Russian Authorities Can Seize Assets of Criminals’ Acquaintances, Court Rules

Russia has ruled that authorities can seize suspicious assets owned by relatives and acquaintances of criminals convicted of corruption unless they can prove they were lawfully obtained, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. The ruling came in response to an appeal by a convicted police anti-corruption official’s family, who argued that the authorities had illegally…

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Russia Is Building One of the World’s Largest Facial Recognition Networks

One evening in August 2018, 21-year-old Mikhail Aksel stepped into the imposing marble of Moscow Metro’s Sportivnaya station. Aksel, a senior activist in The Other Russia, a small but flamboyant opposition party associated with the former punk and far-right nationalist writer Eduard Limonov, was no stranger to run-ins with the police. Even so, Aksel was surprised…

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Chechnya Outperforms Kremlin’s KPIs Nationwide – Reports

Russia’s republic of Chechnya has the highest trust ratings toward its leaders and President Vladimir Putin among all regions, Russian media reported Monday. The Kremlin closely monitors Putin’s trust ratings, which dipped to historic lows then quickly bounced back after the Kremlin challenged state pollsters’ methodologies. Its domestic policy curator Sergei Kiriyenko earlier this year…

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Former Kazakh President Wants to Arrange Putin-Zelenskiy Summit

Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev is trying to arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose countries are at odds over the war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. “Zelenskiy has already agreed to a tete-a-tete, and (I have) informed the president of Russia about that. We shall see now (if…

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Secret U.K. Report Names Conservatives’ Russian Oligarch Donors – Sunday Times

Nine Russian businesspeople have donated to Britain’s Conservative Party, according to a secret parliamentary report on Russian interference in British elections, The Sunday Times newspaper reported Sunday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opponents accuse him of blocking the report ahead of the Dec. 12 parliamentary election, an assertion that his Conservative-led government dismissed. Johnson’s office has…

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Libya Slams Russian Intervention: ‘Wherever Wagner Goes Destruction Happens’

Russia is using private military contractors to escalate the conflict in Libya and boost its influence there, the security chief of Libya’s UN-backed government has said. Libyan interior minister Fathi Bashagha’s accusations follow reports of at least two deployments of Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenaries in recent months as forces based in eastern Libya attempt to take…

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Syrian Leader’s Family Owns $40M in Moscow Luxury Apartments – Watchdog

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s extended family and associates own $40 million worth of luxury apartments in Moscow’s skyscraper district, according to the anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness. Russia has been a staunch ally of the Assad family over its nearly 50-year rule. The Kremlin threw its military support behind Assad in 2015, helping Damascus retake…

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Russia Could Trigger World War III, U.K. Defense Chief Says

Threats from Russia are escalating, the U.K.’s Chief of the Defense Staff Nick Carter said, as new tools and weapons including disinformation and mercenaries could lead to miscalculations or even war. Techniques including “disinformation, subversion, manipulation, assassinations and of course the use of mercenaries, which are very easily undeclared and non-attributable,” mean that “you can…

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Russian Banks More Stable and Transparent Than Ever, Central Bank Chief Says

The Russian financial sector is “more stable and more transparent than ever before,” according to the governor of Russia’s Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina. The country’s banks are finally becoming an attractive option for investors, and the sector is now a “partner for real companies and the real economy,” Nabiullina told an Association of European Businesses…

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Russian Nuclear Subs Stage Arctic ‘Duel’

Two Russian nuclear-powered submarines simulated a “duel” during recent tactical drills in the Arctic, the RBC news website reported Thursday. Two Northern Fleet Sierra-class submarines, the titanium-hulled Pskov and Nizhny Novgorod, sailed out from their homeports toward the Norwegian Sea for deep-sea diving and weapon testing two weeks ago.  The Pskov and the Nizhny Novgorod impersonated…

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Why Is Russia’s Most Prominent Libertarian Being Investigated for Sexual Misconduct?

Mikhail Svetov, one of the main figures of Russia’s Libertarian Party and an organizer of this summer’s mass protests in Moscow, was interrogated overnight by the Investigative Committee and his apartment searched over allegations of sexual misconduct against a minor.  Initial reports said that Svetov, 34, had been charged with “indecent assault” against a minor…

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Closing Off Dialogue With Russia a ‘Huge Mistake,’ France’s Macron Says

Europe shouldn’t make the “huge mistake” of avoiding dialogue with Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist, continuing his recent overtures to the country that the West has shunned over its annexation of Crimea. Macron previously attempted to bridge the European Union’s differences with Moscow this summer, warning against the “strategic error” of isolating…

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Chechnya’s Kadyrov Advocates Killing People Who ‘Insult Honor’ Online

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has proposed killing internet users who “insult someone’s honor” online, according to BBC Russia’s translation of the outspoken Russian regional chief’s remarks Wednesday. Kadyrov appeared to be referencing a Russian law enacted this year that punishes those who “disrespect” government institutions online. A majority of those fined or jailed under the…

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Russia Says 2,000 Relatives of Middle East Militants Pose Security Threat

Russia‘s FSB security service has identified 2,000 Russian nationals who are relatives of militants in the Middle East and could try to return to Russia, posing a terrorist threat, the FSB’s head said on Thursday, the state-run RIA news agency reported. FSB director Alexander Bortnikov’s comments come weeks after an estimated 50 Russian women disappeared after fleeing…

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Cyprus Strips Citizenship From 9 Russians Over Passport-for-Investment Scheme

Cyprus said on Wednesday that it had started a process to strip 26 individuals of citizenship they received under a secretive passports-for-investment scheme, admitting it had flaws. The Mediterranean island has been rattled by disclosures of its investments scheme since Reuters exclusively reported last month a list of Cambodian beneficiaries, including its police chief and…

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Russia Obtains Israel’s New Interceptor Missile in Syria, Reports Say

The Russian military has allegedly obtained Israel’s new interceptor missile that Syria captured on its soil last year, Israeli news outlets reported Wednesday. Israel launched two of its intermediate ballistic missile interceptors called David’s Sling into Syria on July 23, 2018, one of which landed intact, the Middle East intelligence website DEBKAfile wrote at the…

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry Opposes Call to Ban Deutsche Welle

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he did not support banning foreign media outlets including Germany’s Deutsche Welle from working in Russia, something that had been proposed by parliament, Interfax news agency reported. Russia‘s parliament accused Deutsche Welle in September of breaking election legislation and asked the foreign ministry to consider revoking the German…

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Putin Wants to ‘Replace’ Wikipedia With ‘Reliable’ Russian Version: 4 Takeaways From Speech

President Vladimir Putin convened a meeting of Russia’s language council Tuesday, where he warned that there is a war against the Russian language, recommended replacing Wikipedia and called for the introduction of uniform language norms.  Chaired by presidential adviser Vladimir Tolstoy, the 48-member council is charged with developing state policy on protecting and promoting the…

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