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Past Issue
January, 2013

The USRCCNE Monthly Newsletter
For those with interests bridging the US and Russia

USRCCNE Welcome!
From Josh Wilson, General Editor, USRCCNE

Thanks to each of you for another great year – and special thanks to all who came to our annual USRCCNE Old New Year Dinner and made it a striking success!

This year has entered with a bang – with US-Russia relations continuing to slip and with major changes in Russia's migration policy expected. The introduction below is meant to briefly introduce you to these issues. The newsletter itself has an section develoted to migration issues and, of course, lots of articles related to travel, business in Russia, and upcoming events in Russia and the US.

America's Magnitsky Act requires the US to sanction Russians deemed guilty of human rights abuses. Russia argues that this bill represents the prosecution of Russian citizens without a fair trial, which itself could be considered a human rights abuse. In response, Russia's "Anti-Magnitsky" Act (the Dima Yakovlev Law) will ban US adoptions of Russian children, forbid US funding for political NGOs, and impose visa bans and asset freezes for Americans accused of violating Russians'  rights. The last point will probably be used against anyone involved in the Victor Bout case and perhaps judges involved in the cases concerning the 19 Russian children who have died in the US over the last 20 years. Depending on how long the US makes the "Magnitsky List," Russia's list will probably expand as well. It is not expected to directly impact US business interests, but does represent an increase in political tensions which could at a later date.

Another major development is that the head of Russia's Federal Migration Service (FMS) has been made a cabinet minister. His service will be extracted from the Interior Ministry, indicating that Russia is likely preparing for major procedural and policy reform.  Some analysts say that this will represent a tightening of policy in line with President Putin's recent nationalist rhetoric and work to limit illegal migration. However, it is also true that the long-time head of Russia's FMS has generally seemed to acknowledge that the FMS is a highly inefficient organization and he has usually pushed to simplify and liberalize policies. Most of his ideas have been blocked by the Interior Ministry and security services – organizations from which he is now being granted more independence.

A general liberalization in Russia's migration policy would not be so surprising. Putin has very publicly made reintegration with Eurasia his top foreign policy objective. Liberalizing migration would help make several states like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both currently strongly considering entering the Eurasian Customs Union) more dependent on remittances from Russia. It would also, at the same time, be a very good way to please the governments there and possibly move some of Russia's black labor market into the tax-producing white. It would also boost demographics by bolstering the current source of most of Russia's population growth. It is, overall, win-win for most of Russia's current practical governance objectives. This will be a story to watch as one that may affect all frequent travelers to Russia and all foreigners residing in Russia.

As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.

Don't Miss This Month!

As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.


Upcoming Events

Leo Galperin, Anna Uritsky, and Daniel Satinsky at the recent USRCCNE Old New Year Dinner. Thanks to everyone who came and made this event a success!

Culinary Walking Tour of Brighton and Brookline
(February 16, 2013 - Brighton, MA) Where can you find the best Russian borsch, pirozhki, and caviar? What is the Russian way to drink tea and vodka? Discover the answers at our 3-hour culinary adventure while tasting delicious authentic Russian specialties.

17th European Career Fair at MIT
(February 23-25, 2013 - Cambridge, MA) MIT European Club organizes the annual European Career Fair (ECF), the largest recruiting event in the US that focuses on career opportunities in Europe.

Pysanky Ukrainian Egg Decorating Workshop
(March 1, 2013 - Clinton, MA) Just in time for Easter, explore the art, symbolism and joy in creating pysanky. Pysanky are Ukrainian Easter Eggs, decorated using beeswax and dyes that are applied in layers. No experience is necessary.


USRCCNE and Member News

SRAS Announces New, Intensive Summer Seminar in Interpretation
SRAS's Translation & Interpretation Summer Seminar is designed to prepare the next generation of translators and interpreters with the skills they will need.  

Auriga Gains New Experience - Face-detection Technology
Auriga’s engineers ported and optimized the proprietary face-recognition algorithm to Android OS.  

Travel News

Study Abroad
in Russia!


Aeroexpress Launches Mobile App
Aeroexpress has launched a mobile application that will allow passengers to purchase tickets directly from their mobile phones.

easyJet to Fly Moscow-London
British low cost airline easyJet will start operating regular flights between Moscow and London from March 18.

Russia, United States to Reduce Visa Consular Fees
Russia and the United States will reduce their consular fees for visas starting January 1, 2013, the Information and Press Department of the Foreign Ministry reports.

Investors Get Easier Visas
President Putin has enacted a measure to liberalize the issue of entry visas to foreign investors.

Harnessing Light At Russia’s Pulkovo Airport
The $1.5 billion expansion of the Pulkovo Airport, scheduled to open by the end of 2013, will not only provide vast interior vistas from all levels of the terminal, but also save the airport energy costs via natural lighting and a few passive solar features.


Migration Issues

Migration Service Chief Made Cabinet Minister
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Tuesday making the head of the Federal Migration Service a federal minister, signaling that the service's powers will likely be expanded.

Russia's Muddled Policy Driving Migrant Workers Into Shadows
Only 2 million of Russia's estimated 10 million-12 million migrant laborers, most of them from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, work in the country legally. The rest subsist in the shadow economy.

Russian Migration Strategy Set to Change
President Putin has introduced amendments to the law on freedom of movement, choice of place of residence, and to the Criminal and Administrative Codes. The changes are aimed against those involved in organizing illegal migration into Russia or beyond, and are set to promote a transparent system of attracting foreign workers to Russia.

Putin Allows Migrant Labor Without a Work Permit
President Putin signed into effect a law allowing employers hire foreign workers without a work permit. (ARTICLE IN RUSSIAN)

Depardieu and the New Capitalism
When the French actor Gérard Depardieu collected his Russian passport this week, the English language media erupted with puzzlement and mockery.

Russia’s Ban on American Adoptions Stalled for One Next Year
The Kremlin suddenly announced Thursday evening that a new law banning adoptions by Americans would not go into effect for another year, as criticism of the measure galvanizes the flagging opposition here.

 Never Too Many Books!
Molotov's Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History
Blockbuster History
in the New Russia: Movies, Memory, and Patriotism

A People Passing Rude: British Responses to
Russian Culture


Dima Yakovlev Law - Full Text
This relatively short "Anti-Magnitsky" bill bans adoptions by US citizens, bans NGOs in Russia from taking donations from US citizens, and requires that a list of Americans guilty in abusing the rights of Russian citizens be drawn up and that those US citizens face sactions similar to those imposed by the Magnitsky Bill in the US.

Russia Masterminds "Patent Armor" for Domestic Intellectual Property
As innovation news portal Venture Business News reports, the Russian Ministry of Telecommunications has been tasked with developing a set of measures aimed at ensuring international legal protection of intellectual property (IP) owned by Russian companies.

IT Outsourcing: Information Security is a Process, not a Destination
Today, data protection is important for all companies regardless of whether they hire third-party service providers to perform tasks that require access to the information.

2013: Confused Picture for Russia
The world and Russia both passed through the trough of the global crisis in 2012, say investment banks in Moscow, and the question for 2013 is: if the upswing starts, how fast will it go?

Caucasus Analytical Digest: Entrepreneurship in the South Caucasus
The current CAD looks at the issue of entrepreneurship in Georgia and Armenia.

Russia's Klondike? Not yet
Russia could rival top producer China. But its exploration - key to securing a future for Russian gold mining - still lags.

Has Russia's Capital Flight Been Seriously Exaggerated?
A new study argues that Russia’s capital flight has been significantly overstated.

Russian Post Says Package Volume from Abroad has Doubled
Russian Post said 70 percent of incoming international mail consists of packages from foreign online retailers.

What’s Behind the Wonderful New Revival of Russian Peasant Agriculture
In 1999, 35 million small family plots produced 90% of Russia’s potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruits, 59% of meat, 49% of milk! Since 1999, it seems things have only gotten better when it comes to small-scale agriculture in Russia.

Malls Blossom in Russia, With a Middle Class
As American malls dodder into old age, gaptoothed with vacancies, Russia’s shopping centers are just now blossoming into their boom years, nourished by oil exports that are lifting wages.

Russia Rings in New Year with Ban on Kiosk Beer Sales
Though the tiny makeshift shops lost their importance as conventional stores got more of a foothold, new laws could deal a finishing blow to a symbol of the country’s lively and disorderly post-communist free market.

Russia’s Yuriev Opens US Shale Fund as State Dominates
Mikhail Yuriev, a former Russian politician and businessman, said he's quitting Russia to invest in the US energy industry where cheaper financing, better infrastructure and support for foreign businesses boost returns.

Russian Corner: Russia's New Law on Accounting
Alexander Kozhuhar, an audit manager with Alinga Consulting Group, has written an informative PowerPoint presentation on Russia's new law on accounting for 2013. Subscribe to the Alinga Market Update

Russian Corner: Contentious Issues Surrounding Thin Capitalization Rules
Companies which are indebted to Russian and foreign partners should be cautious since there are still multiple interpretations of the laws on thin capitalization as well as contradictory judicial practice. Subscribe to the Alinga Market Update

Russia & Kazakhstan: A Longstanding Relationship Between Two Nations
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, greater than all of Western Europe put together, and the world’s largest landlocked country. Perhaps of most significance, its largest border is with Russia to the north and northwest.  Subscribe to the LanguageConnections Newsletter

Just for Fun: Transnistria: A Country That Doesn't Exist
SRAS student and explorer extraordinaire Miles Atkinson has published an article with the HuffPost while abroad! Miles has graduated from our RSL program in Kiev, Russian Far East course in Vladivostok, and is now moving on to our Siberian Studies course in Irkutsk. Congrats Miles! Subscribe to the SRAS Newsletter


Joining the USRCCNE is Easy!

Members of the USRCCNE become a part of a vibrant network of individuals and firms dedicated to furthering business opportunities between the U.S. and Russia. We work with business organizations in the US, (specializing in the New England region) and in Russia to bring exposure to the USRCCNE, and ultimately, to our members. Join today!


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