Tag Archives: Kremlin

Russia: Latvia Meduza news ‘Foreign Agent’

Brussels 26.04.2021 Russia has announced the independent news website Meduza a “foreign agent,” the Justice Ministry confirmed on 23 April amid what critics call the Kremlin’s continuing crackdown on freedom of speech.
A statement on the ministry’s website said the decision, which also includes the Moscow-based Pasmi (“First Anti-Corruption Media”) news site, was made “in compliance with the requirements of Russian law.”
Meduza editorial said it does not accept the decision and would challenge it in court. (Image above: Riga, Latvia).

Meduza began publishing out of Latvia in 2014 after its then-chief-editor Galina Timchenko left Russia, and reportedly the media received about $250,000 from the former head of Yukos, Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This is stated in the report of the Latvian edition.

With a staff of 23 people based in Riga and Russia, Meduza publishes on a website and a mobile phone app, and is already racking up 2.5 million unique visitors a month.

Russia’s 2012 foreign agent law initially targeted media outlets and civil society groups, subsidised from abroad, especially within the jurisdiction of NATO allies. It has in recent years been expanded to include individual journalists and any foreign-funded persons or entities.
Individuals and groups labeled as foreign agents are required to report their activities and face heavy financial audits. Other media outlets are also required to clearly label the designated entities as “foreign agents.”

Russian lawmakers are also considering legislation banning foreign agents from running for federal office.
Statement of the EU by the Spokesperson on labelling Meduza as “foreign agent”:

“We reject the decision by the Russian authorities to include independent media outlet Meduza on the list of “foreign agents”.

It is the European Union’s longstanding position that the so-called ‘foreign agent’ law contributes to a systematic infringement of basic freedoms, and restricts civil society, independent media and the rights of political opposition in Russia. Democracy is a universal value that includes respect for human rights as enshrined in international law.

It is extremely concerning that Russian authorities continue to restrict the work of independent media platforms, as well as individual journalists and other media actors. It goes against Russia’s international obligations and human rights commitments.

It is the duty of media to report on issues of public interest, and it is the obligation of the state authorities to ensure they can do so in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation.”

Russian authorities consider Meduza to be a news media, produced within jurisdiction of another state, thus “foreign agent”.

Russia expands retaliatory list

Russia has made a decision to expand on a parity basis the retaliatory list of EU officials banned from entering the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement spokesperson Maria Zakharova read out at a news briefing on September 23.

“In response to European Union actions the Russian side has made a decision to expand the retaliatory list of representatives of the EU member countries and institutions who are prohibited from entering the territory of Russia. The number of names on the Russian list has been increased to match that on the existing EU list,” the diplomat said.

“We have repeatedly warned the European Union that this approach is harmful. But the EU ignores our proposals for a meaningful and professional dialogue on the basis of facts and continues to use the language of sanctions,” spokesperson has underlined.

Zakharova recalled that lately the EU took a number of unfriendly steps towards Russia and Russian citizens, thus bypassing the existing international norms and using sanctions on far-fetched and absurd pretexts.

The announcement came day after President Putin on argued September 22 that ending “illegitimate sanctions” against countries like his could boost the suffering from pandemic global economy and create jobs, using his annual speech at the U.N. General Assembly to stress the need for multilateral cooperation against the pandemic.

In his speech Putin told the U.N.’s 75th anniversary gathering that countries need to work together better to fight the virus and other global problems.

“Freeing world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be a great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment,” Russian President said.

G7 condemns «hideous poisoning» of Navalny

‘We, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the confirmed poisoning of Alexei Navalny” reads the statement, referring to the chemical attack on Russian opposition leader, and fierce critics of President Putin. Navalny was airlifted upon wish of his family to Berlin for treatment from Omsk hospital in Russia, where he received urgent medical assistance.

“Germany has briefed G7 partners on the fact that clinical and toxicological findings by German medical experts and a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces have determined that Mr Navalny is the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group, a substance developed by Russia. Mr Navalny is in intensive care in a Berlin hospital and remains in a serious condition. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and we hope for his full and speedy recovery.

“Any use of chemical weapons, anywhere, anytime, by anybody, under any circumstances whatsoever, is unacceptable and contravenes the international norms prohibiting the use of such weapons.We, the G7 foreign ministers, call on Russia to urgently and fully establish transparency on who is responsible for this abhorrent poisoning attack and, bearing in mind Russia’s commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention, to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“This attack against opposition leader Navalny is another grave blow against democracy and political plurality in Russia. It constitutes a serious threat to those men and women engaged in defending the political and civil freedoms that Russia herself has committed to guarantee. We call on Russia to fulfill its commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to guarantee these rights, including the right to freedom of expression, to its citizens.

“We will continue to monitor closely how Russia responds to international calls for an explanation of the hideous poisoning of Mr Navalny. We remain strongly committed to our support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia and to bolster our support to the Russian civil society.

Navalny in Omsk – stabilised but in coma

Russian opposition politician and relentless anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, 44, is still unconscious in Omsk hospital suffering from suspected poisoning, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said.

Navalny wife, Yulia, and his GP arrived to Omsk, but they have diffiuclty in obtaining the necessary documents to move the patient to another, better equpped clinic. However the staff of the hospital do not share their plan, and refuse to release patient. They insist that they have all necessary equipment to provide required treatment, and that they have had a series of consulations via teleconferencing with the leading medical centers in Russia. Refering to the legislation the representative of the hostpial declined to comment of the diagnosis, he explaind his position with the legal restriciton, and added that there are ceratin improvements, which allow to regard the patient’s condition with cautions optimism.

Navalny spokesperson expressed indignation about the rumers circulating in different Russian media about Navalny alcohool poisoning. The pro-Kremlin newspapers suggested he suffered depression, and was drining poor quality alcohool, while travelling in Siberia.

The anti-corruption campaigner fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. (Image below: Lubov Sobol, “FBK”)

Navalny team team suspects something was put in his tea at an airport cafe, blame the authorities the “special operation” of physical removal of the political opponent.

The Kremlin spokesperson said that it wished Navalny a “speedy recovery”.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

Alexey Navalny has for years been among President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest critics.

In June he described a vote on constitutional reforms as a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution”. The reforms allow Presient Putin to serve another two terms in office, after the four terms he has already had.

Idlib: ceasefire from midnight

Presidents of Russian and Turkey signed a new memorandum on Idlib after five hours talks in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin and Tayyp Recep Erdogan signed a document, agreeing on ceasefire from Midnight, safety corridors, resumption of patrols.

– ceasefire today at midnight.
– A safety corridor along the M-4 highway in Syria.
– resumption of joint Russian-Turkish patrols, including along the new route

Putin also voiced hope that the deal would end civilian suffering and help contain a humanitarian crisis.

Duma approves new Prime Minister

President Putin has signed a decree appointing Mikhail Mishustin as the Prime minister.
“In accordance with Article 83(a) of the Russian Constitution, Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin is appointed as Russia’s Prime Minister,” says the decree issued on the Kremlin’s website.

The decree comes into force on the day of its signing.
Earlier on 16 of January the State Duma endorsed the appointment. As many as 383 lawmakers voted ‘yes,’ and 41 abstained. Nobody rejected the candidacy.

Former Prime Minister Medvedev, appointed deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, will hold a meeting with new Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on January 17, the Russian government’s press service informed.
The meeting between the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and the Russian Prime minister will take place tomorrow [January 17] at the House of Government of the Russian Federation,” the press service stated.

The entire Russian government, headed by Dmitry Medvedev, resigned on January 15.
The Duma plenary session Mishustin promised to announce the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers within a few days.

Putin facilitates naturalisation procedure for Donabass

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which makes it possible for residents of Donbass to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The document has been published on the Kremlin’s website.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko  accused Moscow of crossing a “red line” by signing a decree to facilitate the process of obtaining Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine.

It’s a fact that this is about the Kremlin preparing the next point of aggression against our country: the annexation of Ukraine’s Donbass or the creation of a Russian enclave in Ukraine,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that Russian citizenship degree is “the continuation of aggression and interference in our internal affairs,” urges Ukrainian citizens in areas held by Russia-backed separatists “not to accept Russian passports.”

Russia has deprived you of your present lives and now it is encroaching on your future”  Minister concluded.

“Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made “in order to protect human rights and freedoms” based on generally accepted international laws.

Gratitude to Russia for making a decision on granting citizenship under a simplified procedure. It is an outstanding event all LPR citizens have been waiting for,” said Leonid Pasechnk, Head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).

 

Russians dream to immigrate

Russian Federation is dangerously close to a large-scale demographic crisis, with its population declining for the first time in a decade in 2018, one in five Russians (20%) now say that they would like to leave Russia if they could, according to Gallup research.

Typically young people are more likely to migrate — as they are the most mobile group within a population — the 44% of the youngest Russians who want to move is unprecedented number in within the past decade.

Paradoxically  Moscovites, who have higher living standards that the rest of the country,  are in first ranks of those who are willing to leave. Since 2014, the percentage of working-age Russians who say they would like to move has at least tripled, jumping from 14% to 44% among 15- to 29-year-old, from 7% to 22% among those between the ages of 30 and 45 and from 3% to 9% among those aged 46 to 60.

Russians who wish to migrate prefer countries within the European Union (40%), followed by North America (16%). Russians are most likely to name Germany (15%) and the U.S. (12%) specifically.

Larger potential migration numbers could accelerate the population decline, and losses could potentially exceed the 8% of the population that the United Nations currently projects Russia to lose by 2050.

 

MEPs against Russia ‘strategic partner’ status

At Strasbourg Plenary (13.03.2019) Members of the European Parliament agreed that the EU should remain open to imposing further sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law.

Parliament adopted a resolution by 402 votes to 163, with 89 abstentions, assessing the current state of EU-Russia political relations.

The time for nice and diplomatic language is over. There is very little room for any cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy parts of Ukraine and attacks other European countries“, said rapporteur Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia).

Sanctions must be prolonged MEPs also draw attention to new areas of tension between the EU and Russia which have occurred since 2015, including Russia’s intervention in Syria, interference in countries such as Libya and the Central African Republic, and continuous aggressive action in Ukraine. They also highlight Russia’s support for eurosceptic parties and far-right movements, and accused Russians in meddling in elections and systematically violating human rights.

MEPs underlined that the EU should consider adoption of further sanctions against Russia, especially those targeting individuals. Sanctions should be proportionate to the threats posed by Russia, they add. In December last year, the Council prolonged economic sanctions until 31 July 2019.

The Europarliament resolution underlines that the EU should review its current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia and limit cooperation to areas of common interest. Global challenges, such as climate change, energy security, cyber, artificial intelligence and counter terrorism, calling for selective engagement.

Closer relations will only be possible MEPs suggest on condition of Russia full implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and respect to international law, says the text.

MEPs condemn Russia‘s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states. They are deeply concerned that the EU‘s response to propaganda and disinformation is insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019. In this regard, the funding and human resources for the EU‘s East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased, they stress.

In resolution MEPs strongly denounce Russia‘s violation of the airspace of EU states, especially in the Baltic Sea region, where territorial waters and the airspace have been repeatedly breached. This disregard for international rules poses a threat to Russia‘s neighbours in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Medditeranean regions.

MEPs also reiterate their concerns that the Nord Stream-2 project could reinforce the EU‘s dependence on Russian gas supplies and threaten the EU internal market.

In the resolution the concern is expressed about Russia‘s continuous support for authoritarian regimes and countries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria. They also regret that in order to destabilise EU candidate countries, Russia gives its support to organisations and political forces like those opposing the Prespa Agreement that has resolved the long-standing dispute on the name between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece.

MEPs condemn illegal financial activities and money laundering by Russia, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of euros being laundered through the EU every year, which poses a threat to European security and stability. Sandra Kalniete’s report underlines that EU countries concerned must end all ‘golden visa/passport‘ programmes, which benefit Russian oligarchs.

 

 

Putin receives Bolton in Kremlin

Preparations for a potential Russian-US summit is among the issues brought up by US National Security Adviser John Bolton at his current meetings in Moscow, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed.

“While in Moscow today, Ambassador Bolton is meeting with President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials to discuss United States-Russia relations, as well the potential for a Presidential meeting,” she tweeted.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier told reporters that “Bolton’s key contacts will take place in the Russian Security Council, with the Foreign Minister, and he will also contact with Presidential Aide Ushakov” and President Putin himself.

 

 

 

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