Belarus Opposition Candidate ‘Disappears’ As Presidential Election Nears

Update: Belarussian authorities on Thursday detained Babaryko on suspicion of financial crimes, the head of the state control committee said. “Babaryko is detained because he was the organiser and leader of illegal activities, (and) tried to influence witness testimony,” committee chief Ivan Tertel told reporters.  A former banker vying to unseat the longtime leader of Belarus…

EU Extends Crimea Sanctions by 12 Months

The European Union on Thursday rolled over for another year tough sanctions imposed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.  The measures prohibit certain exports and imports from Crimea, and ban EU-based companies from investment and tourism services in the strategic Black Sea peninsula. “The Council today decided to renew the sanctions introduced in…

Russia ‘Unblocks’ Telegram Messenger in Surprise Reversal

Russia has halted its largely unsuccessful two-year efforts to block the popular messaging service Telegram. Russia’s federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor made the surprise announcement Thursday, citing Telegram founder Pavel Durov’s “stated readiness to counter terrorism and extremism.” “In agreement with the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, Roskomnadzor is lifting demands to restrict access to Telegram,” Roskomnadzor…

Kazakh Ex-President Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Kazakhstan’s ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev has tested positive for coronavirus, his press service announced Thursday. Nazarbayev, 79, stepped down last year after almost 30 years in power in the oil-rich Central Asian nation, retaining key security council and party leader positions while handpicking a loyalist as his successor. As a former Soviet republic, Kazakhstan maintains close ties…

Massive Vote-Buying Campaign Claimed Ahead of Vote on Putin’s Term Limits – Report

A potentially massive online vote-buying campaign is unfolding ahead of Russia’s vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036, the independent Dozhd news channel reported Wednesday. Russians will begin voting next Thursday, ahead of the July 1 nationwide vote, on a set of constitutional amendments that include social guarantees…

Moscow Breaks 128-Year Heat Record

Moscow experienced its hottest June 17 in more than a century after temperatures hit 31.1 degrees Celsius Wednesday. Russia’s Hydrometeorology Center said that beat the previous record of 30.8 C set on the same day in 1892, Interfax reported. The scorching temperature hit at 4 p.m. in the capital. Temperatures in Moscow will drop below…

Moscow Breaks 70-Year Heat Record

Moscow experienced its hottest June 17 in more than half a century after temperatures hit 29.6 degrees Celsius Wednesday. Russia’s Hydrometeorology Center said that beat the previous record of 29.4 C set on the same day in 1956, Interfax reported. It added that Wednesday’s temperatures were still on track to break a 128-year record of…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | June 17

There have been 553,301 cases of coronavirus infection reported in Russia so far and 7,478 deaths. June 17: 3 things you need to know today Russia’s second-largest city St. Petersburg had the highest coronavirus mortality rate among all Russian cities in the month of April, according to a new analysis of official data. As of Wednesday, 20 cities had canceled…

Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Pass 550K as Putin Eyes Victory Parade, Constitution Vote

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on June 8, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that…

Coronavirus-Denying Russian Priest Captures Church With Cossack Fighters

A prominent Russian Orthodox priest who was barred from preaching for his anti-coronavirus views has laid siege to a women’s monastery, the 66.ru news website reported Tuesday.  Religious authorities barred Father Sergei, the ultraconservative spiritual leader of the Sredneuralsk women’s monastery in central Russia, from public ministry in April for disobeying orders to follow health…

Key Witness in Serebrennikov’s Fraud Trial Claims ‘Severe Pressure’ From Investigators

A key witness in a multimillion-dollar criminal fraud case involving prominent theater director Kirill Serebrennikov has claimed that investigators obtained her testimony under duress, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday. Serebrennikov is suspected of embezzling 133 million rubles ($1.9 million) in a case that his supporters have criticized as politically motivated. The artistic director of…

Russia to Install ‘Orwell’ Facial Recognition Tech in Every School – Vedomosti

More than 43,000 Russian schools will be equipped with facial recognition cameras ominously named “Orwell,” the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. The state technology firm Rusnano’s Orwell platform is described as a image-recognition monitoring system that uses computer vision algorithms. It will be integrated with face recognition developed by NTechLab, a subsidiary of Russian President…

Chechen Violence in France, Explained

Violence involving young Chechens rocked France’s eastern city of Dijon over the weekend. French police were deployed late Monday to restore order following the unrest, which was blamed on the local Chechen community seeking vengeance for an assault on a teenager. Here is a brief look at the origins of the conflict as well as…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | June 16

There have been 545,458 cases of coronavirus infection reported in Russia so far and 7,284 deaths. June 16: 3 things you need to know today Russia’s second-largest city St. Petersburg had the highest coronavirus mortality rate among all Russian cities in the month of April, according to a new analysis of official data. Three more Russian cities, Penza, Chelyabinsk…

Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Rise Past 545K

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on Tuesday, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that would…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | June 15

There have been 537,210 cases of coronavirus infection reported in Russia so far and 7,091 deaths. June 15: 3 things you need to know today Russia more than doubled its official coronavirus death toll for April to 2,712 after changing how it classifies fatalities. Three more Russian cities, Penza, Chelyabinsk and Yakutsk, have canceled plans to hold Victory Day…

Russia Consecrates Grandiose Armed Forces Cathedral

Russia consecrated a massive new Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the country’s Armed Forces on Sunday. The grand ceremony featured Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and other top officials. The cathedral drew controversy during the building stage for initial plans, which were…

Racial Discrimination Row Hits Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center

Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center has sparked controversy with a job posting for a bartender that listed “Slavic appearance” as one of its requirements. The museum, a multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art complex that opened in 2012, blamed an HR contractor for violating its principles and said it has terminated its contract with the company. “I’m inclined to think…

Putin Criticizes U.S. Coronavirus Response, Condemns ‘Mayhem and Rioting’ at Anti-Racism Protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that the U.S. anti-racism protests were a sign of deep crises in the country, criticizing the protests for sparking violence, and raising questions over Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Russian leader stressed he supported black Americans’ struggle for equality, calling this “a long-standing problem of the…

Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Surpass 525K

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on Tuesday, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that would…

Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Surpass 520K

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on Tuesday, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that would…

Russia Day 2020

On June 12 1990 Russia became an independent nation with the declaration of state sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Since 1992, over 145 million Russians have celebrated the day as National Russia Day, enjoying festivities and concerts across the nation. With 180 nationalities and 11 different timezones, Russia is truly one of…

Staff at Top Russian Paper Offer Replacement for Controversial Editor

Staff at Russia’s leading business newspaper Vedomosti have put forward a candidate to replace the current editor-in-chief, whose editorial decisions have ignited a censorship scandal at the leading independent publication, the paper reported Thursday. Writers and editors rebelled against acting editor Andrei Shmarov, who was appointed after Vedomosti’s previous owner announced its sale this spring.…

Russia’s Coronavirus Cases Continue Steady Rise Past 500K as Country Emerges From Lockdown

Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on Tuesday, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks. Many other regions are lifting lockdown restrictions as Russia is preparing to hold a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.    President Vladimir Putin is seeking public backing for constitutional amendments that would…