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Archive for the 'AP Russia' Category

Russian History Blog

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Great Russian History Blog supported by the Center for History and New Media and the Center for Eurasian Studies at George Mason University.

Putin in Women’s Underwear Seized in Russian Raid

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Police in Russia have confiscated a painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in women’s underwear from an art gallery in the city of St Petersburg.

The artwork depicts President Putin combing the hair of the prime minister.

The gallery owner said he had been given no formal warrant or explanation for the removal of the paintings.


Putin Personality Disorder: Russia’s president may like to look tough, but he’s weaker than you think.

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Who is the real Vladimir Putin? This question has never been fully answered. Putin has dominated Russian politics for more than 12 years, but in that time almost no new information has surfaced about his background beyond the material in a few early biographies. Even in the biographies, very little information about the Russian president is definitive, confirmable, or reliable. As a result, some observers have said that Putin has no face, no substance, no soul. He is a man from nowhere, who can appear to be anything to anybody.

But Putin is a product of his environment — a man whose past experiences have clearly informed his present outlook. Indeed, Putin is best understood as a composite of multiple identities that stem from those experiences.

Russia finally joins WTO

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Russia has finally closed the book on its campaign to accede to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), becoming a full member after 18 years of talks – despite the ratification of the accession treaty in the final stages being accompanied by protests from some State Duma deputies and businessmen.

Now that it enjoys the status of a full member of the organisation, Russia is entitled to play its part in formulating the rules for global commerce.

Bidding farewell to its inconspicuous status as an observer, the country will now enjoy lower customs duties, from which Russian exporters of metals and chemicals will be the first to benefit.

Local Government in Russian Federation

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

This briefing paper, “Local Government in Russian Federation: Developing New Rules in an Old Environment” is really interesting. Though 100 pages (half of which is text, half is data tables) this is worth perusing. Gives insight into how Moscow can/should balance powers with local governments.

Photoessay: Putin shows off military hardware in Victory Day parade

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012


Check out these photos. Daunting!

Interview: Putin Biography Chronicles Rise Of A ‘Street Thug’

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

How Putin rose to power is spelled out by Russian journalist Masha Gessen. She says Putin, a KGB operative with little government experience before he was first elected in 1999, was specifically selected by the elite cohort that surrounded former President Boris Yeltsin.

“One of the very few requirements that Yeltsin’s inner circle presented to people was that they had to be personally loyal to Yeltsin, who very much feared he would be prosecuted once he left office,” Gessen tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies. “And one thing about Putin that seems to have been consistent throughout his career is that he does have a great sense of personal loyalty. I think Yeltsin’s inner circle sensed this. And this is why Yeltsin picked Putin.”

Rethinking Russia : A Balanced Assessment of Russian Civil Society

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Assessments of Russia’s civil society development have been almost universally negative, yet the assessments are usually based on very limited and unsystematic evidence. Missing from the discussion are new developments such as institutions and competitive funding for NGOs and other civic groups that suggest there is a foundation in Russia to support citizen participation in governance.

In this article we present current assumptions about Russian civil society, that public space between the home and government where citizens act collectively. We then report some unexplored developments in Russian civil society, including pockets of public activism, NGO activity, and newly institutionalized frameworks for citizen participation in governance. We submit that these developments merit attention in assessments of contemporary Russian politics.

Putin, Russia and the West, Western propaganda?

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Four part (1 hour each) pro-Western documentary on Putin

Protests in Russia, Winter 2011-12

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Summary of the 4 December 2011 State Duma election results

Parties and alliances Seat composition Popular vote % ± pp
Seats ± %
United Russia 238 decrease77 52.88% 32,379,135 49.32% decrease14.98%
Communist Party 92 increase35 20.46% 12,599,507 19.19% increase7.62%
A Just Russia 64 increase26 14.21% 8,695,522 13.24% increase5.50%
Liberal Democratic Party 56 increase16 12.45% 7,664,570 11.67% increase3.53%
Yabloko 0 steady0 0% 2,252,403 3.43% increase1.84%
Patriots of Russia 0 steady0 0% 639,119 0.97% increase0.08%
Right Cause 0 steady0 0% 392,806 0.60% new party
Total 450 0 100% 64,623,062 100%
Valid ballot papers 64,623,062 98.43%
Invalid ballot papers 1,033,464 1.57%
Eligible voters 109,237,780 Turnout: 60.10%
Source: Summary table of election results – Central Election Commission


Summary of the 4 March 2012 Russian presidential election results
Candidates Nominating parties Votes %
Vladimir Putin United Russia 45,513,001 63.64
Gennady Zyuganov Communist Party 12,288,624 17.18
Mikhail Prokhorov Independent 5,680,558 7.94
Vladimir Zhirinovsky Liberal Democratic Party 4,448,959 6.22
Sergey Mironov A Just Russia 2,755,642 3.85
Valid votes 70,686,784 98.84
Invalid votes 833,191 1.16
Total votes 71,519,975 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 109,610,812 65.25
Source: Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation


  1. Medvedev Responds with Proposals for Systemic Change (NYT Dec 22)
  2. How far can the resistance to Vladimir Putin go? (New Yorker Dec 12)
  3. Is this a Russian Spring? (BBC Dec 7)

Your assignment–Write, and post a 750-1000 word essay which:

1. Cites all three of the above articles (other resources are available below)
2. Synthesizes the given articles with previous lectures, readings, and discussions
3. Is thesis-driven and evidence-based
4. Attempts to pose an original argument
5. Answers these questions:

  • Summarize the 2011 Duma election results. What do these results suggest?
  • What are the causes of post-election political discontent in Russia? To what extent are these grievances valid?
  • According to Remnick’s piece in the New Yorker, how is the suppression of civil society at the heart of the problem in Russia? Do you tend to agree with his assertions? (If you want more scholarly info on civil society in Russia, see the pieces posted below.)
  • Specifically how have Putin, Medvedev, and United Russia responded?
  • Conclude by hazarding a response to these questions: Is this the end of an era in Russia? The beginning of the end? Neither?


EXTRA CREDIT: Up to 7 points for offering a substantial (200+ word) and evidence-based refutation of a classmates’ essay. (this is probably the only extra credit for the semester)

A Balanced Assessment of Russian Civil Society” from Colombia University. More optimisitc than Remnick

Russian Democracy in the Absence of Civil Society. Not so optimistic.

Photo Essay: The Anti-Putin Brigade (Foreign Policy)

Thousands Call on Putin to Go (BBC Dec 25)

Day By Day Summary (Slate Dec 4-12)

2 Minute BBC video

Alexei Mukhin, director of the Center for Politial Information think tank, agreed that Putin is increasingly the target but stressed that the opposition continues to lack a comparable leader figure. “Russia without Putin” is the strongest slogan, but it is at the same time the weakest one,“ Mukhin said in an interview. “Because the answer is: ok, Putin, leaves, and then what? Nothing is being offered instead. There is no strong figure that would be able to compete with Putin. It is the weak point, where the pro-government forces are going to strike.”

How does the Kremlin see all this? Check out the state-owned RIA Novosti covers the 2011 protests. Want a hint? December 29th headline: “Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has blamed the United States for being behind the recent wave of protests in Russia against the outcome of the December 4 parliamentary elections”

Below: Discussion with Anastasia Mirzoyants, the Eurasia Project Manager at Intermedia & ; Jeffrey Mankoff, Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University and a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

30 minute video: The Stream speaks to Anastasia Mirzoyants, the Eurasia Project Manager at Intermedia, a leading consulting firm; Jeffrey Mankoff, Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University

Anatoly Karlin, student at UC Berkeley, gives some context to the numbers in this op-ed for Al Jazeera. Karlin also runs the blog Supreme Oblivion