Articles by Alexander Winning

Alexander Winning joined The Moscow Times in August 2011 after studying Russian politics and economics in Britain. He has written on a range of news topics, including politics, health and social issues. You can contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @winning_alex.

Activists Protest 'Cruel' Animal Rights Bill

Dozens of opponents of an animal rights bill called "cruel" by activists gathered at the public reception office of the State Duma on Thursday to petition Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin to revise the legislation.

Thousands Protest Putin's Rule in Bolotnaya March

Thousands of Muscovites took the well-trodden path to Bolotnaya Ploshchad on Wednesday to voice their opposition to President Vladimir Putin's 13-year rule.

Livanov Promises Pay Raises for Professors

Embattled Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said Monday that Russian professors would get a pay rise in September in a move seen as an attempt to appease opposition to his tenure at the ministry.

'Blasphemy Bill' Signals Return to 18th-Century Morals, Activists Say

Rights activists on Thursday ridiculed the notion that Russia is a secular state, saying draft legislation seeking tougher penalties for offending believers' feelings shows the country is returning to 18th-century morals.

Putin Addresses Duma Leaders in Sochi

President Vladimir Putin held talks with the leaders of all four Duma factions at his Black Sea residence on Wednesday, telling them that Russia's political system should strive to be flexible and transparent.

FSB Detains U.S. Diplomat for 'Spying' (Photos)

The Federal Security Service said Tuesday that it had detained a CIA agent as he tried to recruit a member of Russia's secret services, dealing a fresh blow to already strained U.S.-Russian relations.

Homophobic Killing Sparks Outrage

The brutal killing of a gay man in the southern city of Volgograd has sparked outrage among Russia's LGBT community, with activists calling authorities "accomplices" in the killing for stigmatizing sexual minorities.

U.S. and Russia to Organize Syria Conference

The development, announced late Tuesday night, came as John Kerry made his first visit as U.S. secretary of state and declared the start of “a good, new relationship” with Russia

Opposition Rallies Despite Tragedy

Thousands of opposition protesters rallied peacefully on Moscow's Bolotnaya Ploshchad on Monday evening in a show of support for the stuttering protest movement against President Vladimir Putin's 13-year rule.

Hunters Find Crash Site of Missing An-2 (Video)

A pair of hunters from the Sverdlovsk region has found the crash site of an An-2 biplane that went missing in the Urals almost a year ago with 13 people on board.

Tajik Embassy Decries 'Atmosphere of Intolerance' in Russia

The Tajik embassy in Moscow has set up a support group to protect its citizens from harassment on entering and exiting Russia, citing an "atmosphere of intolerance" whipped up by Russian media and nationalist politicians.

Ex-Duma Ethics Chief to Sue Navalny

Vladimir Pekhtin, the State Duma's former ethics chief, said Friday that he would file a defamation lawsuit against Alexei Navalny over a blog post in which the opposition leader alleged that Pekhtin failed to declare co-ownership of costly U.S. real estate.

Putin Fields Questions in Nationwide Call-In Show (Blog)

Moscow Times reporters ran a live blog on President Vladimir Putin's 11th televised call-in show, the first since he returned to the presidency last year.
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Navalny Calls Embezzlement Case 'Political Revenge'

Prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny refused to admit guilt on the second day of his embezzlement trial in the provincial city of Kirov on Wednesday, calling the case against him "political revenge" for his strident criticism of the ruling elite.

Court Upholds Right to Appeal Election Results

The Constitutional Court has ruled that Russian voters should be allowed to appeal election results directly, overruling earlier judgments that permitted only political parties and candidates to dispute official vote counts in the courts.

Dagestan Cancels Direct Gubernatorial Elections

The volatile republic of Dagestan became the first Russian region to cancel gubernatorial elections on Thursday, when its United Russia-controlled legislative assembly voted overwhelmingly to scrap a popular vote scheduled for the fall.

UCP Buys 48% of Vkontakte Amid Raids

Private investment group United Capital Partners announced Wednesday that it had agreed to buy a 48 percent stake in Vkontakte, Russia's largest social network, a day after investigators raided the firm's St. Petersburg headquarters.

Duma Endorses Election Reform in First Reading

The State Duma on Tuesday passed in a first reading a bill that would reintroduce a mixed voting system for parliamentary elections, despite a heated argument on the Duma floor that it favors pro-Kremlin forces.

Russia Should Redouble Efforts to Clear Jailed Arms Dealer, Wife Says

Russian authorities should redouble their efforts to clear the name of convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in a high-security U.S. prison on charges Moscow calls political, his wife said.

Just Russia Chairman Signals Shift Toward Kremlin

Russian society is disillusioned with the wayward anti-Kremlin protest movement, and the center-left Just Russia party will not pander to self-proclaimed opposition leaders, the party's chairman said Thursday.

Duma Approves 'Blasphemy Bill' in First Reading

The State Duma on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed in a first reading a contentious bill that would radically toughen penalties for those who offend believers' feelings or desecrate relics and places of worship.

Britain's Thatcher, Dubbed 'Iron Lady' by Russia, Dies

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a defining figure in world politics who worked closely with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War, died Monday after suffering a stroke at London's exclusive Ritz hotel. She was 87.

Court Sets Date for Navalny Embezzlement Case

A Kirov court on Wednesday set a date to begin hearing a criminal case against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who describes as "absurd" the charge that he embezzled $515,000 from a state timber company several years ago.

NGOs Facing Stiff Fines Amid 'Crackdown'

Nongovernmental organizations across the country are being threatened with fines stretching to $20,000 or more, as authorities press on with sweeping checks that activists are calling a government-orchestrated crackdown on civil society.

Putin Steps Up Support for People's Front

President Vladimir Putin is set to attend a forum organized by the All-Russia People's Front on Friday in a show of support for the movement he created almost two years ago to garner votes for the increasingly unpopular United Russia party.

Senator Malkin Quits Federation Council

Senator Vitaly Malkin, one of Russia's richest lawmakers, resigned Tuesday over claims that he owns undeclared foreign real estate and holds dual citizenship, the latest example of a lawmaker quitting his post over allegations of unlawful activity.

Zhirinovsky Re-Elected LDPR Chief

Nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky was re-elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia on Monday, quashing speculation that he would hand over control to an anointed successor after more than two decades at the helm.

In Reversal, Duma Limits Gubernatorial Elections

Backtracking on a key concession made to anti-Kremlin protesters, the State Duma has passed in a third and final reading a bill that would grant regional authorities the right to cancel direct gubernatorial elections.

Prosecutors Raid Memorial Rights Group

Prosecutors raided prominent human rights group Memorial on Thursday as part of a check into the group's activities, one of hundreds of raids at non-governmental groups across the country in recent days.

Dependence on Western Medicine Worries Government

Health officials are complaining that Russia is becoming increasingly dependent on the West for medical supplies and top-flight treatment, as a growing number of Russians choose overseas clinics over state medical care.