Finland’s Nordea Bank Pulls Out of Russia

Finland’s Nordea Bank plans to permanently cease its activities in Russia, the bank’s Russian branch announced Thursday.   Nordea Bank “will concentrate its activities in the Scandinavian region, therefore it was decided to partially close the international network, including the Russian branch,” its statement said. In the third quarter of 2020 Nordea ranked 95th in the…

NGO Accuses Europe’s Home Improvement Stores of Buying Illegal Russian Lumber

European home improvement stores continued to sell illegally logged wood from the Russian taiga after the alleged smuggler’s arrest back home, the British environmental nonprofit Earthsight said in a report Wednesday. More than 20 European companies were said to have bought 30 million euros ($36.7 million) worth of suspect wood from companies associated with timber…

Putin Says Will Get Vaccine When Possible for Age Range

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will receive the Russian-developed Sputnik V coronavirus jab once it is approved for people his age, praising the vaccine as safe and effective.  The 68-year-old Russian president said at his annual end-of-year press conference that he had not been vaccinated yet, but “will definitely do so as soon as it becomes possible” according to expert…

Russian Minister Gifted 300-Year-Old Ukrainian Icon in Bosnia — Reports

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received a 300-year-old gilded icon from eastern Ukraine on his trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, European media reported Wednesday. Bosnia’s Serb President Milorad Dodik gifted the Ukrainian Orthodox icon thought to be from the war-torn pro-Russian region of Luhansk, according to Ukraine’s Euromaidan Press news website. The Ukrainian Embassy in Sarajevo requested…

‘Funny to Read’: Russia Reacts to Navalny Poisoning Investigation

Senior Russian diplomats and state television pundits have dismissed media investigations into leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s poisoning and accused their authors of illegal invasion of privacy. A joint investigation published by several media outlets this week claimed Federal Security Service (FSB) chemical weapons experts had tailed Navalny for years, including on the day he was…

Thailand Resumes Visa-Free Access for Russian Tourists

Thailand has restored visa-free access to Russian tourists months after it first imposed coronavirus border restrictions, Interfax cited the royal kingdom’s tourism ministry as saying Wednesday. Thailand, a popular tourist destination that has escaped relatively unscathed from the Covid-19 pandemic, began reopening its borders in October to kick-start its battered tourism industry. All new arrivals…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Dec. 17

Russia has confirmed 2,734,454 cases of coronavirus and 48,564 deaths. Dec. 17: What you need to know today Russia confirmed 26,509 coronavirus cases and 596 deaths Wednesday. Aeroflot will allocate special seating for passengers who refuse to wear face masks on flights, a spokeswoman for Russia’s flagship carrier said Tuesday. Moscow-based foreign nationals including doctors and educators with valid passports, certificates of…

U.S. Investigated Kara-Murza Poisoning as ‘Intentional’ Act – RFE/RL

United States investigators probed Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.’s suspected poisonings as “intentional” acts, the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news outlet reported Tuesday, citing newly obtained records.  Kara-Murza, 39, says he was deliberately poisoned in Moscow in 2015 and 2017 as retaliation for his lobbying efforts to impose U.S. and EU sanctions against…

Russia Lost 5M Migrants During Pandemic

Almost half of all migrants living in Russia before the coronavirus pandemic have likely left the country this year, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. In a statement cited by the RBC news website, authorities said there are currently 6.3 million foreign citizens in Russia. That number has been steadily declining since the start of the…

Putin’s Cousin Forms New ‘Russia Without Corruption’ Party

President Vladimir Putin’s cousin has formed a new political party called “Russia Without Corruption,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.  Roman Putin is an entrepreneur, politician, former FSB officer and Putin’s first cousin, once removed. He previously headed the “People Against Corruption” party, which was dissolved last month by the Russian Supreme Court for…

Russian Activist Convicted Under ‘Repeat Protest’ Law Walks Free From Prison

Russian activist Konstantin Kotov was released from prison Wednesday after serving 18 months for “multiple breaches” of Russia’s protest law. Kotov, who was arrested during the summer 2019 Moscow election protests, was the second person ever to be prosecuted under the controversial law criminalizing “repeated” participation in unauthorized rallies. A Moscow court cut the 35-year-old…

Smog-Choked Russian City Appeals to Biden for Aid

Residents of Russia’s heavily polluted industrial city of Chelyabinsk are calling on U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to help them avoid “ecological genocide.” In a video appeal, residents said Russian authorities routinely ignore their complaints that industrial emissions are getting worse every year, causing rising cases of cancer and suffocating the city in smoke. “They’re taking…

Foreigners in Moscow Eligible for Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine

Eligible Moscow-based foreigners can get vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine as part of the mass rollout currently underway, a representative from the Moscow Health Department told The Moscow Times. Russia kicked off its nationwide vaccination campaign among medics, teachers and other high-risk workers in recent days.  Foreign nationals including doctors and educators with…

Russia’s MC-21 Passenger Aircraft Completes First Flight With Domestic-Made Engine

Russia’s MC-21 medium-range passenger aircraft has made its first flight with a domestically made engine, state industrial conglomerate Rostec announced Tuesday. “Through the efforts of scientists, designers, engineers and workers, a next-generation airliner is being created that returns our country to the top league of world aviation,” Rostec head Sergei Chemezov said in a statement.…

Putin Congratulates U.S. President-Elect Biden After Electoral College Confirmation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory telegram to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after the Electoral College confirmed his win, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.   Putin is one of the last world leaders to congratulate the president-elect, with his message coming six weeks after the Nov. 3 vote in which Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump.…

11 Killed in Fire at Nursing Home in Russia

Fire erupted in a retirement home in central Russia overnight, killing 11 people who were trapped as the blaze swept through the small wooden building, investigators said Tuesday. Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said it had opened a criminal investigation into possible negligence over the blaze at the home in the Bashkortostan region. …

St. Petersburg Restaurants Spar With Authorities Over New Year Virus Restrictions

Restaurants and bars in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg are at odds with authorities over New Year’s restrictions aimed at combating one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, saying the measures threaten their survival. Dozens of establishments have said they intend to remain open for Russia’s most festive holiday, while city authorities have clamped…

U.S. Eyes Closing 2 Remaining Russian Consulates – Kommersant

The United States is considering closing its two remaining consulates in Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic and continued bilateral tensions, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources. The U.S. in March temporarily suspended operations at its Vladivostok consulate and reduced services at the Yekaterinburg consulate due to the Covid-19 outbreak. According to…

U.S. Government Confirms Cyberattack After Reports of Russia-Linked Hacking

The U.S. government confirmed Sunday that its computer networks had been hit by a cyberattack, as The Washington Post reported at least two departments had been targeted by Russian state hackers. “We have been working closely with our agency partners regarding recently discovered activity on government networks,” a spokesperson for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Dec. 15

Russia has confirmed 2,681,256 cases of coronavirus and 47,391 deaths. Dec. 15: What you need to know today Russia confirmed 27,328 coronavirus cases and 450 deaths Monday. Moscow municipal workers as well as residents working in the culture and service sectors will be able to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine starting Monday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced. The new “risk groups”…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Dec. 14

Russia has confirmed 2,653,928 cases of coronavirus and 46,453 deaths. Dec. 14: What you need to know today Russia confirmed 28,080 coronavirus cases and 488 deaths Sunday. Moscow municipal workers as well as residents working in the culture and service sectors will be able to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine starting Monday, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced. The new “risk groups”…

Russia Probes Mystery Seal Die-Off

Russian authorities said Friday they were investigating the mysterious death of nearly 300 endangered seals that had been discovered washed up on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Between Sunday and Thursday, 272 dead Caspian seals had been found at a number of locations in the southern region of Dagestan including its regional capital Makhachkala…

Suicide Bombing in Russia’s North Caucasus Injures 6

An alleged suicide bomber has attacked a security service building in the southern Russian republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, injuring at least six, news outlets and authorities reported Friday. Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) said the unidentified bomber detonated himself while authorities attempted to detain him in the village of Uchkeken some 1,500 kilometers south of Moscow.…

New Alliance Hopes to Raise Awareness of Arctic Environmental Crisis

Independent experts and journalists from Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have formed a regional alliance to share information and publicize stories about environmental damage. The Barents Region Independent Environmental Society (BRIES), aims to create an international communications platform where specialists in the field of environmental protection can share their knowledge and up-to-date information with…

Russian Military Slams Foreign Anti-Vaccine ‘Sabotage’

A foreign-funded campaign is being waged to discredit Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday as the country prepares a mass immunization drive. Spokesman Igor Konashenkov warned of “pseudo-analytical investigations” and “fake witness accounts” alleging the dangers of Sputnik V and mass refusals, including by Russian troops, to inoculate. “We know in…

Russian Arctic Sailings Set 2020 Record

A record number of vessels have in 2020 sailed through Russia’s shipping lane in the rapidly melting Arctic known as the Northern Sea Route, Reuters has reported. The news agency said Norway’s Center for High North Logistics (CHNL) logistics foundation has recorded 62 full transit voyages through the Northern Sea Route as of Wednesday. Ships…