Hague Court Orders Russia to Pay ex-Yukos Shareholders $50 Billion

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Although a decade has passed, the repercussions from the 2003 Yukos Affair are still being felt in Russia . On Tuesday, a court in The Hague ordered Russia to pay several ex-Yukos shareholders $50 billion and stated that the Russian government had launched "a full-scale attack on Yukos and its owners with the aim of bankrupting the company." The most recognizable figure from the Yukos Affair is the former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who served more than ten years in jail for embezzlement and tax fraud. He was subsequently pardoned by Russian president, Vladimir Putin, shortly before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Article Source: Forbes.ru

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Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Fitr

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On July 29, Russian media sources reported on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan. In the Moscow city center an estimated 250 thousand people gathered for prayer that began at 7:00 am. Numerous streets were blocked off to accommodate the gathering. The department of transportation asks residents to be mindful of changes to public transit routes.

Article Source: itar-tass.com

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The Russian Energy Industry is Not Self-Sufficient

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Picture published by RIA Novosti

Picture published by RIA Novosti

On Friday, the EU instructed the European Commission to prepare the final set of sanctions in relation to the Russian economy. Besides the banking sector and defense industry, these may include sanctions against technologies related to Russia's energy industry. These sanctions could affect Russia's ability to extract and refine fossil fuels.

Article Source: svboda

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Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk Announces Resignation

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On July 24,  the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, announced his resignation to the Ukraine Parliament, citing the breakup of the government coalition "European Choice," the non-passage of several important bills, and the recent fist fight that took place on the floor of the Parliament. However, it is expected that he will fulfill his duties until November.

Article Source: Vedmosti

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Mourning in the Netherlands

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On Wednesday morning two airplanes, one from the Royal Dutch Air Force and one from the Royal Australian Air Force, arrived in Eindhoven, Netherlands carrying 40 of the victims from the Malaysia Airlines 17 disaster. After the planes' arrival, a somber memorial ceremony was carried out on the tarmac in front of royal dignitaries, members of the government, and family members of the victims. Following the ceremony, there was a one minute moment of silence across the country. After leaving the airport, the motorcade with the victims remains drove to the barracks in Hilversum, Netherlands where work will start on the identification of the bodies. The rest of the remains, still in Khakiv, Ukraine, are expected to arrive daily for the rest of the week.

Article Source: Svboda

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An Interview with the State Minister of Georgia, Alex Petriashvili, about Georgia's E.U. Association Agreement

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On June 27, 2014, Georgia, along with Moldova and Ukraine, officially signed the Association Agreement with the European Union, laying out the road map for future European integration. On July 20, State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alex Petriashvili, gave an interview to Lenta.ru and outlined Georgia's future and path toward deeper European integration. Petriashvili gives insight into political, economic, and social reforms, prospects of NATO accession, visa-free travel with the E.U., and relations with Russia and other CIS countries.

Article Source: Lenta.ru

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Anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk

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Picture published by RIA Novosti

Picture published by RIA Novosti

According to the Ukrainian mass media, the airport in Donetsk and its adjoining territories are under the control of the Ukrainian military. Two cities have been liberated from the separatist militia. One journalist reports that most residents have fled Donetsk. The situation in Lugansk is reportedly worse, with heavier firing and with fewer residents able to evacuate.

Article Source: Svboda

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Putin Calls for an End to Conflict in Eastern Ukraine and for Experts to Gain Access to Crash Site

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On July 20, Russian media sources reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia will do whatever is necessary to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Putin did not blame Ukraine for the downing of the Malaysian airliner but blamed the disaster on continued fighting after a failed cease fire in June. Putin called for experts to gain access to the crash site.

Article Source: Ria.ru

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Boeing 777 Malaysia Airliner Shot Down near Donetsk

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On July 17 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down by a surface to air missile over the Ukrainian town of Torez, about 50km from the Russian border. It is unclear who fired the SAM, but the majority of media organizations are claiming that it was fired by pro-Russian separatists fighting in Eastern Ukraine. Residents claim to have seen Russian-made anti-aircraft "BUK" missile launchers moving to the outskirts of Torez on Wednesday morning. All 298 passengers, including 15 crew members, were killed in the crash. The investigation is ongoing.

Article Source: Vedmosti

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Mourning the Victims of the Moscow Metro Tragedy

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During rush hour on the morning in July 15th, a Moscow Metro train derailed on the blue line between stations "Park Pobedy" and "Slovyansky Bul'var." The crash claimed at least 22 lives and injured more than 160. As of July 16th, two workers responsible for the metro's operations have been arrested on charges negligence. Moreover, this is not the first non-terrorism related incident that has taken place on the metro in recent years. The Moscow Metro is one of the busiest and most-extensive metro systems in the world, in constant competition with systems in other mega-cities such as Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai.

Article Source: Svoboda

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'BRICS' countries to form international development bank

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The 'BRICS' counties (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) met this past weekend in the city of Fortaleza in Northeastern Brazil. The leaders of these countries agreed upon the formation of the New Development Bank, designed to compete with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the financing of national infrastructure. An agreement was also signed for the creation of a conditional monetary researve, which will serve as a pool for the reciprocal support of the member countries. The researve will consist of 100 billion dollars, 18 billion of which will come from Russia.

Article Source: lenta.ru

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The War of Ukrainian Oligarchs

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The struggle between groups of powerful and wealthy businessmen for influence in Eastern Ukraine has recently become more intense. In particular, this is a struggle between the private sector and the family of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich. Such infighting consists of accusations of bribery, theft, and libel. The most alarming accusation, however, is of business leaders using and financing the political conflict in Ukraine for their own advantage.

Article Source: svboda

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What Can the West Do with Lukashenko?

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Twenty years since its last free election, Belarus is still ruled by Alexander Lukashenko. In addition to not allowing free and fair elections, Lukashenko's regime is known for its strict and brutal repression of political opposition and suppression of civil society. When it comes to international politics, Lukashenko, while heavily reliant on Russia, frequently balances his policies between the West and Russia. He does not always agree with Russia's policy of intervention into countries of the former Soviet Union, yet at the same time, he is not willing to following the western path of modernization and democratization. It is clear the Lukashenko's plan is to hold on to power as long as possible and continue to balance Belarus between the West and Russia.

Article Source: BBC Russian

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Soviet-Georgian Politician Eduard Shevardnadze Dies at the Age of 86

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Eduard Shevardnadze, the last Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev and the second president of the Republic of Georgia, died on Monday at the age of 86. Shevardnadze is known for his political stance in the USSR. He pushed for disarmament between the superpowers, helped to end the Soviet war in Afghanistan, was involved in the reunification of Germany, and opposed violent intervention when the countries of Eastern and Central Europe began to break away. While his time as the Georgian president was marred by corruption and crime, and was eventually overthrown in 2003 during the "Rose Revolution," he is still credited with bringing Georgia closer to the West.

Article Source: dw.de

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Russian Legislature Needs More Time for Krimean Development

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The cost of the Federal Development Program for Crimea may be more than what the Ministry of Finance has allotted. However, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that expenditure on the development of Crimea should not be a reason to limit the financing of other Russian territories. The budget for the development plan has a deadline of July 15 . At the same meeting, Medvedev demanded legislation for the creation of a special economic zone in Crimea to be completed by August 1 . The legislation will provide significant tax breaks in order to "create the necessary conditions for economic activity", according to Medvedev. The head of the Ministry of Finance is the main opponent to the tax legislation.

Article Source: Kommersant

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Rebel Forces Flee Slovyansk

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Prime Minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Alexander Borodai commented on the rebels retreat from Slovyansk as Ukranian forces retook the city, admitting that a defense of the city was pointless and that the militia's new position in the city of Donetsk is more advantageous. Borodai denies any monetary aid from the Russian government, yet states that it is acting as an intermediary in regulating the conflict. Borodai stated that he looks forward to a ceasefire and negotiations, but not under conditions set by Kiev. He stated that capitulation is unacceptable and that the DPR must be recognized as an independent republic.

Article Source: Gazeta.ru

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Ukrainian Army Continues Offensive

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Picture published by vedmosti

Picture published by vedmosti

Over the past weekend, Ukrainian forces have captured four towns in the Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainian detachment left the city of Slovyansk late on Saturday night with 80-90% of its personnel in tact. The director of the Center for Strategic Markets, Ivan Konovalov, predicts that the militants will concentrate their forces to the south of Slovyansk, around Donetsk. According to the colonel of the reserve army, the next task will be another attempt to secure the boarder with Russia. Special forces will remain in the cities, the Ukrainian army will not subject them to a large scale attack.

Article Source: vedomosti.ru

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Poroshenko's Plan "B"

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With the government's ceasefire canceled by the Ukrainian parliament at the request of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, fighting has resumed in Eastern Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is complex and even MPs in the Ukrainian parliament do not know exactly how to pacify the the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Several of them have traveled to the the east to see the situation in Donetsk firsthand, including Party of Region's member Tatyana Bakhteeva. Other Members of Parliament have expressed other opinions as to how to fix the situation in the east of the country. It remains to be seen how the situation will play out.

Article Source: Svboda.mobi

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Russian Military Rehearses Peacekeeping Operation

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Picture published by rbcdaily.ru

Picture published by rbcdaily.ru

Although military experts and generals are keeping Ukraine in mind, the military training exercises which took place between 21 and 27 June were timed to coincide with the international withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. As to what would make Afghanistan a threat to Russia, military experts' opinions differ. Some say it is a signal to Ukraine for forthcoming military action, while others believe that a destabilized Afghanistan could lead to an outbreak of Islamic extremism in the post-Soviet space.

Article Source: rbcdaily.ru

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