Moscow Blames EU and NATO for Latest Balkan Tensions

Rising tensions between the Balkan countries of Serbia and Kosovo are the result of the European Union and NATO “appeasing” Kosovo, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday accused Kosovo of provocation after its police detained more than two dozen people, including one Russian national, during an armed raid…

U.S. Believes Russia Is Conducting Low-Level Nuclear Tests, Official Says

The United States believes Russia may be conducting low-level nuclear testing in violation of a moratorium on such tests, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said on Wednesday. “The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the ‘zero-yield’ standard,” Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley said at…

Global Automakers Accuse Russian Courts of Graft

Major automakers are accusing courts in southern Russia of using consumer protection claims to scam them out of 200 million rubles ($3 million) in 2016-2018, the RBC news website reported Tuesday. Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover filed a complaint with Russian authorities alleging that Krasnodar judges abuse the consumer protection system to seek…

BDSM-Style Graduation Video Divides Russians

A controversial high school celebration in which students dressed in revealing outfits has divided Russian society over questions of morality and freedom of expression. Police issued fines and a headmistress submitted her resignation in the Far East city of Vladivostok after video of the would-be graduates celebrating the last days of school in leather shorts,…

Chinese Officials Are Searching Russian Travelers’ Phones at Border, Consulate Warns

Russia has requested an official explanation from China over a reported new policy in which Russian citizens’ phones are randomly seized and searched by Chinese border guards. The Russian Consulate General in Guangzhou issued an advisory last week, warning that border guards at China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport had begun to randomly select Russian travellers to…

Russia Demands Kosovo Release Detained Russian UN Worker

Russia‘s embassy in Serbia on Tuesday demanded that Kosovo immediately release a detained Russian national working at a United Nations mission in Kosovo, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported. The Russian national was detained in a Serb-populated municipality in Kosovo’s north during a police operation there, RIA said. “We demand the immediate release of the Russian and…

Russia Rejects New ‘Monroe Doctrine’ of U.S. in Latin America – Lavrov

The United States’ new foreign policy approach in Latin America goes against international law, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said after talks with his Cuban counterpart. U.S. national security advisor John Bolton has invoked the 1823 policy established by then-President James Monroe to warn other countries, including Russia and Cuba, against interfering in Venezuela.…

Russian Official Bodyslams Reporter Asking About Corruption, Faces Jail

A district head in Siberia is under investigation for body-slamming a state-run television journalist during an interview featuring questions about corruption allegations. The Rossia 24 news channel showed Sergei Zaytsev, who heads the Shirinsky district in the republic of Khakasia, snatching the reporter’s microphone and throwing him to the ground. Zaytsev told local media that…

Russian Army Introduces New Military Rank

Russia’s armed forces have introduced a new military rank of sergeant major, “experimenting” with 370 of the new recruits in the southern district. Plans to add the new rank as part of Russia’s military reform have been considered since the early 2010s. A sergeant major would undergo grueling recruitment procedures and oversee the military’s sergeant…

Russian Police Official Decries Falling Living Standards for Police, Declares $600K Salary

Russia’s deputy chief of police declared an income of 38 million rubles ($588,000) two days after complaining that law enforcement officers’ living standards are falling. Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Gostev’s income grew tenfold between 2017 and 2018, according to declarations published on Thursday, making him the richest police officer in Russia. Police spokeswoman Irina Volk…

Russian Government Rejects Proposal to Fine Officials for Insulting Citizens

The Russian government has rejected a bill that would have introduced fines for officials who exhibit disrespect toward citizens, weeks after lawmakers passed a bill that introduced fines for disrespecting the authorities. Communist lawmakers introduced the legislation in February, seeking to fine and suspend civil servants for humiliating voters. Around the same time, another bill that…