Lazy J.T. forgot to schedule this for 6:00AM like she usually does, and then decided to wake up late. But it’s okay, the Roundup’s here now, and it’s long.
VCIOM press releases. I found two of them interesting: one on the starting conditions and public demand before the Parliamentary elections taking place later this year, and the other on the fears and realities of crime. According to the first press release, the three most pressing issues among potential voters are the economy (17% of those polled), low salaries (15%) and unemployment (13%). Their main fears are falling savings rates and military conflicts, but March saw a decline in their relevance. That’s just some of the press release. In the crime-centric one, most people appear to be afraid of attacks, bank card/internet scams, and car accidents.
More Russia Direct Analysis. This article asks “What did Putin pray for on Mount Athos?” but does not answer; it just talks about how Russia is again at a strategic crossroads. This one says the the most likely explanation for the timing of the Savchenko swap is that the Kremlin hopes that the release of the controversial prisoner will convince European leaders to end economic sanctions against Russia. Not because of pragmatism, apparently.
Poland. According to Gilbert Doctorow, it’s militarizing and becoming more authoritarian.
Mirror reflections. “Rank stupidity” at a hearing in the Moscow City Duma. Meanwhile the Center for a New American Security released an equally ignorant report (this time on foreign policy) that is unimaginative, predictably U.S.-centric, and a recipe for failure.
My hopes go unrealized. For those of you who, like me, hoped that Tolokonnikova (of Pussy Riot fame) would fade quietly into irrelevance, here is yet another piece of evidence that she probably won’t. She appeared at the Login tech festival in Vilnius, Lithuania looking for an audience and financial backers who can turn her news outlet MediaZona into “a full-blown contender on Russia’s media scene”. Not sure how well that will work out, since the site mostly focuses on stories censored by the Russian state — stories about courts, prisons, arrests, convictions, riots in facilities and political criminal cases. Plus, as mentioned in the article, MediaZona will have difficulty competing with its more established incumbent in the independent media world: Latvia-based Meduza, which also covers courts, arrests, convictions, corruption and political criminal cases. She may want to try for the Western market instead – it’s where she’s been selling ever since her Punk Performance anyway.
I’m cheating a little bit – the next link’s a podcast. Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor discuss the “return of Stalinism” to Russia. I haven’t actually had the time to listen to it yet, so you’ll have to listen for the conclusion yourself.
And to finish up the roundup, an image taken by me while hunting for stories:
“Its”? I’m hoping this is just a lazy translation of an article not originally written in English.