When Culture Reaches for a Gun

This article was first published in The New Times. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum, joined Vladimir Putin, Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev, Patriarch Kirill and former culture minister Vladimir Medinsky in the role of heavy artillery to justify ideologically Russia’s choice of civilization: self-isolation and an archaic militarized state. Mikhail Piotrovsky…

Michelin Tire Group to Give Up Russia Business

French tire group Michelin said Tuesday it plans to transfer its activities in Russia to local management, the latest foreign firm to exit the country following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of Western companies ranging from furniture store IKEA to fast-food chain McDonald’s and sports retailer Nike have left Russia since the war erupted in late February and sanctions…

Moody’s Declares Russia in Default

Moody’s ratings agency has confirmed that Russia defaulted on foreign debt for the first time in a century after bondholders did not receive $100 million in interest payments. “Missed coupon payment constitutes a default,” Moody’s said in a statement late Monday.  Bloomberg had earlier reported that Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt after the…

Russia Restricts Pilot Exodus Following Mass Layoffs – Kommersant

Russian aviation authorities are preventing jobless pilots from finding work with foreign airlines, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday, citing five unnamed industry sources.  Airlines started laying off Russian pilots in the spring after most international flights were grounded due to the risk of aircraft seizures in line with Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.…

Ukraine’s Richest Oligarch Sues Russia Over ‘Stolen’ Grain and Steel Assets

Ukraine’s richest oligarch has filed a lawsuit against Russia in Europe’s top human rights court, citing “grievous violations” in Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian property and resources since the start of Moscow’s invasion in late February. Rinat Akhmetov, a steel tycoon who owns Ukraine’s largest steel manufacturer Metainvest, filed the lawsuit in the European Court of…

Russia Denies Defaulting on Foreign Debt

Updated at 5:24 p.m. on June 27 to add Russia’s denial. Russia shot down reports that it defaulted on its external debt Monday, after a deadline on $100 million in interest payments passed. Bloomberg had earlier reported that Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt after the expiration of the grace period on about $100 million in interest…

Pay Raises, More News and Tighter Control: Staff at Russian State TV Work Overtime Amid Ukraine War

“No war” and “They are lying to you” were not messages Russian viewers expected to see during a news bulletin on state-run television.  But that was exactly what happened when producer Marina Ovsyannikova stormed a live broadcast waving an anti-war poster shortly after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.  “The atmosphere was terrible at Channel One at…

Russian Student Sapega Seeks Pardon for 6-Year Belarus Sentence – BBC

Russian student Sofia Sapega has sought a pardon from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko a month after being sentenced to six years in prison on extremism charges, the BBC’s Russian service reported Monday.  Sapega and her then-boyfriend, Belarusian dissident Roman Protasevich, were detained in May 2021 when Minsk authorities forcibly diverted their international flight as it flew…

Moscow to Send Belarus Nuclear-Capable Missiles Within Months – Putin

Russia will deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus in the coming months, President Vladimir Putin said Saturday as he received Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. “In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions,” Putin said…

Moscow Fashion Week, in Photos

The Russian capital played host to over 100 fashion shows this week as part of Moscow Fashion Week. While Moscow Fashion Week was always meant to showcase Russian fashion house’s designs, this year’s event placed a particular emphasis on domestic brands after virtually every Western brand exited the Russian market over the invasion of Ukraine.…

Russia Plans First Mass Drone Production – Kommersant

Russia plans to scale up industrial drone production following China’s exit from the commercial market and increasing demand from the Russian military in Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday. The open-source drone manufacturer Copter Express (COEX) sold its industrial division to the drone nest maker Hive for an undisclosed sum, the publication reported. Industrial…

Car Bomb Kills Russia-Installed Official in Occupied Ukraine

A Russian-appointed official in southern Ukraine’s occupied city of Kherson was killed in an apparent car bomb attack, local authorities reported Friday. Kherson’s so-called “military-civilian” administration told the state-run TASS news agency that one person died in a car explosion in a residential neighborhood in the early morning. “Today, my friend, head of the department of family,…

Russia Recruits Teachers, Construction Workers and Politicians to ‘Rebuild’ Occupied Ukraine

Russian authorities have launched a campaign to recruit essential workers for the “reconstruction” of eastern Ukrainian territories occupied by its forces, according to public online job postings and news reports. Since shifting the focus of its invasion eastward following a failed effort to capture Kyiv, Russia has said its main objective is to “liberate” areas…

Nike Says Permanently Exiting Russian Market

Nike will make a complete departure from Russia in the coming months, Reuters reported Thursday, citing an emailed statement from the company. The exit comes nearly four months after the U.S. athletic-wear giant suspended its Russian operations on March 3 following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Nike has made the decision to leave the Russian…

Russian Pop Icon Yuri Shatunov Dies Aged 48

Pop singer Yuri Shatunov, who was wildly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, died Thursday at the age of 48. “Last night Yuri’s heart stopped in an ambulance,” said Shatunov’s manager, Arkady Kudryashov, the state-run news agency TASS reported.  Shatunov was perhaps best known as the frontman of band Laskovy Mai (‘Gentle May’), which filled…

Putin Pushes for Stronger Ties with BRICS Nations

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for a strengthening of ties with the influential club of BRICS emerging economies, amid unprecedented Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine. “Businessmen of our countries are forced to develop their business under difficult conditions where Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, as well as…

Key Ukrainian City Under ‘Massive’ Russian Bombardment

“Massive” Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s battleground eastern Lugansk region and key city Severodonetsk has been “hell” for soldiers there, Kyiv said, while insisting that defenders would hold “as long as necessary.” Moscow’s troops have been pummeling eastern Ukraine for weeks and are slowly advancing, despite fierce resistance from the outgunned Ukrainian military.  With President Vladimir…

IKEA to Close Russian Stores – Vedomosti

Home retail giant IKEA is moving to close its stores in Russia nearly four months into the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the Vedomosti daily reported Wednesday. IKEA has notified landlords at 10 Moscow shopping malls that it will terminate its lease agreements before they expire, the newspaper cited commercial real estate sources as saying.  Three…

EUAS International ICC delegation visited Akkuyu NPP construction site

June 22, 2022, Büyükeceli, Turkey. – Executives and employees of EUAS International ICC, an international division of EÜAŞ, a Turkish state-owned electricity generation corporation, visited the Akkuyu NPP Construction Site.  The delegation headed by Necati Yamac, chief executive officer of EUAS International ICC, examined the construction of four power units and assessed the current work…