Khrushchev’s Son Dies in U.S.

Sergei Khrushchev, the son of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, has died in the United States at age 84, his granddaughter told the RBC news website Thursday. Sergei Khrushchev has held both U.S. and Russian citizenships since 1999, eight years after moving to Providence, Rhode Island, and resided permanently in the U.S.  His granddaughter Nina…

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Putin’s Inner Circle Corners $30Bln Garbage Reform Market – Report

President Vladimir Putin’s close associates are the biggest beneficiaries of the country’s 2 trillion ruble ($28.7 billion) waste disposal reforms, according to an analysis of contracts by Russia’s Important Stories investigative website published Thursday. Companies linked to close Putin associates Sergei Chemezov, Arkady Rotenberg and Yury Kovalchuk, as well as former prosecutor general Igor Chaika,…

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Belarus Leader’s Election Rival Detained as Crackdown Intensifies

Belarussian authorities on Thursday detained President Alexander Lukashenko’s rival ahead of August’s election as Minsk intensified a crackdown on the opposition. The detention of Viktor Babaryko, a 56-year-old former banker, on suspicion of financial crimes came after authorities jailed other critics including prominent opposition politician Mikola Statkevich ahead of an election in which Lukashenko is…

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Belarus Opposition Candidate ‘Disappears’ As Presidential Election Nears

Update: Belarussian authorities on Thursday detained Babaryko on suspicion of financial crimes, the head of the state control committee said. “Babaryko is detained because he was the organiser and leader of illegal activities, (and) tried to influence witness testimony,” committee chief Ivan Tertel told reporters.  A former banker vying to unseat the longtime leader of Belarus…

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EU Extends Crimea Sanctions by 12 Months

The European Union on Thursday rolled over for another year tough sanctions imposed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.  The measures prohibit certain exports and imports from Crimea, and ban EU-based companies from investment and tourism services in the strategic Black Sea peninsula. “The Council today decided to renew the sanctions introduced in…

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Russia ‘Unblocks’ Telegram Messenger in Surprise Reversal

Russia has halted its largely unsuccessful two-year efforts to block the popular messaging service Telegram. Russia’s federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor made the surprise announcement Thursday, citing Telegram founder Pavel Durov’s “stated readiness to counter terrorism and extremism.” “In agreement with the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, Roskomnadzor is lifting demands to restrict access to Telegram,” Roskomnadzor…

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Kazakh Ex-President Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Kazakhstan’s ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev has tested positive for coronavirus, his press service announced Thursday. Nazarbayev, 79, stepped down last year after almost 30 years in power in the oil-rich Central Asian nation, retaining key security council and party leader positions while handpicking a loyalist as his successor. As a former Soviet republic, Kazakhstan maintains close ties…

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Massive Vote-Buying Campaign Claimed Ahead of Vote on Putin’s Term Limits – Report

A potentially massive online vote-buying campaign is unfolding ahead of Russia’s vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036, the independent Dozhd news channel reported Wednesday. Russians will begin voting next Thursday, ahead of the July 1 nationwide vote, on a set of constitutional amendments that include social guarantees…

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Moscow Breaks 128-Year Heat Record

Moscow experienced its hottest June 17 in more than a century after temperatures hit 31.1 degrees Celsius Wednesday. Russia’s Hydrometeorology Center said that beat the previous record of 30.8 C set on the same day in 1892, Interfax reported. The scorching temperature hit at 4 p.m. in the capital. Temperatures in Moscow will drop below…

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Moscow Breaks 70-Year Heat Record

Moscow experienced its hottest June 17 in more than half a century after temperatures hit 29.6 degrees Celsius Wednesday. Russia’s Hydrometeorology Center said that beat the previous record of 29.4 C set on the same day in 1956, Interfax reported. It added that Wednesday’s temperatures were still on track to break a 128-year record of…

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Coronavirus Is Just Getting Started in Some Russian Regions. Their WWII Parades Are Going Ahead.

During a Monday morning meeting, Alexander Ostrov, the governor of the Zabaykalsky Krai region in Russia’s Far East, gave a grim forecast for the coronavirus pandemic. “The situation is getting worse,” he said. “The number of infected people is growing.” On Sunday, Zabaykalsky Krai had reached a high for new daily infections of 89. Then,…

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Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Pass 550K as Putin Eyes Victory Parade, Constitution Vote

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on June 8, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that…

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Coronavirus-Denying Russian Priest Captures Church With Cossack Fighters

A prominent Russian Orthodox priest who was barred from preaching for his anti-coronavirus views has laid siege to a women’s monastery, the 66.ru news website reported Tuesday.  Religious authorities barred Father Sergei, the ultraconservative spiritual leader of the Sredneuralsk women’s monastery in central Russia, from public ministry in April for disobeying orders to follow health…

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Russian Bookstores Sell New Constitution Ahead of Vote on Putin’s Reforms

Russian bookstores have already started selling copies of the country’s amended Constitution even though a public vote to approve it won’t happen until July 1, the RBC news website reported Tuesday. The constitutional amendments, in addition to adding social guarantees to Russia’s basic law, reset Putin’s four previous terms as president, allowing him two additional…

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Key Witness in Serebrennikov’s Fraud Trial Claims ‘Severe Pressure’ From Investigators

A key witness in a multimillion-dollar criminal fraud case involving prominent theater director Kirill Serebrennikov has claimed that investigators obtained her testimony under duress, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday. Serebrennikov is suspected of embezzling 133 million rubles ($1.9 million) in a case that his supporters have criticized as politically motivated. The artistic director of…

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Russia to Install ‘Orwell’ Facial Recognition Tech in Every School – Vedomosti

More than 43,000 Russian schools will be equipped with facial recognition cameras ominously named “Orwell,” the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. The state technology firm Rusnano’s Orwell platform is described as a image-recognition monitoring system that uses computer vision algorithms. It will be integrated with face recognition developed by NTechLab, a subsidiary of Russian President…

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Kadyrov Accused of Masterminding Murder Plot Against Georgian TV Host Who Insulted Putin

Georgia has arrested a Russian national suspected of being hired to kill a journalist who insulted President Vladimir Putin live on air, with the would-be victim’s boss claiming that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ordered the killing. Television host Giorgi Gabunia ignited backlash last summer when he opened his broadcast with a minute of graphic vulgarity…

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