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…

EU Approval of Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Faces More Delays Over ‘Incomplete’ Data – Reuters

The European Union’s review of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine could be delayed until after the summer over “major” data shortcomings and the vaccine maker’s perceived lack of experience with overseas regulators, Reuters reported Tuesday. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched a rolling review of Sputnik V, which Russia touts as the world’s first government-approved…

U.S., Russia Say Will Cooperate on Climate

The U.S. and Russia said on Monday they would cooperate on climate change despite strained relations, during a visit to Moscow by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.  Kerry, the former secretary of state who has become U.S. President Joe Biden’s globe-trotting climate envoy, said “the stakes could not be higher” as he met with Foreign…

Russia’s Sputnik V Produces Weaker Response Against Delta, Other Variants – Developers’ Study

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine produces a weaker immune response against aggressive new mutations of the coronavirus such as the Delta variant, the jabs’ developers announced Monday in a new peer-reviewed study. Sputnik V’s developers used blood samples from people who had completed a course of vaccination with the jab to investigate the so-called virus-neutralizing activity…

Opposition Columnist Joins List of Self-Exiled Russians

Prominent Russian opposition-leaning columnist Fyodor Krasheninnikov has joined a growing list of activists and political figures to leave the country in recent months amid what Kremlin critics call an intensifying crackdown on dissent. Krasheninnikov fled Russia for neighboring Lithuania last August after being fined and then jailed for “disrespecting authorities” in his online posts criticizing…

Roscosmos Chief Pokes Russian Billionaires After Branson Space Flight

Russia’s space chief Dmitry Rogozin has pressed his country’s oligarchs to take a page from their Western counterparts and invest into space after British billionaire Richard Branson’s journey to the frontier of space. Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees breached the U.S.-recognized boundary of space Sunday and experienced a few minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of…

Siberian Wildfires Spread 17.5% in 24 Hours

Wildfires ravaging northeastern Siberia have spread by nearly 70,000 hectares in the past day, marking a 17.5% increase in a single day, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday, citing the regional emergencies ministry.  Some 400,000 hectares of forest are now burning in Russia’s republic of Sakha. Abnormally high temperatures and historic drought as well as strong winds…

EU Invites Russia to Discuss Mutual Vaccine Certificate Recognition – TASS

The European Union has approached Russia for talks on recognizing each other’s coronavirus vaccination certificates, EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer said Thursday.  The EU launched its own digital vaccination certificate on July 1, allowing vaccinated EU citizens to travel freely within the 27-member bloc. As the certificate only recognizes vaccines authorized by the EU,…

Tajikistan Seeks Russia-Led Alliance’s Aid as Violence Builds on Afghan Border

Tajikistan has asked a Russia-led alliance for assistance in dealing with security challenges as the United States pulls out of its southern neighbor Afghanistan and Taliban forces advance. Tajikistan is part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a loose military alliance of ex-Soviet states that also includes Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus.  Speaking…

Russian Health Worker Detained for Selling Fake Covid Vaccine Certificates – Police

A senior administrator at a western Russian clinic has been detained on suspicion of selling fake coronavirus vaccine certificates, police said Wednesday. The unnamed Kaliningrad region medical worker is the latest and most high-profile suspect in the authorities’ attempt to crack down on the black market sale of falsified Covid-19 jab certificates.  Demand for fake…

Russian Court Bans ‘Happy Tree Friends,’ Anime Films

A Russian court has banned the distribution of adult cartoon “Happy Tree Friends” and several other animated films within the country, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.  Court-appointed experts determined that “Happy Tree Friends,” which is about three cartoon forest animals that die in graphically violent ways every episode, “contains elements of cruelty”…

Floods Kill 8 in Southern Russia Resorts

At least eight people have been killed by floods caused by torrential rain that have hit southern Russian resort towns over the past week, Interfax reported Wednesday. Authorities declared a state of emergency in six Krasnodar region towns near the Black Sea roughly 1,300 kilometers south of Moscow. Since heavy rainfall began Sunday, two people in…