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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: October 6, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia's Intelligence Proposes Law to Classify Real Estate Information as 'Secret,' Believed Aimed at Navalny
The government's Commission on Legislative Activity supported a draft law proposed by the Federal Security Service (FSB) which would make classified information about the owners of planes, ships and real estate, RBC.ru and Novaya Gazeta reported. (RBC.ru has obtained a copy).

Aside from the lawful owners and their representatives, only "competent state bodies" will be able to gain access to this secret information.

The is expected to thwart the efforts of opposition leader Alexey Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund and other investigative work exposing official corruption using open sources. Last summer, Navalny was able to track the expensive watch and yacht trips of presidential representative Dmitry Peskov, despite Peskov's denials.
Navalny himself immediately dubbed the draft legislation "Dmitry Peskov's Law" and said it was in direct response to his work.

Translation: Dima Peskov's Law.

He cited other cases indicating officials or their relatives living beyond their means, such as the house of Tatyana Navka, Peskov's new wife; the opulent dacha [vacation home] complex of Vladimir Yakunin, former head of Russian Railways (who later said he had sold the properties); and the dacha of Vladislav Volodin, first deputy head of the presidential administration. In Yakunin's complex, there was a fur storage building which became emblematic of official excess.

Navalny said that the FSB itself was motivated to press for the law after his organization questioned a billion-ruble palace owned by Nikolai Patrushev, former FSB director and now secretary of Russia's Security Council, as well as expensive properties owned by other top FSB officials.

Navalny also noted that the kinds of cases he and investigative journalists look at make up only a tiny fraction of all the records, and for the sake of that fraction, the FSB is willing to hamper the work of real estate dealers and developers as well as millions of Russians who are planning to buy real estate.

One member of the commission said the draft needs further work, citing technical issues to coordinate the work more precisely.

RBC.ru reported that the draft is now being reviewed by the Ministry of Economic Development, then it will be reviewed at a government meeting, after which it will be sent to the State Duma -- a process that itself is a telling indication of the lack of separation of powers in Russia.

The FSB originated the legislation in early July saying it was necessary because the information could be used "for criminal or compromising purposes."

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Chechen Leader Kadyrov Meets with Afghan Vice President Gen. Dostum
Yesterday, October 5, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov received Gen. Abdul Rashid Dustum, the first vice president of Afghanistan, he reported on his Instagram page (translation by The Interpreter):

"We discussed questions of economic, trade and cultural cooperation. We devoted particular attention to the struggle with terrorism in general and the Ibliss state [ISIS] in particular. Dostum noted that ISIS is trying to make Afghanistan into a bridgehead. In order to prevent this threat, Kabul needs Russia's support, as in Syria. We expressed confidence that the leadership of Russia will make a positive decision in response to this request."

LifeNews and Grozny-inform.ru reported that Dostum also noted Chechnya's real experience in battling terrorism.

"Both Ramzan Kadyrov and I have been waging the struggle with international terrorism. And in this field we can make a substantive coalition. We can learn from each other. We don't have concrete projects of cooperation yet, but that doesn't mean there won't be any in the future."



Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, was once a general in the Afghan army during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, then later became an independent warlord who took part in battles against the mujahideen fighters in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s. He spent some time in exile in Turkey in 2009 before being allowed to return to Afghanistan by then-president Hamid Karzai.

Kadyrov also met with the leaders of the self-proclaimed Autonomous Republic of Crimea this week: Oleg Belovantsev, presidential representative to Crimea; Sergei Aksyonov,  who was installed as leader of Crimea when it was forcibly annexed by Russia and Sevastopol Governor Sergei Menyailo.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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