Russia Has Most Protected Natural Areas in the World, WWF Says

Russia now ranks first in the world for its amount of protected natural areas, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia data. Official statistics state that Russia has 63.3 million hectares of specially protected natural areas, WWF had previously reported. These figures do not take into account natural territories including cultural heritage sites and territories of traditional use,…

Record $185M in Cash Seized From Russian Official in Sting Operation

Russian authorities have seized 12 billion rubles ($185.5 million) from former FSB official Colonel Kirill Cherkalin, making him the country’s richest ex-law enforcement official under investigation for corruption. Cherkalin, former head of the FSB economic security department’s financial counterintelligence support unit, was charged with bribery of $850,000 last week. Videos posted online show bags stuffed…

Russian Journalists Quit En Masse as Censorship Scandal Hits Kommersant

The entire political department of Russia’s Kommersant business publication resigned Monday in solidarity with two veteran journalists at the newspaper who said they had been forced to step down. In April, Kommersant reported that Federation Council leader Valentina Matviyenko would be replaced “in the coming months,” citing several government sources. The Kremlin said it was…

Putin Has No Plans to Congratulate Zelenskiy on Inauguration — Kremlin

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked if Vladimir Putin will congratulate incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his inauguration, says the Russian president had no such plans. He said that Putin would congratulate his newly elected counterpart if Zelenskiy makes progress in settling the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and mending relations with Russia. 

Pompeo Names 3 National Interests U.S. Shares With Russia

The United States shares counterterrorism, North Korean denuclearization and Afghan reconciliation interests with Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after his visit to Russia. Pompeo’s trip marked the first high-profile U.S. visit to Russia since allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and an investigation rankled bilateral relations. Though the…

Russian TV Cancels ‘The Voice Kids’ Results After Mass Vote Rigging

Russia’s state-run television has canceled the results of a popular children’s singing competition after cyber experts uncovered online vote-rigging that favored the 11-year-old daughter of a celebrity and a banker. Channel One hired the Group-IB international cybersecurity firm to investigate claims that “The Voice Kids”’ vote-by-phone system was tampered with in April. Group-IB’s initial investigation…

‘No End in Sight’ to Fraud in Russia’s Space Agency, Top Investigator Says

Billions of rubles have been funneled out of Russia’s federal Roscosmos space agency over the past five years in corruption schemes, the country’s top investigator has revealed this week. Prosecutors uncovered 1.6 billion rubles ($24.6 million) worth of fraud in the Roscosmos and the Rostec state-run defense corporation last year. Overall, fraud involving Russian state-run…

Head of FSB’s Secretive Unit Charged for $850K Bribery

The head of a highly secretive branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been charged for $850,000 bribery three weeks after his detention, the RBC news website reported Thursday. Colonel Kirill Cherkalin headed the FSB economic security department’s financial counterintelligence support unit. The department played key roles in investigations surrounding former economy minister Alexei…

Russia to Set Up ‘Fake News Database’

Russia plans to launch a public database of news it flags as “fake,” the head of Russia’s powerful media regulator announced two months after President Vladimir Putin signed a law criminalizing the spread of “fake news.” Alexander Zharov’s regulatory agency, known by the acronym Roskomnadzor, has successfully blocked LinkedIn in Russia and is currently engaged…

‘Paralyzer’ Laser Drones Developed for the Russian Military – Reports

Advanced new drones equipped with a stun gun and blinding laser have been developed for the Russian military, Interfax reported Wednesday citing an arms industry official. Russian security forces have been increasingly turning to laser technologies over the past year. In November 2018, Russia’s National Guard bought two laser-equipped vans designed to disperse protesters. The…

What Did Pompeo Discuss With Putin in Russia?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday. Pompeo’s trip marked the first high-profile U.S. visit to Russia since allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and a subsequent investigation rankled bilateral relations. Meeting in the southern city…