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The Passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg

We at the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union are saddened by the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He was a devoted public servant and a friend of all  those around the world fleeing from religious discrimination; in particular, the millions of Jews from the former Soviet Union who owe him a […]

Expulsion of U.S. Lawyer from Russia Possibly Due to Magnitsky Backing

The Moscow Times– The lack of an official explanation for the abrupt expulsion from Russia of U.S. lawyer and former Justice Department official Thomas Firestone earlier this month has led to a flurry of speculation about what may have prompted it. Firestone, an expert on corruption in Russian law enforcement agencies who worked as a lawyer for the Moscow office of the Baker & McKenzie law firm, was detained […]

Europe’s Oldest Human Rights Org Plans to Upgrade Office in Russia

The Moscow Times– The Council of Europe, the continent’s oldest human rights organization, has announced an agreement to upgrade its Russian office, a sign that Russia takes the 47-member group seriously, a spokesman said, at a time when the Kremlin routinely rejects outside criticism of its rights record. Turning its information office into a program office with diplomatic immunity will allow the council to assist the Russian government in implementing a list […]

The Inevitabilty of Navalny’s Trial: Only 1 Percent of Verdicts Passed in Russia Are Not Guilty

On May 22nd, The Moscow Times reported on the inevitability of a guilty verdict for Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader who is facing a sentencing for fraud. This is because only 1 percent of verdicts passed in Russia are not guilty, according to official statistics. Navalny’s conviction could put him in jail for ten years […]

Russian NGOs Discuss State Pressure

From The Moscow Times– The leaders of some of Russia’s largest nongovernmental organizations raised their concerns about a Kremlin crackdown during a meeting Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry, who was wrapping up a two-day visit, met with the NGO representatives at Spaso House, the Moscow residence of U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, […]

Irish Lawmakers to Scrap Magnitsky List Due to Child Adoption Threat

From The Moscow Times– Ireland has dropped plans to impose U.S.-style Magnitsky sanctions on Russia after Moscow warned that it might respond by banning Irish parents from adopting Russian children. The Russian opposition assailed Ireland for the reversal, saying it had not only bowed to Kremlin blackmail but had also shown a lack of leadership as the current president of the European Union. Irish lawmakers […]

Top Psychologists Ask Putin to Allow U.S. Parents to Adopt 100 Children

From The Moscow Times– A group of top Russian child psychologists, psychiatrists and educators have appealed to President Vladimir Putin to allow about 100 Russian children who were in the final stages of the adoption process to be allowed to join their new U.S. parents. The open letter says the children had met with the potential parents many times and developed an emotion attachment, but the courts were unable to finalize the adoptions […]

Siberian City of Tomsk to Return Wooden Synagogue to the Jewish Community

JTA — The Siberian city of Tomsk will return an old, wooden synagogue built by Jewish soldiers to the Jewish community. The synagogue and surrounding complex will be handed over to the Jewish Community of Tomsk after the municipality finds alternative housing for some 15 families who are currently living there, Mayor Nikolay Nikolaychuk said, according […]

Putin Denies that He is Returning Russia to Stalinism

MOSCOW (Reuters)- Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was not returning Russia to the era of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and denied any political motive in the prosecution and jailing of opponents. In response to a question from a liberal journalist at his annual phone-in, Putin said he saw “no element of Stalinism” […]

Moscow Jewish Museum Depicts the ComplexHistory of Jews in Russia

From JSpace– The world’s largest and most expensive Jewish Museum opened to great fanfare in Russia late last year. And although it has only been open for less than six months, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow has become a must-see for any visitors to the Russian capital. A high profile project, its […]