Divorce in Russia Reaches 7-Year High – MBKh Media

Divorces in Russia have reached a seven-year high so far in 2021 with the country’s conservative, Muslim-majority regions unexpectedly seeing the biggest increases, the MBKh Media news website reported Wednesday. The 251,000 divorces filed between January-May accounted for a 44% increase over the same period in 2020, the outlet said, citing the FinExpertiza consultancy. The…

Why Is Russia Arresting Pussy Riot Members?

Russian authorities on Thursday jailed Pussy Riot member Rita Flores for 15 days on charges of disobeying police, an arrest the group said was for “no damn reason.” Flores’ arrest is the most recent in a growing string of detentions, self-imposed exiles and jail sentences against members of the collective in 2021.  Here’s what you…

Russia ‘Successfully Disconnected’ From World Wide Web in Tests – RBC

Russia has “successfully disconnected” from the world wide web during tests of its “sovereign internet” technology, the RBC news website reported Wednesday. Authorities have long flirted with tightening control over the internet on Russian territory, with past attempts to unplug from the global internet having mixed success. The June 15-July 15 test run “tested the…

Russia Extends Navalny Spokeswoman’s House Arrest

A Moscow court on Wednesday extended by six months the house arrest of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s spokeswoman, a top ally said. Russia will hold parliamentary elections in September, and ahead of the polls authorities declared Navalny’s organizations extremist and barred his allies from running. Navalny’s 31-year-old spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, has been under house…

Russian Tech Billionaire Durov Among Potential Pegasus Spyware Targets – Guardian

Russian-born, Dubai-based tech billionaire Pavel Durov’s phone number is listed among the 50,000 numbers believed to have been chosen for global surveillance through military-grade spyware, The Guardian reported Wednesday.  Investigative reports said politicians, journalists and activists from dozens of countries were the potential targets of the Pegasus spyware, which was developed by Israeli firm NSO…

Which Kremlin Critics Have Fled Russia?

A growing number of Kremlin critics have fled Russia in recent weeks, citing fears of prosecution in the wake of nationwide protests in support of jailed Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny and ahead of high-stakes parliamentary elections. While many of those who have left are allies of Navalny, others are longtime opposition politicians or intellectuals not…

Russian Traffic Cop’s Golden Toilet Steals the Show in Uncovered Police Bribe Scheme

Russian investigators said Tuesday they have uncovered a multi-million ruble bribery scheme run by dozens of senior traffic police officers, with the top cop’s golden toilet bowl stealing the show. In what looked more like a luxury real estate ad, the Investigative Committee published footage of police colonel Alexei Safonov’s opulent residence in southern Russia’s…

Russia Shows Advanced S-500 Live Fire Test

Russia’s military has for the first time released footage of a live fire test of its advanced S-500 Prometheus missile system on Tuesday. The footage showed the vehicle elevating into the launch-ready position, releasing the radar and firing a missile into the air. The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the launch took place…

Russian Legal Group With Navalny Link Disbands

A Russian legal group that recently defended the organizations of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny said on Sunday it was disbanding over fears of criminal sanctions. Team 29 said its website had been blocked after a request from prosecutors, who accuse the group of links with a Czech organization that has been deemed “undesirable.” Since Navalny’s…

How Do Russia’s ‘Undesirable Organizations’ and ‘Foreign Agents’ Laws Work?

Russian investigative journalism outlet Proekt was added to the country’s registry of “undesirable” organizations Thursday, banning its activity in Russia and putting its staff at risk of legal penalties including jail time.  The designation is the latest example of Russia’s crackdown on independent and investigative media in recent months, with multiple organizations and individuals being…

International Swimmers Attempt to Cross Freezing Lake Baikal in Eco-Relay

Eight swimmers from around the world braved the freezing waters of Lake Baikal in Siberia this week to raise awareness toward the environmental threats facing the world’s largest and oldest freshwater lake. Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been plagued with environmental problems caused by industrial pollution, mining, sewage discharge and agricultural run-off.…

Russian Military to Make Putin’s Ukraine Opus Compulsory – RBC

President Vladimir Putin’s lengthy treatise on Russia and Ukraine’s shared history has been added to the Russian military’s curriculum, the RBC news website reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly personally ordered the 5,300-word opus published by the Kremlin on Monday to be added into the military-patriotic directorate’s curriculum. Russian media called…

Russia’s First ‘Undesirable’ News Outlet Promises New Bombshell Investigation, Defying Ban

Independent Russian investigative outlet Proekt has promised a new and potentially explosive investigation in the coming week in defiance of its new “undesirable” ban. Proekt is Russia’s first news outlet to be declared “undesirable,” a designation that forces labeled organizations to disband and places members and financial contributors at risk of significant jail time. Over…

Russian Prosecutors Seek 6-Year Suspended Sentence for U.S. Investor Calvey

Russian prosecutors have asked for a six-year suspended sentence for American investor Michael Calvey in an embezzlement case that has sent shockwaves through the Russian business establishment, Calvey’s lawyer confirmed to The Moscow Times on Thursday.   Speaking to reporters after Thursday’s court hearing, Calvey slammed the request, saying his innocence was fully proven in documents…

Russia Bans Independent Investigative Outlet Proekt with ‘Undesirable’ Label

Russia has added independent investigative outlet Proekt to its registry of “undesirable” organizations, a designation that bans the outlet’s activities and puts its staff at risk of jail time, and labeled several of its journalists “foreign agents.” Founded in 2018, Proekt, one of the country’s last independent news outlets, has been behind several high-profile investigations…

Russia Holds Military Drills in Tajikistan Amid Taliban Offensive

Russia on Wednesday launched military exercises in Tajikistan as the Taliban continue their blistering offensive in neighboring Afghanistan. The militants in recent weeks have brought huge swathes of the country under their control as foreign troops withdraw, including Afghanistan’s main Shir Khan Bandar border crossing with Tajikistan. Moscow is closely watching the offensive, concerned about…

FBI Suspects U.S. Firm of Bypassing Sanctions to Ship WMD Tech to Russia – Reports

The FBI and U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating an American company for allegedly bypassing sanctions to supply lab equipment for Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday, citing newly unsealed documents it said it obtained.  According to the federal court documents, Intertech Corporation allegedly “intentionally falsified shipping documents, avoided and circumvented…

Neutral Olympic Athletes From Russia Told to Deflect ‘Provocative’ Questions

Russian athletes competing under a neutral flag have been instructed to avoid answering “provocative” political questions at the Tokyo Olympics that will open to mostly empty stands next week, the Vedomosti business daily reported Wednesday. “No comment” is the most commonly recommended response on issues ranging from Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the Russian doping…