Russia

"The West has a twisted vision of Russia"

Dimitri Medvedev was inaugurated as Russia's new president today. Evguenia Obitchkina, an international relations lecturer in Moscow, explains that the conflict between Russia and the West might have more to do with the hydrocarbon trade than human rights. Read more...

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The world's tackiest tombstones

Looming above a hundred grey headstones in a Russian cemetery, tacky monuments like these - with the tomb's incumbent and his faithful sports car etched onto the stone - appear on the horizon. Read more...

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Can Russian police really do that?

This video, supposedly filmed by the Russian police, emerged on the internet on Monday. We don't know where it came from, nor is it possible to know exactly where it was filmed. But our Observers confirm that this type of cruelty is not unusual. Read more and see the video.

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Our Observer beaten up after exposing electoral fraud

A Russian election observer who exposed several accounts of mass rigging following last December's Duma parliamentary poll has been assaulted outside his home in Moscow, just weeks before the date of the court case against the election riggers. In hospital with cerebral concussion, it looks as though Grigori Belonuchkin might not be well enough testify in the case. Read more...

Vote-riggers can’t break their habit

Vote-rigging, banning candidates and censorship are all part of a traditional Russian election, according to many of the country’s bloggers. But this year, despite a clear front-runner, tales of even more ingenious methods are emerging on the blogosphere. Caught vote-rigging red handed? Just scream “terrorist”. Read more…

This protester was forcibly removed by the police for calling the election a "farce".

Even school children support Medvedev

Russian tabloid Express Gazeta organized a drawing competition all across Russia to support President Valdimir Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev. These drawings, published three days before the presidential election, are strangely reminiscent of personality cults from the Soviet era. See the other drawings.

"Dmitry Anatolyevich is a worthy successor" by Valeriya Emelchenkova, 10, Chelyabinsk region. Medvedev is lifting weights that are labelled "housing", "children", "school", "village", "nature", and "sport".

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“Med erm, Medeved… Meded-deva…whatever…”

Questioned Tuesday about the name of Putin’s successor in a televised debate with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton faltered to pronounce the name. “Med erm, Medeved… Meded-deva… whatever…” Russian Blogger Alexander Kireev was not impressed. Read more…

Images from MSNBC. Posted 26 Feb. 08

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Kosovo sold to the grim reaper

The self-proclaimed autonomy of Kosovo angered many Russians, not least these young dramatists who blame the move on the US, who according to them is responsible for selling the country to the grim reaper. Here’s the video of their performance…

Young Russian dramatists act out their message: "Kosovo is Serbian soil", 17 FEB. 08

The Kremlin’s ‘pet democrat’ tells us how to get through the system

Like in the U.S the Russians are also determining candidates for their presidential elections. But for Russian opponents, the primary stage is not to impress the public, but to get past a set of hurdles laid out by the Kremlin. Andrei Bogdanov, nick-named the Kremlin's ‘pet democrat'; is the only liberal-leaning ‘opposition' candidate to have made it through. He explains to us why he made it and Kasyanov didn't. Read more...

Justice is dogged for former Yukos executive

Thirty-five year old Vasiliy Aleksanyan is a former executive for the Russian oil giant Yukos, which the Russian government has been persecuting for the past few years. Aleksanyan also served as acting Vice President for 6 days before he was arrested. Like his previous boss the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, he was accused of tax evasion and money laundering. For the past two years he has been awaiting trial in prison. Aleksanyan is dying of AIDS, but the authorities refuse to allow him to be hospitalised. He says that the prosecution offered to free him if he testified against former heads of Yukos. Well-known antagonists of Putin's Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev are already serving prison sentences. Read more...

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