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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Putins sju skruvar

"På två månader har Putin hunnit få gjort mer än hans ställföreträdare på presidentposten, Dmitrij Medvedev på fyra år", skriver Kalle Kniivilä. "Medvedev talade vackert om frihet men gjorde mest som storebror Putin sade. […] Den gällande sanningen i ryska statsstyrda medier är att både upproren i arabvärlden och den stora protestvågen i Ryssland är resultat av utländsk inblandning. I långa smutskastningsinslag på bästa sändningstid utmålas oppositionsaktivister som amerikanska – eller ibland svenska – agenter. En ny lag som officiellt döper om medborgarorganisationer som arbetar för demokrati till “utländska agenter” är den största av de sju skruvar som Vladimir Putin dragit åt."

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Russian Czarina in Italian Tuscany


“Our quiet little place is in turmoil,” writes author and journalist Andrey Malgin. “Yesterday, only a kilometre away from where I am staying, Svetlana Medvedeva, wife of Russia’s placeholder president, Dmitry Medvedev, accompanied by 30 bodyguards, arrived at the Grand Hotel & La Pace in Montecatini Terme in Italy’s Tuscany,” Mr Malgin reported. Ms Medvedeva has reserved the entire five-star hotel until 21 March 2012.


“Putin’s Voodoo Is Gone”

Russian music critic and journalist Artemy Troitsky gave an interview to the Finnish publishing house, Into Kustannus, which publishes the Finnish edition of Novaya Gazeta. Speaking on the eve of renewed pro-democracy demonstrations planned for 24 December 2011, Mr Troitsky spoke about the change in the Russian people’s protest mentality, the dismal state of the country’s political party system, and the impending collapse of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Below, an edited transcript of Mr Troitsky’s comments.


Russians Need To Respect Themselves


Teemu Matinpuro, executive director of the Finnish Peace Committee, and Kerkko Paananen, information secretary of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM), gave an interview to Lyudmila Mamina, editor-in-chief of Kasparov.Ru, about the Finnish edition of Novaya Gazeta, the attitude of Finnish society to Anna Politkovskaya, the war in Chechnya, and the current political situation in Russia. Below, an edited translation of the interview.


Students Detained at Moscow University


Several journalism students were detained for posing awkward questions to Russia’s placeholder president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to Moscow University. Opposition-minded students were not allowed to attend lessons during Medvedev’s visit. Kremlin’s youth affairs commissar, Vasily Yakemenko, arrived in Medvedev’s entourage, flanked by members of his Nashi movement.


The Sarko-Puto Pact

The European Union should join Russia in creating a counterbalance to the US, Chinese, and Indian economies, Jean-Pierre Thomas, special representative of the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, on French-Russian business relations, said. Speaking in an interview with Russia’s Vedomosti daily, Mr Thomas said President Sarkozy would present a report in autumn 2011 that would include a plan on creating a common economic area between Russia and France.


The Godfather


“Putin designed a system of managed conflict,” Nikolay Petrov, scholar at the Moscow Carnegie Center told RFE/RL’s Brian Whitmore. “There is no competition in public. But he created different clans and groups who are fighting against each other.”

“This is the way Putin keeps control over the system. He is an arbiter who keeps the balance among them. It is impossible for him to leave. It is impossible to imagine this system without him because all of the agreements are guaranteed by him,” Petrov stated.

“Without him, all of these clans would fight each other, like after Stalin’s death.” Petrov said. “Russia is also personalistic: although [the clans] play an important role, it is Putin who is the major arbiter and who can even replace them,” he noted.