Russian Arctic Island Becomes Nature Reserve

Regional authorities in Russia’s Arctic have introduced stricter environmental regimes on Kolguev Island to protect the island’s bird and wildlife species. The small island located in the southeastern Barents Sea, north of the Nenets coast, is considered a crucial area for migrating birds. It is also inhabited by several endangered species. The Kolguevsky Nature Reserve was…

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Russia Is Laying Groundwork for Georgian Wine Ban, Media Reports

Russian authorities are taking steps toward banning Georgian wines amid an escalation in tensions between the ex-Soviet neighbors over the past week, the Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday. Violent protests erupted in Georgia’s capital last week after a Russian lawmaker addressed the Georgian parliament in Russian from the speaker’s chair. On Monday, Russia’s state consumer…

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Russians Are Increasingly Protesting Social, Not Political Issues – Study

Russians are increasingly likely to rally over social than political issues, according to a newly released study of protests in the first three months of 2019. Freedom of assembly has been gradually restricted in Russia since a wave of mass protests in 2011-2012 against President Vladimir Putin. Observers say that nonpolitical demonstrations have become more frequent…

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Two Russian Biathletes Get Four-Year Bans for Doping

Two Russian biathletes have been suspended for four years for doping violations detected in data from Russia‘s former anti-doping agency laboratory, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) said on Tuesday. Alexander Pechenkin and Alexander Chernyshov were among the four Russian biathletes who were charged with doping violations by the IBU and provisionally suspended last November. In addition to a…

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Russia Cleared to Return to Europe’s Top Rights Body, Ukraine Walks Out

Europe’s top human rights body has voted to allow Russia to return as a member of its parliamentary assembly, dividing the 70-year-old watchdog tasked with monitoring civil liberties among its 47 member states. Russia was suspended from the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in 2014 over Moscow’s behavior toward Ukraine, including the annexation of…

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Russia Says Military Plane Landed in Venezuela to Service Equipment

A Russian Air Force plane that landed in Venezuela is there to service Russian military equipment already in the country, Russia‘s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday, according to Interfax. The plane landed on Monday in Venezuela’s main airport, according to a Reuters witness and a website that tracks plane movements, three months after a similar arrival…

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Head of Russia’s Ingushetia Resigns Following Months of Border Deal Unrest

The head of Russia’s smallest region has resigned following months of controversy over a land-swap deal with the neighboring republic of Chechnya, Russian media have reported. Residents of the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia first took to the streets against the border-swap agreement signed with Chechnya in fall 2018. Violent protests reignited in March as…

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Russian TV Reporters Attacked in Georgia Amid Heightened Tensions – Reports

The film crew of a Russian state-run television channel was attacked in Georgia’s capital on Saturday amid a flare-up in tensions between the two countries, Russian media have reported. Tensions between Russia and Georgia were ignited after a Russian lawmaker’s speech in the Georgian parliament set off mass protests in Tbilisi on Thursday. Demonstrators violently…

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Georgian Parliament Leader Resigns Over Mass Anti-Russian Protests

The head of Georgia’s parliament has resigned after mass anti-Russian protests rocked the capital this week. Thousands of protesters on Thursday tried to storm the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi after Russian lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov addressed an event for Orthodox Christian leaders in his native Russian from the parliamentary speaker’s seat. Demonstrators violently clashed with police,…

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Georgians Protest Outside Parliament Over Russian Delegation’s Visit

Tens of thousands of Georgians gathered outside the parliament building in the capital Tbilisi on Thursday to protest against a speech made in the country’s parliament by a Russian lawmaker in his own language. Protesters chanted slogans against Russian President Vladimir Putin and dozens broke through police lines to try to storm the parliament building. Sergei Gavrilov…

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Crowds of Protesters Set Up Camp Against Landfill in Russia’s North

Hundreds of protesters opposing a controversial landfill in Russia’s north have set up camp near its construction site in a rare tent-based demonstration for the country. Protests against the $162-million landfill in Shiyes, Arkhangelsk region, have become a symbol of Russia’s growing trend toward issues-based local activism. Almost a year of demonstrations in the abandoned…

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Putin Tells Russians: Increase Productivity to Raise Standard of Living

Russians will see a boost in their living standards if they raise their labor productivity, President Vladimir Putin has said during his annual phone-in with the public. The productivity of the Russian workforce is among the lowest of the world’s major economies, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living standards have declined as…

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U.S. Targets Russian Firm for Allegedly Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions

The United States has sanctioned a Russian financial institution for allegedly helping North Korea evade financial sanctions by assisting a company linked to Pyongyang’s primary foreign exchange bank, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday. U.S. officials targeted Russian Financial Society and accused it of opening multiple bank accounts for Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade…

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Athletics Culture at Odds With Reinstatement Push, Russian Anti-Doping Chief Says

Russian anti-doping chief Yuri Ganus said on Wednesday that the country’s suspended athletics federation was not doing enough to stamp out doping culture and was falling short in its bid to be reinstated by global athletics governing body IAAF. Russia’s athletics federation has been suspended since a 2015 report commissioned by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)…

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Top Russian Official Predicts Protest ‘Explosion’ if Economy Doesn’t Improve

Russia is at risk of nationwide social upheaval if the country’s economy does not improve, the head of Russia’s auditing agency has said. During a Monday interview on state-run television, Audit Chamber head Alexei Kudrin described an upcoming “explosion” of protests caused by falling living standards and widespread poverty. The only way to prevent this…

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