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Tag Archive: russia

This Week in Conflicts: Details on Trump Tower Moscow Deal, Pruitt Escapes Investigations and the Trump Foundation Lawsuit Moves Forward

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This week, new details emerge about the plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow, reports show investigations into Scott Pruitt, the former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have ended due to his resignation, and a judge has ruled the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation can proceed.

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Crowdsourcing to Fight Corruption: Aleksei Navalny and the RosPil Experiment

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NavalnyA few weeks ago, Russia’s most popular and controversial opposition figure, anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, was tossed in prison on charges of conspiring to steal money from a state owned lumber corporation -- only to be set free less than a day later pending action from a higher court. The shocking turn of events has once again thrust Navalny and his campaign against public sector corruption into the global limelight. While Navalny’s legal future may occupy the headlines, we wanted to focus on Navalny’s anti-corruption website RosPil, a state procurement monitoring site where troves of government contracts and tenders are scrutinized by eager volunteers searching for signs of corruption.

Corruption is an enormous political and economic problem in Russia. Most of the corruption, which effectively cuts the country’s growth rate in half according to economists Sergey Guriyev and Oleg Tsyvinsky, is tied up in the government's procurement system. Former President Medvedev’s administration suggested that upwards of 1 trillion rubles are embezzled through the state acquisition process every year. It is this rampant corruption that Aleksei Navalny, who is well known for his brand of tech-empowered protest, is trying to stamp out.

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Could the United Nations squelch freedom on the Internet?

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Activists expressed concern this week that several United Nations proposals to regulate the Internet would undermine freedom and give too much control over the World Wide Web.United Nations flag

Proposals to centralize Internet regulation will be discussed at the two upcoming U.N. winter conferences -- the Internet Governance Forum in November and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meeting in December.

But panelists at “Clear and Present Danger: Attempts to Change Internet Governance and Implications for Press Freedom,” a National Endowment for Democracy forum in Washington argued for maintaining a more decentralized Internet.

“We see the potential to shift Internet governance away from ...

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Washington Post cites Russian role in Kyrgyzstan unrest

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The Washington Post reports that "Kremlin-friendly television stations and newspapers" and Russian economic sanctions played a key role in the toppling of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Though Bakiyev fled the country on April 7, he has refused to resign his post.

Kyrgyzstan provides a key air base to U.S. forces engaged in Afghanistan. Allegations of corruption in supplying the base by officials figured in the toppling of both the previous government and that of Bakiyev, according to the New York Times.

The effort to topple Bakiyev, the Post reported, "...was a sharp departure from Russia's traditional support for ...

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Earmarks Unrelated to Campaign Contributions, Earmark Recipients Claim

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In the Denver Post, Anne C. Mulkern reports on the earmarks of Rep. Doug Lamborn and finds one of those "only in Washington" wordings that make the head spin:

Lamborn made seven requests for projects tied to specific companies. Of those, five were to businesses whose political action committees had given him campaign contributions. Officials with two of the companies, Goodrich Corp. and Aeroflex Inc., said there's no connection between their contributions and their requests for earmarks. The political action committees support lawmakers who back defense spending, both said. The committee wants to help lawmakers who are the most responsive to their business needs, said Thomas Bezas, Aeroflex's vice president of government and trade. "We want to do everything we can to make sure they stay in office," Bezas said. "The longer they stay in office, the more it benefits our company."
So they make contributions to a member who's most responsive to their business needs, who supports defense spending, but their business needs have nothing to do with earmarks, and awarding defense earmarks is unrelated to defense spending?

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