Articles by Francesca Mereu



4 Duma Parties in Pact, Source Says

In a first, United Russia has struck a deal under which the other three parliamentary parties are Уpretending to play the oppositionФ in exchange for guarantees that they will secure seats in the next State Duma, a high-ranking elections official said.

Russia Wants Its Brains Back

The government would like to entice the thousands of Russian scientists who have left for better-paying jobs abroad to return to Russia for good. But in a pinch, it appears that officials will settle for a few months a year.

Russia Wants Its Brains Back

The government would like to entice the thousands of Russian scientists who have left for better-paying jobs abroad to return to Russia for good.

No Jail For Lawyer Targeting Notaries

The Tverskoi District Court on Friday refused to arrest a Moscow lawyer for fraud charges that she says are revenge for a campaign against nepotism and corruption in the awarding of lucrative notary public licenses.

Anti-Corruption Bill Set for Key Reading

The State Duma on Wednesday will consider in a second and crucial reading the anti-corruption bill that President Dmitry Medvedev has made the centerpiece of his plans to tackle rampant graft in the country.

Gromov Said to Be Preparing for Kiev

  • 16 December 08
  • Staff Writers
Boris Gromov, the long-serving governor of the affluent Moscow region, is in line to become the country's next ambassador to Ukraine, national media reported Monday.

Far East Drivers Get Leaders to Listen

  • 16 December 08
  • Staff Writers
In a rare example of grassroots political power, angry protests by drivers prompted lawmakers in the far eastern Primorye region on Monday to ask the country's two leaders to delay raising import duties on foreign cars.

Consumers Cut Back, But Not on New Year's

Russian enthusiasm for holiday shopping appears to be unaffected by the crisis, and a recent survey indicated that people were actually planning to spend 12 percent more on New Year's gifts this year in comparison to last year.

From Kremlin Critic to Governor

  • 10 December 08
  • Staff Writers
Exactly a year ago, then-President Vladimir Putin warned that the liberal opposition was trying to return to the power it enjoyed in the 1990s by staging street protests and enriching themselves, while bringing the country to its knees.

Patriarch's Funeral to Jam the Streets

City traffic came to a standstill Monday as streets around the Christ the Savior Cathedral were closed while people paid their respects to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, who died Friday. Tuesday will be worse, when more streets will be closed for Alexy's funeral.

Duma Looks to Limit Trials by Jury

The State Duma on Friday is to consider in a first reading a bill that would eliminate jury trials for cases involving terrorism, espionage and attempts to overthrow the government.

Icon of Stalin Draws St. Petersburg Church's Ire

Soviet leader Josef Stalin might seem like an unlikely subject for an icon, but one priest disagrees -- and his stance has sparked an angry response from the church.

Liberals Form Party With State Support

In what is widely seen as a Kremlin attempt to round out the political spectrum with obedient parties, three liberal parties voted Sunday to merge into a new pro-business party called Right Cause.

Frenkel Gets 19 Years In Kozolov's Murder

The Moscow City Court on Thursday sentenced banker Alexei Frenkel to 19 years in prison for ordering the 2006 killing of central banker Andrei Kozlov, who had led a campaign against money laundering and corruption.

Court Ignores Prosecutors, Bulbov Still in Jail

The Moscow City Court on Wednesday ordered senior Federal Drug Control Service officer Alexander Bulbov to remain behind bars for another month on corruption charges in a case widely seen to be linked to a power struggle between feuding clans close to the country's security services.

Constitutional Changes Go to Duma

Medvedev makes good on his state-of-the-nation vow to extend presidential terms to six years.

Investigators Wrap Up Case Against Bulbov

The Investigative Committee said Monday that it had wrapped up its case against senior Federal Drug Control Service officer Alexander Bulbov, who faces corruption charges widely seen as linked to a battle for influence between powerful clans connected to the country's security services.

Anti-Corruption Bill Clears Duma Hurdle

The State Duma on Friday unanimously passed in a first reading the anti-corruption bill that President Dmitry Medvedev has made the centerpiece of his plans to tackle rampant graft in the country.

Medvedev: Extend Presidential Terms

President Dmitry Medvedev called Wednesday for the extension of presidential terms to six years and for the stationing of short-range missile systems in Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania, in his first state-of-the-nation address.

Medvedev to Focus on War, Economy

The president presents the first details of his state-of-the-nation address in a video blog on the Kremlin web site.

Crisis Could Take a Bite Out of Corruption

Small business owners hope that times will change Ч and not because the Kremlin has promised to crack down on corruption. The financial crisis could actually help companies by lowering the cost of bribes.

Pro-Kremlin Youths Take Backseat to Crisis

Last year, pro-Kremlin youth groups were all over television, promising then-President Vladimir Putin love and loyalty, picketing foreign embassies and harassing a hodgepodge of opposition activists.

Spain Seeks Arrest Of Duma Deputy

Spanish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for State Duma Deputy Vladislav Reznik on suspicion of links with Russian organized crime, a Spanish police spokesman said Monday.

Italian Gay Celebrity Calls Putin Sexiest Man Alive

At home, Vladimir Putin is seen as macho. In Italy, a gay celebrity is calling him the sexiest man in the world.

16 Notaries Lose Jobs In Nepotism Lawsuit

Sixteen Moscow notaries, including relatives of senior officials, have lost their jobs and more heads could roll this week as a court considers a lawsuit alleging nepotism and corruption in the awarding of lucrative notary public licenses.

Abramovich Elected To Seat in Chukotka

United Russia almost achieved a clean sweep Sunday, as the pro-Kremlin party won landslide victories in most regional election contests, but the most commanding win of the day went to billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Duma Distressed by Pharmacy's Removal

Several State Duma deputies are up in arms after a small kiosk selling drugs was removed.

Medvedev Rides Video Into the Blogosphere

President Dmitry Medvedev has never been shy about showing off his Internet savvy, having spoken publicly about social networking sites and offering words of support for Russian web slang.

Street in Grozny Named After Putin

Vladimir Putin's portrait dominated government offices during the eight years of his presidency, and in a sign that his power is not winding down, the influential prime minister has been honored with a street named after him -- an initiative he coldly accepted, Putin's spokesman said Monday.

Bill Returns Powers to Prosecutors

The State Duma is considering a bill that would restore to the Prosecutor General's Office the right to open criminal cases against certain categories of senior government officials, a deputy said Friday.