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21 May 13
United Russia started primaries last week in most of the regions that will hold elections on Sept. 8.
13 May 13
After Putin's re-election, Russia faces two more key junctures. The Kremlin will have to deal with limited revenues and an election cycle.
07 May 13
President Vladimir Putin's recent televised call-in show forced the country to recall the almost forgotten entertainment genre in which the national leader speaks directly with his people.
15 April 13
During President Vladimir Putin's visit to Germany last week, he gave a television interview in which he stated that 654 nongovernmental organizations in Russia had received a total of $1 billion in foreign aid in the four months since the State Duma had passed a new law on NGOs.
01 April 13
The authorities have initiated an unprecedented campaign against nongovernmental organizations, conducting burdensome inspections of their offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, Krasnodar, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and dozens of other cities.
19 March 13
The latest fashion for Russian officials is to cite political roots stretching as far back as possible.
04 March 13
The Kremlin continued its campaign of replacing regional heads in the run-up to gubernatorial elections in September with the dismissal of former Zabaikalsky region Governor Ravil Geniatulin, who has held that post for almost 20 years, and the appointment of Just Russia State Duma Deputy Konstantin Ilkovsky as acting governor.
18 February 13
According to tradition, Russia's law enforcement officials started off the year by summing up the previous 12 months and making plans for the coming year at board meetings of the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service.
04 February 13
One year before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and 12 months before the term of former Dagestani leader Magomedsalam Magomedov was to expire, the Kremlin appointed a new leader in the volatile republic.
22 January 13
The first weeks of 2013 have already shown that relations between Russian authorities and society will be no better this year than they were in 2012.
17 December 12
Although President Vladimir Putin's state-of-the-nation address last week was largely an amalgamation of vague promises devoid of strategic vision, his comments on the regions were concrete and meaningful.
03 December 12
Even when the Kremlin introduces a modest legislative initiative geared toward political reform, it often becomes watered-down and ineffective by the time it gets put into practice. This is precisely what happened with the new bill on amending how Federation Council senators are selected. The bill passed both chambers of parliament and now awaits the president's signature.
20 November 12
The gubernatorial elections held last month in five regions were important primarily as a test run of the Kremlin's new system of "filtering" the selection of governors. The experiment was largely successful. But right after those elections, presidential administration head Sergei Ivanov announced that the municipal filter was too strict and would have to be significantly relaxed.
08 November 12
The Kremlin had hoped that after the March presidential election gave President Vladimir Putin a decisive victory, the protest movement would die down, the regime would gain political legitimacy for another six years, and Putin would have a free hand to continue with business as usual. But that didn't happen.
22 October 12
All eyes focused on the Oct. 14 regional elections to see whether the Kremlin would modernize the political system after December's State Duma vote and the resulting protests exposed a crisis of confidence in the authorities.
02 October 12
Regional elections, which will be held in less than two weeks, will be the first since the State Duma elections last December that sparked the mass protest movement.
04 September 12
Last week's murder of a respected spiritual leader in Dagestan, a recent terrorist attack in Kazan and overall tensions in Muslim-dominated regions point to what could become an avalanche of problems.
14 August 12
The Kremlin surprised many with its recent legislative initiative that would prohibit officials from owning property or opening bank accounts abroad. It could be an attempt to offer some kind of liberal gesture in the midst of a series of recently passed laws, such as the law labeling some foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations as "foreign agents," that were largely seen as repressive.
31 July 12
The same authorities who fearfully responded to the anti-government protests in December by proposing a range of political reforms are now carrying out a series of counter-reforms.
17 July 12
With the recent resignation of Ryazan Governor Oleg Kovalyov, five regions — Amur, Belgorod, Bryansk, Novgorod and Ryazan — are now set to hold gubernatorial elections on Oct. 14, the first regions to do so since 2004.
03 July 12
As part of the political reforms that the Kremlin announced in December, a new bill has been introduced that would change the way the Federation Council is formed. When President Vladimir Putin presented the proposed changes to senators last week, he said, "The Federation Council should be formed in a more democratic way, and the upper house should become more regional."
05 June 12
A new law on gubernatorial elections came into effect on June 1, but there will be only a few gubernatorial elections during the next two years because the Kremlin hurriedly replaced roughly one-fourth of all the governors beforehand.
22 May 12
Even as President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new Cabinet on Monday, my hopes had already been all but shattered that we would see a slightly more liberal Putin during what is effectively his fourth consecutive term in power.
17 April 12
According to the Kremlin, even the truncated watered-down reforms that President Dmitry Medvedev announced after mass protests broke out in December have been deemed excessive. As a result, Medvedev has introduced a series of bills that will weaken the reforms even further.
03 April 12
Even the most truncated of President Dmitry Medvedev's recent political reforms have begun to falter. Legislation loosening the procedure for registering political parties was the only one of three bills presented to the State Duma that has passed so far.
20 March 12
Politics in Russia are like the weather in that they are both full of wild fluctuations. The country is now in a political light frost, but that will hopefully soon be followed by much warmer temperatures.
06 March 12
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's victory in Sunday's election means he will return to the Kremlin once again, albeit in far less triumphant fashion than he had imagined in September.
21 February 12
The Kremlin often implements policies that it never makes public, and this is the reason many of its actions seem pointless or absurd.
07 February 12
Putin can't afford a second round. He needs to show that he is still the true national leader. Faced with the choice of having to falsify a certain percentage of the vote to win in the first round or face a second round, Putin would probably pick falsification as the "lesser of two evils."
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24 January 12
The Kremlin is trying to present President Dmitry Medvedev's new bill as a way of bringing back direct gubernatorial elections, but it is more of a Trojan Horse than a political reform.