Charles Gurin

has covered developments in the former Soviet Union for more than a decade and also carried out journalistic assignments in other parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America. He specializes in Russian domestic and foreign policy.

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Articles by Charles Gurin

WILL PUTIN STEP DOWN EARLY IN ORDER TO RUN AGAIN?

Over the last few weeks, President Vladimir Putin’s has elevated long-time associate Viktor Zubkov as prime minister, “accepted” the pro-Kremlin United Russia party’s “invitation” to head its list of candidates

HOW PUTIN MIGHT WIELD “INFLUENCE” AFTER 2008

The most-talked about part of President Vladimir Putin’s recent nationally televised call-in program was his answer to a question concerning his plans after his second term ends in 2008. “I

RUSSIAN HISTORIANS DENOUNCE RE-STALINIZATION

With the 60th anniversary Victory Day celebrations set for May 9, the architect of perestroika and a leading historian of that period have spoken out against what they both see

RUSSIAN OBSERVERS ASSESS CONDI’S VISIT

The Russian press has been mulling the significance of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Moscow this week. And while most observers noted her criticism of the Kremlin

MEDVEDEV INTERVIEW CONTINUES TO MAKE WAVES

The interview with Kremlin administration chief Dmitry Medvedev published in the magazine Ekspert on April 4 has drawn wide commentary from Russia's media and political elite (see EDM, April 7).

RUSSIA’S ELECTRICITY TSAR ESCAPES ASSASSINATION

Moscow's political and business elites spent much of yesterday (March 17) discussing who was behind an apparent attempt that morning to kill Anatoly Chubais, head of Unified Energy Systems (UES),

ISLAMIST NAMED FORMAL HEAD OF CHECHEN RESISTANCE

Observers in Russia and elsewhere continue to mull the significance of the March 8 killing of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov. Meanwhile, Maskhadov's London-based emissary, Akhmed Zakaev, said in a

RUSSIAN COMMENTATORS: PUTIN WON ON POINTS

As expected, the issue of Russian democracy -- or, rather, its shrinkage -- figured in President George W. Bush's summit with President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, Slovakia, at least in

YUKOS-MENATEP EXECS TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing yesterday (February 17) on "Democracy in Retreat in Russia." The star witnesses were Steven Theede, the embattled Yukos oil company's

CHECHEN REBELS START A TEMPORARY CEASEFIRE

On February 3, the Kavkazcenter website reported that Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov had ordered rebel fighters to lay down their weapons for one month. It also published a statement

WHILE PENSIONERS PROTEST, BUREAUCRATS THRIVE

As demonstrations against the Kremlin's benefits reform continue, some opponents of the changes have noted that while millions of pensioners, war veterans, and invalids have seen their in-kind social benefits

THE HEART OF YUKOS IS NATIONALIZED

The effective nationalization of Yuganskneftegaz, formerly the embattled Yukos oil company's main production unit, was completed on New Year's Eve, when the state oil company Rosneft announced that it had

CHECHNYA: LAND OF A THOUSAND SAFE HOUSES

On December 7, Izvestiya published a second article by its special correspondent in Chechnya, Vadim Rechkalov, addressing the issue of why Russia's special services have been unable to catch rebel

YAVLINSKY: KREMLIN MUST STOP TRYING TO “SPLIT” UKRAINE

Several leading Russian liberals have strongly criticized Russia's role in Ukraine's ongoing election crisis. On December 2, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky accused Russian authorities of interference in Ukraine's internal affairs.

ILLARIONOV SAYS YUKOS AFFAIR IS POLITICAL

President Vladimir Putin's increasingly outspoken economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, has called the legal onslaught against Yukos politically motivated and said it should stop. Speaking at a Moscow press conference organized

PROSECUTOR GENERAL: LET’S TAKE TERRORISTS’ RELATIVES HOSTAGE

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov's proposal that Russia's law-enforcement agencies be permitted to detain terrorists' relatives as a "counter-hostage-taking" measure has elicited criticism from human rights activists and law-enforcement personnel alike.

MOSCOW LIBERALS HOLD DEMONSTRATION

Some 2,000 people gathered on Pushkin Square in central Moscow on Saturday October 23 to protest the war in Chechnya and, more broadly, the administration of President Vladimir Putin. Members

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA HIT BY CRIMINAL VIOLENCE

The North Caucasus republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia has been buffeted by instability this week. Over three successive days, a group of several hundred distraught relatives and friends of seven people who

UZBEK NATIONAL MURDERED IN MOSCOW SUBURBS

On October 14, fresh on the heels of the racially motivated murder of a Vietnamese student in St. Petersburg, four men beat and stabbed two citizens of Uzbekistan in the

SKINHEADS STRIKE AGAIN IN ST. PETERSBURG

The murder of a Vietnamese student in St. Petersburg has once again underscored the growing problem of racist violence in Russia. Eyewitnesses report that on the evening of October 13,

THE KREMLIN DETAILS ITS ENEMIES LIST

An interview published on September 29 with a key adviser to President Vladimir Putin, deputy presidential administration chief Vladislav Surkov, has elicited comment from a number of Russian observers. Komsomolskaya

ROMAN TSEPOV, R.I.P.

While the murder of a businessman is hardly news in Russia, the death of the head of a private security company in St. Petersburg on September 24 has raised eyebrows.

North Ossetian Police Charged With Negligence

Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov announced on September 21 that criminal cases have been launched against three senior police officials in Beslan, North Ossetia, for negligence entailing grave consequences in

Caucasians Attacked On Moscow’s Metro

In a sign of rising ethnic tensions in the wake of the Beslan school massacre, four people from the Caucasus were hospitalized after being beaten and stabbed in the late

Gorbachev And Yeltsin Assess Putin’s Perestroika

The last Soviet leader and the first post-Soviet Russian president have waded into the debate swirling around President Vladimir Putin's proposals to end popular elections for the governors in Russia's

Putin Merges Gazprom And Rosneft

In yet another move apparently aimed at strengthening the Kremlin's "vertical of power" in the wake of the Beslan tragedy, President Vladimir Putin on September 14 gave a green light

. . . While Politkovskaya Is Reportedly Poisoned

Two leading Russian journalists have apparently become victims of the events in North Ossetia. Novaya gazeta correspondent Anna Politkovskaya became seriously ill following a flight on the evening of September

Bomb Goes Off Near Moscow Metro Station

A bombing near the Rizhskaya metro station in northeastern Moscow on August 31 may have been the work of a female suicide bomber who was the sister of a Chechen

Alkhanov Wins Chechen Presidency

Alu Alkhanov, Chechnya's former interior minister, has been elected president of Chechnya with 74% of the vote. The chairman of the republican election commission, Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov, said that the turnout

FSB Says Terrorism Caused Airliners’ Crash

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has abandoned its initial opinion that the near-simultaneous crashes of two civilian airliners on August 24 were likely the result of pilot error, mechanical defects,

U.S. State Department Comments On Yukos

The U.S. government on August 12 weighed in on the situation surrounding the beleaguered Russian oil giant Yukos. State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli reiterated the position that Washington has

Persian Gulf Investors Make A Bid For Yukos

The "mystery backer" behind an offer to pay off Yukos' tax arrears is a consortium of Dubai-based investors, the Sunday Times reported on August 8. "Members of Dubai's ruling Maktoum

Latest Yukos Stay Of Execution Is Rescinded

Yukos' topsy-turvy fortunes took another sharp dip downward on August 5, when the Justice Ministry announced it had revoked an earlier decision by court bailiffs allowing the company to use

Maskhadov Vows To Step Up Attacks

Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who in the past consistently stressed his readiness for political negotiations with the Kremlin, has delivered a message promising stepped up attacks in Chechnya, Ingushetia,

Foreign Consortium Offers To Cover Yukos Debt

Observers have expressed skepticism that the Russian government will accept a London-based consortium's proposal to pay off Yukos' multi-billion-dollar tax bill and buy out a majority stake in the embattled

Yukos Could Go Belly Up By Mid-august

Yukos has warned that it could be forced to halt operations and exports and face bankruptcy within a month. The embattled oil company said in a statement that the court

Fsb Restructuring More Modest Than Expected

The presidential decree restructuring the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was signed by President Vladimir Putin on July 11 and made public by the Kremlin on July 14, has not

Paul Klebnikov’s Murder: Cui Bono?

The murder of Paul Klebnikov, editor of the Russian-language version of Forbes magazine, which began publication in April, has shocked observers in both Russia and the West. It has also

Maskhadov Calls For Talks; Zyazikov Says He’s Game

In an interview published by two separatist websites on July 5-6, Chechen separatist president Aslan Maskhadov reiterated that he is ready for negotiations with the federal authorities, while claiming that

Novaya Gazeta Remembers Yuri Shchekochikhin

Yuri Shchekochikhin, a State Duma deputy and veteran investigative journalist, died under mysterious circumstances one year ago, and Novaya gazeta, the publication where he was a deputy editor, devoted eight

Yukos Hit With Another Whopping Tax Bill

July 1 was a bad day for Yukos, and perhaps the beginning of the end for the embattled oil company. First, three court bailiffs, accompanied by five guards in camouflage

Observers Wonder How Ingushetia Gunmen Went Undetected

Russian authorities have revised upwards casualty figures from the June 21-22 attacks by insurgents in Ingushetia. The republic's President Murat Zyazikov told reporters in Ingushetia's capital Magas that 97 people,

Putin Backs Bush On Saddam And Terrorism

Russian observers, like their US counterparts, have been reacting to President Vladimir Putin's assertion that Russian intelligence agencies had received information that Saddam Hussein's regime was planning terrorist attacks against

Putin: We Are Not Trying To Bankrupt Yukos

In a move that sent Russia's stock market into frenzied trading, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 17 that authorities are not seeking to bankrupt embattled oil company Yukos.

Qatar May Execute Russian Agents

Prosecutors in Qatar have asked that two Russian special services agents accused of assassinating former Chechen separatist President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in February be sentenced to death. Dmitri Afanasyev, an attorney

With Mixed Reactions Karelia Remembers Andropov

A statue of Yuri Andropov, the Soviet leader and KGB head, has been erected in front of the building housing the Karelia Federal Security Service (FSB) directorate in Petrozavodsk, Karelia's

Lavrov And Gil-robles Differ Over Chechnya

Following a meeting on May 27 with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil-Robles, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that the issue of Chechnya "is dropping off

Crooked Traffic Cops Busted For Car Theft

On May 25, head of the Interior Ministry's internal affairs department Konstantin Romodanovsky briefed Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev on the involvement of officers from the State Road Safety Inspectorate (GIBDD)

Moscow Hitmen Prefer Car Bombs

An explosion took place in central Moscow on May 25, injuring seven passers by, none of them seriously. The blast, which was caused by an explosive device that had been

Poll Discloses Rampant Police Abuse

In a poll taken among inhabitants of Russia's 12 largest cities earlier this month, 26 percent of respondents said that they had experienced mistreatment at the hands of police, ranging

Interior Minister Paints Gloomy Picture In Chechnya

On May 19, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev addressed the State Duma in closed hearings concerning the situation in Chechnya and the investigation of the May 9 assassination of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed

Kidnapped Russians Shown On Al-jazeera

Al-Jazeera broadcast footage on May 16 of two Russians abducted in Iraq earlier this month. Along with the footage, the Qatar-based satellite television channel read a statement by a group

Saratov Governor Focus Of Criminal Probe

Saratov's chief prosecutor, Anatoly Bondar, announced on May 14 that criminal proceedings have been instituted against the region's governor, Dmitry Ayatskov, for abuse of power connected to the alleged misuse

Putin Makes Whirlwind Tour Of Chechnya

Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly flew to Chechnya on the morning of May 11, announcing the visit only during a Cabinet meeting he chaired after returning to Moscow later in

Akhmad Kadyrov Is Assassinated

In a huge blow to President Vladimir Putin's policy in Chechnya, pro-Moscow Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed on May 9 in a large explosion that occurred in Grozny's Dinamo

Prosecutors Raid Yukos One More Time

Investigators from the Prosecutor General's Office seized documents from the central office of Yukos Oil in Moscow on May 6. A source in the company told Interfax's Petroleum Information Agency

U.S. Treatment Of Iraq Prisoners Under Fire

Russia's Foreign Ministry weighed in yesterday on the scandal surrounding the abuse of Iraqis detained by U.S.-led coalition forces. Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov called the reported "cases of torture"

Youth Group Wants To Extend President’s Term

On April 29, representatives of a recently-formed youth movement filed documents with the Moscow City Election Commission to register an initiative group whose aim would be drumming up support for