Russia’s Largest Drug Lab Busted

Police have busted what they say is Russia’s largest synthetic drug lab on a farm outside Moscow, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Tuesday. Police published footage of the clandestine lab on a four-hectare farm in the city of Serpukhov 100 kilometers south of Moscow. It estimated that 1.5 metric tons of synthetic drugs…

Activists Block Train Carrying German Radioactive Waste to Russia

Greenpeace activists have blocked a train in Germany carrying a shipment of radioactive waste destined for Russia, the environmental organization said Monday. German exports of depleted uranium hexafluoride, a byproduct of uranium enrichment, resumed to Russia earlier this year. The shipments had been halted in 2009 by Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom following reports that…

Russia Says U.S. Backing for Israeli Settlements Blow to Peace Process

Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Tuesday that a U.S. decision to effectively back Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank undermined the legal basis for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday abandoned Washington’s four-decade-old position that such settlements were “inconsistent with international law.”…

Russia Lawmakers Claim Foreign-Funded ‘Camps’ Train Protesters

The Russian parliament’s commission on foreign interference said it has found several “camps” that allegedly receive funding from abroad to train protesters, both in-person and online, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday. Lawmakers formed the commission after this summer’s wave of protests in Moscow, accusing several news outlets and the U.S. Embassy in Russia of…

Sberbank Finalizes Mail.Ru Partnership

Russian corporate heavyweights Sberbank and Mail.Ru have finalized a new strategic partnership just one day after Sberbank confirmed it would step-back from its role in tech giant Yandex. In a series of announcements, Sberbank and Mail.Ru confirmed today the terms of a new joint venture to cover their food and taxi businesses, which the pair…

Russian Billionaire Moves to Launch Orthodox ‘Troll Farm’ – Reports

An influential pro-Kremlin billionaire wants to bankroll a conservative religious troll farm, the Open Media news website has reported, citing an unnamed political scientist who works with the Kremlin. Konstantin Malofeev has long financed the Kremlin’s drive to spread so-called “family values,” including last year’s U.S.-Russian summit of right-wing Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and…

Russia Trades Captive Spies With Norway, Lithuania in Cold War-style Swap

Russia, Norway and Lithuania conducted an exchange of spies on Friday, securing the return of several captured agents to their home countries, the head of Lithuanian counterintelligence said. Previous reports suggested that Moscow, Oslo and Vilnius were discussing exchanging two Russians jailed in Lithuania, two Lithuanians sentenced for spying in Russia, and a Norwegian, Frode…

Russia Recognizes Bolivia’s Interim Leader as Violence Continues

Russia has recognized violence-plagued Bolivia’s interim president until the South American nation’s next elections, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted a senior diplomat as saying Thursday. Bolivia’s pro-Russian President Evo Morales resigned and fled the country this week to ease the violence that has been ongoing since a disputed vote last month. Senate vice-president…

MH17 Crash Probe Releases Intercepted Calls Between East Ukraine Rebels and Russian Officials

A team of international prosecutors has released a new batch of intercepted audio recordings of calls it says are between pro-Russian separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine and high-ranking Russian officials in the weeks leading up to the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The calls include conversations with separatist leaders including…

170K in East Ukraine Get Russian Passports Under Putin’s Fast-Track Program

More than 170,000 residents of separatist-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine have become Russian citizens under President Vladimir Putin’s fast-track program since it launched six months ago, authorities said. Putin simplified the path to Russian citizenship for an estimated 3.7 million residents of the pro-Russian Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” in April, angering Ukraine and the…

Russian Economic Growth Accelerates

The Russian economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.7% in the third quarter of the year, official GDP statistics released Wednesday showed. The rate of growth was up from 0.9% recorded by the Russian state statistics agency Rosstat in the second quarter, and around what was expected by economists and analysts. Both the agricultural…

Sami Parliaments, EU Concerned by Russia Shutting Down Indigenous Rights Group

Moscow City Court ruled to dissolve the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North/Russian Indigenous Training Center (CSIPN/RITC), provoking protests from Brussels and the Nordic Sami Parliaments. Hindering contacts with intergovernmental organizations and forums is exactly why the Justice Ministry in Moscow took the case to court, says CSIPN/RITC director Rodion Sulyandziga, who represents indigenous…