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Inside Putin's Russia...

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The Washington Post | The Week in Ideas
Opinions you may have missed.

A Russian ex-spy poisoned on the quiet street of his adopted British hometown. Two alleged murderers, Russian agents, identified by the British government. And then, their almost ludicrous response on Russian TV: Yes, they were in Salisbury, but only to tour its famous cathedral. Our Anne Applebaum, an expert in dictators’ propaganda, makes sense of this, explaining the “usefulness of the blatant lie.”

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Leftists slam ‘Three Bullets for Lenin’ memorial coin as terrorist propaganda


A Russian leftist party has officially addressed the Federal Investigative Committee with a request to stop the production and sale of memorial coins minted in honor of the woman who almost managed to kill Vladimir Lenin in 1918.

The Communists of Russia party addressed the federal law enforcement agency for dealing with especially serious crime, the Investigative Committee, with an open letter in which they asked to stop the production and sale of a memorial coin minted in honor of the 100th anniversary of the failed attempt on Vladimir Lenin’s life made by anarchist Fanny Kaplan.

According to the letter, the coin is listed in catalogues as “Three Bullets for Lenin.”

In their letter, the leftists slammed the coin as terrorist propaganda, defiling the memory of the founder of the Soviet state, to which the Russian Federation is the heir.

They also asked investigators to take measures so that the sale and future minting of the coin are prevented and the people behind the stunt are found and brought to justice.

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Kremlin suffers defeats in regional elections

Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, suffered a number of defeats in recent regional elections. The electoral upsets come amidst widespread popular opposition to the passage of a bill raising the official retirement age by five years for both men and women.

In voting held in early September to elect representatives to local assemblies, United Russia won less than 50 percent of the ballots cast in eleven of the sixteen races. In three regions—Irkutsk, an area in Siberia that borders Lake Baikal and is home to nearly 2.5 million people, Ulyanovsk, which is southeast of Moscow and has a population of almost 1.3 million, and Khakassia, a Russian republic with around a half million residents located north of the country’s border with Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan—United Russia lost altogether to the Communist Party by between two and six percent.

In addition, four of the Kremlin-backed candidates for regional governorships failed to win a majority. This resulted in run-off elections in three places and the invalidation of the election in another, amidst claims of voter fraud.

In Primorsky Krai, a region in Russia’s far east and home to the port city Vladivostok, officials were compelled to throw out a narrow win by United Russia incumbent candidate Andrei Tarasenko. His opponent, the Communist Party’s Andrei Ishchenko, was in the lead in ballot counting until the very last minute when, suddenly, he lost by 7,000 votes. Allegations of voting irregularities affecting precincts that accounted for at least 24,000 votes, more than enough to have changed the outcome of the election, prompted protests. New elections are now scheduled to take place in December, and Putin has ordered Tarasenko be replaced by an interim leader, a United Russia representative who previously governed Sakhalin.

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Olga Lautman @olgaNYC1211


Senior Russian corruption investigator Colonel Yevgenia Shishkina was shot dead yesterday as she was leaving her apartment.

She was in charge of investigating economic crimes and corruption cases


Laurence TribeVerified account @tribelaw 3h3 hours ago


Laurence Tribe Retweeted Olga Lautman


Another notch on Putin’s belt?

I’m old enough to remember how Trump kissed up to that butcher in Helsinki.


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The New York TimesVerified account @nytimes


Breaking News: The Justice Department accused Russians of interfering in the midterms, charging an employee of a Putin ally in an elaborate social media plot.


Adam SchiffVerified account @RepAdamSchiff 1h1 hour ago


Adam Schiff Retweeted The New York Times

The Russian efforts to interfere in our political affairs did not end in 2016, they didn’t even pause.

Today's indictment shows that Russian disinformation efforts are ongoing and sophisticated, and they are intent on dividing us and weakening our society and political system.

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Vladimir Putin

Putin touts downfall of US as a global leader:

‘It’s almost done’

In his annual public address before the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed that America’s global influence has come to end 

— a development he attributed in large part to Trump’s presidency.

Speaking about the position of the U.S. on the global stage, Putin celebrated the waning influence of what he described as America’s “monopoly” on power, saying it would give Russia the ability to exert more influence in the world.

“Empires often think they can make some little mistakes. Because they’re so powerful,” Putin said, according to the Financial Times. ”But when the number of these mistakes keeps growing, it reaches a level they cannot sustain.”.....



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Seth AbramsonVerified account @SethAbramson 21m21 minutes ago


The United Kingdom was rocked today by news that a key backer of the "Leave" position in the recent Brexit referendum has been referred to the UK equivalent of the FBI

over claims he criminally received funds from Russia.

There WILL be reverberations here.


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Russia close to granting Cuba 38 million euro loan to buy arms

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is close to agreeing a 38-million-euro loan to Cuba to help it buy Russian-made arms, a deputy finance minister said on Friday, after President Vladimir Putin met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Moscow.


Russia’s Kommersant newspaper had previously reported that Moscow planned to grant Cuba a loan of more than $50 million to allow it to buy Russian hardware such as tanks, armored vehicles and possibly military helicopters.

Under Putin, Russia has sought to revive relations and deepen its influence in Latin America, particularly with countries wary of U.S. influence such as Cuba where friendly ties with Moscow date back to the Soviet era.

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said a Cuban military delegation would visit Russia in two weeks when he expected a loan-for-hardware deal to be signed. Russian news agencies reported that Cuban Defence Minister General Leopoldo Cintra Frias would be part of the delegation.

“Work (on the loan) is continuing,” Storchak told reporters after Putin’s talks with Cuba’s president.

“Nobody has refused anyone anything. There is such a theme and there is such a loan. It’s just that there are some parts of it which have yet to be agreed.

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Taibbi: Russia’s Biggest Problem Will Soon Be Ours


How do you solve an issue like xenophobia?

On Thursday, the Russian Duma held its first reading of a new bill: “On the Citizenship of the Russian Federation.” According to the newspaper Kommersant, the government has prepared a paper representing a “first step toward a serious review of immigration policy.” Included is the idea that:

Russia should be open not only to Russians and Russian speakers, but to anyone who is loyal and willing to integrate into Russian society.

Russia, you see, has a serious problem with population decline. They’re expecting a 28 percent plunge in women of childbearing age by 2032. Their population peaked at about 148 million, in 1991.

You might notice that as the year of the collapse of communism. After the revolution, a series of factors — including introduction to the joys of international capitalism, with the accompanying loss of free health care, spiking economic inequality, accelerated substance abuse, etc. — caused Russia to begin shrinking.


The average life expectancy of Russian males plunged six years, from a pre-perestroika high of about 70 years to a low of about 64, in 1994. Soon, while American men had a 1 in 11 chance of dying before the age of 55, the dice roll for Russian males was about 1 in 4. The economic catastrophe of the Nineties resulted in at least a few million premature deaths and possibly more, depending on what study you believe.

Sharp increases in mortality seemed directly tied to economic events, like the 1998 collapse of the ruble. Specifically, increased deaths were most commonly tied to alcohol consumption, followed by associated health complications, homicide, suicide and booze-related accidents: flying passenger liners under the influence, forgetting you’re on an ice floe while fishing, guzzling methanol-spiked bath lotion when you run out of vodka, etc.

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Senator Dick DurbinVerified account @SenatorDurbin 3h3 hours ago


I strongly oppose the possible election of Russian Alexander Prokopchuk as the next Interpol President.

He has a reported history of serving in Russian President Putin’s dubious security services

and reportedly attempting to abuse Interpol to pursue Russia’s political enemies.

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In the Verkhovna Rada on November 26th there was a scandal because a bullet point about the restriction of a person’s rights and freedoms that suddenly appeared in the decree of the president Petro Poroshenko on martial law.

Thus, a printed version of the decree of Poroshenko was distributed to People’s Deputies, and in the document there is a 3rd bullet point that is not in the document published on the website of the President and wasn’t mentioned during the meeting of the National Security and Defence Council on Sunday.

The decree’s 3rd bullet point lists the rights of citizens that are limited to the decree. In the document that was distributed to deputies 12 constitutional rights of Ukrainians are violated.

Restrictions in relation to the rights of citizens enshrined in 12 articles of the constitution are stipulated: inviolability of housing, privacy of communications, protection of personal information, freedom of movement and speech, participation in elections and peaceful assemblies, the right to private property, the prevention of forced labor, and the right to strike and education.

All 24 points of restrictions concern legal entities.


The people’s deputy Yury Chizhmar from the “Radical Party” said that the session was disrupted because of restrictions of the rights of citizens – concerning elections, property rights, and others. Therefore deputies of the “Radical Party” [led by Oleg Lyashko – ed] and “Fatherland” [led by Yuliya Tymoshenko – ed] demanded a break for consultations with the president. Thus, the Rada session arrived on the verge of collapse.

The president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko left the Verkhovna Rada, without making a speech at the emergency session during which deputies make a decision on the introduction of martial law in the country.

It is noted that the head of state was in the Verkhovna Rada and waited to make his speech for about an hour, however due to the blocking of work by the leaders of the aforementioned political parties, he made the decision to cancel his speech.

“Since Lyashko and Tymoshenko blocked the work, he left and wrote a post on Facebook,” reported the source.

In turn, the Vice Speaker of the Rada Oksana Syroid reported that Poroshenko, most likely, did not want to communicate with the leaders of factions, although he was in the office of the chairman of the parliament Andriy Parubiy.

“We wanted to communicate with the president. However the president ran away,” she said.

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