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In a brilliant piece of political science, American journalist Mark Ames explains Russian President Vladimir Putin's handling of the Ukraine crisis as part of a cynical bid to maintain domestic political power by appealing to the values and attitudes of his country's provincial "Silent Majority" after losing the support of liberals.

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This may be a case of overstatement, but six members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot have let it be known that Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the two band members recently released from Russian prison, are no longer part of their collective.

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Thanks to an amnesty bill passed unanimously in the Russian parliament, two members of the anti-Putin punk band were released from penal colonies Monday where they had been held for hooliganism. Meanwhile, the Kremlin still wants the world to know Vladimir Putin's not sorry for imprisoning the "disgraceful" musicians.

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In what's being seen as an attempt to assuage international outrage over human rights violations in Russia, the State Duma, the country's lower parliament, unanimously passed a bill that may allow prosecutors to drop charges on jailed protesters, just in time for the Sochi Olympics.

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The Russian activist and artist who earlier this month nailed his scrotum to the pavement outside Lenin's Masoleum in Moscow's Red Square spoke with n+1 about the media and the public's response to his political statement as uncertain reports surface that he, like members of the punk band Pussy Riot, has been charged with hooliganism.

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