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August 2, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
A boy from a poor family makes good, opens the first sex shop in his hometown, wins the mayor's job by a landslide, defies the Kremlin, goes to prison, gets barred from politics and ends up where he started: surrounded by sex toys, including a set of erotic Matryoshka nesting dolls that he delights in showing off. The story of Alexander Donskoy's entrepreneurial and political odyssey, complete with his decision to open Moscow's first sex museum, might...
May 29, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
Moscow lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny has been singlehandedly taking on Russia's state-controlled energy giants, accusing them of large-scale embezzlement and corruption. After five years, the whistleblower's efforts have borne fruit. The Russian Investigation Committee, the country's chief investigation organization, has launched a criminal fraud case — against Navalny. He is accused of giving bad advice to a timber concern. In an interview, Navalny spoke about his campaign and the government's action against him. What's your advice for those thinking about investing in Russia?
February 3, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
The investigation of last month's suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport in which 36 people were killed and dozens more injured has exposed growing tensions between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. During a Kremlin meeting Thursday with law enforcement officials in charge of the investigation, a visibly irritated Medvedev forcefully contradicted a statement by Putin a day earlier by saying that the case was not solved and that no government official should say anything to the contrary.
October 22, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
Two weeks ago, she turned up at the launch of a rocket carrying two cosmonauts and an American astronaut to the International Space Station. On Monday, she appeared at the Kremlin, along with her nine fellow spies deported from the U.S., to receive Russia's highest honor from President Dmitry Medvedev. And on Thursday, her image graced the glossy cover of the Russian edition of Maxim magazine. She was clad in lacy black underwear, with a big gun in her hand. Talk about exposure.
October 16, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
A staunch supporter of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been nominated to the post of mayor of Moscow by President Dmitry Medvedev, who fired the previous mayor in a public spat that experts thought exposed a power struggle between the two top Kremlin leaders. Deputy Premier Sergei Sobyanin, 42, was selected to replace Yuri Luzhkov, who was fired by Medvedev late last month from the job he had held since 1992. Political observers had thought the ouster might have been an initial battleground in a potential presidential race between Medvedev and Putin in 2012.
September 29, 2010 | Sergei L. Loiko
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow's popular mayor on Tuesday, three weeks into a high-level public spat that analysts said exposed a battle for power inside the Kremlin. Medvedev, who is on a state visit to China, issued a decree stripping Yuri Luzhkov of the job he has held since 1992 on the grounds that he had lost the trust of the president. The 74-year-old mayor rebuilt the city, improved its roads, increased subsidies for the disabled and pensions for the elderly.
September 24, 2010 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
Even as the White House praised Russia for declining to sell antiaircraft missiles to Iran in violation of U.N. sanctions, Russian diplomats were quietly recruiting other countries this week to undercut tougher penalties imposed on the Islamic Republic. Russia supported weak United Nations sanctions approved in June to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. But it has strongly objected to tougher sanctions added individually by the United States, the European Union and four other countries.
September 15, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
It is a spectacle as old as Kremlin intrigue, but new to the Russia of Vladimir Putin. The country's main national television channels, all controlled by the Kremlin, have launched a series of blistering reports accusing one of the heavyweights of Russian politics, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, of neglecting his duties, abusing his office and engaging in corruption. Analysts have little doubt that the reports represent a campaign against the mayor, who has been in office for 18 years, a period in which his wife has amassed a fortune in the construction business estimated at $2.9 billion.
August 3, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
From the smoke of the wildfires engulfing the Moscow region and the embarrassment of this summer's spy scandal, Vladimir Putin is reemerging as Russia's most powerful man and, experts say, a candidate to reclaim the presidency a little more than a year and a half from now. For more than two years since term limits forced him to give up office and take the prime minister's job instead, Putin and his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, have seemed...
June 23, 2010 | Leon Aron
Having survived — barely — an 8% contraction in its gross domestic product (the worst among the G-20 countries), Russia's prospects for the next few years are iffy at best. Unless oil shoots back up to more than $100 a barrel, the country's economy may grow only slightly — or stagnate for the next few years. In response to its economic woes, the Kremlin has decided that what Russia needs is the equivalent of a Silicon Valley. And so the government is building "Innovation City" in Skolkovo, just outside Moscow.
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