Russia and Ukraine have reached a preliminary agreement on the delimitation of their border in the disputed Kerch Strait.
(Kommersant, Vedomosti, Rossiiskaya Gazeta)
Russian parliamentarians are expected to pass a bill recriminalizing defamation in the final reading on Friday. In line with the amendments, those found guilty of defamation against judges, prosecutors and investigators, would face a fine of up to 5 million rubles (over $150,000). Analysts believe the bill, if passed in its current form, would first of all affect journalists and human rights activists.
Russian parliamentarians have travelled to the United States in a bid to persuade their U.S. colleagues to drop their plans to pass the Magnitsky Act, but have not succeeded.
The Russian Foreign and Emergencies ministries are working out a plan to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria if the situation there worsens.
The Kremlin administration has announced the creation of a new expert body, the Council on Constitutional Rights, whose task will be to offer an “alternative and balanced view” on human rights problems in Russia, in addition to that being provided by the existing presidential human rights council headed by Mikhail Fedotov.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had to answer difficult political questions during a meeting with Russian businessmen in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, including those related to a to a controversial bill which would force foreign-funded political NGOs to register as "foreign agents.” The bill has already secured initial backing from Russian parliamentarians.
Two Russian opposition activists are seeking political asylum in the Netherlands and Germany.
Political protests in Russia will remain local in the near future, and even possible economic problems are unlikely to make citizens across the country take to the streets, sociologists from the state-run VTsIOM pollster believe.
Mass opposition rallies in Moscow on February 4 and on June 12 had different leaders, a survey conducted by the state-run VTsIOM pollster shows. In February, Grigory Yavlinsky, the founder of the liberal Yabloko party, was the most popular among protest leaders, while in June, most rally participants preferred anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. VTsIOM experts explain the shift by growing government pressure on the protest movement, while pointing out that Navalny’s popularity was still too insignificant to ensure him successful electoral performance.
The Moscow Mayor’s Office has decided to pay a total of 300 million rubles ($9.1 million) in rewards to police and security officers who were deployed at sites of opposition demonstrations in Moscow in May.
A new emergency alarm system will be introduced in Russia following devastating floods in the country’s south which have claimed more than 170 lives.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Despite falling oil prices, Russia’s budget had a 0.9-percent surplus in the first half of 2012, despite falling oil prices, thanks to changes in the tax system. Analysts predict no significant setbacks in Russia’s budget till the end of 2013.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the World Chess Federation and former leader of Russia’s Kalmykia Republic, is prepared to invest $10 billion into a joint venture with Ashmore Group, one of Britain’s largest investment funds. The partners are planning to invest in the electricity, metallurgy, food and telecommunications industries.
Yury Urlichich, the director general and chief designer of the Russian Space Systems company has been banned from leaving Russia for five years.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Thursday that it had launched a criminal case against employees of a large Moscow trading company who are believed to have supplied counterfeit lubricants for 28 Russian Soyuz carrier rockets.
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