vladimir putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolved one of the country's official news agencies and an international radio broadcaster on Monday, setting up a new organization to be run by a news anchor known for his ultraconservative views. RIA Novosti, the news agency, and Voice of Russia, the broadcaster, will be absorbed by a new entity, Russia Today.

On Monday in the largest Ukraine protest since the Orange Revolution, as thousands mobilized in continuation of their demand for the resignation of their government and for sanctions against those responsible for the violence on Saturday—and as protestors in Paris, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Detroit, and cities all over Canada gathered in solidarity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a good run over the past few months. Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, landed on his doorstep, a gift from the PR gods. Agreement on Syria went from no chance to golden opportunity in the course of one afternoon. Forbes dubbed Putin the most powerful man in the world. Yet all these successes obscure a basic fact: Russia is running out of money.

In a dramatic easing of its hardline stance, Russian courts granted bail this week to nineteen of the thirty Greenpeace crew members detained since September for a protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic. Seven activists received the good news today, joining others who appeared in court on Monday and Tuesday, while another twelve are still awaiting custody hearings. So far, only one detainee has been set free.

With just 100 days before the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a key opportunity to speak out about abuses linked to Russia’s preparations for the Games. The IOC should also call on Russia to repeal a law that discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said.

Getting a Russian bureaucrat to do what you want can be about as easy as budging a mountain — a surly, misanthropic mountain. So some Russians, in their quest for basic social services, have turned to the ultimate desperate measure: self-immolation. On Oct. 16, a man in his early forties walked into the local government headquarters in the industrial town of Pervouralsk and demanded officials turn on the central heating in his apartment block, where he has been freezing along with his wife and daughter since fall turned to winter weeks ago.

First, Vladimir Putin accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of inciting protests against him at the end of 2011. The next fall, the Russian president threw the U.S. Agency for International Development out of his country. Then he decided civic groups that get U.S. financing must be foreign agents.

Russia’s diplomatic intervention in the Syria crisis has received much praise from politicians and media outlets around the world. In a sense, the praise is deserved: by finally pushing the Assad regime into negotiations, Russia has halted – at least for the time being – a universally undesired military action.

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