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Russia's Return

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In the light of the upcoming G-8 summit a very interesting but also very long article about Russias ambitions and plans for the future. For the interested.

Here is a more split up version of the text, easier to the eyes.

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In the light of the upcoming G-8 summit a very interesting but also very long article about Russias ambitions and plans for the future. For the interested.

Here is a more split up version of the text, easier to the eyes.

Thanks for the link... :thumbup:

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Just noticed that the same topic is also covered in this weeks Economist´s lead story. Unfortunately subscriber material. But thats what a newsstand is good for ;)

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Russia to eavesdrop on U.S. from Cuba, paper reports

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- The hi-tech listening post Russia used to spy on the United States from Cuba may once again gather intelligence, according to a Russian newspaper report.

The Kommersant business daily on Wednesday said the Lourdes signals intelligence facility, which was mothballed in 2001, would reopen as part of a deal struck by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban President Raul Castro.

Putin visited Cuba on Friday to strengthen ties with the island and lauded a recent deal that forgave over $30 billion in Soviet-era debt that Cuba still owed its former communist ally.

During the daylong visit to Cuba, Putin and Raul Castro announced agreements on a wide variety of issues, including a pact to safeguard each country's national security.

Cuban and Russian officials and a U.S. State Department spokeswoman would not comment on the report of the reopening of the base.

READ: Putin meets Castro brothers to open Latin American tour

If Lourdes reopens, it is not clear how soon the defunct facility will again be operational or how much Russia would pay to be able to monitor U.S. telecommunications from Cuba.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia paid a reported $200 million each year to maintain Lourdes.

When the facility was closed in 2001, it further strained Russian and Cuban relations.

Part of the sprawling facility has been turned into a computer science university, but many of the Soviet-era buildings have fallen into disrepair.

Trees and bushes have grown around collapsed buildings and goats hunting for food wander around the once top secret and tightly guarded facility.

A university official who only gave his name as Benjamin said he doubted Russia could restore Lourdes to its role as a cutting edge listening post just off U.S. shores.

"Look around here," he said, gesturing at the mounds of rubble and trash, "Not even in their dreams."

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/16/world/cuba-russia-listening-post/index.html

Russia and Cuba, together again.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

You're not kidding.

Guess where Putin went after renewing vows with Cuba?

Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties

Managua (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua after visiting Russia's Cold War ally Cuba, part of a tour to increase Moscow's influence in Latin America amid frayed ties with the West.

...

Moscow is seeking comprehensive technological partnerships with Latin America in the oil and gas sector, hydropower, nuclear energy, aircraft construction and the bio pharmaceutical industry, Putin told Cuba's state news agency Prensa Latina.

Leftist President Daniel Ortega, whose country was close to the Soviet Union under the Sandinista regime of the 1980s, welcomed Putin at the airport along with his wife and the head of Nicaragua's army.

"This is the first time that a Russian president visits Nicaragua," a beaming Ortega said at a brief airport media event.

Through an interpreter Putin said that his government intends to continue strengthening economic with the Nicaragua.

Putin said before the trip that he has his eye on Latin America's oil and bauxite, and plans to woo regional leaders with offers of increased Russian investment and trade in return.

Analysts say that Putin is also using the tour to thumb his nose at Brussels and Washington, which have slapped sanctions on some of his closest allies over Moscow's takeover of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

- Fidel Castro talks -

Putin arrived in Nicaragua after visiting Havana, where he and Cuban President Raul Castro witnessed the signing of a dozen bilateral agreements, including for oil exploration off the island's coast, creating an international airline hub in Cuba and supplying equipment for two Cuban thermoelectric plants worth $1.6 billion.

Following Putin's arrival early Friday, the two men visited a small cemetery that holds the remains of Soviet soldiers who died of illness or accident while serving in Cuba during the Cold War.

The Russian leader then met Castro's older brother Fidel, the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution.

According to Russian sources, Putin said they had a "long and very interesting conversation" of about one hour on international politics and bilateral relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet Soldier Monument …

In recent years, Moscow has sought to revive ties with the Caribbean island, whose economy has been saddled with a US embargo since 1962 and is growing less than the government expected, despite recent free-market reforms.

Ahead of the visit, Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt of more than $30 billion.

Havana for its part has sided with its old ally Russia in the Ukraine conflict.

- Argentine shale -

Putin is next scheduled to fly to Buenos Aires, where analysts say he will likely seek a stake in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation, an oil and gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of 22.8 billion barrels of oil, potentially one of the largest finds in history.

Argentina, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001, desperately needs foreign investment.

President Cristina Kirchner will be keen to tap Russian capital at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent in the face of a US court order to pay more than $1.3 billion by the end of the month to "holdout" hedge funds refusing to take part in the restructuring of the country's defaulted debt.

Putin has also invited Argentina to take a seat at the table when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS group -- hold a summit next week in Brazil.

But first he will attend the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

At the end of the tournament, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will officially hand over World Cup responsibilities to Putin, whose country hosts the next edition in 2018.

Moscow says he will likely also meet Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

The Kremlin has sought to play Germany against the United States in the Ukraine crisis, leveraging Berlin's dependence on Russian gas in a bid to fend off more Western sanctions.

Before departing on the trip Putin condemned as "blatant hypocrisy" Washington's cyber-spying revealed by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who is in Russia on asylum.

The remark came after Germany expelled the CIA station chief in Berlin on Thursday over alleged spying on Merkel.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-cuba-nicaragua-rekindle-latin-america-ties-083055813.html

Oh look it's Daniel Ortega.

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Wolverines!!!!

Yeah, I think Hollywood can stop casting North Koreans as the only viable bad guys left.

Yeah, plenty of Mexicans fit that category.

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Let's not overreact guys, we don't have 300+ million Europeans fearing they could be nuked any time so we are nowhere near the 80'ies

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Let's not overreact guys, we don't have 300+ million Europeans fearing they could be nuked any time so we are nowhere near the 80'ies

But Romney didn't say that. He was asked to name our biggest enemy, and he said: Russia.

Actually, what he said was that Russia was our #1 geopolitical foe.

Edited by DiStefano

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The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

You're not kidding.

Guess where Putin went after renewing vows with Cuba?

Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties

Managua (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua after visiting Russia's Cold War ally Cuba, part of a tour to increase Moscow's influence in Latin America amid frayed ties with the West.

...

Moscow is seeking comprehensive technological partnerships with Latin America in the oil and gas sector, hydropower, nuclear energy, aircraft construction and the bio pharmaceutical industry, Putin told Cuba's state news agency Prensa Latina.

Leftist President Daniel Ortega, whose country was close to the Soviet Union under the Sandinista regime of the 1980s, welcomed Putin at the airport along with his wife and the head of Nicaragua's army.

"This is the first time that a Russian president visits Nicaragua," a beaming Ortega said at a brief airport media event.

Through an interpreter Putin said that his government intends to continue strengthening economic with the Nicaragua.

Putin said before the trip that he has his eye on Latin America's oil and bauxite, and plans to woo regional leaders with offers of increased Russian investment and trade in return.

Analysts say that Putin is also using the tour to thumb his nose at Brussels and Washington, which have slapped sanctions on some of his closest allies over Moscow's takeover of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

- Fidel Castro talks -

Putin arrived in Nicaragua after visiting Havana, where he and Cuban President Raul Castro witnessed the signing of a dozen bilateral agreements, including for oil exploration off the island's coast, creating an international airline hub in Cuba and supplying equipment for two Cuban thermoelectric plants worth $1.6 billion.

Following Putin's arrival early Friday, the two men visited a small cemetery that holds the remains of Soviet soldiers who died of illness or accident while serving in Cuba during the Cold War.

The Russian leader then met Castro's older brother Fidel, the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution.

According to Russian sources, Putin said they had a "long and very interesting conversation" of about one hour on international politics and bilateral relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet Soldier Monument …

In recent years, Moscow has sought to revive ties with the Caribbean island, whose economy has been saddled with a US embargo since 1962 and is growing less than the government expected, despite recent free-market reforms.

Ahead of the visit, Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt of more than $30 billion.

Havana for its part has sided with its old ally Russia in the Ukraine conflict.

- Argentine shale -

Putin is next scheduled to fly to Buenos Aires, where analysts say he will likely seek a stake in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation, an oil and gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of 22.8 billion barrels of oil, potentially one of the largest finds in history.

Argentina, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001, desperately needs foreign investment.

President Cristina Kirchner will be keen to tap Russian capital at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent in the face of a US court order to pay more than $1.3 billion by the end of the month to "holdout" hedge funds refusing to take part in the restructuring of the country's defaulted debt.

Putin has also invited Argentina to take a seat at the table when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS group -- hold a summit next week in Brazil.

But first he will attend the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

At the end of the tournament, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will officially hand over World Cup responsibilities to Putin, whose country hosts the next edition in 2018.

Moscow says he will likely also meet Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

The Kremlin has sought to play Germany against the United States in the Ukraine crisis, leveraging Berlin's dependence on Russian gas in a bid to fend off more Western sanctions.

Before departing on the trip Putin condemned as "blatant hypocrisy" Washington's cyber-spying revealed by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who is in Russia on asylum.

The remark came after Germany expelled the CIA station chief in Berlin on Thursday over alleged spying on Merkel.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-cuba-nicaragua-rekindle-latin-america-ties-083055813.html

Oh look it's Daniel Ortega.

There's no on to blame for Cuba except for stupid US policy when it comes to Cuba. The place should be lined with US money by now.

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The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

You're not kidding.

Guess where Putin went after renewing vows with Cuba?

Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties

Managua (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua after visiting Russia's Cold War ally Cuba, part of a tour to increase Moscow's influence in Latin America amid frayed ties with the West.

...

Moscow is seeking comprehensive technological partnerships with Latin America in the oil and gas sector, hydropower, nuclear energy, aircraft construction and the bio pharmaceutical industry, Putin told Cuba's state news agency Prensa Latina.

Leftist President Daniel Ortega, whose country was close to the Soviet Union under the Sandinista regime of the 1980s, welcomed Putin at the airport along with his wife and the head of Nicaragua's army.

"This is the first time that a Russian president visits Nicaragua," a beaming Ortega said at a brief airport media event.

Through an interpreter Putin said that his government intends to continue strengthening economic with the Nicaragua.

Putin said before the trip that he has his eye on Latin America's oil and bauxite, and plans to woo regional leaders with offers of increased Russian investment and trade in return.

Analysts say that Putin is also using the tour to thumb his nose at Brussels and Washington, which have slapped sanctions on some of his closest allies over Moscow's takeover of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

- Fidel Castro talks -

Putin arrived in Nicaragua after visiting Havana, where he and Cuban President Raul Castro witnessed the signing of a dozen bilateral agreements, including for oil exploration off the island's coast, creating an international airline hub in Cuba and supplying equipment for two Cuban thermoelectric plants worth $1.6 billion.

Following Putin's arrival early Friday, the two men visited a small cemetery that holds the remains of Soviet soldiers who died of illness or accident while serving in Cuba during the Cold War.

The Russian leader then met Castro's older brother Fidel, the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution.

According to Russian sources, Putin said they had a "long and very interesting conversation" of about one hour on international politics and bilateral relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet Soldier Monument …

In recent years, Moscow has sought to revive ties with the Caribbean island, whose economy has been saddled with a US embargo since 1962 and is growing less than the government expected, despite recent free-market reforms.

Ahead of the visit, Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt of more than $30 billion.

Havana for its part has sided with its old ally Russia in the Ukraine conflict.

- Argentine shale -

Putin is next scheduled to fly to Buenos Aires, where analysts say he will likely seek a stake in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation, an oil and gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of 22.8 billion barrels of oil, potentially one of the largest finds in history.

Argentina, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001, desperately needs foreign investment.

President Cristina Kirchner will be keen to tap Russian capital at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent in the face of a US court order to pay more than $1.3 billion by the end of the month to "holdout" hedge funds refusing to take part in the restructuring of the country's defaulted debt.

Putin has also invited Argentina to take a seat at the table when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS group -- hold a summit next week in Brazil.

But first he will attend the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

At the end of the tournament, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will officially hand over World Cup responsibilities to Putin, whose country hosts the next edition in 2018.

Moscow says he will likely also meet Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

The Kremlin has sought to play Germany against the United States in the Ukraine crisis, leveraging Berlin's dependence on Russian gas in a bid to fend off more Western sanctions.

Before departing on the trip Putin condemned as "blatant hypocrisy" Washington's cyber-spying revealed by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who is in Russia on asylum.

The remark came after Germany expelled the CIA station chief in Berlin on Thursday over alleged spying on Merkel.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-cuba-nicaragua-rekindle-latin-america-ties-083055813.html

Oh look it's Daniel Ortega.

There's no on to blame for Cuba except for stupid US policy when it comes to Cuba. The place should be lined with US money by now.

The blame America first crowd.

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The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

You're not kidding.

Guess where Putin went after renewing vows with Cuba?

Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties

Managua (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua after visiting Russia's Cold War ally Cuba, part of a tour to increase Moscow's influence in Latin America amid frayed ties with the West.

...

Moscow is seeking comprehensive technological partnerships with Latin America in the oil and gas sector, hydropower, nuclear energy, aircraft construction and the bio pharmaceutical industry, Putin told Cuba's state news agency Prensa Latina.

Leftist President Daniel Ortega, whose country was close to the Soviet Union under the Sandinista regime of the 1980s, welcomed Putin at the airport along with his wife and the head of Nicaragua's army.

"This is the first time that a Russian president visits Nicaragua," a beaming Ortega said at a brief airport media event.

Through an interpreter Putin said that his government intends to continue strengthening economic with the Nicaragua.

Putin said before the trip that he has his eye on Latin America's oil and bauxite, and plans to woo regional leaders with offers of increased Russian investment and trade in return.

Analysts say that Putin is also using the tour to thumb his nose at Brussels and Washington, which have slapped sanctions on some of his closest allies over Moscow's takeover of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

- Fidel Castro talks -

Putin arrived in Nicaragua after visiting Havana, where he and Cuban President Raul Castro witnessed the signing of a dozen bilateral agreements, including for oil exploration off the island's coast, creating an international airline hub in Cuba and supplying equipment for two Cuban thermoelectric plants worth $1.6 billion.

Following Putin's arrival early Friday, the two men visited a small cemetery that holds the remains of Soviet soldiers who died of illness or accident while serving in Cuba during the Cold War.

The Russian leader then met Castro's older brother Fidel, the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution.

According to Russian sources, Putin said they had a "long and very interesting conversation" of about one hour on international politics and bilateral relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soviet Soldier Monument …

In recent years, Moscow has sought to revive ties with the Caribbean island, whose economy has been saddled with a US embargo since 1962 and is growing less than the government expected, despite recent free-market reforms.

Ahead of the visit, Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt of more than $30 billion.

Havana for its part has sided with its old ally Russia in the Ukraine conflict.

- Argentine shale -

Putin is next scheduled to fly to Buenos Aires, where analysts say he will likely seek a stake in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation, an oil and gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of 22.8 billion barrels of oil, potentially one of the largest finds in history.

Argentina, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001, desperately needs foreign investment.

President Cristina Kirchner will be keen to tap Russian capital at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent in the face of a US court order to pay more than $1.3 billion by the end of the month to "holdout" hedge funds refusing to take part in the restructuring of the country's defaulted debt.

Putin has also invited Argentina to take a seat at the table when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS group -- hold a summit next week in Brazil.

But first he will attend the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

At the end of the tournament, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will officially hand over World Cup responsibilities to Putin, whose country hosts the next edition in 2018.

Moscow says he will likely also meet Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

The Kremlin has sought to play Germany against the United States in the Ukraine crisis, leveraging Berlin's dependence on Russian gas in a bid to fend off more Western sanctions.

Before departing on the trip Putin condemned as "blatant hypocrisy" Washington's cyber-spying revealed by fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who is in Russia on asylum.

The remark came after Germany expelled the CIA station chief in Berlin on Thursday over alleged spying on Merkel.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-cuba-nicaragua-rekindle-latin-america-ties-083055813.html

Oh look it's Daniel Ortega.

There's no on to blame for Cuba except for stupid US policy when it comes to Cuba. The place should be lined with US money by now.

The blame America first crowd.

Nope. It made sense once. But the last few decades it was purely driven by the expat Cuban hate in places like S. FLA. We should have gotten past it sometime in the 80's.

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The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

Romney called it; and was ridiculed by Obama for it.

Let's not overreact guys, we don't have 300+ million Europeans fearing they could be nuked any time so we are nowhere near the 80'ies

But Romney didn't say that. He was asked to name our biggest enemy, and he said: Russia.

Actually, what he said was that Russia was our #1 geopolitical foe.

The 1980's called and they want your foreign policy back

Romney called it; and was ridiculed by Obama for it.

So what are you really saying when you weren't actually saying what you wrote

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Putin wants monasteries, church rebuilt inside Kremlin

(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for two monasteries and a church that were demolished during Soviet times to be rebuilt in the Kremlin, the largest overhaul of the site's architectural landscape in nearly a century.

Putin has cultivated strong ties with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopting more conservative policies and prompting some critics to suggest the line separating state and church has become blurred.

At a meeting on Thursday with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and top administrators of the Kremlin site, Putin said his plan would involve tearing down a building used for administrative purposes to restore the site's "historic appearance".

Putin gave no indication of the costs of construction. Russia's economy is teetering on the brink of recession and faces reduced access to foreign capital after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's policies in Ukraine.

The Kremlin, a fortified landmark sprawling across 28 hectares in central Moscow and home to the president's office and his administration, has seen many attacks in its six-century history and has come to symbolize Russia's enduring power.

"Here is the idea ... to restore the historic appearance of the place with two monasteries and a church, but giving them, considering today's realities, an exclusively cultural character," the Kremlin's website quoted Putin as saying.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Putin said the plan hinged on winning the support of the Russian public and UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency. The Kremlin, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The monasteries and the church were torn down in 1929-1930, a time of religious persecution under the rule of Communist dictator Josef Stalin, to make space for the administrative building that has been undergoing refurbishment since 2011.

"I do not insist on anything, it's an idea, a proposal," said Putin, who enjoys popularity ratings of more than 80 percent since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea. "If the public deems it appropriate then all needs to be worked out calmly."

Putin also supported Sobyanin's idea to open another gate to the Kremlin for tourists, the Spassky Gate, which is currently closed off.

"If there is an immediate access from Red Square to Spassky Gate, it will be of course, more comfortable for residents and tourists," Sobyanin told Putin.

"Let's do it," Putin replied.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/01/us-russia-kremlin-putin-idUSKBN0G13QL20140801

Sounds to be like Vlad wants to be more Tsar than commissar.

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Russia enacts ‘draconian’ law for bloggers and online media

A new law imposing restrictions on users of social media has come into effect in Russia.

It means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country’s larger media outlets.

Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users’ information.

One human rights group called the move “draconian”.

The law was approved by Russia’s upper house of parliament in April.

It includes measures to ensure that bloggers cannot remain anonymous, and states that social networks must maintain six months of data on its users.

The information must be stored on servers based in Russian territory, so that government authorities can gain access.

Critics see it as the latest in a series of recent moves to curb internet freedom.

‘Free expression’

Hugh Williamson, of New York-based Human Rights Watch, has called the law “another milestone in Russia’s relentless crackdown on free expression”.

“The internet is the last island of free expression in Russia and these draconian regulations are clearly aimed at putting it under government control,” he added.

Opposition figures have used the internet to air their views, with some gaining millions of followers.

Commentators opposing Vladimir Putin often face restrictions in broadcast outlets and newspapers.

Russian bloggers are bracing themselves for the moment when Russia’s new “information security law” comes into force on 1 August. Some already share advice on how to use proxy servers in order to access social media sites that, in their view, are under threat of being closed.

It is hard to see how the law will be enforced. The servers for most of the popular social media platforms that many Russians use are based outside Russia.

Many popular bloggers are already looking for, and apparently finding, ways to “cheat” the feature that counts page visits and keep their daily unique visitor numbers just under 3000, or to make sure that the statistics are hidden altogether.

Anton Nossik, who is considered Russia’s “internet guru”, wrote in his LiveJournal blog that the new law didn’t threaten individual bloggers directly, but provided legal grounds to block popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and Google.

“The issue of banning all these platforms in Russia is a political one and it will be decided by only one person”, Mr Nossik wrote, with a thinly veiled reference to President Vladimir Putin.

_74982323_line976.jpg

Critics blocked

Earlier in the year, Russia enacted a law that gave the government powers to block websites without explanation.

In March, Moscow blocked the blog of Mr Navalny, along with two news sites and a organisation run by Garry Kasparov – a vocal critic of the Russian government.

In a statement, Russia’s prosecutor general’s office said the blocks were imposed because of the sites’ role in helping stage illegal protests.

Earlier this week, Twitter blocked access to an anti-Kremlin account that often publishes leaked government documents, following a request by Russia’s federal communications agency Roskomnadzor.

Mr Putin said Russian search engine Yandex is controlled by foreign intelligence

‘CIA project’

For many years, Russia had relatively lax internet laws.

However Moscow has recently changed its tune, with Mr Putin branding the internet an ongoing “CIA project”.

He also claimed that the popular Russian search engine Yandex was controlled by foreign intelligence.

Two years ago, Russia enacted a law enabling authorities to blacklist and force certain websites offline without a trial.

The government said the legislation was designed to protect children from harmful internet content, such as pro-suicide or pornography websites.

On Thursday, lawyers for US intelligence officer Edward Snowden said the whistleblower had filed for refugee status in Russia.

Mr Snowden received temporary shelter in Russia last year.

He had evaded US authorities after he leaked classified government documents revealing mass surveillance programmes undertaken by the NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK.

Source: BBC

http://www.citifmonline.com/2014/08/01/russia-enacts-draconian-law-for-bloggers-and-online-media/

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Snowden is still there as well, right?

Yep, and on that point another interesting little news item - Putin is offering $100K+ for anyone to crack TOR:

From time to time, Edward Snowden's face pops up on video-chat monitors stationed at technology conferences. Broadcasting from Russia where he's taken asylum, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor frequently evangelizes for use of the Internet anonymity tool Tor.

The free software, engineered by the nonprofit Tor Project, sends each user's traffic across various nodes around the globe, encrypting it at every layer and making it extremely difficult to track. Tor is popular among hackers, criminals and political dissidents worldwide, and Russians have been especially receptive to Snowden's calls. The number of Tor users in the country tripled over the last 12 months to more than 150,000, according to data from the Tor Project.

The proliferation of Tor in Russia has been stoked partially by the revelations around U.S. government surveillance. But it's also taken off due to a rising fear of the Kremlin.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-29/putin-sets-110-000-bounty-for-cracking-tor-as-anonymous-internet-usage-in-russia-surges.html

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Moscow (AFP) - Russia threatened Tuesday to block the website of the BBC's Russian Service because it reported an activist's public appeal to get people to attend a rally mocking Moscow's policy in Ukraine.

The BBC last week ran an interview with Artyom Loskutov -- an artist who has developed a reputation for performances that poke fun at the Kremlin -- promoting a demonstration in favour of giving Siberia more rights within Russia.

The idea had been making the rounds in opposition circles for weeks because it offered a seemingly legal way to mock Moscow's call for decentralisation in Ukraine to support ethnic Russians there while keeping tight control at home.

Russian authorities under President Vladimir Putin often ban anti-Kremlin rallies and arrest or fine their organisers.

The Kremlin wants Ukraine transformed into a federation in which Russian-speaking regions in the industrial east have broader rights and are able to establish their own trade and diplomatic relations with Moscow.

Ukraine's new pro-Western leaders have rejected the idea and accuse Putin of seeking to strip Kiev of direct control over the volatile region.

The BBC World Service in London said it had "no plans to remove the interview" because it helped "bring out serious issues about life in Russia".

Russia's Roskomnadzor media watchdog said the general prosecutor's office had earlier asked it to stem the flow of information about the proposed event seeking greater rights for the Siberia region within Russia.

The agency said in a statement that it had "repeatedly sent" notices to the BBC Russian Service and accused its website of purposely ignoring state orders.

"If the editorial staff of the BBC Russian Service, unlike most other Russian media, continues assuming an unconstructive stance, Roskomnadzor will have no alternative... but to block the BBC Russian Service website."

The regulator had already denied online access to the interview and told Izvestia -- a pro-Kremlin daily that broke the news in its Tuesday edition -- it had the technical means to restrict access to the site across Russia.

Izvestia said Russian officials believed Loskutov's call on people to attend the "March for a Federal Siberia" threatened "the territorial integrity of the country".

- A 'parody' rally -

The BBC Russian Service said in a blog post that editors had added an introduction to the interview featuring the artist's own description of the event as nothing more than a "parody" that in no way promoted Siberia's independence from Moscow.

A spokesman for the BBC World Service in London added that its Russian site's July 31 broadcast of the audio interview with Loskutov was in full compliance with its editorial policies.

"The BBC aims to present all sides of a story in an impartial, unbiased way, and we have also requested an interview with a Russian government official to explain their position on the planned march," the spokesman in London said.

The BBC's various Russian services have suffered since the 2006 poisoning in London of a prominent Moscow-based critic of Putin that British authorities suspect may have been carried out by acting and former Kremlin security agents.

The BBC was forced to shutter its radio broadcasts -- jammed by authorities back in Soviet times, and criticised heavily under Putin -- in 2011 after being dropped by many of its Russian partner stations.

The European Union and United States have imposed punitive sanctions on Russia for the seizure of Crimea and its support for pro-Kremlin insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

The sanctions threaten to tilt the already weak Russian economy into recession and further underscore the degree to which Moscow's diplomatic isolation has grown under Putin's 15-year rule as both president and prime minister.

http://news.yahoo.com/moscow-threatens-block-bbc-russian-report-says-134709430.html

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The biggest effect of sanctions on Russia is not personal ones or diplomatic isolation; the biggest one is making sure that Russia is dependent on its mineral resources more than ever before; keeping technological innovation away from Russia will be a second punch!

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I don't think Vlad really knows how this works:

Moscow (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has named a new target as global sparring over Ukraine grows: food.

In a decree signed Wednesday, Putin banned food and agricultural imports from countries that have imposed sanctions against his country.

The retaliatory move comes more than a week after the United States and European Union increased economic sanctions on Moscow for supporting pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukraine government forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, along the border with Russia.

A list of specific products and food bans is still being worked out by the Russian government, according to the decree, which describes the order as a special economic measure "aimed at ensuring the security of the Russian Federation."

Russia is Europe's largest importer in value of animals, meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, according to the European Union.

And goods from the EU represent 16% of all Russian imports, EU numbers show.

Putin said measures would be taken to prevent a jump in food prices in Russia.

A senior U.S. administration official told CNN a ban in imports will only deepen Russia's international isolation and work against the country's own economic interest.

"Russia's Central Bank yesterday pointed out that bans on imported food will push up Russia's already high inflation rate, eroding the purchasing power of Russian citizens," the official said.

...

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/europe/russia-ukraine-crisis/index.html

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Russia demands Internet users show ID to access public Wifi

(Reuters) - Russia further tightened its control of the Internet on Friday, requiring people using public Wifi hotspots provide identification, a policy that prompted anger from bloggers and confusion among telecom operators on how it would work.

The decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 31 but published online on Friday, also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks. The legislation caught many in the industry by surprise and companies said it was not clear how it would be enforced.

A flurry of new laws regulating Russia's once freewheeling Internet has been condemned by President Vladimir Putin's critics as a crackdown on dissent, after the websites of two of his prominent foes were blocked this year.

Putin, who alarmed industry leaders in April by saying the Internet is "a CIA project", says the laws are needed to fight "extremism" and "terrorism."

Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said that demanding ID from Internet users was normal. "Identification of users (via bank cards, cell phone numbers, etc.) with access to public Wifi is a worldwide practice," he tweeted.

A pro-Kremlin lawmaker said the measure was needed to prevent Cold War-style propaganda attacks against Russia.

"It's about security. An information war is under way. Anonymous access to the Internet in public areas allows illegal activities to be carried out with impunity," Vadim Dengin, deputy chair of parliament's information technology committee, was quoted by state newspaper Izvestia as saying.

Alexei Venediktov, editor of the popular Ekho Moskvy radio, lampooned the decree, saying the government's next step would be to embed a chip in people's chests "to automatically detect potential sellers of information to the enemy."

UNEXPECTED

Industry experts said vague wording in the decree did not define exactly what state who would have to comply with the law or what methods would be needed to authenticate users' identity.

The Communications Ministry said in a statement that a "direct obligation to present identity documents" would only be required at "collective access points" such as post offices where the government provides public access to Wifi.

State newspapers Izvestia and Rossiskaya Gazeta said the law required users to provide their full names, confirmed by an ID, at public Wifi access points including cafes and public parks. The personal data would be stored for at least six months.

An official with the Moscow city government, Artem Yermolaev, said user identification could be carried out by registering a telephone number and receiving Wifi logins by SMS.

Internet companies said they knew little about the new law. "It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us," said Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association.

The requirement for businesses to declare who was using their Internet networks would be the "biggest headache," he said.

"We will hope that this restrictive tendency stops at some point because soon won't there be anything left to ban."

Another law, which took affect on Aug. 1, requires bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register with the government and comply with the same rules as media outlets.

Websites are also required to store their data on servers located in Russia from 2016 - a move some believe would cut Russian users off from many international online services.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva, Alissa de Carbonnel and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/08/08/uk-russia-internet-idINKBN0G81SZ20140808?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews

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Russia Sanctions Itself

The sad truth of the ###-for-tat sanctions that Russia has imposed against the West is that they will hurt Russians far more than they will hurt Westerners.

Acting on President Vladimir Putin’s orders, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev on Thursday ordered a ban on a wide range of food and agricultural products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. No doubt many producers in these countries will feel the loss of $30 billion in food exports to Russia, but the overall effect on their large and diversified economies will be marginal. Russia, by contrast, imports about 40 percent of its food needs in terms of value, and the Russian agriculture minister has acknowledged that the sanctions would cause a spike in inflation.

In effect, Russians will be getting another hefty bill for their president’s arrogant efforts to batter Ukraine, and they will become more estranged from the global economy they need to develop their vast country.

Mr. Putin’s readiness to impose hardships on his own people rather than back down in Ukraine is, unfortunately, not surprising. His entire adventure in Ukraine, from the annexation of Crimea to the active military support for secessionists in eastern Ukraine, reflects his view of a zero-sum contest between Russia and the West in which Ukraine is the central battlefield. Even as Russia ordered the retaliatory sanctions, NATO reported that Russian troops were again massing on the Ukrainian border, once again raising the dangerous possibility of a direct intervention in support of the rebels, who are under attack by Ukrainian troops.

Further, in addition to the ban on food imports, Mr. Medvedev indicated that Russia was also considering a ban on flights over Siberia, a measure that would add to the cost of Europe-Asia travel, but would also cost Russia millions in transit fees.

Polls show that Mr. Putin is hugely popular with Russians, and no doubt his latest show of defiance against the West will find applause. But that could begin to change once prices for basic needs begin to rise and jobs begin to vanish in a contracting economy. The new economic elite, already funneling their money abroad at high rates, will not welcome the loss of the fine European foods that fill Moscow supermarkets. Many in the middle class are already wondering what it is they’re paying so huge a price for, and that question is bound to spread as Russians lower on the economic scale begin to feel the pain.

It is critical at this juncture for the Western allies to remain united, even if the cost of the sanctions — their own and Russia’s — are not equally borne. The European Union has a fund to compensate farmers for lost production in times of crisis, and this is just such a time. Sanctions are a painful weapon, and Russia has been a lucrative market for Europe. But the alternatives to sanctions — military action on one side, or doing nothing in the face of Mr. Putin’s brazen challenge to the post-Soviet order — are not really options.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/opinion/russia-sanctions-itself.html?_r=0

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Russian bombers increase flights near U.S. airspace

For the second time since June, Russian nuclear bombers escorted by fighter jets have flown near U.S. and Canadian airspace around Alaska in recent days, prompting precautionary intercepts by American warplanes.

The encounters come amid Russian war games along the border with eastern Ukraine, raising Western concerns that Moscow might invade to support pro-Moscow separatists battling the Kiev government since spring.

STORY: Russian war games raise fear of Ukraine invasion

A U.S. air command official acknowledged at least 16 Russian forays around Alaska and northern Canada in the past 10 days, describing them as routine training missions. One intercept spotted a Russian spy plane among the Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and Tu-142 reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.

"Over the past week, NORAD has visually identified Russian aircraft operating in and around the U.S. air defense identification zones," Maj. Beth Smith, of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, toldThe Washington Free Beacon.

Russian bombers have regularly flown along the sensitive airspace between Russia, Alaska and Arctic Canada, but Smith called the latest missions "a spike in activity."

The Russian defense military announced July 30 that "several" Tu-95MS strategic bombers escorted by MiG-31 interceptors had flown over the Arctic that day.

A military spokesman told the ITAR-TASS news agency that "all flights were scheduled in advance and were made in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace without trespassing the borders of other countries."

Wednesday, a squadron of Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers flew over the Barents and Kara seas "for the first time," ITAR-TASS reported.

Russian Air Force Chief Commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev called the Arctic drills "the top goal" of air exercises in Russia's southern Astrakhan region. In July, Tu-95s bombed simulated naval targets in the Black Sea.

In response to the overthrow of the Moscow-backed president of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in April.

The July drills came a month after U.S. F-22s intercepted four Tu-95 Bears over the far western Aleutian Islands. Two of the strategic bombers then flew within 50 miles of the Northern California coast before turning away.

Russian military spokesman Col. Alexander Gordeyev said last month that "the intensity of Air Force flights in the Arctic increased several-fold" this year. He said that in addition to patrolling and searching for "foreign submarines," the Arctic flights were for "ensuring the security of sea navigation and carrying out search and rescue, and scientific missions," ITAR-TASS reported.

To some U.S. military officials, the excursions carry echoes of the Cold War, when Soviet nuclear bombers tested U.S. air defenses.

In a reminder that the surveillance is not one sided. a Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. spy plane in April about 60 miles off the coast of eastern Russia, in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/08/07/russia-bombers-arctic/13746681/

This has actually been going on for several months now.

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Boris Nemtsov has been murdered:

Boris Nemtsov, Critic of Putin, Is Shot Dead in Moscow

A prominent opposition leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov, was shot to death on a street in central Moscow on Friday night, the Russian Interior Ministry confirmed to the news agency Interfax.

Mr. Nemtsov, 55, was one of the principal organizers of an opposition march scheduled for Sunday in Moscow.

A smooth-talking and worldly man who spoke accented but near-perfect English, Mr. Nemtsov rose to prominence as the governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and became a vice premier in the late 1990s, during the last years of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency.

Since leaving the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in 2003, he has founded and led a number of opposition parties and organizations, the latest being the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party, a registered political party.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/28/world/europe/boris-nemtsov-russian-opposition-leader-is-shot-dead.html?emc=edit_na_20150227&nlid=49564318&_r=0

There is no rule of law in Russia right now, Putin is basically murdering and doing whatever he wants and whoever he wants.

This is bad, bad stuff.

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Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov reported killed in Moscow

MOSCOW — Boris Nemtsov, a longtime Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladi­mir Putin, was shot and killed in central Moscow, the Russian Interior Ministry said early Saturday.

Nemtsov, a central figure in Russian political life since the breakup of the Soviet Union, was a longtime leader of the opposition to Putin. He was one of the leaders of an opposition rally planned for Sunday.

There was no immediate information on who killed the 59-year-old opposition leader.

At least seven shots were fired at Nemtsov from a passing car, according to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, the Interfax news agency reported. Investigators rushed to the scene and were questioning witnesses, he said.

Putin promptly assumed personal control of the murder investigation, said his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. The move was a measure of the shockwaves sent out by the crime.

Russia’s state-run Rossiya 24 television interrupted its programming to carry live imagery of the central Moscow bridge where Nemtsov was killed. Flashing police lights lit up the night. The bridge, in the heart of Moscow, runs from near the walls of the Kremlin to an island in the Moscow River where major opposition rallies were held in 2011 and 2012.

A close associate of Nemtsov, opposition activist Ilya Yashin, confirmed Nemtsov’s death on Facebook.

“Nemtsov has been shot. He is dead,” Yashin wrote.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, angered the government two years ago when he charged that billions of dollars had been stolen from funds designated for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, his home town. He blamed “Putin’s friends” for the alleged embezzlement, which he described as “a real threat to Russia’s national security.”

A year earlier, Putin warned publicly that his opponents were prepared to murder one of their own so they could blame him for the death.

“They are looking for a so-called sacrificial victim among some prominent figures,” Putin, a former KGB agent, told a gathering of the All-Russia Popular Front, a group organized to support him, ahead of Russia’s 2012 presidential election. “They will knock him off, I beg your pardon, and then blame the authorities for that.”

Nemtsov, an opponent whom Putin was said to despise more than most, said at the time that it was up to the authorities to prevent such a crime.

“If the head of the federal government, who controls all intelligence agencies, makes a public statement that he has information about such a provocation and such a crime, he must do everything to prevent it and not just publicly scare Russians,” he told Interfax.

In late 2011, Nemtsov was arrested at a legal demonstration on New Year’s Eve and jailed for 15 days. Although the protesters had a permit to gather in a Moscow square, he was seized as he was leaving the scene and accused of heading to an unapproved rally and of disobeying police.

Nemtsov was a political star in the early post-Soviet days, when most Russians still dreamed of democracy — a young, energetic and smart physicist-turned-politician who charmed voters and won high approval ratings as a regional governor. For a time, he was seen as a likely heir to President Boris Yeltsin.

Instead, Putin assumed the presidency and set about relentlessly marginalizing his opponents.

Nemtsov received a doctorate in physics in 1990, then served as a lawmaker for three years. Yeltsin appointed him governor of Nizhny Novgorod province in 1991.

He quickly instituted free-market economic policies, simplifying the nightmarish and corrupt processes of registering new businesses. He also enabled members of collective farms to acquire individual plots and introduced tax breaks for struggling businesses, according to the Encyclopedia of Russian History.

Nemtsov was so popular that the Yeltsin camp of reformers briefly considered running him for president in 1996, but nothing came of the effort, and Nemtsov reluctantly accepted the office of first deputy prime minister after Yeltsin was reelected in 1997.

Branigin reported from Washington. Kathy Lally in Washington contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-opposition-leader-boris-nemtsov-reported-killed-in-moscow/2015/02/27/972e15f0-becb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

Nemtsov is perhaps the other way that Russia could have gone, the hope for a better, freer future for Russia.

That hope has now been killed.

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Wow.

In the Frontline series they talked about how Putin made his bones nationally by "investigating" the Moscow apartment bombings, which he and his kleptocrats could have actually perpetrated themselves.

On PBS just this week they had a terrific discussion about Russia, and one thing that was mentioned is that there is a strain of Russian thought which became totally corrupted by the Soviet regime over decades, that people became completely used to lying by the government and between themselves and even to themselves, and that Putin had tapped back into this psyche whereby many are actually impressed by this kind of brazen lying to them and to other countries (like the US) as a sign of power.

In that WaPo article they link back to one of their own articles in which apparently a year or so ago Putin actually made a very public statement that state investigations had revealed a secret plot whereby the "reformers" were conspiring to murder Nemtsov and so frame the regime. And obviously he was just openly communicating he and teh regime were planning to kill Nemtsov and cynically pin it on whomever they so chose. Scarey.

2/29/12:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-putins-russia-allegations-of-a-kgb-like-plot/2012/02/29/gIQAMlrbiR_story.html

The rhetoric seemed to hang darkly above Moscow, and it was difficult to know whether it was puffs of smoke or sinister trial balloons.

IMO this is the stuff of the Doctors' Plot and the Reichstag Fire.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Here's a study done on the state of Russian psychology (PDF).

Figure 1 on page 3 showing the psychological state of Russians since 1990:

- 6.05 in 2010. Their well being index is slightly above Iraq (PDF)

Figure 2 on page 6 showing the change in positive and negative psychological characteristics:

- If we compare the characteristics on the two extreme points of the time continuum under consideration (1981 and 2011), we see that all negative parameters without exception grew, while the overwhelming majority of positive ones dropped.

They don't trust many people:

- In still another poll, the question “Do you think that you can trust the majority of people?” was answered in the affirmative by 34.7% of Russians in 1990, by 22.9% in 1999, and by approximately the same percentage inthe 2000s (Yurevich, 2009).


If it's true that people get the government they deserve, then the Russian people deserve Putin.

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Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov reported killed in Moscow

MOSCOW Boris Nemtsov, a longtime Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladi­mir Putin, was shot and killed in central Moscow, the Russian Interior Ministry said early Saturday.

Nemtsov, a central figure in Russian political life since the breakup of the Soviet Union, was a longtime leader of the opposition to Putin. He was one of the leaders of an opposition rally planned for Sunday.

There was no immediate information on who killed the 59-year-old opposition leader.

At least seven shots were fired at Nemtsov from a passing car, according to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, the Interfax news agency reported. Investigators rushed to the scene and were questioning witnesses, he said.

Putin promptly assumed personal control of the murder investigation, said his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. The move was a measure of the shockwaves sent out by the crime.

Russias state-run Rossiya 24 television interrupted its programming to carry live imagery of the central Moscow bridge where Nemtsov was killed. Flashing police lights lit up the night. The bridge, in the heart of Moscow, runs from near the walls of the Kremlin to an island in the Moscow River where major opposition rallies were held in 2011 and 2012.

A close associate of Nemtsov, opposition activist Ilya Yashin, confirmed Nemtsovs death on Facebook.

Nemtsov has been shot. He is dead, Yashin wrote.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, angered the government two years ago when he charged that billions of dollars had been stolen from funds designated for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, his home town. He blamed Putins friends for the alleged embezzlement, which he described as a real threat to Russias national security.

A year earlier, Putin warned publicly that his opponents were prepared to murder one of their own so they could blame him for the death.

They are looking for a so-called sacrificial victim among some prominent figures, Putin, a former KGB agent, told a gathering of the All-Russia Popular Front, a group organized to support him, ahead of Russias 2012 presidential election. They will knock him off, I beg your pardon, and then blame the authorities for that.

Nemtsov, an opponent whom Putin was said to despise more than most, said at the time that it was up to the authorities to prevent such a crime.

If the head of the federal government, who controls all intelligence agencies, makes a public statement that he has information about such a provocation and such a crime, he must do everything to prevent it and not just publicly scare Russians, he told Interfax.

In late 2011, Nemtsov was arrested at a legal demonstration on New Years Eve and jailed for 15 days. Although the protesters had a permit to gather in a Moscow square, he was seized as he was leaving the scene and accused of heading to an unapproved rally and of disobeying police.

Nemtsov was a political star in the early post-Soviet days, when most Russians still dreamed of democracy a young, energetic and smart physicist-turned-politician who charmed voters and won high approval ratings as a regional governor. For a time, he was seen as a likely heir to President Boris Yeltsin.

Instead, Putin assumed the presidency and set about relentlessly marginalizing his opponents.

Nemtsov received a doctorate in physics in 1990, then served as a lawmaker for three years. Yeltsin appointed him governor of Nizhny Novgorod province in 1991.

He quickly instituted free-market economic policies, simplifying the nightmarish and corrupt processes of registering new businesses. He also enabled members of collective farms to acquire individual plots and introduced tax breaks for struggling businesses, according to the Encyclopedia of Russian History.

Nemtsov was so popular that the Yeltsin camp of reformers briefly considered running him for president in 1996, but nothing came of the effort, and Nemtsov reluctantly accepted the office of first deputy prime minister after Yeltsin was reelected in 1997.

Branigin reported from Washington. Kathy Lally in Washington contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-opposition-leader-boris-nemtsov-reported-killed-in-moscow/2015/02/27/972e15f0-becb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

Nemtsov is perhaps the other way that Russia could have gone, the hope for a better, freer future for Russia.

That hope has now been killed.

Can you imagine the leader of the opposition party being murdered within sight of the White House or Parliment? Unbelievable the bull#### that goes down in Russia and the people are powerless to do anything.

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“The investigation is considering several versions,” the statements said. The first it listed was: “a murder as a provocation to destabilize the political situation in the country, where the figure of Nemtsov could have become a sort of sacrificial victim for those who stop at nothing to achieve their political goals.”

Yeah, that's the ticket!

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will do everything possible to bring to justice those who committed the "vile and cynical" murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Wonder who will find the murderer first - Vlad or OJ?

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Speaking to Russia's Sobesednik news website on 10 February, Boris Nemtsov said: "I'm afraid Putin will kill me. I believe that he was the one who unleashed the war in the Ukraine. I couldn't dislike him more."

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Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov reported killed in Moscow

MOSCOW Boris Nemtsov, a longtime Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladi­mir Putin, was shot and killed in central Moscow, the Russian Interior Ministry said early Saturday.

Nemtsov, a central figure in Russian political life since the breakup of the Soviet Union, was a longtime leader of the opposition to Putin. He was one of the leaders of an opposition rally planned for Sunday.

There was no immediate information on who killed the 59-year-old opposition leader.

At least seven shots were fired at Nemtsov from a passing car, according to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, the Interfax news agency reported. Investigators rushed to the scene and were questioning witnesses, he said.

Putin promptly assumed personal control of the murder investigation, said his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. The move was a measure of the shockwaves sent out by the crime.

Russias state-run Rossiya 24 television interrupted its programming to carry live imagery of the central Moscow bridge where Nemtsov was killed. Flashing police lights lit up the night. The bridge, in the heart of Moscow, runs from near the walls of the Kremlin to an island in the Moscow River where major opposition rallies were held in 2011 and 2012.

A close associate of Nemtsov, opposition activist Ilya Yashin, confirmed Nemtsovs death on Facebook.

Nemtsov has been shot. He is dead, Yashin wrote.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, angered the government two years ago when he charged that billions of dollars had been stolen from funds designated for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, his home town. He blamed Putins friends for the alleged embezzlement, which he described as a real threat to Russias national security.

A year earlier, Putin warned publicly that his opponents were prepared to murder one of their own so they could blame him for the death.

They are looking for a so-called sacrificial victim among some prominent figures, Putin, a former KGB agent, told a gathering of the All-Russia Popular Front, a group organized to support him, ahead of Russias 2012 presidential election. They will knock him off, I beg your pardon, and then blame the authorities for that.

Nemtsov, an opponent whom Putin was said to despise more than most, said at the time that it was up to the authorities to prevent such a crime.

If the head of the federal government, who controls all intelligence agencies, makes a public statement that he has information about such a provocation and such a crime, he must do everything to prevent it and not just publicly scare Russians, he told Interfax.

In late 2011, Nemtsov was arrested at a legal demonstration on New Years Eve and jailed for 15 days. Although the protesters had a permit to gather in a Moscow square, he was seized as he was leaving the scene and accused of heading to an unapproved rally and of disobeying police.

Nemtsov was a political star in the early post-Soviet days, when most Russians still dreamed of democracy a young, energetic and smart physicist-turned-politician who charmed voters and won high approval ratings as a regional governor. For a time, he was seen as a likely heir to President Boris Yeltsin.

Instead, Putin assumed the presidency and set about relentlessly marginalizing his opponents.

Nemtsov received a doctorate in physics in 1990, then served as a lawmaker for three years. Yeltsin appointed him governor of Nizhny Novgorod province in 1991.

He quickly instituted free-market economic policies, simplifying the nightmarish and corrupt processes of registering new businesses. He also enabled members of collective farms to acquire individual plots and introduced tax breaks for struggling businesses, according to the Encyclopedia of Russian History.

Nemtsov was so popular that the Yeltsin camp of reformers briefly considered running him for president in 1996, but nothing came of the effort, and Nemtsov reluctantly accepted the office of first deputy prime minister after Yeltsin was reelected in 1997.

Branigin reported from Washington. Kathy Lally in Washington contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-opposition-leader-boris-nemtsov-reported-killed-in-moscow/2015/02/27/972e15f0-becb-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

Nemtsov is perhaps the other way that Russia could have gone, the hope for a better, freer future for Russia.

That hope has now been killed.

Can you imagine the leader of the opposition party being murdered within sight of the White House or Parliment? Unbelievable the bull#### that goes down in Russia and the people are powerless to do anything.

Since he's taking direct charge of this investigation, I'm sure Putin will get to the bottom of this right away. He's a stand-up guy and will do what's right.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will do everything possible to bring to justice those who committed the "vile and cynical" murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Wonder who will find the murderer first - Vlad or OJ?

Vlad.

He will pin it on the reformers and opposition themselves, show trial will probably be next.

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In the light of the upcoming G-8 summit a very interesting but also very long article about Russias ambitions and plans for the future. For the interested.

Here is a more split up version of the text, easier to the eyes.

For anyone so interested, this is the original 2006 article:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/the-g-8-in-st-petersburg-a-former-superpower-rises-again-a-426393.html

This is Der Spiegel's series "Russia's Return" which is a series of articles going back to at least 2006 if not earlier documenting Russia's return to authoritarianism and determination to be a geopolitical force under Putin.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/topic/russia/

This is another article from 2006 discussing how Putin created a new sort of Politburo out of thin cloth:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/democracy-in-russia-putin-s-path-into-the-19th-century-a-419136.html

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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Death in Russia: The Silencing of Anna Politkovskaya

By Michael Mainville

Russia's great journalist was gunned down by killers who may have been contracted to snuff out her investigation of government torture.

On the cold, grey afternoon of Oct. 7, a modest Lada car loaded with groceries pulled up outside a central Moscow apartment building. An elegant figure with steel-grey hair and large glasses emerged, shopping bags in hand. Anna Politkovskaya, Russia's most dogged investigative journalist, was facing a deadline and planning to finish her latest story by the next day. On her desk were photographs and notes about civilians who had been abducted by pro-Kremlin forces in Chechnya and tortured into confessing to crimes they had not committed.

Politkovskaya must not have noticed the thin man in dark clothes and the young woman who, according to surveillance tapes, had been following her in the supermarket. Her groceries were too much to carry all at once, so she brought a few bags to her apartment and took the elevator down to fetch the rest. When the elevator doors opened, the man from the supermarket was standing before her, a silencer-equipped IZH pistol in his hand. The first two shots hit Politkovskaya in the chest, the third in the shoulder. By the time her killer fired a final shot into her skull, Politkovskaya, 48, and a mother of two, was already dead. The pistol, its serial number filed off, was dropped next to her body.

Contract-style killings of prominent figures are hardly rare in Russia. Only a few weeks before Politkovskaya's murder, Andrei Kozlov, a Central Bank official who had spearheaded a crusade against money laundering, was also gunned down in Moscow. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Politkovskaya was the 13th reporter to be assassinated since President Vladimir Putin came to power.

Yet Politkovskaya's killing still came as a shock. She had seemed invincible, facing down repeated threats and surviving an alleged poisoning in 2004 to report on what she called Russia's "dirty war" in Chechnya. For years, she had courageously exposed human-rights abuses in Russia and particularly in the North Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, making frequent trips to the war-torn area. She wrote, often in harrowing detail, of topics that have become off-limits for nearly all other journalists in Russia and broke the biggest taboo of all by criticizing Putin himself. For her last, unfinished piece she'd been investigating the systematic torture of prisoners in what Russia has termed its own war on terror in Chechnya.

"She was incredibly brave. Much more brave than many, many machos in armored Jeeps surrounded by bodyguards," her newspaper, the biweekly Novaya Gazeta, wrote in a special issue published after her death. "She took any injustice, regardless of whom it involved, as a personal enemy."

For many of her colleagues, Politkovskaya's survival also served as inspiration -- evidence that despite increasing pressure on independent media by the Putin government, there was still some room in Russia for honest, critical reporting.

"There is almost no investigative journalism left in Russia and I think that a lot of people will be scared," Alexei Venediktov, the editor in chief of Ekho Moskvy, Russia's last independent radio station, told reporters outside Politkovskaya's funeral in Moscow on Tuesday. "Many of my colleagues will be afraid when entering their houses," he said. "They will constantly be looking over their shoulders." Venediktov had already overheard reporters in the corridors of his station saying they should steer clear of reporting on Chechnya.

Novaya Gazeta on Thursday printed an unfinished version of the story Politkovskaya had been working on the day she was killed. Like most of her work, it focused on human-rights abuses in Russia's southern province of Chechnya, where tens of thousands have died during two Kremlin campaigns to crush rebel separatists. The article described the alleged torture of a young Chechen man by security forces loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin prime minister of Chechnya. Kadyrov was a frequent target of Politkovskaya's work. She wrote in the piece that brutal torture was being widely used to extract false confessions from innocent civilians so that the pro-Moscow Chechen government could appear to be capturing rebel fighters. Kadyrov's forces, she said, were responsible for "a conveyor belt of organized confessions" aimed at "baking criminal cases like pancakes."

The story included written testimony from a Chechen man named Beslan Gadayev who had been extradited from Ukraine and handed over to law enforcement officers in the Chechen capital, Grozny. Asked whether he'd killed two men in Chechnya, Gadayev swore that he had not.

"They said 'Yes, you did kill them.' I denied it again and then they started beating me," Politkovskaya quoted him as saying. He was struck twice in the face, handcuffed and suspended from a pipe between two filing cabinets. "Then they attached wires to my little fingers," Gadayev continued. "In about two seconds I felt electrical shocks. At the same time, they were beating me all over with rubber truncheons. I couldn't stand it anymore and I started to scream, calling to God Almighty and begging them to stop. To shut me up they put a black plastic bag over my head." Despite repeated beatings that day, Gadayev refused to confess.

The following day, a plainclothes officer walked into his cell and said that journalists were waiting for him outside. "He said that I would have to confess to three murders and an armed robbery, otherwise they'd repeat the whole thing again and this time rape me as well. So I agreed," he said. "After my interview with the journalists they forced me, again threatening torture, to testify that all of my injuries from the beatings had been incurred when I tried to escape." Gadayev remained in a Chechen prison awaiting trial, Politkovskaya wrote.

Along with fragments of Politkovskaya's snuffed-out story, Novaya Gazeta published grainy photographs taken from video footage obtained by Politkovskaya that the paper said showed Chechen security forces beating two young men, apparently to death. The photos showed the head and torso of a man lying in a pool of blood, a man's face covered in blood and a body slumped over with a knife sticking from the side of its head. The pictures were accompanied by a transcript of the audio from the video, in which the men's torturers taunted their victims about how hard they were to kill.

The newspaper said Politkovskaya was planning a second report to accompany the video but was killed before she could write it. "It's a shame she wasn't able to finish everything she was working on. She was so committed to her job. No one will ever be able to replace her," said Vitaly Yaroshevsky, the paper's deputy editor.

As part of their investigation into her killing, police seized documents from Politkovskaya's home and office, as well as her computer, leaving her editors with no way of knowing how much work she'd left unfinished.

Born and raised in New York, where her Ukrainian parents were U.N. diplomats, Politkovskaya was a product of the Soviet elite. After the collapse of the Soviet Union she could have, like many of her generation, used her connections to build a comfortable lifestyle. Instead, she threw herself into independent journalism, ending up at Novaya Gazeta in 1999 -- just in time for the second Chechen war. By her own admission, she became obsessed with exposing the killings, torture and beatings of civilians by Russian soldiers in Chechnya. She wrote two books on the conflict, "A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya" and "A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches From Chechnya."

She made no secret of her contempt for Kadyrov or for Putin, and critics in Russia frequently accused her of lacking objectivity. In "Putin's Russia," a highly critical political biography of the president published in 2004, she accused Putin of failing to shake off his past as a KGB agent in East Germany. "He persists in crushing liberty just as he did earlier in his career," she wrote in the book.

Politkovskaya won numerous international awards, but as she gained prominence abroad, she was increasingly marginalized at home. There was clearly an appetite for her kind of reporting -- in the last three years Novaya Gazeta's circulation has risen from 130,000 to 170,000 copies, according to staff at the paper. But in a country of 140 million spread across 11 time zones, the paper's impact was minimal. More than 80 percent of Russians get their news from national television networks -- all of which have come under Kremlin control in the past five years. Prominent national newspapers, such as the venerable daily Izvestia, have also been scooped up by state-controlled companies or businessmen with close links to the Kremlin. And in the state-friendly media, Politkovskaya was persona non grata.

"It's absurd. They'll only show her on television now that she's dead and can't say anything," said Oleg Panfilov, the head of Russia's Center for Extreme Journalism, a press-rights watchdog.

There has been no shortage of speculation about who might have wanted her dead. Novaya Gazeta, which is offering a reward of almost a million dollars for information about the shooting, has written that it believes her murder was either revenge by Kadyrov, or an attempt to discredit him. Kadyrov has denied any involvement, saying on state television: "I do not kill women and have never killed women."

Politkovskaya's name was also on numerous lists of "enemies of the state" published on the Internet by ultra-nationalists angered by her support of Chechens. The pro-Kremlin media have been pushing a theory that she was killed in an attempt by exiled enemies of Putin to discredit Russia internationally and provoke instability.

While calling Politkovskaya's killing "a crime of loathsome brutality," Putin himself has backed that hypothesis. "We have information, and it is reliable, that many people hiding from Russian justice have long been nurturing the idea of sacrificing somebody in order to create a wave of anti-Russian feeling in the world," Putin said on Tuesday during a trip to Germany.

According to Reuters, Putin had promised on Monday to "take every step to investigate objectively the tragic death" of Politkovskaya. A Kremlin spokesman said Putin made that promise in a telephone conversation with President Bush.

Few expect any of the theories of her death will ever be proven right or wrong, or that Politkovskaya's killers will be brought to justice. Of all the investigations into high-profile slayings of Russian journalists in recent years, not one has resulted in a conviction.

"The Russian legal system has so far not been capable of dealing with these cases," said Richard Behar, a New York journalist who leads Project Klebnikov, an alliance of reporters investigating the July 2004 murder in Moscow of Paul Klebnikov, the American-born editor of the Russian edition of Forbes. Two ethnic Chechens accused of carrying out Klebnikov's murder were acquitted earlier this year and the official investigation into his killing has stalled.

Behar said Western governments, and the Western media, bear some of the blame for failing to highlight the conditions in Russia that allow journalists to be killed with impunity. "I feel like we're all responsible," he said. "We haven't done enough to shine a light on the filth and corruption in Russia that allows journalists to be knocked off, one after another."

http://www.spiegel.de/international/death-in-russia-the-silencing-of-anna-politkovskaya-a-442392.html

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Fear Envelops Russia After Killing of Putin Critic Boris Y. Nemtsov

MOSCOW — About two weeks before he was shot and killed in the highest-profile political assassination in Russia in a decade, Boris Y. Nemtsov met with an old friend to discuss his latest research into what he said was dissembling and misdeeds in the Kremlin.

He was, as always, pugilistic and excited, saying he wanted to publish the research in a pamphlet to be called “Putin and the War,” about President Vladimir V. Putin and Russian involvement in the Ukraine conflict, recalled Yevgenia Albats, the editor of New Times magazine. Both knew the stakes.

Mr. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, knew his work was dangerous but tried to convince her that, as a former high official in the Kremlin, he enjoyed immunity, Ms. Albats said.

“He was afraid of being killed,” Ms. Albats said. “And he was trying to convince himself, and me, they wouldn’t touch him because he was a member of the Russian government, a vice premier, and they wouldn’t want to create a precedent. Because as he said, one time the power will change hands in Russia again, and those who served Putin wouldn’t want to create this precedent.”

On Saturday, it was still not clear who was responsible for killing Mr. Nemtsov. Some critics of the Kremlin accused the security services of responsibility, while others floated the idea of rogue Russian nationalists on the loose in Moscow.

The authorities said they were investigating several theories about the crime, some immediately scorned as improbable, including the possibility that fellow members of the opposition had killed Mr. Nemtsov to create a martyr. Mr. Putin, for his part, vowed in a letter to Mr. Nemtsov’s mother to bring to justice those responsible.

As supporters of Mr. Nemtsov laid flowers on the sidewalk where he was shot and killed late Friday, a shiver of fear moved through the political opposition in Moscow.

The worry was that the killing would become a pivot point toward a revival of lethal violence among the leadership elite in Moscow and an intensified climate of fear in Russian domestic politics.

“Another terrible page has been turned in our history,” Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, the exiled former political prisoner, wrote in a statement about the killing.

“For more than a year now, the television screens have been flooded with pure hate for us,” he wrote of the opposition to Mr. Putin. “And now everyone from the blogger at his apartment desk to President Putin, himself, is searching for enemies, accusing one another of provocation. What is wrong with us?”

Vladimir Milov, a former deputy minister of energy, and co-author with Mr. Nemtsov of pamphlets alleging corruption in Mr. Putin’s government, said he was concerned that the state could now target former officials like Mr. Nemtsov — or like him — deemed disloyal.

This comes as analysts of Russian politics say the Kremlin could be worried about, and intent on discouraging, further defections to the opposition, given reported high-level schisms between hard-liners and liberals over military and economic policy. The government is already under strain from Russia’s unacknowledged involvement in the war in Ukraine and runaway inflation in an economic crisis.

Mr. Milov posted an online statement saying, “There is ever less doubt that the state is behind the murder of Boris Nemtsov,” and that the intention was to revive a culture of fear in Moscow. “The motive was to sow fear,” he wrote.

Irina Khakamada, a former member of Parliament, suggested in an interview with Snob magazine that splinter groups in the security service intent on retaining Soviet practices, or “radical frozen ones, who think anything is allowed,” could be to blame.

Russian authorities said on Saturday that one line of investigation would be to examine whether Mr. Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former first deputy prime minister and longtime leader of the opposition, had become a “sacrificial victim” to rally support for opponents of the government, the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.

The statement, the fullest official response so far to Mr. Nemtsov’s killing, said the police were pursing half a dozen leads in the case, the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of Mr. Putin.

The committee also cited the possibility that Islamic extremists had killed Mr. Nemtsov over his position on the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, saying that security forces had been aware of threats against him from Islamist militants. The committee also said that “radical personalities” on one or another side of the Ukrainian conflict might may have been responsible. The statement said the police were also considering possible business or personal disputes as motives.

“The investigation is considering several versions,” the statements said. The first it listed was: “a murder as a provocation to destabilize the political situation in the country, where the figure of Nemtsov could have become a sort of sacrificial victim for those who stop at nothing to achieve their political goals.”

This explanation echoed and elaborated on a statement posted overnight on the Kremlin website, which also characterized the murder as a “provocation.”

“The president noted that this cruel murder has all the signs of a contract killing and carries an exclusively provocative character,” the Kremlin statement said. “Vladimir Putin expressed his deep condolences to the relatives and loved ones of Boris Nemtsov, who died tragically.”

Mr. Putin, in a message to Mr. Nemtsov’s mother released by the Kremlin, said, “Everything will be done so that the organizers and perpetrators of a vile and cynical murder get the punishment they deserve.”

Initially, Russian news media reported Mr. Nemtsov had been shot from a passing car. On Saturday, however, a television channel, TVTs, broadcast a surveillance video purporting to show the murder, though from a distance. Mr. Nemtsov had left a restaurant in the GUM shopping center on Red Square and was walking with his girlfriend, Anna Duritskaya, a Ukrainian model.

A snowplow blocked the scene. But the video, which has not been independently verified, appears to show the shooter was hiding on a stairway on Moskvoretsky Bridge waiting for Mr. Nemtsov and Ms. Duritskaya to pass. Later, the figure of the supposed shooter runs to a getaway car that pulls up on the bridge.

After laying flowers on a floral mound already chest high and kneeling in respect before the blooms festooning the sidewalk on a rainy, glum midafternoon, Anatoly Chubais, a co-founder with Mr. Nemtsov of the Union of Right Forces political party, scorned the investigators’ claim.

“Today, we had a statement that the liberal opposition organized the killing,” he said. “Before this, they wrote that the liberals created the economic crisis. In this country, we have created demand for anger and hate.”

Ilya Yashin, a political ally of Mr. Nemtsov’s, drew attention again to the pamphlet Mr. Nemtsov was preparing on Russian military aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. Speaking on the Echo of Moscow radio station, he said Mr. Nemtsov had “some materials that directly proved” the participation of the Russian army in the Donbas war in Ukraine.

Mr. Yashin said he knew no details, or what had become of those materials.

Ms. Albats, who had discussed with Mr. Nemtsov his unfinished exposé, said of this state of affairs in domestic Russian politics, “We are at war now.”

“Those who are believers in democracy, those who for some reason, back in the late 1980s, got on board this train, and had all these hopes and aspirations,” she said, “they are at war today.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/world/europe/killing-of-boris-nemtsov-putin-critic-breeds-fear-in-russia.html?_r=0

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The Russians kill poetically.

But it was all in the name of liberty

All in the name of liberty

I got to be free

But he made it out

With a bullet in his back

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Was Boris Nemtsov killed because in Russia opposition figures are deemed traitors?

Vladimir Putin and media are violently hostile to challenges to the state, an intolerance that has helped end the life of another opposition figure

People gather at the spot, where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead, near Saint-Basil’s Cathedral, in the centre of Moscow on 28 February.

Anyone who watches Russian state television – and that includes the vast majority of Russians – will have seen a picture painted over the past year of a victimised Russia attacked by voracious western vultures who want, at least, to make irrelevant on the world stage, and at worst to mount a coup and install a puppet government. According to this narrative, the Russian opposition are traitors, working to destroy the country.

The Russian president and his TV channels have worked relentlessly to push this theory. Putin may have sent a telegram expressing his condolences to Nemtsov’s 87-year-old mother, in which he said Nemtsov always argued his points “directly and honestly”, but his tone in public has been rather different.

When he was asked about what Nemtsov and other opposition leaders wanted during a televised phone-in session back in 2010, Putin said they had stolen billions while in power in the 1990s, and if they were allowed back they would “not stop at billions but sell off the whole of Russia”.

As the conflict in Ukraine has intensified, the rhetoric has hardened. Now the opposition are not just corrupt, but “traitors”. In December, Putin was asked by a journalist whether he felt his use of the term “fifth column” and speaking about the political opposition as traitors was causing dangerous divisions in society.

“The line that separates opposition activists from the fifth column is hard to see from the outside,” said the Russian president. “What’s the difference? Opposition activists may be very harsh in their criticism, but at the end of the day they are defending the interests of the motherland. And the fifth column is those who serve the interests of other countries, and who are only tools for others’ political goals.”

Putin may have slightly fudged his answer, but much of the television propaganda makes it very clear on which side of this division patriotic citizens should locate the current political opposition.

NTV, which has run a series of programmes on Russia’s opposition and their apparent links to foreign intelligence services and other nefarious interests, had another dubious exposé lined up for Sunday night, in which allegations about Nemtsov were apparently due to feature. The programme was quietly removed from the schedule after Nemtsov’s murder.

At a recent launch of the Anti-Maidan movement in Russia, the leader of a biker gang, known as “the Surgeon”, who has been photographed many times with Putin, said foreign powers were sharpening their teeth to attack Russia. The Anti-Maidan movement would ensure that they could not do so, with violence if necessary. Another name for the movement was “death to ######s”, said the Surgeon.

Nemtsov frequently appeared on lists of “traitors” published online by extremist groups, and given that many radical Russian nationalists have been fighting a war in east Ukraine for the past six months, there have long been fears that the bloodshed could at some point move to the streets of Moscow.

The well-organised hit, in one of the most closely watched parts of Moscow, of a man who was undoubtedly under state surveillance just two days before a major opposition march, does not smack of an amateur job. Assuming a jealous lover or angry fellow liberal would not be able to organise a drive-by shooting in the shadows of the Kremlin towers, the remaining options are disturbing.

If, as Peskov says, it was senseless for the Kremlin to kill someone who posed very little threat, that leaves another option that is perhaps even more terrifying: that the campaign of hate that has erupted over the past year is spiralling out of the control of those who manufactured it.

“Actually it would be in some way less worrying if Putin had ordered Nemtsov’s killing,” wrote Ksenia Sobchak, a socialite turned journalist and opposition activist. “It would be an awful system, but at least a system, a manageable system. But I feel, unfortunately, this is not the case. There is no Putin who gave a command to kill. But there is a Putin who has built an appalling terminator, and he has lost control of it.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/28/was-boris-nemtsov-killed-russia-opposition-traitors?CMP=share_btn_tw

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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So one theory now ongoing is that Putin and his state media have created such an atmosphere of hate and conspiracy laden accusation that the opposition is now officially treated as traitorous, and that there are enough nationalist (fascist/fascistic) groups running around with freedom to act with impunity that any number of groups or people could have offed Nemtsov, which would actually be scarier than if Putin had ordered the hit.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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