Articles by Nikolaus von Twickel

Nikolaus von Twickel covers international and domestic politics for the news desk at the Moscow Times. He joined the newspaper in May 2007 after working for a range of media outlets in Germany, including the Associated Press' German language service. A native of Munich, he has a passion for mountains, especially the Caucasus. He also loves strange languages. You can contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @niktwick.

Camera-Wielding Fleet Wages War on Bad Parking

When it comes to parking, Moscow has long been gripped by anarchy. Anybody who has walked the city will confirm that drivers habitually park their cars anywhere they find space: on sidewalks, in entryways and even in the second and third lanes of busy thoroughfares.

Ingush Ski Slope Opens Without Snow

After months of delays, Ingushetia's first ski slope has finally opened.

EU Commission Meeting to Be 'Largest Ever'

Moscow will see an unprecedented influx of EU officials this Thursday when European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and 16 commissioners arrive for two days of talks with their counterparts in the Cabinet.

Missile Defense Is a Nice Problem to Have

Washington's decision to scrap the last phase of the planned NATO missile shield for Europe elicited expectations that U.S.-Russian relations might improve by removing a major stumbling block that had irked Moscow.

Corruption Fight Progressing, Watchdog Says

Europe's top intergovernmental corruption watchdog has found that Russia has made modest progress in fighting graft between 2010 and 2012.

Navalny Targets Senator Malkin

Federation Council Senator Vitaly Malkin has become the latest lawmaker to be targeted by anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny for unethical behavior, amid mounting speculation that the upper house of parliament will also be hit by resignations.

Navalny Targets Senator Malkin

Federation Council Senator Vitaly Malkin has become the latest lawmaker to be targeted by anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny for unethical behavior, amid mounting speculation that the upper house of parliament would also be hit by resignations.

Stephen Fry Interviews Milonov for Gay Documentary

British actor and celebrity Stephen Fry sat down on Thursday for an interview with Vitaly Milonov, the author of St. Petersburg's controversial gay propaganda law.

Kickbacks Still 'Dwarf' Top Officials' Salaries, Despite Raises

The salaries of top state employees have doubled since December, but such remunerations remain minute compared with unlawful kickbacks to the echelons of power, an anti-corruption expert said Wednesday.

Lugovoi Ends Cooperation With London Over Litvinenko

State Duma Deputy Andrei Lugovoi announced Tuesday that he would no longer cooperate with British authorities over the case of Alexander Litvinenko, in whose poisoning death he is widely considered the prime suspect.

EU Visa Deal Looks Likely, But Catches Remain

A much-touted agreement with the European Union making travel easier for businesspeople, students, NGO workers and other professionals might go into force finally, as Brussels has changed its stance on Moscow's demand to include a visa waiver for government officials.

Hollande and Putin Warm Relations

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday hosted his French counterpart Francois Hollande for four-hour-long talks in the Kremlin, which diplomats said were direct and productive.

Internet Sleuths a Real Threat to Lawmakers

The ouster of Vladimir Pekhtin from the State Duma is considered a milestone victory for opposition-minded online sleuths like blogger Doctor Z, so much that activists have started to call their sleuthing "pekhting."

Hollande Coming to Moscow to Meet With Putin

Just days after French film star turned Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu provoked mockery and disgust by dining and dancing with Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, French President Francois Hollande is to hold one day of talks with President Vladimir Putin this Thursday.

No Visas for Accredited Olympic Members

Athletes, coaches, journalists and support staff will not need to obtain Russian visas to attend the Winter Games. But regular fans will.

Ulyanovsk Hub Not Getting Much Use by NATO

NATO and Russia pride themselves on cooperation over Afghanistan and the fight against terrorists and pirates, but a planned logistics hub to transport military hardware from Afghanistan is not taking off.

Moscow Gives Up Hopes for Visa-Free Olympics

An easing of visa requirements for Europeans is unlikely even for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, as officials from both Moscow and the EU insist on their positions.

EasyJet Still Has No Permit for Flights

Exactly one month before the launch of flights between Moscow and London, British no-frills carrier EasyJet has confirmed that it has yet to receive the necessary permit from Russian authorities.

Mafia War Brewing After Killing of Usoyan

Less than a month after the violent death of legendary crime boss Aslan Usoyan, better known as Grandpa Khasan, there is growing evidence that a bloody hunt is on to avenge the killing.

Bilalov to Lose 'All Positions'

If President Vladimir Putins word is the law, then Akhmed Bilalov will have to give up at least three jobs: deputy president of the Russian Olympic Committee, president of the North Caucasus Resorts state corporation and, well, president of the Russian Golf Association.

Foreign Agent Law Complaint Sent to Strasbourg

Eleven prominent rights groups have sent a complaint against Russias so-called foreign agent law, which targets NGOs engaged in political activities, to the European Court of Human Rights.

Sochi Is a Hard Nut to Crack for PR Gurus

One year before the Winter Olympics are to kick off, it looks like Sochi 2014 is getting mired in controversy.

Former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Named EU Envoy

The European Union has picked former Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas to head its delegation to Russia.

Georgian Wine Could Be Allowed by Spring, Onishchenko Says

Georgian wine and mineral water could return to Russian store shelves as early as this spring, Russias chief sanitary official said Monday.

Winter Time Decision Near, Kozak Says

The government will make a decision in the coming days regarding whether to turn back the country's clocks one hour because of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Friday.

Sochi Olympics Most Expensive in History

One year before they kick off, the Sochi Winter Olympics have already bagged a world record. They will go down as the most expensive games in history.

Last Year's Repression 'Worst' in Decades

A leading rights group lashed out at President Vladimir Putin on Thursday by saying he had unleashed the worst political crackdown in the countrys post-Soviet history after returning to the Kremlin last year.

Kerry Seen as Best Choice for Putin

Moscow pundits gave a warm welcome to John Kerry on Tuesday, as U.S. senators were expected to confirm their veteran colleague as secretary of state.

Ingushetia Unveils Plan to Lure Skiers

Skiers, mountain hikers and sports enthusiasts can add another unconventional destination to their travel schedule: Ingushetia is to open its first ski lift next month.

In Protest, U.S. Quits Working Group

Washington has effectively ended a key working group with Moscow for discussing human rights and democracy, arguing that the panel had become meaningless given recent restrictions on civil society in Russia.