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Dispatches: Shocked by Russia’s Intolerance

by Tanya Cooper, Human Rights Watch In recent days the presidents of Germany, France and the United States announced they wouldn’t attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. None explained why they decided to skip the Games, but one can guess that the appalling human rights situation in Russia played a part. Of […]

Updated List of Nongovernmental Organizations Targeted under the “Foreign Agents” Law

In early March 2013 the Russian government launched an unprecedented, nationwide campaign of inspections of thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify advocacy groups the government deems “foreign agents” and force them to register as such. The list below tracks the legal consequences of the law on dozens of NGOs. Since the beginning of the “foreign agents” campaign, various […]

St. Petersburg Jews searching for identity

After decades of assimilation, young members of Russian city’s Jewish community are connecting to their roots through Jewish student clubs, synagogue activities and annual Limmud festival SAINT PETERSBURG – When Tsar Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg, the northern pearl of the Great Russia, about 310 years ago, he didn’t imagine a reality which would see […]

Russian Orthodox Church is open to dialogue with Pussy Riot, but without provocations

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=10982  The Moscow Patriarchate is hoping that the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot who have been released from prison today after being amnestied will improve. “Every person has a right to make public statements, honest debates, and competition of ideas. However, when political manipulations and dangerous provocations happen, it’s unacceptable,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the […]

Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions – Public Chamber experts

A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, “On the Status of Russia’s Civil Society”, affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country. “Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian […]

Putin says he’ll pardon oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky

(JTA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Russian oil tycoon who has been jailed for more than 10 years. Putin made the announcement at the end of a four-hour news conference in Moscow, saying Khodorkovsky requested the pardon on humanitarian grounds, since his mother is ill. “I think […]

Russian Jews win Rostov Holocaust commemoration fight

(JTA) — The Russian city of Rostov-on-Don has agreed to acknowledge the Jewish identity of Holocaust victims killed there by the Nazis. The municipality’s Memorial Council last week announced its decision to revise a memorial plaque at the Zmievskaya Balka mass grave to mention the Jewish identity of the majority of the approximately 27,000 bodies […]

Conclusions of the 11th Israel-Russia Mixed Economic Committee

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the scope of trade between Israel and Russia, which in 2013 exceeded $3 billion, with the most significant rise in the area of aviation and tourism. It was agreed that the agreement on establishing a free trade zone between the two countries will be completed in 2014. On Monday, December 9, […]

Without Notice, Putin Dissolves a News Agency

By  Steven Lee Myers, New York Times   MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin exerted new control over Russia’s state news media on Monday, dissolving by decree one of Russia’s official news agencies, RIA Novosti, along with its international radio broadcaster as he continues a drive to strengthen the Kremlin’s influence at home and abroad. […]

Subbotnik Jews make aliyah

Their forefathers, who were Christian peasants, embraced Judaism some 200 years ago, and they have stuck to it to this very day. Now, two of 500 members of Subbotnik community from village of Vysoky in southern Russia decide to immigrate to Promised Land. Ariel and Moriah Shishlenikov, residents of the southern Russian village of Vysoky, […]