Russia Replaces Disappearing Western Gadgets With Chinese Brands

Chinese smartphones and home appliances are replacing major Western brands that have exited Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday. January-June 2022 results analyzed by the Marvel Distribution IT supplier showed at least seven Chinese smartphone brands leading sales in Russia, according to Kommersant. Tecno, Infinix, Realme and Xiaomi showed more…

Russia Threatens to Shut Down Bulgaria Embassy

Russia on Friday threatened to close its embassy in Bulgaria and shut down the EU country’s mission in Moscow as tensions rage over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine and espionage concerns. This week Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said his country would expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff, the biggest number ordered out from the Balkan nation.…

Russian ATMs Reject New 100-Ruble Bill – Kommersant

Russia’s new 100-ruble bill will not be introduced into circulation anytime soon due to difficulties stemming from Western ATM and point-of-sale service providers’ exit over the war in Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.  Russia’s Central Bank introduced the new 100-ruble banknote — depicting the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower on the front and the Rzhev…

Strikes Kill 21 in Ukraine’s Odesa

Missile strikes slammed into a residential building and a recreation centre early Friday, killing 21 people and wounding dozens in Ukraine’s Odesa region, in attacks swiftly condemned by Germany. Two children were among the dead and six others among the injured, Ukrainian officials said, one day after Russia abandoned positions on a strategic island in…

Russia Drops Remaining Covid-19 Restrictions

Russia has canceled its nationwide mask mandate, federal health authorities announced Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic has been pushed into the background amid the country’s military campaign in Ukraine.  Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer protection watchdog, said the country’s caseload has “steadily” declined over the past four months. It claimed that 93% of currently confirmed cases are either…

Siberian Scientist Battling Late-Stage Cancer Arrested in Hospital for Treason – Reports

A Siberian spectral imagery scientist battling late-stage cancer was arrested in hospital and brought to Moscow on accusations of treason, the Tayga.info news website reported Thursday. Dmitry Kolker, Ph.D., heads the Novosibirsk State University’s quantum optical technologies laboratory, which partners with Germany’s Max Born Institute and France’s National Institute of Metrology. “They took a sick…

Moscow Summons U.K. Envoy Over Johnson’s Putin Remarks: Statement

Russia on Thursday summoned Britain’s ambassador to Moscow to protest at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “offensive” remarks about President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Russia told the envoy, Deborah Bronnert, it “firmly” opposed “the openly offensive comments by the British authorities towards Russia, its leader, its officials as well as…

Russians Urged to Snitch on Ukraine War Critics in Return to Soviet-Style Denunciations

Following Russia’s bombing of a drama theatre in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in March, St. Petersburg-based artist Alexandra Skochilenko swapped supermarket price tags with stickers containing information about the attack that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians. A fellow store customer reported her act of resistance to the police. “I was extremely outraged by the…

War Crimes Court Issues Warrants for 2008 Russia-Georgia War

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for three people over alleged war crimes during the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia, it said Thursday. Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev, Gamlet Guchmazov and David Georgiyevich Sanakoev, who were officials in the pro-Moscow breakaway republic, allegedly detained civilians to use as “bargaining chips” in negotiations, the ICC…

Top Russian University Head Vladimir Mau Detained on Fraud Charges

The head of one of Russia’s leading universities was detained Thursday in connection with a fraud investigation targeting a former senior education official. Vladimir Mau, head of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), was detained as a suspect in a 21-million-ruble ($399,810) embezzlement case, Russia’s Interior Ministry said.  Investigators have…

Russian Lawmakers Approve Bill to Fast-Track Foreign Media Bans

Russian lawmakers Thursday approved legislation allowing officials to block foreign news outlets in retaliation for clampdowns against Russian state media abroad.  The bill gives Russia’s Prosecutor General the right to ban foreign outlets without court approval if another government is found carrying out “hostile actions against Russian media abroad.” The new measures also give officials…

What Was Putin Doing in Tajikistan?

For his first trip abroad since he sent his country’s armed forces into Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin chose Tajikistan. And few are entirely certain why.  The official agenda for Putin’s June 28 working visit sounded mostly unexceptional. The Kremlin said in a pre-trip statement that talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon would dwell on…

State Firms Gazprom, Sberbank Opt Out of Dividend Payout

Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom and top lender Sberbank decided Thursday not to pay their investors dividends for 2021, sending the companies’ shares downward. Gazprom’s canceled 2021 dividends would have marked an all-time record payout for the company, giving investors an expected 1.24 trillion rubles ($23.37 billion). “The shareholders decided that in the current situation…

Russian Cinemas Sit Idle Amid Hollywood Walkout

More than a third of Russian movie theaters were forced to temporarily close in June as visitor numbers dwindled amid the disappearance of Hollywood blockbusters, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday. Russia’s film industry was thrown into turmoil after the five major Hollywood studios — Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount — halted…

China’s Honor Smartphone Maker Halts Russia Shipments – Vedomosti

Chinese smartphone maker Honor has stopped shipments to Russia over fears of secondary sanctions for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday.  Honor halted deliveries to Russia as early as March without an official announcement, the publication cited two unnamed industry sources saying.  The United States and its Western allies announced export…

NATO Summit Proof Alliance Seeks To Contain Russia – Moscow

Moscow said Wednesday that the NATO summit in Madrid served as proof the alliance was seeking to contain Russia and that it saw Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids as a “destabilizing” factor. “The summit in Madrid confirms and consolidates this bloc’s policy of aggressive containment of Russia,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, Russian news agencies reported.  “We…

Russia’s Military ‘Reshuffle’ Hints at Frustration With Slow Ukraine Advance

Official statements and footage released by Russia’s Defense Ministry suggests the Kremlin has reshuffled the country’s military command structure in recent weeks, according to analysts, as the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine yields few territorial gains.  Russian Deputy Defense Minister Gennady Zhidko’s appearance alongside Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on a visit to eastern Ukraine over…

Occupied Kherson Readying for Vote to Join Russia, Official Claims

Southern Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region is preparing to vote on officially joining Russia, a Moscow-backed official said Wednesday. “We’re preparing for the referendum and we will carry it out,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy chief of the Kherson region’s Moscow-installed administration, said in a video address. “The Kherson region will decide to join the Russian Federation and…

Russia Will Work to ‘Normalize’ Afghanistan – Putin

Russia is working actively to “normalize” the situation in Afghanistan, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday during a visit to neighboring Tajikistan, evoking Moscow’s responsibilities in the area. “We are doing everything to normalize the situation [in Afghanistan] and we are trying to build relations with the political forces that control the situation,” Putin said during talks…

Russian Oligarch Deripaska Says Destroying Ukraine Would Be ‘Colossal Mistake’

Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska said Tuesday it would be a “colossal mistake” for Russia to destroy Ukraine with its military offensive, a rare rebuke from a member of Russia’s business elite.  “Is it in Russia’s interest to destroy Ukraine? Of course not, that would be a colossal mistake,” he told a rare press conference in Moscow. He repeated…

Michelin Tire Group to Give Up Russia Business

French tire group Michelin said Tuesday it plans to transfer its activities in Russia to local management, the latest foreign firm to exit the country following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of Western companies ranging from furniture store IKEA to fast-food chain McDonald’s and sports retailer Nike have left Russia since the war erupted in late February and sanctions…

Moody’s Declares Russia in Default

Moody’s ratings agency has confirmed that Russia defaulted on foreign debt for the first time in a century after bondholders did not receive $100 million in interest payments. “Missed coupon payment constitutes a default,” Moody’s said in a statement late Monday.  Bloomberg had earlier reported that Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt after the…

Russia Restricts Pilot Exodus Following Mass Layoffs – Kommersant

Russian aviation authorities are preventing jobless pilots from finding work with foreign airlines, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday, citing five unnamed industry sources.  Airlines started laying off Russian pilots in the spring after most international flights were grounded due to the risk of aircraft seizures in line with Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.…

Ukraine’s Richest Oligarch Sues Russia Over ‘Stolen’ Grain and Steel Assets

Ukraine’s richest oligarch has filed a lawsuit against Russia in Europe’s top human rights court, citing “grievous violations” in Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian property and resources since the start of Moscow’s invasion in late February. Rinat Akhmetov, a steel tycoon who owns Ukraine’s largest steel manufacturer Metainvest, filed the lawsuit in the European Court of…

Russia Denies Defaulting on Foreign Debt

Updated at 5:24 p.m. on June 27 to add Russia’s denial. Russia shot down reports that it defaulted on its external debt Monday, after a deadline on $100 million in interest payments passed. Bloomberg had earlier reported that Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt after the expiration of the grace period on about $100 million in interest…