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[05 Jun 2004|01:45pm]

ex_mastodon326
Perverse Preferences for Subsidies Not Cash
Yulia Latynina
2 June 2004

Last Thursday, nearly 1,000 people joined a demonstration outside the State Duma. Were they protesting human rights violations? Police brutality? No, they were protesting the government's decision to replace a range of benefits and subsidies with cash payments. Next year, 13 million people who now qualify for subsidies will receive $6 billion from the state. But people don't want billions -- they want benefits.

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[04 Jun 2004|06:02pm]

ex_mastodon326
Putin and the Mythical NGO Conspiracy
Alexei Pankin
1 June 2004

Back in 1990-91, the United States and Europe were terrified at the prospect of the Soviet Union collapsing. Dealing with a single leader was a far more attractive option than building relationships with a dozen presidents of newly independent states.

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[03 Jun 2004|01:44pm]

ex_mastodon326
Azeri Village Poised on the Edge of the Abyss
Chloe Arnold
1 June 2004

Hussein Ali is not a happy man. The little wooden house where he has lived all his life has started to give way and if he doesn't watch out it will slip off the hillside and tumble hundreds of meters into the ravine below.

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[02 Jun 2004|05:21am]

ex_mastodon326
Billions Down the Drain
Pavel Felgenhauer
1 June 2004

In his state of the nation address a year ago, President Vladimir Putin announced that military modernization was a national priority, and ordered the creation of a corps of professional sergeants or noncommissioned officers. As well-trained NCOs are an essential part of Western professional armed forces, many observers welcomed Putin's statement as the first step toward military reform.

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[01 Jun 2004|11:54am]

ex_mastodon326
Wielding the KGB's Tools
Yevgenia Albats
31 May 2004

In government, what goes around comes around. In his annual state of the nation address last week, President Vladimir Putin made clear that he selects his tools of governance from the same shed as his Soviet predecessors once did. And his favorite tools are coercion and campaigns against internal enemies who are blamed for the transgressions of the regime.

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[31 May 2004|09:00pm]

ex_mastodon326
Putin the Great?
Jose Pinera
28 May 2004

President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address could be called the "speeding troika" speech. His vision may well be that of Gogol in the classic "Dead Souls":

"Russia, are you not speeding along like a fiery and matchless troika? Russia, where are you flying? Answer me. There is no answer. The bells are tinkling and filling the air with their wonderful pealing; the air is torn and thundering as it turns to wind; everything on Earth comes flying past, and looking askance at her, other peoples and states move aside and make way."

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[31 May 2004|02:02pm]

ex_mastodon326
Rhetoric and Reality
Roland Nash
27 May 2004

For the fourth year in succession, President Vladimir Putin has given a marvelous state of the nation address. Clear, reform-focused, liberal and structured -- the speech contained much of the blueprint for a liberal, market-based Russia. The trouble is, so did all the others.

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[31 May 2004|06:02am]

ex_mastodon326
Paternalism Abandoned: Putin Becomes Chubais
Stanislav Belkovsky
27 May 2004

This year's state of the nation address was composed of two intertwined parts, one rather uneventful and the other nothing short of momentous.

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[30 May 2004|05:33pm]

ex_mastodon326
The Price of a Worthless Government
Mikhail Delyagin
26 May 2004

Until mid-April, the stock market had enjoyed more than a year of steady growth. The benchmark RTS index more than doubled during this period to a high of 781.55 on April 12. Then the market's fortunes changed dramatically.

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[30 May 2004|08:45am]

ex_mastodon326
Stepashin's Revenge Misses Its Target
Yulia Latynina
26 May 2004

Audit Chamber chief Sergei Stepashin has finally settled his score with an old enemy, Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich. The chamber's audit of Chukotka, released last Friday, uncovered "mass" financial abuse and declared the remote Arctic region bankrupt. Chukotka's debt is largely the result of an outstanding "gold loan" received and embezzled during the tenure of its former governor, Alexander Nazarov, who now just happens to be an auditor with the chamber.

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[28 May 2004|06:14am]

ex_mastodon326
Russian Tourism: The Cost of Backwardness
Geoffrey Smith
26 May 2004

A superficial glance at Russia's tourist industry might give the impression that it is doing well: Tourism is a "government priority"; federal spending on promotion has recently doubled; in 2002, there was a 30 percent leap in foreign, non-CIS visitors, and there is healthy growth in domestic tourism; the Federal Statistics Service (FSS) reports that growth in foreign visitors to Moscow is 10 times higher than the world average, and the city government has even announced that it plans to quadruple the number of visitors to the capital by 2015.

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[27 May 2004|04:52pm]

ex_mastodon326
Gusinsky Ruling Leads to a Slippery Slope
Alexei Pankin
25 May 2004

The European Court of Human Rights condemned the government last week for using a politically motivated criminal case to compel Vladimir Gusinsky to sign over his media empire, including the television station NTV.

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[25 May 2004|02:03am]

ex_mastodon326
The Rising Cost of Poor Azeri Healthcare
Chloe Arnold
25 May 2004

To look at the row of boutique shops that just opened round the corner from my house, selling Versace shirts, Armani suits and Manolo Blahnik shoes at crippling prices, you'd never guess that Azerbaijan has an infant mortality rate similar to some of the poorest countries in Africa.

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[24 May 2004|10:54am]

ex_mastodon326
'Rose Revolution' Raises Some Thorny Issues
Zaal Anjaparidze and Peter Rutland
24 May 2004

Six months after the "Rose Revolution" that toppled Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili continues to surprise observers and energize his supporters. There are grounds for optimism but also cause for concern in respect to Saakashvili's accomplishments. Saakashvili is using a nationalist rhetoric that does not necessarily sit easily with the liberal values for which he is known in the West.

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[23 May 2004|04:35am]

ex_mastodon326
Link: Soviet Archives at INFO-RUSS collected by Vladimir Bukovsky

"Most of the documents presented in this archive were discovered and secured by a known soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky (Cambridge, England) back in Russia in 1992. Bukovsky described his 1992 visit to Russia and a method he used to copy these documents (some with high-security clearance) in his book "Moscow's Process" (published in Russian by "Russkaya Misl'" in 1996). Bukovsky's book can be purchased from this newspaper (e-mail to Pensee.Russe@wanadoo.fr for more information). An English version of Vladimir Bukovsky book to be called either "Judgment Day" or "Reckoning with Moscow" will be published in 1999 by "Alfred Regnery (USA) and "John Murray" (UK) (both are already on the list of amazon.com).

A majority of documents presented in collection of "Soviet Archives" are documents (of Politburo, of the Secretariat of Communist Party, and others), they were sealed by Yeltsin: each for a period of 30 years from the date of origination. According to our friends living in Russia, even the documents with expired secrecy clearance are not easily available to the Russian citizens. We spent a lot of our free time to complete this enormous project and to post all these documents on the Internet because we believe that these "black" pages of Soviet history should be in the public domain."
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[22 May 2004|06:22pm]

ex_mastodon326
Whither EU-Russian Relations?
Katinka Barysch
21 May 2004

On Friday, the EU and Russia convene for one of their six-monthly summits. Brussels officials still cringe (and many Russians snigger) when they think about the last one. The last meeting, held in Italy in November 2003, exposed some of the deeper flaws in EU-Russian relations, and in the EU's nascent common foreign and security policy more generally.

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[22 May 2004|05:10am]

ex_mastodon326
Ukraine Is Not Russia
Andrew Wilson
20 May 2004

Russia now has its "managed democracy" -- what it does with it is a different matter. In Ukraine, however, the October 2004 presidential election is still a genuine contest, not just between politicians and parties, but between two different political cultures -- broadly, between "political technology" and a genuine opposition (even if one of the standard techniques of political technology is to try to blur that line). As well as marking possible decisive domestic changes, the election will therefore have a vital demonstration effect for the region as a whole. If the management of Ukraine's democracy becomes as brutally effective as in Russia, Ukraine (and other states) will more easily slip back further under its influence. If a victorious opposition is able to enact real changes to foreign policy and the model of domestic political economy, the shock waves will be felt in Russia, too.

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[21 May 2004|08:54pm]

ex_mastodon326
The System Is the Message
Boris Kagarlitsky
20 May 2004

Once upon a time there was a land called the Soviet Union, and in that land advertising was almost non-existent. Why advertise products that were always in short supply to begin with?

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[21 May 2004|09:02am]

ex_mastodon326
A Radical Shake-Up or Is It Just Personal?
Alexander Golts
19 May 2004

I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that for the first time in 12 years the government appears poised to push forward with meaningful military reform. The bad news is that this major step forward may result not from strategic planning but from a clash between warring bureaucratic factions.

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[21 May 2004|01:35am]

ex_mastodon326
'Power Vertical' Takes a Bashkir Battering
Yulia Latynina
10 May 2004

Last Wednesday was a very bad day for well-known Moscow lawyer Anatoly Blinov. First he was hauled in and interrogated for eight hours by agents from the Interior Ministry's organized crime task force, GUBOP. The next day he was shipped off to Ufa, capital of Bashkortostan, and locked in a holding cell. The man behind all this unpleasantness seems to be Ufa businessman Vasily Peganov, head of Navoil, who is locked in a dispute with Blinov over Moscow-based Imidzh Bank.

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