An Apple Pie to Celebrate August

Apples are not as simple as they seem. Perhaps no other fruit has left such a large mark in world history. The first cultivated apples appeared in ancient Rus in the 11th century during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise. It is believed that the first apple orchard was planted in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Planting…

Russia ‘Does Not Need’ Western Democracy, Elections Chief Says

Russia’s elections chief said Friday that Russia has no use for Western-style democracy, just weeks before regional elections are set to take place across the country. Central Election Commission head Ella Pamfilova — who is known for overseeing the widespread implementation of controversial online voting, the “resetting” of presidential term limits, and sham referendums in occupied…

Russian Orthodox Church Probes Priest Who Blessed Stalin Statue

Russia’s Orthodox Church announced late Thursday it had launched an internal investigation into a priest who blessed a recently erected monument to Soviet leader Josef Stalin. Father Anatolyi was filmed dousing holy water on the eight-meter Stalin statue earlier this week during an unveiling ceremony in Velikiye Luki, located in northwestern Russia’s Pskov region. While he admitted that…

Exiled Kadyrov Critic Charged With ‘Calls for Terrorism’ – Report

Russian authorities have charged prominent Chechen human rights lawyer and activist Abubakar Yangulbaev with “calls for terrorism,”  the Ostorozhno Novosti news outlet reported Friday. Chechen law enforcement officials opened the charges in response to a post made by Yangulbaev on the Telegram messaging app last year, according to unnamed sources cited by the outlet.  The post,…

Mass Survellience in Russia Expands Rapidly Since Ukraine Invasion – MT Russian

Russia has steadily expanded its sprawling facial recognition surveillance system since invading Ukraine last year, The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported Thursday, citing thousands of state procurement documents. While formally designed to fight crime, Russia’s facial recognition system has been more effective in identifying anti-war activists and draft dodgers, surveillance experts told the outlet, adding…

Russia-Installed Court Jails 3 Ukrainian Soldiers

A Russia-installed court in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region has jailed three Ukrainian soldiers, Russia’s Investigative Committee said Thursday, accusing them of a range of crimes including murder. The verdicts came a day after the same court sentenced three other Ukrainian soldiers, all of whom were charged with inflicting “cruel treatment on the civilian population.” The…

Putin Opts Against Stricter Capital Controls Amid Ruble’s Slide – Vedomosti

Russia will not tighten capital controls in response to a weakening ruble, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday, citing two anonymous sources close to the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin met with cabinet members and Central Bank governor Elvira Nabiullina on Wednesday to hear proposals on converting foreign currency earnings held by exporters into rubles.…

45K Muscovites Fighting in Ukraine, Mayor Says

Around 45,000 residents of Moscow have been deployed on the frontline in Ukraine, the Russian capital’s mayor said late Wednesday. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said some 20,000 Muscovites are serving in the war as mobilized soldiers, while another 20,000 are either contract or volunteer fighters. The remaining 5,000 are professional soldiers, he added. Sobyanin’s figures suggest that…

Russian Election Watchdog Chief Charged With Running ‘Undesirable’ Group

An earlier version of this article, citing a report by Kommersant, incorrectly stated that Melkonyants was outside of Russia on Thursday. He is currently in Russia.  Russian authorities have charged the co-chair of the independent election monitor Golos for running an “undesirable” organization, state media reported Thursday, citing an anonymous source. Law enforcement carried out searches…

Russians Issued Military Summonses for ‘Data Verification’ – Reports

Military enlistment offices across Russia have begun sending out summonses, sparking fears that the Kremlin may be preparing for a new wave of mobilization, media outlets have reported. The summonses were sent to residents in central Russia’s Ulyanovsk and Perm regions, as well as in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo and Chelyabinsk, according to the independent news outlets…

Russia’s Luna-25 Probe Reaches Moon Orbit

Moscow’s Luna-25 lander is due to reach the Moon’s orbit Wednesday, in the first such Russian mission in almost 50 years, according to Roscosmos space agency. With the lunar launch, Moscow’s first since 1976, Russia hopes to provide renewed momentum to its space industry, which has been struggling for years and has become increasingly isolated amid…

Russia Declares Polish-Based Anti-War Group ‘Undesirable’

Russian authorities on Wednesday designated the Polish-based anti-war group For a Free Russia an “undesirable organization,” making any work for or with the collective a criminal offense. “From abroad, they involve Russians in volunteer battalions within the Ukrainian armed forces and train so-called ‘resistance groups’,” the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.  For…

Russian Forces Repel Ukrainian Incursion Into Border Region – Governor

Russian military and security forces prevented a Ukrainian sabotage group from infiltrating western Russia’s Bryansk region, the regional governor said Tuesday. Russia’s armed forces, together with Federal Security Service (FSB) border agents and National Guard special units, thwarted “an attempt by a Ukrainian diversionary reconnaissance group to infiltrate” the Bryansk region, Governor Alexander Bogomaz said. After initially…

Russia Fines Pro-War Ex-Military Intelligence Officer for ‘Descrediting’ Army

A former Russian military intelligence officer known for publically endorsing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has been fined for “discrediting” the country’s armed forces, the independent news website Mediazona reported Tuesday. The case against ex-GRU colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, 74, stands out as a rare example of Russia’s justice system targeting pro-war figures instead of dissenters who…

Flood-Hit Region in Russia’s Far East Declares Emergency to Expand Disaster Relief

Authorities in the flood-stricken Primorye region of Russia’s Far East on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to expand relief efforts following an outcry by local residents in affected areas. Governor Oleg Kozhemyako promised higher payouts to families whose homes were damaged by tropical storm Khanun, which pummeled the Primorye region last week, triggering evacuations…

Ruble Slips Past 100 Against Dollar

The Russian ruble slid past 100 against the dollar Monday, its lowest level since late March 2022, just weeks after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  The ruble has shed around 30% of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year, as Russia imports more and exports less.  Data from the…

Poland Detains Russians Distributing Wagner Group ‘Propaganda’

Poland has detained two Russian citizens for “distributing propaganda materials of the Wagner Group” in the cities of Warsaw and Krakow, the Polish interior minister said Monday. “Both were charged with… espionage and arrested,” Mariusz Kaminski said on social media without providing further details about the detained men. Poland has recently warned of possible provocations…

Russia Evacuates 2,000 in Far East Over Floods

Russia has evacuated more than 2,000 people from flooded areas in its Far East, emergency officials said Sunday, after Tropical Storm Khanun brought heavy rains to the region. “More than 2,000 people, including 405 children, have been evacuated in Primorye,” the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said on Telegram. The ministry said nearly 5,000 buildings had…

Russia’s Budget Revenue from Prisoner Labor Doubles from 2016-2022

Russia’s federal budget revenue from convict labor has more than doubled from 2016-2022, The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported Friday, citing Finance Ministry data. In 2022, the federal budget received 19.1 billion rubles ($192.4 million) from forced labor performed by convicts for state and private companies, compared to 8.8 billion rubles ($89.4 million) in 2016, according…

‘Putin Is a Great Guy’: Crimean Waterpark Staff Forced to Apologize for Dancing to Ukrainian Pop Song

Three employees at a waterpark in annexed Crimea were forced to sing a song in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin after being filmed dancing to a Ukrainian pop song, authorities said Friday. A Russian pro-war Telegram channel that describes itself as a “register of Russophobes, Ukrainian Nazis and traitors” shared video of the waterpark…

Plug It, Mute It, or Hear It

Дужка: a variety of hoop-shaped objects I don’t know if I want to know the names of everything because I like languages, or if I like languages because I want to know the names of everything. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. In any case, I get double — or is it quadruple? — pleasure…