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 norm…

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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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Russia Ready To Take Part in Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant, Medvedev Says

Russia is ready to take part in Bulgaria’s Belene nuclear power plant project if such a possibility arises, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

“We have the opportunity to implement this project, no less than other countries,” Medvedev says.

Russian Officials, State Media Meet Explosive ‘Troika Laundromat’ Report With a Shrug

An investigation into a Russian money laundering network that funneled billions of dollars abroad sent shockwaves through Europe this week but was largely ignored by Russian officials and state media. The report released by the Organized Crime and Corruption Project (OCCRP) Monday said that a network of over 70 offshore companies had funnelled $4.6 billion…

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House Panels Seek Details On Trump Communications With Russia’s Putin

Three U.S. House of Representatives committees asked the White House and State Department on Monday for details on President Donald Trump’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to interview translators and other staff involved in their conversations. The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Government Oversight committees said in a statement they wrote to acting…

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Russia Will Be One-Third Muslim in 15 Years, Chief Mufti Predicts

Around 30 percent of the Russian population will practice Islam within the next 15 years, Russia’s grand mufti has predicted, citing demographic trends. Russia’s Muslim-majority regions, including republics in the North Caucasus and the republic of Tatarstan, are known to have the highest birth rates in the country, reflecting similar trends worldwide. Various estimates place…

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Putin Wants What China’s Xi Already Has: His Own Internet

When anti-government protests erupted on Russia’s side of the Caucasus Mountains in October, authorities did something they’d never done before: cut mobile internet service to an entire geographical area. For almost two weeks, tens of thousands of mainly Muslim Russians were prevented from accessing social media sites and sharing videos through their smartphones. Unlike China,…

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Putin Signs Decree Suspending INF Nuclear Pact

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Russia‘s participation in the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the United States, the Kremlin said on Monday. Russia announced last month it was suspending the treaty after the United States said it would withdraw because of violations by Moscow. Russia denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of…

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Russian Telecoms Are Selling Users’ Location Data to Authorities

Russia’s top telecom operators are selling the location data of their clients for millions of dollars to Moscow’s City Hall, the Vedomosti business daily has reported. The Russian capital already fields one of the world’s largest facial-recognition systems, with 174,000 surveillance cameras expected to enter into operation this year. Meanwhile, new anti-terror legislation that entered…

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