Belgian Intel Officer is a Suspected Russian Spy, Reports Say

An officer in Belgium’s military intelligence service is reportedly under investigation for spying for Russia. The unnamed officer was accused of providing a Serbian national, who is suspected of being a Russian agent, access to classified information, Belgium’s De Morgen newspaper reported. Read More Two Estonians Convicted of Spying for Russia The case reportedly reflects internal…

Russian Priest Under Fire for Sultry Sermons

A Russian Orthodox priest has been defrocked for his adult-themed sermons that shocked congregations, church authorities have said. The news comes a little over two months after another Russian priest was investigated for publicizing his love of luxury brands including Gucci on social media. Read More Russian Priest Investigated After Flaunting ‘Gucci’ Lifestyle on Instagram…

The Great Firewall of Russia. Why Polar Bears Pillaged a Siberian Village. Julia Ioffe on Putin and Trump.

This week on From Russia With News, investigative journalist and security services expert Andrei Soldatov tells us why Russia is moving closer to give the authorities the power to unplug the country’s internet network from the outside world. And Greenpeace Energy Head Vladimir Chuprov has the latest on the polar bear invasion in Russia’s Far…

‘Insane, Ridiculous’: Russian Lawmakers React to New U.S. Sanctions Bill

U.S. senators introduced a bill on Wednesday that would impose stiff new sanctions on Russia over suspected meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine. Targets of the sanctions would include: Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections; the country’s cyber sector; new sovereign debt; and individuals deemed to “facilitate illicit and…

Russia Warns U.S. Against Meddling in Venezuela Crisis

Russia said on Tuesday it was ready to facilitate the start of dialogue between Venezuela’s government and opposition but warned the United States against intervening in Caracas’ internal affairs. Russia has sided with President Nicolas Maduro in his stand-off with opposition leader Juan Guaido. Maduro retains control of state institutions including the military, but most Western countries,…

Russia Moves to Grant Government the Power to Shut Down the Internet, Explained

Russian lawmakers advanced a contentious draft bill on Tuesday that seeks to give the authorities the power to unplug the national internet network from the outside world. Deputies submitted the measures to tighten state control over the internet in December, citing the need to respond to an “aggressive” U.S. national cybersecurity strategy. Although Russia’s state…

Russia Suspends Mission to the Sun

Russian scientists have again delayed the launch of a research spacecraft to the sun over technical issues, researchers say. Russia had been scheduled to send the spacecraft as part of the “Interheliozond” project sometime after 2015, though this was later postponed to 2022 and then again to a final date of 2026. Read More Russia…

Putin’s Ambitious Plan to Overhaul Russia’s Economy Will Cost $390 Bln, Government Estimates

Russia will spend 25.7 trillion rubles ($391 billion) on carrying out President Vladimir Putin’s expansive promises to overhaul Russia’s economy by the end of his last term in office, according to a new government estimate. After his inauguration last May, Putin outlined plans to spend at least 8 trillion rubles on infrastructure and social issues…

‘The Theater’ in 2019

A conversation with Vladimir Urin, general director of the Bolshoi Theater. Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theater In Russia, the Bolshoi Theater is “the theater” — the most prestigious venue for opera and ballet in the country. The Moscow Times talked to Vladimir Urin, the Bolshoi’s general director, about the theater’s plans for 2019.  Which blockbuster…

Russian Farmer Eaten Alive by Pigs

A farmer in central Russia has reportedly been eaten alive by her pigs after suffering a seizure earlier this month. The 56-year-old lost consciousness inside the pig pen where she met a tragic end on Feb. 1, local media cited investigators in Russia’s republic of Udmurtia as saying last week. “The hungry animals chewed through…

Russian Opposition Rallies Calling For Release of Political Prisoners

On Sunday Feb.10, Russian protesters rallied in Moscow and St. Petersburg to demand freedom for political prisoners after a daughter of activist Anastasia Shevchenko died in hospital while her mother was under house arrest. Shevchenko is a member of Open Russia movement, founded by Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and was arrested in January, accused…

Russia’s Investigative Committee Seeks Donations for Archangel Statue, Reports Say

The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee is reportedly seeking donations for the construction of a bronze Archangel Michael statue at the entrance of his agency’s new headquarters in Moscow as religious symbols gain an increasingly prominent place in Russian state institutions. The Russian Orthodox Church has become a powerful political force since the anointment of Patriarch Kirill as its…

After Jailing of Jehovah’s Witness, Human Rights Activists Warn of ‘Wave’ of Arrests

Two days after a Russian court sentenced a Jehovah’s Witness to six years in jail, human rights activists have warned the case will trigger a crackdown on other religious minorities. On Wednesday, Dennis Christensen became the first Jehovah’s Witness convicted for extremism after Russia’s Supreme Court blacklisted the religious group in April 2017. Read More…