Memorial: NGO That Fought for Victims of Russian Repression

Memorial, dissolved by Russia’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, was the country’s most respected human rights organization whose closure signals the tightening authoritarian tendencies under President Vladimir Putin. The court ruling against Memorial International, the organization’s central structure, seals a swift judicial process to shut down the group, which emerged as a hopeful symbol during Russia’s chaotic transition…

EU’s Russia Strategy Is Like ‘Political Kama Sutra,’ Top Diplomat Says

Russia’s top diplomat on Monday likened the European Union’s policy of “pushing back, constraining and engaging” with Moscow to “political Kama Sutra.”  Brussels’ high representative Josep Borrell outlined the multilateral Russia strategy in June as the sides reached their “lowest level” in relations due to a litany of disagreements including Ukraine, Belarus and human rights. “I…

Russia in 2021: The Year in Photos

Rescuer Alexander Zakovryashin, injured in a search and rescue operation after the Listvyazhnaya coal mine accident, is transported to a miners’ healthcare center in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia. On the morning of Nov. 25, coal dust caught on fire in a ventilation shaft some 250 meters underground, filling the mine with smoke. At…

Russia Denies Withholding Gas Supplies to Europe

Russian energy giant Gazprom has rejected accusations that Moscow is limiting gas deliveries to Europe and denounced Germany’s resale of gas to Poland amid soaring prices. Poland this week accused Moscow of having stopped its deliveries via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that sends Russian gas to Western Europe, accusing Gazprom of “manipulation”. The pipeline was operating…

Prigozhin Bankrolls New Movie About Russian ‘Instructors’ in Mozambique

A new movie backed by Kremlin-linked catering magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin depicts a group of Russian “military instructors” invited to Mozambique to fight Islamic State-linked insurgents in the country’s north. “Granit,” set to premiere next Tuesday on the government-friendly NTV channel, is produced by Aurum, a company in which Prigozhin holds a major stake, according to…

U.S. Became ‘Arrogant’ After Fall of Soviet Union – Gorbachev

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Friday that Washington grew “arrogant and self-confident” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the expansion of the NATO military alliance. In recent years President Vladimir Putin has grown increasingly insistent that NATO is encroaching close to Russia’s borders, and Moscow last week demanded “legal guarantees” that the…

Russia Deploys ‘Defensive’ Mercenaries to Eastern Ukraine – Reuters

Russia has in recent weeks deployed mercenaries to eastern Ukraine to help pro-Moscow separatists defend against Ukrainian government forces, Reuters reported Thursday, citing four unnamed fighters who had been recruited. President Vladimir Putin said earlier Thursday that Russia “must react” to what he alleged are Ukrainian plans to attack the pro-Moscow territories in eastern Ukraine…

Russia to Stage Large-Scale ‘Attack’ Drills Near Ukraine as Tensions Ratchet

Russia announced large-scale “attack” and amphibious assault exercises in and around annexed Crimea on Thursday as Western governments continue to sound the alarm over Moscow’s possible invasion of Ukraine. More than 1,200 Russian airborne and artillery troops, as well as chemical and biological forces and 250 pieces of military hardware, will conduct combat firing exercises…

Russia Still ‘Escalating’ Troop Buildup on Ukraine Border – U.S.

The United States on Wednesday accused Russia of continuing to escalate its troop build-up on the border with Ukraine, and renewed its warnings against any “aggression” by Moscow.  “Russia continues escalating and has not reversed its troop buildup,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told AFP.  Washington and its allies were “closely” monitoring the situation, the…

Abramovich Settles Claim with ‘Putin’s People’ Author Belton Over Chelsea Buyout Allegations

Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has reached a settlement with journalist Catherine Belton in a defamation lawsuit brought against her and her publisher over claims in her 2020 book “Putin’s People.” In a statement issued Wednesday, publishers HarperCollins said they had “settled their dispute with Roman Abramovich over certain passages in…

U.S. Could Cut Off Russia’s Smartphone, Car Imports Over Ukraine Invasion – Reuters

The United States could hamstring Russia’s smartphone and automobile imports if Moscow invades Ukraine, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed Biden administration official. The “unprecedented” U.S. export control measures are expected to be discussed at a White House meeting Tuesday. Washington will also reportedly closely coordinate its steps with key European and Asian partners that could…

U.S. Mercenaries Preparing Donbass ‘Provocation’ — Russian Defense Chief

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed on Tuesday that U.S. private military companies have stationed troops in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine and are preparing a “provocation using unknown chemical components.” Shoigu’s statements came during a Defense Ministry meeting in Moscow amid growing fears that Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine.  “We have…

Belarus, Poland Accused of ‘Brutal Violence’ Against EU-Bound Migrants

Amnesty International on Monday accused Belarus and EU member Poland of subjecting migrants to “brutal violence” as they sought entry to the European Union. The human rights organization said it collected testimonies from 72 affected Iraqi, Syrian and Sudanese nationals who described being pepper-sprayed and beaten with batons. With several of them traveling with family and friends,…

Russian Lawmakers Seek to Recognize Soviet Fall as ‘Greatest 20th Century Catastrophe’

Russian lawmakers seek to declare the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” The proposal submitted Monday by the right-wing nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, borrows from President Vladimir Putin’s famous 2005 remark about the Soviet collapse.…

Russia Demands ‘Urgent’ U.S. Talks, Warning of ‘Military Response’ to NATO Activity

Russia demands immediate talks with the United States on security guarantees from NATO, a senior diplomat said Monday, while President Vladimir Putin’s chief arms control negotiator warned of a “military response” if the alliance continues to step on Moscow’s “sore spots.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke days after Moscow made public a list of demands that…

Public Procurement Kickbacks Total One-Third of Russia’s Budget Revenue – Survey

Kickbacks in Russia’s public procurement system amount to one-third of Russia’s budget revenue, according to a survey published by the RBC news website Monday. The Moscow Higher School of Economics’ (HSE) anonymous survey of 1,200 Russian companies found that 71% of them had encountered corruption during government procurement, according to RBC. Another 28% were unable to…

Russia Forces Media to Block Banned Outlet’s Putin, Kadyrov Investigations

Russian authorities have forced several news organizations to delete their coverage of a blacklisted outlet’s investigative reports on President Vladimir Putin’s alleged extramarital daughter and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s alleged second wife. State media watchdog Roskomnadzor notified the independent Dozhd broadcaster that it must delete 30 articles and videos based on the Proekt investigative outlet’s reporting. “The…

Russia Claims Sputnik V ‘Robust’ Against Omicron as Independent Study Shows No Antibody Response

Russia claimed its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine provides “robust” long-term protection against the Omicron variant Friday, contradicting the findings of an independent study which found the Russian jab produced no antibody response whatsoever to the new, highly transmissible variant. Russia’s study, conducted by the state-run Gamaleya Institute which developed Sputnik V, said it had found…