Khodorkovsky Group Condemns Repression in Russia in Open Letter, Gains Prominent Supporters

A working group set up by exiled Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has written an open letter signed by 77 public figures condemning “the political repression and lawlessness taking place today in Russia.”  Signatories include the creators of the hit television series “Game of Thrones” David Benioff and Dan Weiss, British actor…

Russia, Turkey, Iran Agree Steps to Ease Tensions in Syria’s Idlib Despite Lingering Differences

The leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran meeting in Ankara on Monday agreed to try to ease tensions in northwest Syria’s Idlib region, but disagreements between the countries appeared to linger, especially over the threat from Islamic State. The summit of the three countries — all of whom have allies fighting in Syria’s ruinous eight-year-old war —…

St. Petersburg Police Filmed Dragging Local Election Monitor as Critics Decry ‘Dirty’ Vote

Police in St. Petersburg have been filmed dragging a local election monitor out of a building as observers accuse officials in Russia’s second-largest city of staging the “dirtiest” campaign in the country. No official results have been declared in the five days since St. Petersburg held the municipal vote, leading some election commission members to…

Russia Plans Excise Taxes on E-Cigarettes

Russia’s Healthcare Ministry has drafted a bill to introduce excise taxes on electronic cigarettes, Russian news agencies reported on Friday, citing minister Veronika Skvortsova. Russia has in the past decade tightened tobacco sales regulations as part of a wider campaign to reduce smoking. “The manufacturers of these products are actually pulling (people) into a new…

Russian Prosecutors Find Insufficient Anti-Terrorist Protection at Murmansk Nuclear Waste Sites

An inspection made by the Murmansk prosecutor’s office revealed poor anti-terrorist measures at Saida, Andreeva and Gremikha bays, the Kommersant business daily has reported. The law enforcement officials brought the violations to court, asking to oblige the defendant to install extra physical barriers of protection and other means to enhance security. All three sites are operated by…

UN Investigators Link U.S., Syrian and Russian Forces to War Crimes

Airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria have killed or wounded many civilians, indicating that required precautions were ignored and war crimes may have been committed, United Nations investigators said on Wednesday. Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes are also conducting a deadly campaign that appears to target medical facilities, schools, markets and farmland and…

‘Silence Has Stopped Being a Spell of Protection’: Politics Dominate Russian GQ Awards

The GQ Russia Person of the Year awards — typically an ordinary star-studded affair — turned political Tuesday night when recipients took turns voicing their opinions on this summer’s high-profile news stories. Award winners praised the recent Russian-Ukrainian prisoner exchange and the release of Meduza investigative journalist Ivan Golunov amid near-unprecedented outcry over his arrest…

St. Petersburg Re-Elects Governor Beglov After Controversial Campaign

Alexander Beglov has been confirmed the winner of Sunday’s gubernatorial vote in St. Petersburg following a controversial campaign. Russians voted in local and regional elections nationwide Sunday, including in gubernatorial elections in 16 regions. Critics said St. Petersburg’s gubernatorial race suffered from a lack of real competition against Beglov, a Kremlin ally who has been…

Russia Calls Suggestion That Suspected CIA Mole Unmasked Election Meddling Slander

Russia on Wednesday condemned as lies and slander suggestions a suspected CIA mole in President Vladimir Putin’s administration had handed over information to the United States about alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made the comment after U.S. media reports, confirmed to Reuters by two sources, said a CIA informant…