U.S. Says It Has Plans to ‘Take Down’ Western Russian Region’s Air Defenses

The United States military has a secret blueprint targeting the air defense system protecting Russia’s westernmost territory of Kaliningrad, according to the U.S. Air Force’s top commander in Europe. NATO members perceive Russia’s missile deployments in Kaliningrad as a threat at a time when tensions between Russia and its Western neighbors are running high over…

‘We Tracked Your Social Media, You’re Gay’: Russian Student Threatened With Expulsion

A Russian university is said to have threatened a student with expulsion after his pink phone case and membership in pro-LGBT social media groups fueled suspicions about his alleged sexual orientation.  The reported threats made by Ural State University of Economics (USUE) administrators in Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg come six years after the Russian…

Moscow Protester Released as Russians Campaign Against Prosecutions

A Moscow court has ordered the release of one of several activists charged with “mass civil unrest” during the Russian capital’s biggest wave of anti-government protests in nearly a decade. More than a dozen men, including Sberbank software engineer Aidar Gubaidulin, were placed in pre-trial detention on accusations of organizing mass unrest during election-related protests…

Muscovites Stage Single Pickets at Presidential Office in Support of Jailed Actor

Hundreds of people have lined up for single pickets outside President Vladimir Putin’s administration building in central Moscow to support an actor who was jailed for using violence against a policeman during one of this summer’s unauthorized election protests. Pavel Ustinov’s sentencing to 3.5 years behind bars Monday for allegedly dislocating an officer’s shoulder while…

Russia Plans to Build Major Radar System At Its Northernmost Point

The Directorate for the Russian Federation State Border Arrangement plans to build a major radar at Cape Chelyuskin, the Krasnoyarsk news agency NGS24 has reported. The facility is to be built in 33 months. Its development tender was recently announced by Rosgranstroy, the federal border development authority. The project is officially called “Radiotechnical point Chelyuskin” and includes a cost frame…

Khodorkovsky Group Condemns Repression in Russia in Open Letter, Gains Prominent Supporters

A working group set up by exiled Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has written an open letter signed by 77 public figures condemning “the political repression and lawlessness taking place today in Russia.”  Signatories include the creators of the hit television series “Game of Thrones” David Benioff and Dan Weiss, British actor…

Russia, Turkey, Iran Agree Steps to Ease Tensions in Syria’s Idlib Despite Lingering Differences

The leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran meeting in Ankara on Monday agreed to try to ease tensions in northwest Syria’s Idlib region, but disagreements between the countries appeared to linger, especially over the threat from Islamic State. The summit of the three countries — all of whom have allies fighting in Syria’s ruinous eight-year-old war —…

St. Petersburg Police Filmed Dragging Local Election Monitor as Critics Decry ‘Dirty’ Vote

Police in St. Petersburg have been filmed dragging a local election monitor out of a building as observers accuse officials in Russia’s second-largest city of staging the “dirtiest” campaign in the country. No official results have been declared in the five days since St. Petersburg held the municipal vote, leading some election commission members to…

Russia Plans Excise Taxes on E-Cigarettes

Russia’s Healthcare Ministry has drafted a bill to introduce excise taxes on electronic cigarettes, Russian news agencies reported on Friday, citing minister Veronika Skvortsova. Russia has in the past decade tightened tobacco sales regulations as part of a wider campaign to reduce smoking. “The manufacturers of these products are actually pulling (people) into a new…