Putin’s Approval Drops Amid Covid Surge, Partial Lockdown – Poll

President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have declined amid weeks of record Covid-19 infections and deaths capped by a partial lockdown, according to a new independent survey published Thursday. Russian respondents’ approval of the president’s job performance dropped to 63% in November from 67% in October, according to the Levada Center pollster. Putin ordered a nationwide partial…

Ukraine’s Goal to Take Back Crimea Is ‘Direct Threat’ to Russia – Kremlin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s intention to restore Kiev’s control over Crimea constitutes a “direct threat” to Russia, the Kremlin said Thursday as tensions run high between the two countries. Speaking in his annual address to the Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday, Zelenskiy said the return of Crimea to Ukraine following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the peninsula…

Russia Says Arrests Ukrainian Spy Trio Amid Mounting Tensions

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Thursday it has detained three alleged Ukrainian spies gathering secrets and plotting terrorist attacks as tensions between the countries escalate over Kiev’s accusations of Russian military buildup and planned invasions.  All three Ukrainian nationals had confessed to being recruited by Ukraine’s military and security services, Interfax quoted the FSB…

Putin Says Constitutional Right to Re-Election ‘Stabilizes’ Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his recently attained constitutional right to get re-elected in 2024 gives the country automatic “stability.” Putin reiterated that he is still undecided about running for his fifth overall presidential term during Tuesday’s appearance at an investment forum by video link. Constitutional amendments passed last year granted him the…

Putin Calls for Mutual Approval of Covid Vaccines

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for mutual recognition of vaccines against the coronavirus to help curtail the pandemic, as concern grows around the world about the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Speaking at a Russian investment forum by video link, Putin said that countries can “effectively battle” the coronavirus only by coordinating their actions. “I…

Russia Developing AI ‘Minority Report’ Protest Detector – Kommersant

Russia is developing special AI-powered software that will be able to detect and prevent mass unrest as soon as next year, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday, citing the Emergency Situations Ministry. The futuristic technology uses machine learning to carry out a “multi-factor, comprehensive analysis of the likelihood of riots and unauthorized public events,” according…

Russia Launches Homemade TikTok Alternative

Russia’s leading media conglomerate has launched a domestic rival to the hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok as Russia’s campaign to reduce the influence of foreign websites and technology advances. Gazprom Media, a subsidiary of state-owned gas giant Gazprom, launched the service, named “Yappy,” on Monday. It is currently available to download from both the Apple…

Russia Deports U.S. College Professor After Bard Hit With ‘Undesirable’ Label – Reports

Russia has deported an American professor at a prestigious St. Petersburg university who was associated with a U.S. college that was blacklisted by the authorities earlier this year, media reported Monday. Michael Freese, a professor in St. Petersburg State University’s Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty, was banned from returning to Russia until 2026, according to the…

Russian Vaccine Skeptics Oppose Covid Passes

Russia’s rollout of a nationwide QR code system that would restrict access to public places and transport to encourage vaccination is running into widespread opposition from anti-lockdown activists, even as Russia’s pandemic death toll continues to soar. With vaccine skepticism rife and only around 35% of Russians having received their jabs, moves to make jabs…

Russian Language Added to Central African Republic University Curriculum

Central African Republic universities will require students to study the Russian language, CAR media has reported as Bangui and Moscow continue to pursue activated military and economic cooperation. President Faustin-Archange Touadéra ordered universities to make Russian compulsory instead of Spanish as soon as next year, the Corbeau News Centrafrique news website reported Friday. Students will…

Russia to Probe Netflix for ‘Gay Propaganda’ Violations – Vedomosti

Russian police will probe Netflix for allegedly streaming content that contains so-called “gay propaganda” without labeling it properly, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday. The Interior Ministry confirmed to the newspaper that it will look into a complaint against the U.S. streaming platform filed by Olga Baranets, the so-called “public commissioner for the protection of the…

Putin Says He Took Nasal Spray Covid Vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has received an experimental nasal coronavirus vaccine days after receiving a booster shot as authorities continue to struggle to convince people to get vaccinated. Putin said on Sunday he had had a third Covid-19 vaccine dose, noting that the injection of the one-dose Sputnik Light booster was painless. The president also volunteered to…

Rapper Morgenshtern Leaves Russia After Top Investigator’s Drug Dealing Claims – Reports

Popular rapper Morgenshtern has left Russia after the country’s top investigator accused him of drug dealing, the Ura.ru news website reported Wednesday. Alisher Valeyev, who goes by the stage name Morgenshtern, reportedly boarded a train from the western Russian border city of Smolensk to Minsk, the capital of neighboring Belarus, with his wife and bodyguards. Earlier…

Ex-Navalny Coordinator Leaves Russia Amid Opposition Exodus

The former head of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s St. Petersburg headquarters said Wednesday she has left Russia, becoming the latest opposition figure to depart the country amid a wide-reaching crackdown on dissent. Irina Fatyanova said she relocated to an unspecified country last week after the jailing of another member of Navalny’s regional political network, Liliya Chanysheva,…