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Nov 27, 2012

Belarus urges IMF to clear way for credit program

MINSK (Reuters) – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko accused the International Monetary Fund of playing politics and said the Fund should clear the way for a new $3.5 billion credit program.

The former Soviet republic, which is recovering from a balance-of-payments crisis and a subsequent devaluation of the Belarussian rouble, faces a foreign debt repayment crunch in 2013.

Nov 27, 2012

Belarus leader relishes reputation as dictator

MINSK (Reuters) – He is a pariah in the West, viewed suspiciously by Russia and loathed by opponents in exile or jail, but Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko is relishing his notoriety as Europe’s last dictator.

After 18 years in power, the blunt, forceful and heavily built former state farm manager shows no sign of bowing to Western pressure to relax his grip on the former Soviet republic squeezed between Russia and the European Union.

Nov 16, 2012

Germany and Russia clash on human rights, build trade

MOSCOW (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel took Russian President Vladimir Putin to task over a clamp-down on dissent and treatment of the Pussy Riot punk band when they held frosty talks on Friday.

But despite the chill descending on relations, they signed a host of economic deals underlining the importance of mutual trade which Putin put at $72 billion in 2011, as well as Germany’s dependence on Russia as an energy supplier.

Nov 16, 2012

Germany’s Merkel set for frosty talks with Putin

MOSCOW, Nov 16 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
will complain to President Vladimir Putin on Friday about a
crackdown on political freedoms in Russia at talks likely to
deepen a chill between the two big European powers.

Merkel has been asked by the German parliament to express
concern about the state of human rights in Russia since the
former KGB spy returned to the presidency for a six-year third
term in May.

Nov 15, 2012

Germany’s Merkel to press Putin on rights in Russia

MOSCOW, Nov 16 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
will complain to President Vladimir Putin on Friday about a
crackdown on political freedoms in Russia at talks likely to
deepen a chill between the two big European powers.

Merkel has been asked by the German parliament to express
concern about the state of human rights in Russia since the
former KGB spy returned to the presidency for a six-year third
term in May.

Nov 15, 2012

Russia’s Putin to stand up to Merkel on human rights

MOSCOW, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The Kremlin denounced a rise in
anti-Russian rhetoric in Germany on Thursday before a visit by
Chancellor Angela Merkel and made clear that Vladimir Putin
would stand his ground if she lectures him on human rights.

Merkel is expected to carry out a request by Germany’s
parliament to press Putin on Friday over what critics say is a
crackdown on dissent since he returned to the presidency in May.

Nov 9, 2012

Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced the chief of his military staff on Friday in a reshuffle that stamped the authority of the Kremlin chief, and his new defense minister, on the armed forces after a corruption scandal.

Putin removed General Nikolai Makarov after four years as the nuclear power’s top general and replaced him with General Valery Gerasimov, 57, a commander who fought Muslim separatists in the Chechnya region.

Nov 8, 2012

Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family”

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Viktor Zubkov was the friend Russian President Vladimir Putin turned to when he wanted help blowing out his birthday candles 12 years ago.

At the time, Zubkov was an obscure tax man but had already forged the close relationship with Putin on which the political career of Russia’s defense minister may have foundered this week in a tale of alleged corruption, adultery and Kremlin rivalries.

Nov 6, 2012

Ex-KGB dusts off Cold War prize: UK spy Blake at 90

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia wheeled out one of its treasured Cold War trophies on Tuesday, publishing a rare interview with a 90-year-old British double agent who recalled sharing martinis outside Moscow with fellow spies in their KGB retirement.

Nearly five decades after he escaped from a British jail and was smuggled to East Berlin in a camper van in one of the classic cloak-and-dagger stories of the 20th century, George Blake lives quietly in the Moscow suburbs with his wife Ida.

Oct 31, 2012

Russia’s election Magician pans “undemocratic” U.S. vote

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Tired of being lectured on democracy, the man known in Russia as “The Magician” for overseeing fraud-marred elections won by Vladimir Putin turned the tables on Wednesday by lambasting the U.S. electoral system.

Using language usually reserved for U.S. and European criticism of Russia, Vladimir Churov said American voters will choose a president on Tuesday under an electoral system that is flawed and undemocratic.

    • About Timothy

      "Timothy Heritage is Brussels Bureau Chief and European Affairs Editor, responsible for coverage of the European Union. He has previously been based in Moscow, Jerusalem, Paris, London, Warsaw and Belgrade, covering events ranging from the fall of Communism and conflict in the Balkans and Middle East to the euro zone debt crisis."
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