Russian Lawmakers Send ‘Fake News’ Bill to Putin for Approval

Russian lawmakers passed a controversial set of bills that would make it a crime to “disrespect” the state and spread “fake news” on Wednesday, setting the legislation up for President Vladimir Putin’s signature. The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers…

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Russia to Re-Educate ‘Brainwashed’ Youth in Patriotic Camps

Russia plans to send delinquent youngsters to military-patriotic re-education camps and to install special software blocking banned websites in schools, the head of Russia’s Security Council has said. President Vladimir Putin created a patriotic directorate inside the Russian army last summer, evoking memories of a Soviet practice that once taught soldiers the tenets of Marxism.…

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Kremlin Shrugs off Possible U.S. Boycott of St. Petersburg Forum Over Investor’s Arrest

The Kremlin on Tuesday shrugged off talk of a possible boycott by U.S. companies of Russia‘s showcase International Economic Forum over the arrest of prominent U.S. investor Michael Calvey, saying such boycotts had come to nothing in the past. Calvey’s detention last month on embezzlement charges, which he denies, has rattled some foreign investors in Russia who are…

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Russia’s Rosneft Says U.S. Statements on Its Venezuela Operations Groundless

Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft said on Tuesday that U.S. statements that it had violated U.S. sanctions in its Venezuela activities were “groundless accusations.” Pompeo said this week Rosneft was defying U.S. sanctions by buying oil from Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA. Rosneft said it was not involved in politics and was conducting “purely commercial…

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U.S. Blames Moscow for Venezuelan Crisis, Sanctions Russian Bank

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday blamed Russia and Cuba for causing Venezuela’s political crisis by supporting President Nicolas Maduro. His comments came after the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank for helping Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA evade U.S. financial restrictions. “This story is not complete without acknowledging…

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Latvia Builds Barbed Wire Fence on Russian Border to Combat Migration

Latvia has completed construction of a 93-kilometer barbed wire fence on the border with Russia to combat illegal migration, media outlets reported, citing the Latvian border service. The 2.7-meter-tall fence, announced in 2015, alternates between sensor-based systems and surveillance camera zones. It is part of a 21 million euro ($23.8 million) project to modernize 283…

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New Torture Videos Thrust Russian Prison Back Into the Spotlight

Two new videos showing guards abusing inmates have brought national attention back to a notorious prison near Moscow that rocked Russia’s penitentiary system last year with reports of systemic torture. Bodycam footage released last summer by the investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper showed guards violently beating prisoners in the Yaroslavl region. The videos’ publication touched off…

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Russian Military Is Bigger and Stronger Than in 2012, Defense Minister Says

The Russian military has significantly expanded and upgraded its weapons systems in the past six years, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers on Monday. The country’s military achievements between 2012 and 2018 have turned Russia’s military into a mobile force capable of projecting influence abroad, The Associated Press quoted the minister as saying at a…

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Russia Remains Second-Largest Arms Exporter Despite Sales Drop – Think Tank

Russia remains the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the United States despite five years of declining sales abroad, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said in a new report that was disputed by Russia’s state-owned arm exporter. Russia’s arms exports dropped 17 percent between 2014 and 2018 when compared to 2009-2013, contributing to…

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IAAF Maintains Ban on Russian Athletics Over Doping Scandal

World athletics governing body IAAF has decided not to lift a ban on Russia‘s athletics federation over doping, saying on Monday it was still waiting to receive data collected from Moscow and financial compensation for its investigations. Russia‘s athletics federation (RUSAF) has been suspended since 2015 following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that found evidence…

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‘Point of No Return’: Russia’s Libertarians Lead Protest Against ‘Sovereign Internet’

It was Saturday afternoon and Mikhail Svetov was buzzing with nervous energy. Just 24 hours later, the member of Russia’s Libertarian Party would be leading a protest against a draft bill aimed at creating a so-called sovereign internet. “I see signals that something unusual is happening. Something similar to 2011,” Svetov said, referring to the…

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Putin Applauds Russian Women for ‘Managing Everything at Work and Home Whilst Staying Beautiful’

President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian women on International Women’s Day in a video message posted on the Kremlin’s website on Friday. Women’s Day is a national holiday in Russia and one of the most important public holidays inherited from the Soviet period. “You manage everything at work and at home, whilst staying beautiful, bright, and…

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Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Barges Into Feminist Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg, with Flowers

Members of conservative pro-Kremlin youth organization Set entered Russia’s sole “women-only hours” cafe in St. Petersburg, resulting in a scuffle on Thursday. March 8 marks International Women’s Day. In Russia, it is celebrated as a public holiday with flowers traditionally being gifted to women. In the footage posted online by Set, several men are seen…

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This Women’s Day It’s ‘Not Her Fault’

This year, International Women’s Day in Russia is coming back to its political roots. All around the world, Women’s Day activities typically promote discussions of gender inequality. Issues such as unequal pay, education, voting rights and gender-based violence are, at least for one day, important talking points in the media.    This politicized tone was once the…

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Abramovich Forced to Sell Stake in Russian TV Channel Over Israeli Citizenship

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has sold off his shares in Russia’s state-run Channel One television network due to his recently acquired Israeli citizenship, the shares’ buyer told Interfax on Thursday. Russian law prohibits foreign citizens from owning more than 20 percent of a media company, putting Abramovich in violation of the law when he acquired…

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Russia Passes Legislation Banning ‘Disrespect’ of Authorities and ‘Fake News’

Russian lawmakers pushed through a package of bills Thursday seeking to punish internet users and journalists for disrespecting the authorities and spreading fake news. Observers have argued that the highly contentious legislation introduced in December could lead to mass arrests due to its loose wording. Free speech and internet activists are scheduled to protest against…

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Russia Compromised 600 Foreign Spies in 2018, Putin Says

Russian counterintelligence exposed hundreds of foreign spies in 2018, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. “[Counterintelligence agencies] conducted successful special operations to cut short the activities of 129 career officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence service,” Putin said at a board meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB).  At the annual meeting, Putin urged FSB…

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Female Naval Cadets Say Russia Not Ready for Women in Combat Roles

Alina Politika is one of 42 female cadets attending the naval academy in Russia‘s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, but she knows she is unlikely to ever step onto the captain’s bridge of a battleship. Politka’s diploma and military rank after graduation won’t differ from those of male cadets, but the Russian navy does not accept women as commanding officers — a situation she…

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