Will Russia’s Belated Promotion of Sputnik V at Home Sway a Doubting Public?

In early March, with Russia’s domestic Covid-19 vaccination campaign stalling, prominent tech and publishing entrepreneur Ilya Krasilschik took to social media to urge his followers to get their coronavirus jabs. “We are living through a national catastrophe,” wrote Krasilschik in a widely publicized Facebook post. “Go and get vaccinated.” Krasilschik is one of few Russian…

Master Berdymukhamedov Goes to Moscow

Serdar Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan’s president-in-waiting and son of the incumbent, on March 30 embarked on a four-day trip to Russia as part of an official government delegation. The outing looked like yet another dress rehearsal.  Official readouts of meetings in Moscow allude to mostly humdrum business, although there are hints of noteworthy developments.  The delegation was…

Russian Troop Buildup Near Ukraine Largest Since War Outbreak, Monitor Says

Russia has amassed the largest concentration of troops on its border with Ukraine since the eastern Ukraine conflict first erupted in 2014, The Insider investigative news website reported Wednesday, citing military analysts. Recent Russian military movements and an increase in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have raised fears of an escalation in the long-simmering…

Russian Investigators to Probe Feminist Eurovision Pick for ‘Inciting Hatred’ – Reports

Moscow investigators have launched an inspection into “Russian Woman,” the country’s entry to this year’s Eurovision song contest, after a veteran’s newspaper accused it of inciting hatred, the state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday.  Written and performed by Tajik-born artist Manizha, “Russian Woman” has sparked controversy among conservative groups for its lyrics promoting female empowerment…

Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Less Effective Against South African Variant – U.S. Study

Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine appears significantly less effective in combating the South African variant of the virus, a new laboratory study of 12 cases has shown. Scientists in the U.S. used blood samples from Argentinians who had been vaccinated with Sputnik V to investigate whether the antibodies they had produced would effectively fight various mutations…

Russia’s First Space Tourism Company Closes

A Russian company that planned to send tourists to space through the country’s first private cosmodrome has scrapped the project and will permanently close, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday. Kosmokurs’ operations will cease due to “insurmountable difficulties” in coordinating with local authorities on the cosmodrome project as well as the company’s “inability…

Russia’s Excess Death Toll Hits 422K

Russia recorded almost 30,000 excess deaths during February, the country’s statistics agency announced Friday — a figure which takes Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic above 422,000. Excess deaths are calculated by comparing fatalities during the pandemic with mortality rates in the same months of previous years. It is…

Armenian PM Self-Isolates Ahead of Putin Meeting

Armenia’s prime minister has gone into self-isolation as a preventative measure against coronavirus ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, officials said on Friday.  It is common for anybody meeting in person with 68-year-old Putin to isolate beforehand to protect him from the contagion. Nikol Pashinyan, who faces backlash at home…

Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine Can Be ‘Updated’ With New Strains, Developer Says

The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine said Friday that they have come up with technology that “updates” the jab to protect against new, more-contagious strains of the virus. Studies suggest that vaccines currently in use provide less protection against the new Covid-19 variants that have emerged in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.  Scientists…

Russia Warns of Anti-White ‘Aggression’ in U.S.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday warned that anti-white racism might be building in the United States and said that political correctness “taken to the extreme” would have lamentable consequences. In an interview with political scientists broadcast on national television, Moscow’s top diplomat said Russia had long supported a worldwide trend that “everyone wants to get…

U.S. Slashes Visa Services at Consulates in Russia

U.S. visas and services for American citizens will only be available in Moscow after the U.S. slashed operations at its remaining Russian consulates, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan announced Thursday. High tensions and Russia’s 2017 personnel cap on the U.S. diplomatic mission previously prompted the State Department to consider closing the two remaining U.S.…

Russian Diplomats in North Korea Facing ‘Acute Shortages’ of Food, Essentials as Frustration Builds

Russian diplomats in North Korea are growing increasingly frustrated with the “severe conditions” in which they have found themselves as anti-coronavirus measures cut off the secretive country from the rest of the world. In a Thursday statement, Russia’s Embassy in Pyongyang said diplomats in the country are facing an acute shortage of essential goods sparked…

Reports of Major Abuses by Russian Mercenaries in C. Africa – UN Experts

UN experts expressed concern on Wednesday over reports of “grave human rights abuses” by Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic, where they have supported the embattled government’s military. “The experts have received, and continue to receive, reports of grave human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, attributable to the private military personnel…

Russian Senate Speaker Slams Eurovision Pick ‘Russian Woman’ as ‘Nonsense’

The speaker of Russia’s upper-house Federation Council on Wednesday criticized the lyrics to the country’s selection for the Eurovision song contest as “nonsense” and demanded a review of how it was chosen. Russia announced earlier this month that it would send Tajik-born singer-songwriter Manizha to this year’s Eurovision contest in the Netherlands, where she will perform…