Russia Seeks to Revive Coronavirus-Hit Tourism Industry By Cutting Visa Red Tape

Russia’s Federal Tourist Agency (Rostourism) wants to help the industry recover from the coronavirus crisis by relaxing visa rules after the country reopens its borders, the RBC news website reported Friday. Russia grounded international flights, except those that return its nationals from abroad; closed border crossings; and suspended issuing visas and e-visas last month as…

Libya Blames Chemical Attack on Kremlin-Linked Wagner Mercenary Group

Libya’s UN-backed government has accused Kremlin-linked private military contractors for an alleged chemical attack in southern Tripoli, according to Arab and Turkish media. Interior minister Fathi Bashaga’s charges turn the spotlight back on Russia’s Wagner mercenaries, who are reported to be unofficially helping eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s year-long offensive to seize the Libyan capital. The…

Russian Prisoner in U.S. Yaroshenko Tested After Cellmate’s Coronavirus Death

U.S. prison officials have sent Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko into observation after his cellmate allegedly died from coronavirus, Russia’s Consulate in New York said Thursday. Yaroshenko is serving a 20-year sentence at the Danbury federal prison in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Russia’s consulate said it filed a health request…

Leading Russian Paper Vedomosti’s New Editor Bans Putin Criticism

The new chief editor of Russia’s leading business newspaper Vedomosti has banned employees from publishing articles that criticize President Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional changes, the paper’s media editor said Wednesday in the latest report of recent censorship at the publication. Andrei Shmarov, who was named acting editor-in-chief by Vedomosti’s new owners in March, made news…

Russia’s Coronavirus Outbreak Jeopardizes Care for Patients With Rare Diseases

The lives of thousands of Russian patients with rare diseases are in danger because the country’s hospitals are being repurposed to address the coronavirus outbreak, the Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday. The government ordered health officials to allocate up to 100,000 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients, the newspaper reported earlier this month. Officials were ordered…

Coronavirus Hits Hard in Russia’s Volatile Republic of Ingushetia

In late March, as Russia’s coronavirus outbreak fanned out from Moscow to the country’s provinces, Abdurakhman Martazanov, chief mufti of Russia’s autonomous North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, started to worry. Before many Russians had grasped the reality of the pandemic facing their country, Martazanov put together a set of guidelines allowing Ingushetia’s mostly Muslim population…

Russian Businesses Ask for Environmental Regulation Reprieve Amid Pandemic – Kommersant

Russian businesses have asked the government to suspend its enforcement of environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday. The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) warned that existing regulations would lead to an “uncontrolled spread of the disease,” according to RSPP chief Alexander Shokhin’s April 15 letter to Prime…

FSB Stops Refugees in Barents Sea

Today marks what is likely the first-ever attempt by individuals to enter Schengen Europe via the Barents Sea. The attempt occurred on Oct. 8, 2019, but first became known to the public today as the verdict from the Pechenga District Court was announced by the Murmansk region prosecutor’s office. Three Syrian citizens boarded a small motorboat in…

Moscow Court Cuts Jail Term for Activist Kotov

The Moscow City Court has ruled to reduce activist Konstantin Kotov’s four-year jail sentence for “multiple beaches” of  Russia’s protest law to 18 months, while also ruling that the guilty verdict was lawful, the RBC news website reported Monday, citing the court’s press-service. The hearing was reportedly conducted without visitors and journalists because of coronavirus…