this country, he is regarded here as a distinguished and experienced politician, and a leader of a friendly state.

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Medvedev speech at the Gala Evening Celebrating Defenders of the Motherland Day

Posted by Kris Roman on February 22, 2009

 

http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2009/02/21/1248_type127286_213230.shtml

medvedevarendDMITRY MEDVEDEV: Comrades! Veterans! Friends! I want to wish you and all of the Russian Armed Forces’ staff and civilian personnel a happy Defenders of the Motherland Day. For many years now, this day of recognition has been more than simply a professional holiday, and has essentially become a national holiday. It is a tribute of deep respect toward all those who serve the Motherland today, who defend the sovereignty and national interests of our country, and who continue its tradition of victory. 

Today, my first and most heartfelt congratulations go out to veterans of the Great Patriotic War, a truly great generation that defended our beloved land and maintained our freedom. Next year, we will be celebrating the 65thanniversary of the Victory. It is our sacred duty to care for our veterans, the people who demonstrate a good example to the younger generation of our nation’s citizens, and, of course, to preserve and defend the memory of the Great Patriotic War standing up against any attempts to distort it, upholding the truth about the decisive input of our country in the destruction of fascism and victory in the Second World War.

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Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the veterans of the Afghan war

Posted by Kris Roman on February 16, 2009

 

medvedevarendDmitry Medvedev congratulated the veterans of the Afghan war on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Limited Contingent of Soviet troops from the Republic of Afghanistan.

The President’s congratulatory address reads, in particular:

“Today we pay our tribute of deep respect to the soldiers, officers, sergeants, generals, doctors and civilian advisors, to all who displayed resilience and courage, and who fulfilled their orders with honour. And, of course, we remember those who, in carrying out their duty to their country, lost their lives.

The unique knowledge and experience of those who fought in the Afghan war is also needed today: by the Army and law enforcement agencies, in public and non-profit organisations, and also in responsible work of educating our young people in the spirit of patriotism, of citizenship, and in the selfless service for Russia.”

 

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Medvedev’s New Year Message

Posted by Kris Roman on January 2, 2009

 

DMITRY MEDVEDEV:

Dear friends!

We will soon be seeing in the New Year, greeting 2009.

Getting straight to the point, I would like to give you all my best wishes for this, everyone’s favourite celebration, when we take a moment to remember the past year, in which we saw happiness and disappointment, joy and loss. We each have our own experiences, and now is the time to remember them. And all our individual lives, actions and feelings are what combine to make our great country, Russia.

 

medvedev-nieuwjaar-tv-2009We have already proved how much we can do together, that we can triumph. And this year our nation has been sorely tested, and has come through with confidence and dignity, thanks to you – its citizens. I am certain that we will be able to deal with whatever difficulties we may meet in the future. And also that the state will do everything it can to make this possible.

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Russia’s new international role becomes its biggest achievement in 2008

Posted by Kris Roman on January 1, 2009

rode-plein-duma2Tatiana Barkhatova, Vadim Trukhachev

Pravda.ru

The world has started to respect Russia and take Russia’s opinion into consideration. This is Russia’s major achievement in 2008. The future of 2009 is rather vague because of the financial crisis, which has all chances to develop into a global political crisis. Pravda.ru interviewed State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin, TV journalist Mikhail Leontiev and scientists of politics Sergei Mikheyev and Alexander Rar regarding the results, which the nation achieved in 2008.

Konstantin Zatulin, a deputy of the Russian Federation State Duma, United Russia faction, the director of the CIS Institute:

“I would like to point out a number of events, which are not limited with the time period of one year only. It is the economic crisis, first and foremost, which inevitably leads to political consequences. The five-day war in South Ossetia and Russia ’s recognition of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia ’s independence is the second most important event. A new situation has been created on the post-Soviet space. Russia responded adequately to the challenge, but the West perceived it as a challenge, because it did not expect Russia to act like that.

“I think that it is too early to analyze the consequences of the reappraisal of values. Many try to underestimate the significance of what happened. Russia exercised its will to resist at the moment, when its interests were affected. All these aspects are beyond the scope of the year 2008.”

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Russian leader signs law extending presidential terms

Posted by Kris Roman on December 31, 2008

 

medvedev-putin-in-rugBy Megan K. Stack 

The move by President Dmitry Medvedev amends the nation’s constitution for the first time in the charter’s history and sparks speculation that Vladimir Putin will soon return to the presidency.
Reporting from Moscow — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday signed a law that stretches the presidential term from four years to six, amending his nation’s constitution for the first time. 

The measure, enthusiastically backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his political protege, Medvedev, was hustled through both houses of parliament and the provincial legislatures in less than two months.

The amendment has sparked widespread speculation that Medvedev might step down early to allow Putin to return to the presidency. 

Constitutional term limits forced Putin to give up the presidency this year despite the former KGB agent’s apparent taste for running the country and widespread popularity. Putin handpicked Med- vedev to run for president and moved to the prime minister’s office after the election.

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In Russia`s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer

Posted by Kris Roman on November 14, 2008

 

 

Megan K. Stack
Los Angeles Times

Although Vladimir Putin has left the presidency and become prime minister, there’s no longer any question that he’s more powerful than his handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

The question has all but disappeared from Russian discourse after months of feverish debate: Who is in charge, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev?

It’s been nearly a year since Putin, faced with the end of his presidency, endorsed his long-loyal underling to succeed him in the Kremlin. The speculation that once rattled around the capital after Putin restyled himself as prime minister – whether the two men would clash, whether Medvedev would try to eclipse his onetime mentor – has fallen away.

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Russians officially permitted to fly national flag

Posted by Kris Roman on October 15, 2008

 

russian-flagRussia’s lower house of parliament approved legislative amendments on Wednesday allowing any organizations or individuals to fly the national flag, a privilege earlier officially enjoyed only by the state. (Russia’s State Symbols)

Before the new law was passed by the State Duma, the use of the national flag by ordinary citizens – including at international sports events and on homes – was technically a criminal offense. However, the ban was never actually observed or enforced.

The authors of the law said it would promote patriotic sentiment.

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Russian state officials forced to declare incomes under new law

Posted by Kris Roman on September 30, 2008

 

Under amendments to the Russian constitutional law on government, state officials from the prime minister down to city authorities will have to declare their incomes and assets, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

“The set of laws will require not only government and municipal officials to give declarations, but also their family members… implying spouses and children under the age of 18,” Kremlin administration chief Sergei Naryshkin told reporters.

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Is CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia?

Posted by Kris Roman on September 28, 2008

 

Putin may strip CNN of its Russian broadcasting rights after it refused to air a 30 minute exclusive interview he gave the network.

You probably didn’t know that CNN censored Putin for being just too darn sensible. Yep, it’s true. About two weeks ago, Putin gave the network an exclusive 30-minute interview. And you know what happened? Nothing. It was never allowed to air. CNN doesn’t know it yet, but that decision might have cost them their Russian broadcasting rights.

On August 29, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with senior political correspondent Matthew Chance for a CNN exclusive interview. “This was unprecedented access to Russia’s powerful prime minister, the former KGB spy now increasingly at odds with Washington,” an overly dramatic voice-over introduced the segment as Chance and Putin enjoyed pre-game banter and a walk through the courtyard of Putin’s palatial Sochi residence. Once seated, Chance didn’t waste any time with his provocative questions:

 

Matthew Chance: But it’s been no secret either that for years you’ve been urging the West to take more seriously Russia’s concerns about international issues. For instance, about NATO’s expansion, about deployment of missile defense systems in eastern Europe. Wasn’t this conflict a way of demonstrating that in this region, it’s Russia that’s the power, not NATO and certainly not the United States?

Vladimir Putin: Of course not. What is more, we did not seek such conflicts and do not want them in the future.

That this conflict has taken place — that it broke out nevertheless — is only due to the fact that no one had heeded our concerns.

I think both you and your — our — viewers today will be interested to learn a little more about the history of relations between the peoples and ethnic groups in this regions of the world. Because people know little or nothing about it.

If you think that this is unimportant, you may cut it from the program. Don’t hesitate, I wouldn’t mind.

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Moscow accuses Ukraine of disrespect for Russian Church

Posted by Kris Roman on July 26, 2008

Ongoing nationwide religious celebrations in Ukraine have shown an element of disrespect for the Russian Orthodox Church and its millions of members, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Ukraine is marking this week 1,020 years since Christianity was adopted in Kievan Rus, with church services, processions, and other events to mark the anniversary.

The ministry said the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia was summoned to the ministry on Friday, where he discussed the issue with First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.

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Kremlin youth group seeks new role in Medvedev`s Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on July 22, 2008

Military training, satirical shows and US-style business seminars were among the strange mix of activities on offer at this year’s summer camp for Nashi — the Kremlin’s youth movement.

With political power in Russia now firmly in the hands of President Dmitry Medvedev and his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, it seems that the massive group set up to counter any popular dissent has lost its focus.

As the movement searches for a new purpose in Medvedev’s Russia, its activists say one solution could be to concentrate on beating the West at its own game by making the most of the country’s oil-fueled economic boom.

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Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich quits as Chukotka governor

Posted by Kris Roman on July 5, 2008

Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, has quit as governor of a remote Far East region, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree accepting his resignation, the Kremlin said.

Abramovich’s spokesman said the businessman would continue investing in the region’s development after his resignation.

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Speech at a Reception to Celebrate the Day of Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on June 13, 2008

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV:

Dear friends!

I am sincerely delighted to see you all here and I heartily congratulate you on the Day of Russia. We have gathered in the Kremlin to observe this public holiday together.

It was conceived at a difficult and heady time, when our country was facing a very important historical choice. And we not only consciously adopted it but survived the difficult years that involved becoming a new, democratic Russia.

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Upper house speaker says no conflict between Putin, Medvedev

Posted by Kris Roman on June 4, 2008

he speaker of the upper house of the Russia’s parliament said on Wednesday that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin work as a team, and are not competing for power.

Putin became prime minister on May 8 after ceding presidential powers to his handpicked successor Medvedev, who won the March presidential election.

Commenting on the wide-spread view that Putin has more power as prime minister than the new president, and that Medvedev will have to battle for power in the country, Russian Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov joked that the only struggle that could take place between them is a wrestling bout.

Mironov also said he supported extending the presidential term to seven years in Russia.

“For a country like Russia, four years is not enough,” he said.

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Kremlin Publishes Letters on Corruption

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

By Anna Malpas

http://www.moscowtimes.ru

In the latest sign the Kremlin is focusing its message on the issue of corruption, its web site has posted excerpts from letters written by Russians complaining about the problem and proposing solutions. 

President Dmitry Medvedev said strengthening the rule of law in an effort to stamp out corruption was one of his primary aims in his inauguration speech. 

“All the suburbs of Vladivostok are built up with the country houses of officials from the regional and city administration, and their cars give the impression that their owners work in the management at a Mercedes plant,” reads one letter quoted on the site. The author is identified only as A. Ivanov, a student from the Primorye region.

The letter is of particular interest following the search earlier this month of the apartment of Primorye Governor Sergei Darkin as part of a criminal investigation into the misappropriation of real estate in the region. 

The Kremlin web site occasionally posts summaries of letters to the president related to social issues and foreign policy. The letters on corruption, posted on Wednesday, were the first to be published in 2008 and represented the first time a roundup of letters has concentrated specifically on corruption. 

“Sometimes when citizens’ letters come in somewhat of a mass, the president chooses a thematic selection. In this case, that is what happened,” a Kremlin spokesman said Thursday. “As you know, serious work is under way to eradicate corruption, and public opinion has also played a role.” 

Of the two olther letters posted, one sent by a resident of Kislovodsk identified as I. Redkin emphasizes the importance of ridding state structures of corrupt officials, while a Krasnodar resident identified as Y. Kheilo wrote that investigative programs on television should tell people about the consequences of committing acts of corruption. 

A summary of the letters said many called for the declared income of state officials to be examined in relation to their property and that their relatives should have to declare their incomes. 

At the same time, “letters give the opinion that the state itself sometimes pushes civil servants to take bribes by providing them with unjustifiably low salaries,” the web site said. 

Vladimir Pribylovsky, the head of the Panorama think tank, said that he had not seen the letters but dismissed their publications as “just another PR stunt.” 

He compared it to medieval Russia, when a box for anonymous letters used to hang next to the Kremlin. 

“It didn’t reduce corruption at all,” he said. “Maybe it gave rulers an excuse to punish someone.”

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Putin gave Russia ‘great years’ – Chirac

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

Russia Today

It was an ex-presidential love-in in Paris as the former leaders of Russia and France exchanged compliments and courtesies. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met Jacques Chirac as part of his working visit to France. Putin bestowed Russia’s State Award on the former president for his outstanding achievements in humanitarian activities.

The meeting came after Putin held talks with the incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which, according to the Russian PM, was “sharp but constructive”.

Speaking of the Putin’s years in charge, Jacques Chirac said the eight years of his presidency “were great years for Russia”, characterised by successful economic development and increased living standards.

“Under your leadership the quality of life in Russia greatly increased and Russia strengthened its position in Europe and in the international arena. The last ten years have been great for Russia,” Chirac said.

The former French president also said that without a stable Russia there cannot be a stable Europe. “I am thankful to you for that as a European, as a citizen of the world,” Chirac said, adding that he has long been Putin’s friend.

“Russia’s President Medvedev has signed a decree saying that this year Mr. Chirac is granted the State Award of Russia. It’s a significant symbol of his contribution to Russia-France relations in recent years. I’m pleased to thank Mr. Chirac again for this. My congratulations! This is a very special ceremony in Russia. We’ll all be glad to welcome Mr. Chirac in Moscow on the 12th of June,” Putin responded.

Vladimir Putin also met Maurice Druon, a renowned French writer and member of the Academie Francaise, who turned 90 this April. Putin included a meeting with Druon in the agenda of his working visit to Paris in order to pass on greetings from Russia, where the French writer is widely read.

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Russia does not need unfounded accusations from Amnesty International

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

Amnesty International held a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday, at which it exposed an address to Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev.

Human rights activists say that the report was released on the 60th anniversary of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Memorandum on Human Rights to President Medvedev” is an extensive document of 16 pages. The report lists practically all possible fields of human rights that are violated in Russia.

Amnesty International is specifically concerned about:

– the growth of xenophobia in Russia;
– suppression of meetings and demonstrations; 
– the increasing number of kidnappings and extrajudicial killings in the republics of the Northern Caucasus;
– the need to cancel death penalty; 
– violation of human rights in penitentiary institutions;
– unjust legal proceedings in Russia;
– suppression of freedom of speech in Russia’s mass media.

Amnesty International pointed out that the situation with human rights in Russia improved in certain aspects, although it mostly remained the same. In this connection human rights activists urged Dmitry Medvedev to pass from words to deeds. They said that they would like to see if the president could keep the promises he gave during his inauguration.

The above-mentioned report says that the number of hostility and racism motivated crimes has increased in Russia during the recent several years. Amnesty International also called to legally cancel death penalty in Russia.

It is worthy of note that Amnesty International does not compare situations in different countries, nor does it make any ratings. The organization believes that the situation with human rights in each country is unique.

According to Amnesty International, people are subjected to tortures in at least 81 countries of the world. Unjust court proceedings are held in at least 54 countries, whereas state authorities infringe upon freedom of speech in 77 countries.

Amnesty International offers China to observe human rights and guarantee freedom of press on the threshold of Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In addition, the organization recommends the USA to close the military base in Guantanamo along with all secret prisons.

In the meantime, Anatoly Kucherena, a member of the Russian Public Chamber, a legal expert, believes that Russia does not need unfounded accusations from outside.

“All those phenomena exist not only in Russia but in many other countries of the world. We are ready to cooperate with European and US experts to withstand those problems,” Kucherena told RIA Novosti.

The lawyer said that the Russian civil society is ready to adopt other countries’ positive experience in solving such problems. “Let us think about it together. If there is positive experience on those matters, we are ready to adopt it and discuss the issues, but without unfounded accusations,” the official said.

“There is no need to urge us to act more effectively. We know what we need. I can assure you that the Russian authorities have been paying a lot of attention to ethnic and nationalist conflicts, for example,” Anatoly Kucherena said.

In addition, Kucherena said that all such reports show a hidden ideological motive. The official is certain that the report was another PR stunt of the organization.

“Amnesty International needs to show its work and advertise itself on specific issues. We do not say that we do not have any problems. We have problem, but they are being solved,” the official said.

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Medvedev signs decree on measures to counter corruption

Posted by Kris Roman on May 19, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on measures to counter corruption, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The decree envisions the establishment of an anti-corruption council subordinate to the president.

Speaking on Monday during a presidential conference, Medvedev said it was necessary to draw up a national action plan to counter corruption, and appointed Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin to head an interdepartmental anti-corruption working group. The Prosecutor’s General Office will coordinate its activity.

“We need a package of measures…we need a national anti-corruption program,” Medvedev said, singling out three major sectors.

First, he said, anti-corruption laws should be updated. Secondly, the national program should include measures to fight economic and social corruption, as well as preventive measures. Thirdly, Medvedev said, a mentality of anti-corruption needed to be encouraged in the country, and people needed to be educated on the legal aspects of the issue.

Medvedev, who was inaugurated as president on May 7, focused on corruption in his election speeches. He first voiced the idea of drafting a national anti-corruption program at an economic forum in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk in mid-February.

Medvedev also announced in late February that a program would be ready within several months, and held a special conference in early April to discuss its organizational and legislative aspects.

According to research carried out by the Indem Foundation, led by Georgy Satarov, a former aide to Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin, corruption in Russia annually deprives the national economy of at least $2.8 billion.

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Putin : “I’ve kept my promise”

Posted by Kris Roman on May 12, 2008

Vladimir Putin gave a short speech before handing the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev. To applause from the audience, Putin said he’d kept his promise and responsibility to safeguard Russia’s interests.

 

In his speech Vladimir Putin said the inauguration of the new democratically elected president of the Russian Federation is a very important step for the formation of democratic authority and an act that is meant to unite all the regions of the country and all its forces.

He stressed that the moral integrity of the people in power matters even more than their professional skills. He also said that keeping in mind the interests and needs of every single citizen is the only way for authorities to maintain the development of the country.

Putin also promised that he will continue to preserve and protect Russia the way he did during his two terms of office.

Looking back at eight years of Vladimir Putin in power Russian and Foreign political analysts agree that the country still faces a lot of challenges, but also admit that Putin has managed to restore national pride.

 

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PM Putin maps Russia’s future

Posted by Kris Roman on May 9, 2008

http://www.russiatoday.ru

Vladimir Putin has used a forceful speech to lawmakers to map out his priorities as Russia’s new Prime Minister. State Duma Deputies overwhelmingly backed his candidacy and President Medvedev has already signed a decree, appointing Putin to the premiership.

 

In his speech in the State Duma, Putin gave his thoughts on everything from foreign relations and military reform to taxation and education.

“We must have co-ordinated work from all branches of power and the closest partnership in the interests of all citizens of the country and successful development,” Putin told Duma Deputies.

”We have to increase the efficiency and stability of the national economy and develop human resources. We must also take steps in innovation and infrastructure and provide maximum conditions for business,” he went on to say.

The national financial market must be strengthend, he said, and inflation must be reduced.

Putin also took questions from Duma Deputies, where he stressed the need for a diversified economy.

“The diversification of the economy is our priority and of course we need personnel for this. We have launched a programme for the development of fundamental science. For this purpose we have allocated 25 billion roubles.”

To watch Vladimir Putin’s speech, follow the link.

To watch the Q&A session by Putin, follow the link.

Earlier, President Dmitry Medvedev formally presented Vladimir Putin to Russia’s lower house, the State Duma.

“During the previous years we have been working together with Vladimir Putin and will continue our work. I think no one has any doubt that our tandem, our co-operation will become even stronger. This will also ensure the continuity and at the same time the development of the course that was supported by Russian society,” President Medvedev told the deputies of Russia’s State Duma.

To watch the full address of President Dmitry Medvedev to the State Duma, follow the link.

The previous government, headed by Viktor Zubkov, resigned on Wednesday, after the inauguration of Dmitry Medevedev.

According to the constitution, once sworn in, the prime minister has one week to form a government.

 

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Medvedev nominates Putin as premier

Posted by Kris Roman on May 8, 2008

 

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, who was inaugurated earlier in the day, has submitted Vladimir Putin’s candidacy for prime minister to the State Duma, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.

Medvedev has also signed a decree for the government to resign in line with the Russian Constitution. However, the government will continue performing its duties until a new Cabinet is formed.

At least 226 votes are required to confirm the former president’s appointment to premier.

The ruling pro-presidential United Russia party, which has 315 seats in parliament, the ultranationalist LDPR party and the Kremlin loyalist, A Just Russia party, with 40 and 38 votes, respectively, have already promised to support Putin. The Communist Party, which has 57 seats, announced on Tuesday that the probability that they would vote against was quite high.

If approved for the post of premier Putin will have to submit to the president proposals on the structure of federal executive bodies and candidatures for deputy prime ministers and federal ministers within a week.

Medvedev asked Putin to take up the premier’s post last December on the condition that he was successful in the March 2 presidential polls. Putin agreed to accept the proposal after the votes had been counted. The lower house of parliament will consider his nomination on Thursday.

Later on Wednesday, Putin will hold consultations with the leaders of Duma factions and groups.

Putin will also become head of the ruling United Russia party, and analysts are at a loss as to how this ‘power-sharing’ will play out.

 

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Medvedev inaugurated as Russia’s third president

Posted by Kris Roman on May 7, 2008

 

Dmitry Medvedev was inaugurated as Russia’s third president on Wednesday in a glittering ceremony at the Grand Kremlin Palace in front of some 2,400 guests as Vladimir Putin stepped down after eight years as head of state.

The inauguration ceremony began at 11:45 a.m. Moscow time (07:45 GMT) and after the outgoing Putin had made a short speech, Medvedev swore an oath on a copy of the Russian Constitution. He then addressed the assembled dignitaries as Russia’s new president. The entire ceremony was shown live on national television and the Internet.

Medvedev swore to “respect and protect human and civil rights,” as well as to “observe and defend the Constitution of the Russian Federation, its sovereignty and independence, security and integrity.”

He said the development of civil and economic freedoms in Russia would be a priority during his presidency.

“They [rights and freedoms] are of the highest value and define the essence of state activities. The most important task is to further develop civil and economic freedoms and to create new civil opportunities,” Medvedev said after being sworn in as president of Russia.

The current Russian government is now due to resign and Putin is to become the country’s new premier on May 8. He is also set to become the head of the ruling United Russia party.

Forty-two-year-old Medvedev was nominated as a presidential candidate by United Russia and three other smaller pro-Kremlin parties in December. Putin later said on national television: “I have known Dmitry Medvedev well for over 17 years, and I completely and fully support his candidature.”

Medvedev, a trained lawyer, worked under Putin in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, when the man who would become Russia’s second president was the city’s first deputy mayor. In 1999, in Moscow, Medvedev was appointed acting deputy chief of the presidential staff.

He also headed Putin’s campaign headquarters in the run-up to the 2000 elections. In 2003, he became chief of the presidential administration and retained the post until November 2005, when he was appointed first deputy prime minister and put in charge of an ambitious multi-billion dollar “national project” to improve living standards.

The endorsement of the popular Putin ensured Medvedev a landslide victory in the March 2 elections, but has also left question marks over the nature of the president-elect’s position, with many analysts predicting that Putin will remain the real leader of the world’s largest country.

However, Putin has dismissed rumors of plans to give extra powers to the premier, saying in March that, “There is no need to change anything regarding this. The prime minister has sufficient powers.”

Medvedev also said after being elected that he had no intention of redistributing powers between the president and the prime minister upon taking over at the Kremlin.

Speaking to the Financial Times in an interview last March, he said he was convinced his partnership with Putin would prove effective, and would not lead to a power struggle.

Despite all the reassurances that the Putin-Medvedev ‘tandem’ will be able not only to co-exist, but also work together, many Russian and foreign political commentators are at a loss as to explain exactly how this ‘power-sharing’ will work in practice.

However, ordinary Russians seem sure that ultimate power will remain with Putin, with more than two thirds of respondents stating in a poll carried out by the Levada Center in April that they believed the former KGB officer would “control” his hand-picked successor.

Putin’s second term has seen a rise in tensions with the West, as a resurgent Russia, awash with oil dollars, looks to reestablish itself as a global power. Moscow has strongly stated its opposition to NATO expansion and U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in central Europe.

However, unlike Putin, Medvedev has no links to Russia’s ‘siloviki,’ representatives of the country’s security and defense agencies.

Despite this, Putin has already said that the West will find Medvedev, seen as a pro-business moderate, no ‘easier’ to deal with.

“He is no less, in the best sense of the word, a Russian nationalist than I am. I don’t think that our partners will find things easier with him,” Putin said, adding that, “He is a real patriot, and will actively uphold Russia’s interests on the global stage.”

Many foreign political analysts also predicted that Medvedev would stay faithful to Putin’s foreign policies, in the early days of his presidency at least.

“In my opinion, Medvedev will continue Putin’s policy for the first year,” Aleksander Kvasniewski, the former president of Poland told RIA Novosti, adding that, “But the following year I think that Medvedev will become more independent.”

An attempt by the Other Russia opposition coalition movement to hold a protest rally on the eve of Medvedev’s inauguration was prevented by police in Moscow on Tuesday. The opposition has called the March elections that brought Medvedev to power “a farce.”

Seven thousand police officers are on duty on Wednesday in the capital to ensure law and order on the streets before, during, and after the inauguration ceremony.

Political change in Russia rarely comes easily, and as a light snow fell over Moscow on Wednesday morning after days of glorious sunshine, the cold snap only served to remind that in Russia it is not only the weather that remains unpredictable.

 

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Putin in Time magazine’s list of Top 100 influential people

Posted by Kris Roman on May 3, 2008

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been included in Time Magazine’s annual list of the world’s one hundred most influential people.

The list was broken up into five categories. Putin was included in the U.S. magazine’s ‘Leaders and Revolutionaries’ section. The other categories were ‘Heroes and Pioneers,’ ‘Scientists and Thinkers,’ ‘Artists and Entertainers,’ and ‘Builders and Titans.’

Although the list was not ranked in order of importance, Putin’s name was second in the list after the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. Other names in the ‘Leaders and Revolutionaries’ section included Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Hu Jintao.

Putin, who was named Time’s Person of the Year at the end of 2007, is to step down as Russian president on May 7. He has already agreed to become Russia’s premier and head the ruling United Russia party.

Former U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, wrote in an accompanying piece in Time that it was unlikely that Putin would “wear out his welcome at home anytime soon, as he has nearly done with many democracies abroad. In the meantime, he will remain an irritant to NATO, a source of division within Europe and yet another reason for the West to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”

The outgoing Russia president was portrayed as Peter the Great in a ‘portrait’ that accompanied the list.

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30,000 take part in May Day rallies in downtown Moscow

Posted by Kris Roman on May 1, 2008

Around 30,000 people are taking part in May Day rallies in downtown Moscow, the chief spokesman for the Moscow police said on Thursday.

“The situation is calm, everything is proceeding according to plan. Everyone is in a festive mood,” Viktor Biryukov said.

May 1 is Spring and Labor Day across Russia, a national holiday. In Soviet times May 1 saw massive pro-Communist Party rallies.

Russia’s modern political parties have also taken the opportunity to hold rallies, with supporters of the ruling United Russia party, the Communist Party, the ultranationalist LDPR party and A Just Russia taking part in rallies across the city. An opposition ‘March of Dissent’ is taking place in St. Petersburg with the participation of several hundred demonstrators.

Biryukov said the biggest rally had taken place on Tverskaya Square and involved about 23,000 people, adding that about 9,000 police, Interior Ministry troops and special police units were ensuring law and order.

“Metal detectors have been installed at the sites of the biggest events,” he added.

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Mironov reelected leader of Kremlin-loyal A Just Russia party

Posted by Kris Roman on April 27, 2008

Sergei Mironov, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, has been reelected as leader of the A Just Russia party for another four years.

Mironov was the only candidature for the post in the party – which describes itself as a leftist force, but supports the Kremlin – receiving almost a unanimous backing by 235-2. The reelection was needed after the party adopted a new charter it said was designed to improve performance.

Speaking at the party congress, Mironov pledged to work for the good of the country as leader of A Just Russia: Rodina/Pensioners/Life.

Founded in October 2006 after the merger of three parties, the bloc suffered internal conflicts as many regional branches of the Party of Pensioners and the left-leaning Party of Life contested the leadership of Mironov’s Rodina, the smallest of the three. Many members have since left the party.

The new charter consolidates the power of regional branches in the hands of chairmen, according to one of the delegates. Regional branches were earlier run by three leaders with no clearly divided responsibilities.

Mironov said at the congress: “Our party advocates ideological diversity and a multi-party system.” He also expressed hope that outgoing President Vladimir Putin’s decision to head the ruling United Russia party would not lead authorities across the country to clamp down on “initiatives not originating from United Russia.”

Putin will take up the post of premier after stepping down next month. He will also be chairman of the country’s largest party with a two third majority in parliament.

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Kasparov attacked with smoke flare in central Moscow

Posted by Kris Roman on April 24, 2008

Moscow police detained two students accused of throwing a smoke flare at opposition leader and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, a police spokesperson said on Thursday.

The incident took place around midday as the leader of the United Civil Front was leaving an independent press center in the city center.

“Two young people threw a smoke flare under his feet and escaped,” the police representative said.

The spokesperson said the suspects, who were later arrested, turned out to be students from the provinces. No information has been released on whether they belong to political youth movements.

Kasparov is an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, who he accuses of turning Russia into a “police state.”

He was arrested in central Moscow in late November while leading a pre-election coalition rally for opposition coalition The Other Russia. Kasparov was held in custody for five days, on charges of violating laws on public meetings.

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Putin warns West: Medvedev won’t be a pushover

Posted by Kris Roman on March 10, 2008

Medvedev won't be a pushover  President Putin has told the West not to expect an easy ride from his successor Dmitry Medvedev. He made the comments during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow on Saturday. In response, Merkel said she hoped the West’s relations with Russia would not become more difficult under Medvedev.

The German leader arrived on Saturday for a one-day visit. She met the outgoing Russian president at his official residence outside Moscow. They discussed a range of topics, including Kosovo, NATO expansion and Russo-German relations.Speaking about the controversial issue of Kosovo, Putin said an option existed in which Russia could accept the region’s independence, “but it lies strictly within international law”.  
“One doesn’t need to be an expert to know that to recognise the territory of a sovereign state as independent we need negotiations. And we need all the parties taking part in negotiations to reach an agreement. In this particular case we need Serbia’s agreement. If such a compromise is found, then without doubt, we will accept it,” Putin said.   Merkel, however, said Germany’s opinion on Kosovo is different. 
“After the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, we tried to bring the sides to the negotiating table. Although we failed to reach a common result the work done was important. Germany decided to recognise Kosovo’s independence. We interpret UN resolution 1244 in a different way. The discussions on Kosovo will continue as not all differences have been tackled,” she said.  As for the issue of NATO expansion, which was also raised during the meeting, Putin said: “We believe that the endless expansion of a military bloc in modern reality, when there is no confrontation between warring systems is not only pointless but also harmful and counterproductive. It seems there are attempts to create an organisation to substitute the United Nations.”Human rights Questions on democracy and human rights are traditional at such meetings. This time one of the questions was about Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The businessman and former boss of the Yukos oil company was sentenced to eight years in prison on a number of charges, including money laundering and tax evasion. At the media briefing journalists asked whether he might be pardoned by the next President.  
“If we assume that the procedure required by the Russian legislation is preserved, the possibility of pardoning rests within the competence of the Russian president,” Putin answered. Economic ties The Russian President remains optimistic about the state of Russo-German relations. “In the last six years, trade turnover between Russia and Germany has increased three-and-a-half times, reaching more than $US 50 billion. Relations in the humanitarian and cultural spheres have been developing as well. We have regular political contact at all levels,” he said.“I think that relations between Germany and Russia are very close,” Angela Merkel said, echoing Putin.The Russian leader expressed hope that it was not his last meeting with the German chancellor. “But of course it is the last one in my current position,” he noted.  Looking aheadLater on Saturday Angela Merkel met president-elect Dmitry Medvedev.She said Medvedev is very welcome to visit Germany. “We want to continue our co-operation and our open and honest dialogue as we have so much to share,” Merkel said. Meanwhile Putin warned that his successor would be far from an easy touch. 

ПодписьAngela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev

“Dmitry Medvedev will be free from the necessity to prove his liberal views. But he is no less a Russian nationalist – in a good sense – than I am. I don’t think our partners will find it easier to deal with him. Definitely, he is very patriotic and will defend the interests of the Russian Federation at international level in a most active way,” he stressed.  During her meeting with Medvedev, Angela Merkel noted, 
“President Putin has just told us that it’s not going to be easier for us to work with you than it was with him. But I controlled myself and didn’t say that I hoped it would not be more difficult than with him.” Despite seeing the funny side of the remark, Medvedev didn’t make any promises. “I am sure that this is the way it will be – there will be both the sincerity and the friendliness that have always bound our countries together and that have always been a feature of your relations with President Putin,” Medvedev said.Aleksander Rahr, a political analyst told RT he sees Merkel’s visit to Moscow as an expression of Germany’s desire to serve as a link between Russia and the West.He also said that even though the dialogue between Berlin and Moscow is continuing, it’s not the same as it was before. “There’s a lot of mistrust over Russia. Some Germans think it is using oil and gas as an instrument for pressurising the EU. And the Germans are more and more afraid of Russia’s economic expansion. The relations are now at a difficult point,” he said.

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New region formed in Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on March 6, 2008

New region formed in Russia A new name has appeared on Russia’s map. The Zabaikalsky region was officially born on Saturday. The region in Russia’s South-East Siberia combines the territories of former Aginsk Buryat Autonomous Area and Chita Region.

So the number of Russia’s federal territories has decreased from 84 to 83.The new region is expected to become a centre for investment projects, including railroad construction and development of local ore deposits.A referendum on consolidating the two regions was held last March.  

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A New Year Address to the Nation

Posted by Kris Roman on January 1, 2008

 

medvedevarendDear fellow citizens of Russia, Dear friends,

Today I would like to say something special to you. As we see off the outgoing year, I want to sincerely thank you for everything that we have done together with you during the past eight years.

All that we have managed to achieve would have been simply impossible without your steadfast support, without your trust, without your direct participation in the revival of our country.

We have not only restored the territorial integrity of Russia. But once again we are able to feel we are a united people. And all these years we worked together to preserve our country, to transform it into a modern, free, strong state able to provide its citizens with a convenient and comfortable life.

We have seen how, from year to year, Russia has been gaining in strength and becoming stronger. How our economy has been growing. How new opportunities have been opening up for the people.

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Holding a meeting on the Theatrical area have beaten leaders of LDPR

Posted by Kris Roman on July 2, 2004

The meeting of the leader of LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky with holding a meeting on the Theatrical area has come to the end with fight and distribution of 500-rouble denominations, informs RIA of “News” .po to data of agency, Zhirinovsky who has come on protest action of pensioners and veterans, has been catcalled, despised and thrown by a dirt. However the politician did not cease to smile, began to distribute 500-rouble denominations. Thus Zhirinovsky has filled up the list of leaders of the LDPR which have suffered in this day in negotiations with supporters of preservation of privileges. ” They have beaten three our active workers and two deputies. That in acceptance of unpopular decisions communists are guilty just, ” the Native land “and” Uniform Russia “, – Zhirinovsky has declared. Except for Zhirinovsky the ex-candidate for presidents Oleg Malyshkin who has explained has suffered, that supporters of communists have beaten it at the first morning meeting.

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“Limonovtsy” have thrown Zhirinovsky ice-cream

Posted by Kris Roman on October 4, 2003

To Troy representatives natsional-bolshevistsko parties (NBP) have been detained on Saturday in the afternoon that have thrown the leader of LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky ice-cream. Incident has occured in the center of Moscow nearby to a monument to Zhukov where the leader of LDPR acted on the meeting, devoted to decade of events of 1993. As have informed in OVD “China-town”, for an administrative offence have been detained Olga Koceva, Elena Teslova and Olga Kudrin. Having thrown Zhirinovsky ice-cream, girls have scattered leaflets. After drawing up of the report on an administrative offence for fine hooliganism of arrested persons have been released. As have noted in OVD, for a similar trick girls are threatened with the penalty from five minimal sizes of a payment or till 15 day of arrest.

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