Ukraine Prepares for Parliamentary Elections

Article Brief

Ukraine will hold parliamentary elections on October 26th, the first in the country since the Maidan demonstrations which resulted in the loss of the Crimean peninsula to Russia and a civil war in the east of the country. The party of President Petro Poroshenko is expected to lead the elections with other pro-European parties following close behind. The main issues going into the elections deal with Ukraine's defense capabilities and economic reforms.

Article Source: Vedmosti

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NATO Intercepts Russian Fighter Plane Found in Estonian Airspace

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On October 22, NATO planes intercepted a Russian spy plane flying over Estonia. The number of similar incidents occurring in the Baltic Sea region have increased since the Russian-led annexation of Crimea in March, worrying the countries of that region. After hearing the news, Estonia's president summoned the Russian ambassador to issue a formal reprimand for Russia's actions.

Article Source: svboda

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Snowplow Driver at Moscow Airport Says He Was Sober

Article Brief

The snowplow driver who drove his vehicle into a private passenger plane at Moscow's Vnukovo airport late Monday night claims he was sober at the moment of the accident. Early reports claimed that the driver was drunk and an investigation has now been undertaken to determine the toxicity level of the driver. All four of the passengers on board were killed as a result of the crash, one of whom was the head of Total, France's largest energy company.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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St. Petersburg Performance Artist Cuts off Earlobe in Act of Protest

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Pyotr Pavlensky, a St. Petersburg-based performance artist well known for his acts of political protest involving the infliction of pain on his body, cut off his earlobe while sitting unclothed atop Moscow's Serbsky Psychiatric Hospital on Sunday. Pavlensky explained his motivation for the performance was to cry out against the forced psychiatric treatment of political dissidents. Police removed him from the rooftop and he is now receiving treatment in a Moscow hospital. 

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Sweden Continues Search for Foreign Submarine near Stockholm

Article Brief

On October 19, BBC Russian reported that Sweden's defense forces claim to have received more conclusive information of a foreign submarine lurking in the waters of the Stockholm archipelago with rising suspicions that the submarine belongs to Russia. Russia's Ministry of Defense has denied all involvement and any indication that the vessel could be Russian. This incident follows several cases of Russian aircraft violating both Swedish and Finnish airspace during recent months. 

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Putin Calls Ukraine a Threat for Gas Supplies to Europe

Article Brief

In a speech given in Belgrade, Serbia, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that should Ukraine siphon off gas for its own use from the pipelines that run through the country, Russia would in turn reduce gas supplies to the rest of Europe. Moscow has cut off gas supplies to Ukraine since June due to mounting debt and disagreements over prices. Putin also emphasized that if there is to be a gas war in Europe, it will not be the fault of Russia.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Medvedev Calls a Reset of Relations with USA impossible

Article Brief

In a recent interview with CNBC, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that a reset of relations with the United States would be absolutely impossible while sanctions against his country are still in place. Medvedev regards the sanctions as merely an excuse for America to show the world its power. The PM also speculated that President Obama may have an "aberration in his head" over his recent behavior and for placing Russia on a list of world threats. 

Article Source: Vedmosti

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Ukrainian National Guard Members Rally in front of Poroshenko's Office

Article Brief

On Monday more than 300 Ukrainian National Guard soldiers rallied in front of the Presidential Administration office. The soldier are demanding that they be discharged since they have completed their required length of service. The rally was peaceful and both protesters and police are unarmed. The National Guard was created after the intensification of conflict in Kiev earlier this year and many of its member were drafted into service.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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The Rotenberg Family

Article Brief

Two of the richest men in Russia, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, have begun to transfer shares in some of their holdings to their children. In addition to the Rotenbergs themselves, some of their holdings have fallen under sanctions. Among some of the transfers was the sale of a Finnish hockey club owned by Boris Rotenberg. In addition, the U.S. government has advised American companies to be careful working with companies that are close to or connected with those companies and people who are on the sanctions list.

Article Source: Vedmosti

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What is the Eurasian Union and Why It Is Needed

Article Brief

Starting 1 January 2015, the world is going to see the official beginning of a new economic union called the Eurasian Economic Union. It is to be an economic zone between Russian, Kazakhstan, and Belarus with free-trade and freedom of movement for labor and capital. This article gives a breakdown of what the Union actually and some of the prospects for its future.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Parliament Insists on a Single History Textbook for Russian Schools

Article Brief

Representatives of the Russian State Duma have introduced legislation which would require teachers in all Russian schools to teach from the same textbooks for history, the Russian language, and Russian literature. According to the lawmakers responsible for the project, the wide variety of available textbooks currently in use in the Russian school system is in violation of Russia's constitution and do not give all students a fair chance to learn necessary material. Critics of the legislation have warned of the government's ability in such a situation to manipulate historical messages and eliminate any alternative interpretations of the country's history from being taught in classrooms.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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State Duma Passes "Rotenberg Law" on First Reading

Article Brief

The Russian State Duma passed a bill on its first reading that would provide compensation for Russian citizens who have been affected by Western-imposed sanctions on their foreign assets. The funds for compensation would come from the federal budget. The legislation was supported solely by members of the United Russia party, which was still enough to easily gain a majority of the 226 voted needed for the bill to pass, despite much opposition from other members of the Duma. To become law, the bill will still need to pass through several houses of parliament and receive the signature of the president.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Flowers for Anna

Article Brief

October 7th marks the eighth anniversary of the murder of Russian human rights activist and journalist Anna Politkovskaya. To commemorate her death vigils were held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, and other cities across the region. Politkovskaya was killed in the entrance to her apartment block in 2006 because of, what many think, her coverage of the conflict and war crimes happening in Chechnya.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Navalny, Paris and London

Article Brief

On Sunday, Alexei Navalny's partner from his fund to fight corruption Vladimir Ashurkov tweeted that he had officially requested political asylum in the United Kingdom. In addition to Ashurkov, another of Navalny's partners Leonid Volkov has restarted and expanded his activities in fighting corruption and answering questions about Navalny's court case. Currently, Alexei Navalny is under house arrest in Moscow and is not allowed to leave the country.

Article Source: svboda

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Elections in Latvia and the Crisis in Ukraine

Article Brief

On October 5, BBC Russian reported that Russia's involvement in Ukraine may be contributing to a change in the sentiments of voters in other countries of the former Soviet Union. Latvia's parliamentary election was held on Saturday and its "pro-Russian" party "Soglasiye" lost seats to the other two large parties in Latvia and to smaller nationalist parties. According to political scientists, one major reason for the loss of support for "Soglasiye" is because of the crisis in Ukraine and the party's support of Vladimir Putin's ruling party in Russia, "United Russia."

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Oil Prices Reach Critical Level for Russia

Article Brief

Oil prices on the New York Stock Exchange reached their lowest levels in five years on Thursday afternoon at less than $92 per barrel. For Russia, anything below $90 is critically dangerous for the country's budget and the latest trend leaves Russian economists and economic ministers worried about what this means for the Russia's future. Analysts have connected the current drop in oil prices with the strengthening of the US dollar and new energy policies adopted in Saudi Arabia.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Will Russia's Central Bank Dare to Let Go of the Ruble?

Article Brief

The ruble has now reached an all-time low against the dollar with geopolitical factors and a weakening Russian economy being the primary factors for this. Such a situation places extreme pressure on Russia's central bank as it struggles to save the country's falling currency while market regulators worry about the worst possible scenarios for Russia's financial future. 

Article Source: slon.ru

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A Ukrainian Process

Article Brief

As Ukraine continues to try to pacify the east, debates are raging in Kiev about how to legitimize the new government and move it down a democratic path. "Den" newspaper interviewed Pavel Zhachek, a Czech researcher who specializes in post-totalitarian regimes. He gives insight into how Ukraine can move forward with "purifying" or purging the government of those member who were loyal to Yanukovych or those who could potentially hold back the democratic process. Similar actions were taken in the post-Communist transitions of Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic States, and East Germany.

Article Source: day.kiev.ua

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Secret Soldiers

Article Brief

Despite a fragile ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists, there is another side of the war that is coming into the fold. Families and friends of Russian soldiers killed while secretly serving in Ukraine are demanding to know what happened to their loved ones. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry refused to answer Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov's request for information about the hundreds of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry maintains that there are no Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine and has blamed these rumors primarily on Ukraine and Western media sources.

Article Source: vedmosti

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Russian Foreign Minister Calls for Another "Reset" of Relations With the U.S

Article Brief

Speaking to Russian state media on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a "reset" between Russia and the United States. He pointed out that Russia does not have any interest in isolating itself from the West. In addition, Lavrov criticized NATO, the EU, and the US for being unwilling to help pacify the situation in Ukraine.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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