Leonid Slutsky Elected Leader of Russia’s Nationalist LDPR Party

Russian parliamentary deputy Leonid Slutsky was unanimously elected Friday the head of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR).  “I could never have guessed that I would be elected the chairman of my native party,” Slutsky told party delegates after the vote, Vedomosti newspaper reported.  Slutsky also promised to “modify” the party’s political strategy ahead of…

Russia Ready to Help Overcome Food Crisis if West Lifts Sanctions — Putin

Moscow is ready to make a “significant contribution” to averting a looming food crisis if the West lifts sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said in a telephone call with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “Vladimir Putin emphasizes that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the…

Google Disconnects From Russian Servers Boosting Local Internet Speeds

Google has disconnected its services from Russian servers designed to boost internet speeds, the RBC news website reported Thursday. Google Global Cache (GGC) allows local providers to offer Google content, including YouTube videos, from their own networks, lowering waiting times for customers. Without GGC, Russian users would experience slower access to Google content directly from…

Putin Visits ‘Hero’ Soldiers Wounded in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday met soldiers wounded in Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine and hailed them as heroes, in the first such visit since he sent troops into the pro-Western country. Wearing a white medical coat, Putin chatted to soldiers at Moscow’s Mandryka military hospital, Rossiya-24 television channel showed. After meeting the wounded…

Moscow Lifts Covid Fines to Prop Up Falling Incomes

Moscow will stop enforcing fines for Covid-19 violations in a bid to prop up falling incomes amid rising inflation and the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Wednesday. “We’ve taken many steps to mitigate the pressure from sanctions in recent weeks,” Sobyanin wrote on his website. “There are other challenges…

Russia Simplifies Citizenship for Ukrainians in Captured Territories

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for Ukrainians living in territories seized by Russian troops in southern and eastern Ukraine. The fast-track citizenship option comes amid speculation that Moscow could establish permanent control over areas it has captured in its three-month invasion of Ukraine.  Russia first…

Nike to Exit Russia as Resale Contracts End

U.S. sports giant Nike is set to leave Russia after declining to renew the brand’s agreements with authorized resellers within the country. Contracts between Nike and two of its largest authorized Russian retailers expire this Thursday, May 26, the Vedomosti business newspaper reported Wednesday. The sportswear label decided not to extend the contracts or sign…

Russia Says Will Monitor Moldova Ex-Leader’s Case

Moscow warned Wednesday it would “closely” monitor the treatment of a pro-Russian ex-president in Moldova who had been detained on suspicion of treason and corruption. On Tuesday, prosecutors in the Western-backed country announced the arrest of former president Igor Dodon, as the conflict in neighboring Ukraine has heightened tensions between Moscow and Chisinau. Russian Deputy…

Russia’s Imports Fall to Two-Decade Low

Western sanctions and the exit of international businesses over the war in Ukraine have caused a fall in Russia’s imports to levels not seen since the early 2000s. Russia imported between $5 billion and $10 billion worth of goods last month, according to Bank Otkritie’s research data cited Wednesday by The Moscow Times’ Russian service. Russia’s…

Putin Allies Eye Prolonged Conflict in Ukraine

Top allies of President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow was ready for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine in order to achieve the Kremlin’s goals in the pro-Western country. The hostilities, which entered their fourth month Tuesday, have killed thousands of people, displaced more than eight million, and forced more than six million refugees to…

Moscow-Held Kherson Region to ‘Ask’ for Russian Military Base

The Moscow-appointed leaders of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region will “ask” for a Russian military base, state media reported Tuesday in the latest example of Russia’s creeping grip on captured Ukrainian territories. Russian forces have installed pro-Moscow “military-civilian administrations” and introduced Russian currency, media and internet services in an effort to cement their presence in occupied areas…

Pro-Russia Separatist Leader Threatens ‘International’ Tribunal for Azovstal Defenders

Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered while defending Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant will face an “international tribunal,” the head of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) said Monday. DNR leader Denis Pushilin told Interfax that all 2,439 prisoners from the Azovstal site were currently on the separatist republic’s territory.  “We are planning to organize an international…

Austrian Ex-Minister Who Danced With Putin Quits Rosneft

Austrian ex-foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who once danced with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding, has quit her board position at Russian oil giant Rosneft, the company said Monday. Kneissl has submitted a letter of resignation effective from Friday, Rosneft said in a statement. The 57-year-old made headlines when she invited Putin to her wedding in 2018 and was photographed dancing with him during the event.  She…

Russia Has Deployed 150 Units in All-Out Ukraine Offensive – Reports

Some 150 military units from across all branches of Russia’s Armed Forces have been deployed in the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, investigative outlet Proekt reported Monday. The large-scale nature of the invasion undermines Kremlin claims that Russia is merely conducting a “special operation” in Ukraine aimed at “denazifying and demilitarizing” the country.  Those deployed include…

Russian Neo-Nazis Participate in ‘Denazifying’ Ukraine – Der Spiegel

At least two neo-Nazi groups are fighting for Russian forces in Ukraine, throwing into question Moscow’s claims of “denazifying” its neighbor, German weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday, citing a confidential intelligence report. The document shared with German ministries by the BND intelligence service does not provide the exact number of far-right fighters, but identifies them as…

For Russia’s Exiled Ethnic Activists, Ukraine War a ‘Window of Opportunity’

As the death toll from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rises, throwing Kremlin imperialism into sharper focus, activists representing the indigenous non-Slavic peoples of Russia are doubling down on efforts to rally supporters behind demands for greater autonomy.   “War is a trigger for greater national consciousness,” Ruslan Gabbasov, the head of the Bashkir National Political Center,…

Ukraine Orders End to Defense of Mariupol

Ukraine on Friday ordered its last troops holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks to lay down their arms, while Russia said its months-long operation to capture the strategic port city is now complete. Russia’s flattening of Mariupol has drawn multiple accusations of war crimes, including over a deadly attack on a maternity ward, and Ukraine…

Russia Labels Kasparov and Khodorkovsky ‘Foreign Agents’

Russia on Friday added two high-profile Kremlin critics to its list of “foreign agents”: former chess champion Garry Kasparov and ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The infamous label, reminiscent of the “enemies of the people” of the Soviet period, is used extensively against opponents, journalists and human rights activists accused of conducting foreign-funded political activities. Such “foreign…