Google, Facebook Rebuff Russia Over Political Advertising Accusation

Google said on Monday that it supported responsible political advertising that complies with local legislation, after Russia accused it of circulating such advertising during local elections at the weekend. The tech giant neither affirmed nor denied in a statement that it had disseminated any such advertising. The state communications watchdog said Google and Facebook had…

Details

Russia’s Ruling Party Loses a Third of Moscow Election Races After Protests

Russia‘s ruling United Russia party, which backs President Vladimir Putin, has lost one-third of its seats in the Moscow parliament, near-complete data cited by Russian news agencies showed on Monday, in an awkward setback for the Kremlin. However, the party still retained its majority in the Moscow assembly following Sunday’s nationwide local elections, and its candidates for regional…

Details

Signaling Readiness for Thaw, Russia and Ukraine Swap Prisoners

Russia and Ukraine on Saturday swapped 35 prisoners each, including filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, 24 Ukrainian sailors and potential MH17 witness Vladimir Tsemakh, in a key step toward bringing an end to the war in eastern Ukraine that has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2014.  Laden with wide-ranging implications, the move underlines new Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s…

Details

New Arctic Partnership Announces Construction of 17 Icebreaking LNG Tankers

Russian natural gas company Novatek and maritime shipping company Sovcomflot have signed a deal that formally establishes a new joint venture during this week’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The vessels will conform to Arc7 ice standards and will be built at the new Zvezda shipyard. They are to be delivered in the period 2023-2026. Sovcomflot said it…

Details

New Russian Nuclear-Powered Sub to Be Delivered to Northern Fleet

Russia’s Knyaz Vladimir (K-549) submarine is expected to be delivered to the Northern Fleet this year, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper has reported, citing sources close to the Navy’s commander-in-chief. Knyaz Vladimir is the first of a series of upgraded submarines as part of the Navy’s Project 955A and will be based in the town of Gadzhiyevo on the Kola Peninsula. Originally, it was…

Details

Moscow to Deploy Facial-Recognition Tech at Rallies

Authorities in Moscow have ordered 260 million rubles ($4 million) of facial-recognition technology for surveillance cameras to monitor protests and other mass gatherings, the Vedomosti business daily reported Friday. Moscow claims one of the world’s largest network of 160,000 surveillance cameras, some equipped with facial-recognition technology, with plans to boost the number to 200,000 this…

Details

Putin’s ‘Chef’ Preps Soldiers for Final Assault on Syrian Rebels

Russia’s military is incorporating mercenaries hired by a wealthy ally of President Vladimir Putin into its planned offensive to help Syria’s army retake the last major stronghold held by jihadist rebels, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Hundreds of freelance fighters who answer to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the businessman known as “Putin’s chef”…

Details

Russian Activist Sentenced to 4 Years for ‘Multiple Protests’

Russian activist Konstantin Kotov has been sentenced to 4 years after a court convicted him of “multiple breaches” of Russian protest law, making him the second person ever to be prosecuted under the controversial legislation.  The clause in the Russian Criminal Code punishing repeat violations of public demonstration rules became known as Ildar “Dadin’s article”…

Details

Kremlin Vows to Investigate Moscow Lawmaker Accused of Fraud Ahead of Elections

The Kremlin has agreed to probe a senior member of Moscow’s city legislature over two investigations into his dealings by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption team, the Vedomosti business daily reported. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has claimed that municipal lawmaker Andrei Metelsky’s family owns a motorcycle dealership in Moscow and a hotel franchise in Austria…

Details

Russians Blame Siberian Wildfires on Illegal Logging, Authorities’ Inaction – Poll

Most Russians believe that wildfires have swept across Siberia this summer because of illegal logging and the authorities’ negligence, according to a new poll published by the independent Levada Center pollster. Activists and environmentalists have decried the authorities’ slow response to the fires, which at their peak covered an area the size of Belgium and…

Details

As Discontent Simmers, Russia’s Ruling Party Dons Camouflage in Countrywide Elections

Ahead of Sunday’s nationwide regional elections, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is urging voters dissatisfied with the status quo to ignore their ideological beliefs and focus solely on casting the ruling United Russia party out of power. But in the Russian capital, voters heading to the polls to select deputies for the Moscow…

Details

India’s Russian Arms Purchases Hit ‘Breakthrough’ $14.5Bln, Official Says

India has ordered a “breakthrough” $14.5 billion of Russian-made weapons since last year despite sanctions pressure from the United States, Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) has said. India is the largest buyer of Russian military hardware, having signed a $5 billion deal for Russian S-400 surface to air missile systems last…

Details

‘Stick, Then Carrot’: Why Are Moscow Protest Charges Being Dropped?

Russian media have dubbed Tuesday “Judgment Day” for the number of court decisions related to this summer’s wave of Moscow anti-government protests that took place.  A blogger was sentenced to five years behind bars over a tweet that seemingly threatened the families of security officers accused of violently detaining protesters. The court’s seemingly contradictory move…

Details

Bolstered by Sanctions, Russia’s Fledgling Cheese Industry Takes First Steps

When Russian President Vladimir Putin slapped a tit-for-tat embargo on Western dairy products five years ago, cheese lovers lamented the replacement of parmesan camembert and cheddar on store shelves with bland, Russian-made substitutes filled with palm oil and other cheap additives.  But for one man, the embargo was a dream come true.  “I’m very grateful…

Details

Russia Moves to Legalize Epilepsy Drug After Mothers Accused of Drug Smuggling

Russia is planning to legalize a prescription drug used to treat epilepsy which almost landed two mothers in jail this summer after they had ordered the unregulated pharmaceutical online for their epileptic children.  The drug smuggling accusations against the two mothers have sparked calls to re-register the epilepsy drug that Russia’s health minister said had no demand…

Details

Germany’s Deutsche Welle Snubs Russian Duma’s Foreign Meddling Panel

German media outlet Deutsche Welle has turned down an invitation to attend Russian lawmakers’ hearings on alleged foreign interference over this summer’s anti-government protests, saying its journalism standards make such meddling impossible. Weeks of demonstrations over elections for the Moscow city legislature have become the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013. The Foreign…

Details

Bulgaria Condemns Russian Exhibit Lauding WWII ‘Liberation’ of Eastern Europe

Bulgaria lambasted a World War II exhibition organized by the Russian Embassy marking “the liberation of Eastern Europe from Nazism,” saying the region had instead been subjected to a half-century of repression by “Soviet army bayonets.” In a statement, the Foreign Ministry of Bulgaria — which for decades a Soviet satellite in Eastern Europe but now…

Details

Moscow Protesters Sentenced in ‘New Bolotnaya’ Case

Russian authorities have begun handing jail sentences to activists on protest-related charges after they took to the streets in support of fair elections this summer. The Investigative Committee opened criminal proceedings following the July 27 opposition protest and placed 14 suspects of what it called mass civil unrest in pre-trial detention. Charges of mass civil unrest carry a…

Details

Russian Nuclear Blast Debris Is Still Emitting Radiation, Reports Say

Journalists in northern Russia have measured high levels of radiation near two abandoned boats that were brought ashore following last month’s mysterious accident during a test at a military site that has raised international concerns and safety fears. Five nuclear engineers and two Defense Ministry employees were killed after a liquid propulsion system exploded on…

Details

Russia Open to Private Companies Developing Energy-Rich Arctic Shelf, Minister Says

Russia’s natural resources and environment minister said on Wednesday he supported allowing private oil and gas companies to work on the Arctic shelf. Speaking to reporters at an economic forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, the minister, Dmitry Kobylkin, said he supported “any decision linked to an increase in investment in projects…

Details

Russia Charges U.S. Student With Drug Possession Over Medical Marijuana

A New York-based film student has been charged with drug possession in St. Petersburg for allegedly bringing medical marijuana into the country.  Russia bans the circulation of drugs including marijuana and other cannabinoids, whose use is legalized in certain U.S. states and European countries. U.S. citizen Audrey Elizabeth Lorber was allegedly found in possession of…

Details

Most Russians Don’t Believe ‘Western Meddling’ Is to Blame for Moscow Protests, Poll Says

A majority of Russians don’t believe in the authorities’ claim that Western powers are to blame for election protests in Moscow this summer, according to the independent Levada Center polling agency. Weeks of demonstrations over elections for the city legislature have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013. Russia has accused the…

Details