Wagner Recruiting Kyrgyz, Uzbek Citizens to Fight in Ukraine – Reports

Shadowy Russian private military company Wagner has started recruiting citizens of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to fight in Ukraine, Kyrgyz media reported Wednesday.  Russia has faced heavy military casualties in its five-month invasion of Ukraine, pushing Moscow to search for ways to shore up its manpower without declaring a full mobilization. Kyrgyzstan’s MediaHub investigative outlet said…

Russia to Launch Football League for ‘Friendly’ Occupied, Separatist Territories

Russia will launch a football league for “friendly” Moscow-occupied and separatist territories in Ukraine and Georgia, a sporting official said Monday. The league will consist of clubs from annexed Crimea, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhask People’s Republics and the Russian-held Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in southern Ukraine, as well as the breakaway Georgian regions of…

Tennis Star Kasatkina Slams Russian Stance to Homosexuality in Coming-Out Video

Russian world number 12 Daria Kasatkina criticized her country’s attitude toward homosexuality in a video published on Monday as she announced she was a lesbian. The 25-year-old’s comments come after Russian deputies proposed on Monday a new law which would ban information on all non-traditional sexual relationships in the public sphere. Broadcasting homosexual “propaganda” to…

Russian Lawmakers Eye Expansion of ‘LGBT Propaganda’ Law

Russian lawmakers on Monday submitted legislation that would ban any information deemed “LGBT propaganda” by Russian authorities. Current Russian law bans the display of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” toward minors. If passed, the latest bill would restrict “information that denies family values” as well as “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” aimed at any age…

Russia Fines Google $360Mln Over Ukraine Content

A Moscow court has fined Google 21 billion rubles ($360 million) for failing to remove content concerning Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, the nation’s telecommunications regulator said Monday. Roskomnadzor said the Google-owned video platform YouTube had failed to block “false information” on the offensive in Ukraine, “extremist and terrorist propaganda” and content “calling on minors to participate…

Putin Says Russia Will Overcome ‘Colossal’ High-Tech Problems Sparked By Sanctions

Russia must work to overcome “colossal” high-tech problems caused by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. “This is a huge challenge for our country,” Putin said, accusing Western countries of deliberately blocking access to high-tech products for Russia. “Realizing the colossal amount of difficulties we are…

Russians Face Long Wait Times for Schengen Visas Following Diplomatic Expulsions

Russians are facing longer-than-normal waiting times for Schengen visas as tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions have left European embassies in Moscow short-staffed and demand for summer travel surges.  Limited appointment slots are available at most embassies’ visa centers, with all slots at the visa centers of France, Greece and Spain fully booked for July, according to travel…

Russian Shelling Kills 6 in Donbas as Zelensky Replaces Security Chief

Russian shelling in battle-scarred east Ukraine on Monday left six dead, Kyiv said, as the country was reeling from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to sack two senior law enforcement officials. EU foreign ministers were convening meanwhile to discuss toughening sanctions against Moscow and the bloc’s foreign policy chief warned of the “life and death” consequences…

‘On The Edge: Life Along the Russia-China Border’

Two “super powers”: One in economic decline and seeking to regain its imperial status by brutally attacking a democratic neighbor, the other in seemingly unstoppable economic ascendence, inexorably extending its “Belt and Road Initiative,” and, with it, its global influence. Author Franck Billé Courtesy of the author These are the Russia and China of international…

The Taste of Russia: Pickles with Honey

What’s the dominant taste of Russian cuisine? Surely it’s the sour taste of fermentation — sour cabbage (sauerkraut), sourdough rye bread, soused apples and, of course, sour (pickled) cucumbers. Real barrel-fermented pickles are delicious as appetizers and as ingredients for many dishes. Soups like rassolnik and solyanka and the classic salad “vinaigrette” wouldn’t be possible…

Ukraine Accuses Russia of Shelling from Captured Nuclear Plant

Ukraine’s atomic energy agency accused Russia of using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant to store weapons and shell the surrounding regions of Nikopol and Dnipro that were hit Saturday. Petro Kotin, president of Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom, called the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant “extremely tense” with up to 500 Russian soldiers controlling the plant. The…

Russia’s 5G Expansion Thwarted By Sanctions, Domestic Constraints

Russia’s development of 5G cellular network coverage is on hold due to the exit of major global telecom providers and constraints posed by government regulations, the Business St. Petersburg news outlet reported Wednesday, citing industry experts.  Russia’s digital developments ministry earlier this month said it aims to facilitate the 5G network’s expansion in Russia, including…

Putin Signs Expanded ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

President Vladimir Putin signed into law Thursday legislation expanding the “foreign agent” label to encompass anyone deemed to have fallen under “foreign influence.” Russia’s registry of “foreign agents,” a name with Soviet-era connotations, lists “politically active” people and organizations that Russian authorities determine to have received foreign funding and subjects them to strict auditing requirements.…

Kazakhstan Seeks to Attract Foreign Brands Exiting Russia

Kazakhstan must work to accommodate the hundreds of international businesses that have left Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the ex-Soviet republic’s president said Thursday. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has walked a diplomatic tightrope since the start of the war in February, maintaining close ties with Moscow while refusing to recognize the independence of Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern…