Exiled Russian Activist Granted Canadian Citizenship After ‘War Fakes’ Conviction Scandal

Canada has granted Russian anti-war activist Maria Kartasheva citizenship, reversing an initial decision to block her from taking the citizenship oath due to her criminal prosecution in Russia for spreading “fake news” about the war in Ukraine, Canadian media reported Tuesday. Kartasheva, 30, moved to Ottawa in 2019. After invading Ukraine in early 2022, Russia…

Russia Mulls Barring Citizens in ‘Unfriendly’ Countries From Voting in 2024 Election – Vedomosti

Russian authorities could bar its citizens living in so-called “unfriendly” countries from voting at embassy polling stations in the upcoming presidential election, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday, citing several anonymous sources close to the Foreign Ministry. Moscow has designated 49 countries as “unfriendly,” accusing them of carrying out “hostile” actions against Russian missions abroad. After…

Russian Singer Arrested in St. Petersburg After Nude Performance Goes Viral

Updated with arrest order. A St. Petersburg court ordered the arrest of Russian singer Maxim Moiseyev (real name Maxim Tesli) after he was filmed performing on stage wearing only a sock on his genitals, the local news website Fontanka reported Tuesday. Tesli was detained Monday night by law enforcement agents at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, according to Fontanka.…

Russian Rapper Who Attended ‘Nearly Naked’ Party Handed Military Summons – Reports

Russian authorities handed military summons to a rapper who attended a “nearly naked” party last month wearing only a sock on his penis, the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid reported Monday, citing a member of Russia’s state prison watchdog. A Moscow court fined and jailed rapper VACÍO (real name Nikolai Vasilyev) for 15 days in late December after finding him…

Russian Official Probed for Wishing Cancer on Family Members of Subordinates

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry has launched a disciplinary probe into one of its regional chiefs for publically wishing cancer on the family members of subordinates who accused him of corruption, a federal lawmaker said Monday. Nikolai Lyubavin, who heads the Emergency Situations Ministry’s Volgograd region branch, was recorded blasting unidentified staff members for filing a complaint…

Russian Environmental News Outlet Kedr Closes After ‘Foreign Agent’ Designation

The independent environmental news outlet Kedr has shut down after being labeled a “foreign agent,” its founder said Monday. Russia’s Justice Ministry added Kedr to its list of “foreign agents” in November for spreading “fake news” about the government’s environmental policies and distributing content of other “foreign agents.” “Kedr has been closed since the beginning…

Russia’s Belgorod Evacuates 300 Residents Over Ukrainian Strikes

Some 300 residents of the western Russian city of Belgorod have been evacuated following a recent wave of Ukrainian strikes, authorities said Monday. “Around 300 Belgorod residents, who decided to evacuate temporarily, are currently being housed in temporary shelter centers in Stary Oskol, Gubkin and the Korochansky district,” Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in…

Kadyrov Offers Ukrainian POWs in Exchange for Lifting Sanctions on Family

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has offered to release Ukrainian prisoners of war in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions against his family members, Russian state media reported Friday. Kadyrov said he had provided a list of Ukrainian captives to American writer Scott Ritter, a former U.S. intelligence officer and regular contributor at Russian government-owned media outlets. …

Ukraine Says Russian Hackers Breached Telecom Giant Months Ahead of Cyberattack – Reuters

Russian hackers infiltrated Ukraine’s main mobile operator Kyivstar months before launching a “disastrous” cyberattack that disrupted services for some 24 million users, Reuters reported Thursday, citing Ukraine’s cybersecurity chief. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has said it suspects Russia’s secret service was behind the Dec. 12 Kyivstar attack that paralyzed its network for days.…

Chechnya’s Kadyrov Calls for ‘Blood Vengeance’ Against Relatives of Fugitives

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has called for the prosecution of wanted fugitives’ family members, according to the opposition group 1Adat, remarks he made during a meeting with officials on New Year’s Eve.  Kadyrov said he had instructed Chechnya’s law enforcement agencies to maintain “extreme vigilance” during the holidays, which in Russia take place on Jan.…

Russia Accuses Head of Kazakh Diaspora of ‘War Fakes’ – Vyorstka

Russian authorities have launched a criminal investigation into “war fakes” against the head of a Kazakh diaspora in Moscow, the independent news outlet Vyorstka reported Wednesday, citing an undisclosed report by Russia’s Investigative Committee. Polat Dzhamalov, who heads an NGO called Moscow Foundation “Kazakh Diaspora,” is accused of sharing a senior Russian official’s alleged estimate of Russian…

Russia Accidentally Bombs Own Village

A Russian warplane on Tuesday made an “emergency release” of its explosive payload over a village in western Russia’s Voronezh region, military and civilian authorities said.  “At around 9:00 a.m. on January 2, while an Air Force plane was flying over the village of Petropavlovka in the Voronezh Region, there was an emergency release of…

St. Petersburg Police Round Up Thousands of Migrant Workers in New Year’s Raids – Reports

Police in St. Petersburg detained some 3,000 migrant workers during New Year’s Eve celebrations, the local news website Fontanka reported Monday, citing anonymous sources. More than 600 of those detained had allegedly broken Russia’s immigration laws, Fontanka said, with over 100 people expected to be deported from the country.  Police carried out Sunday night’s mass round-up of…

Russia Prosecuted 5.5K Cases of Military Desertion in 2023 – Mediazona

A record-setting 5,593 Russian soldiers faced trials in 2023 for desertions and other offenses related to refusal to serve, the independent news website Mediazona reported Friday. Russia passed laws in the fall of 2022 tightening punishments for acts committed during mobilization, including voluntary surrender, conscientious objection and desertion. Mediazona said Russian courts received 5,024 cases relating to…