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RUSSIA: Religion, schools and the right to choose

By Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18 News Service Russian state schools offer sharply different interpretations of the religion and ethics course introduced in September 2012, Forum 18 News Service notes in a comprehensive analysis of the current situation. In one Siberian school, only the Orthodox Culture module was offered as a headteacher claimed “we live in […]

Security Report: Tsarnaev Sought Insurgents Near 2014 Olympic Site

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/security-report-tsarnaev-sought-insurgents-near-2014-olympic-site/2014/01/21/   When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred last April 15, most commentators split along two positions. The first position was that it was an act of foreign terrorism. The second, and this one grew louder and stronger, was that this was a vicious act by a “lone wolf” whose religion and ideology […]

Rights Groups Criticize Moscow’s Ban On U.S. Journalist

http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-satter-rights-groups-criticism/25232382.html Rights organizations have been criticizing Russia’s banning of a U.S. journalist from the country for five years. Reporters Without Borders said on January 16 that it was “shocked” by Moscow’s decision to ban David Satter for overstaying his visa “especially as the offense seems to have been the result of the foreign ministry’s own […]

Nobel Laureates Urge Putin to Abolish Anti-Gay Law

LONDON (AP) — Actor Ian McKellen and 27 Nobel laureates have written an open letter urging Russia’s president to repeal an anti-gay law and expressing their solidarity with critics of the legislation. The letter — published Tuesday by the Independent newspaper — comes in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, which have been the focus […]

Moscow expels Putin critic US journalist for coverage of Ukraine protests

U.S. journalist David Satter, a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Jan. 13 he had been banned from the country in one of the first such expulsions since the Cold War. Satter, a former Financial Times and Wall Street Journal correspondent who published three books on Russia and the former Soviet Union, had been living and working in the […]

Fury Over Biographical Stalin Calendar Published by Orthodox Church

by Anna Dolgov A publishing house run by the Russian Orthodox Church has released a 2014 calendar devoted to Josef Stalin, unleashing a flurry of indignation among Russian bloggers and a discussion about the Church’s ties to the former Soviet dictator. The calendar, published by the Moscow-based patriarchal printing house of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery, presents pictures of Stalin, accompanied by excerpts from his biography. The photographs show Stalin […]

Despite prisoner amnesty, oppressive Russia escalating harassment of dissenters

by Jane Buchanan, Human Rights Watch The world’s attention has been captivated in recent days by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he will pardon businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This came a day after parliament adopted an amnesty that will free the two imprisoned Pussy Riot band members’ and charges were dropped against the Artic 30 […]

Journalists Persecuted by Judges in Rostov-On-Don

The release of Mikhail Khodorkovski, Pussy Riot and Greenpeace activists must not divert attention from the many other threats to fundamental freedoms in Russia Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the judicial harassment of journalists critical of the authorities in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. Sergei Reznik, a well-known journalist and blogger, has been sentenced to […]

Russia terror analysis: Volgograd and an Olympics under threat

by Andrei Soldatov When Dokku Umarov, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, issued a statement six months ago promising a strike on the Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities were faced with two major questions. Experts and the secret services asked whether militants still possessed the capabilities to hit beyond the North […]