MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) – As the head of Russia’s biggest
state bank and a favourite of President Vladimir Putin, German
Gref has long been a loyal supporter of state economic policy.
But with the rouble sliding and the economy stagnating, he
delivered a diatribe this month against government
inefficiencies, which he compared to the Soviet era, and warned
that “we can’t motivate people by using the Gulag”.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – European companies in Russia warned on Tuesday they were being hurt by a Russian embargo on food imports as well as EU sanctions and risked being “sacrificed” in the standoff over Ukraine.
In comments before Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivered a speech to the Association of European Businesses in Russia (AEB), the group’s chairman criticised the EU but also said Russia’s actions violated World Trade Organisation rules.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – For a man who has hugged a polar bear, flown with migrating cranes and shot a tiger with a tranquilizer gun, Vladimir Putin celebrated his 62nd birthday unusually quietly on Tuesday.
For the first time in years, the Russian president took the day off on his birthday and retreated to the remote forested taiga in Siberia for a private celebration.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian businessmen are backing Vladimir Putin over Ukraine but fear the country is being forced down a path toward less democracy, more central control of the economy and isolation that recalls the Soviet “evil empire”.
Like many other business leaders, Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men, says Western sanctions and attempts to force the president to change policy risk opening a rift between Moscow and the West that will be difficult to repair.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin took a break from his official duties to slip into a Russian Orthodox Church this week and light a candle for fighters killed in eastern Ukraine.
“I left a candle for those who died defending people in Novorossiya,” he told reporters after emerging from the Church of the Holy Trinity on a Moscow hilltop.
MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin took a
break from his official duties to slip into a Russian Orthodox
Church this week and light a candle for fighters killed in
“I left a candle for those who died defending people in
Novorossiya,” he told reporters after emerging from the Church
of the Holy Trinity on a Moscow hilltop.
MOSCOW/DONESTSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia announced military exercises near the border with Ukraine on Monday in a show of strength as the Ukrainian army recaptured more territory from pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
The Russian air force said more than 100 aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, were taking part in the manoeuvres this week in the central and western military districts.
KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Government forces tightened the noose around the main stronghold of pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine on Saturday and, with diplomacy stalled, Moscow and the West stepped up their war of words.
The seizure of Krasnogorovka and Staromikhailovka, towns just outside Donetsk, brought the army to the edge of one of the last cities still in rebel hands following its advances in the past month. The other is Luhansk, near the border with Russia.
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Friday the military conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country must not be allowed to hold up economic reforms.
Hailing the passage of legislation by parliament on Thursday which enables the government to increase funding to the army, Poroshenko said unity was vital in Kiev to overcome an economic crisis as well as defeat the rebels.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin risks becoming an international pariah over the Ukraine crisis but the Russian president is battening down the hatches for the gathering economic and political storm.
The United States and the European Union saw the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as a chance for Putin to distance himself from pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine and seal the border across which they say arms are reaching the rebels.