International Swimmers Attempt to Cross Freezing Lake Baikal in Eco-Relay

Eight swimmers from around the world braved the freezing waters of Lake Baikal in Siberia this week to raise awareness toward the environmental threats facing the world’s largest and oldest freshwater lake. Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been plagued with environmental problems caused by industrial pollution, mining, sewage discharge and agricultural run-off.…

Russian Military to Make Putin’s Ukraine Opus Compulsory – RBC

President Vladimir Putin’s lengthy treatise on Russia and Ukraine’s shared history has been added to the Russian military’s curriculum, the RBC news website reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly personally ordered the 5,300-word opus published by the Kremlin on Monday to be added into the military-patriotic directorate’s curriculum. Russian media called…

Russia’s First ‘Undesirable’ News Outlet Promises New Bombshell Investigation, Defying Ban

Independent Russian investigative outlet Proekt has promised a new and potentially explosive investigation in the coming week in defiance of its new “undesirable” ban. Proekt is Russia’s first news outlet to be declared “undesirable,” a designation that forces labeled organizations to disband and places members and financial contributors at risk of significant jail time. Over…

Russian Prosecutors Seek 6-Year Suspended Sentence for U.S. Investor Calvey

Russian prosecutors have asked for a six-year suspended sentence for American investor Michael Calvey in an embezzlement case that has sent shockwaves through the Russian business establishment, Calvey’s lawyer confirmed to The Moscow Times on Thursday.   Speaking to reporters after Thursday’s court hearing, Calvey slammed the request, saying his innocence was fully proven in documents…

Russia Bans Independent Investigative Outlet Proekt with ‘Undesirable’ Label

Russia has added independent investigative outlet Proekt to its registry of “undesirable” organizations, a designation that bans the outlet’s activities and puts its staff at risk of jail time, and labeled several of its journalists “foreign agents.” Founded in 2018, Proekt, one of the country’s last independent news outlets, has been behind several high-profile investigations…

Russia Holds Military Drills in Tajikistan Amid Taliban Offensive

Russia on Wednesday launched military exercises in Tajikistan as the Taliban continue their blistering offensive in neighboring Afghanistan. The militants in recent weeks have brought huge swathes of the country under their control as foreign troops withdraw, including Afghanistan’s main Shir Khan Bandar border crossing with Tajikistan. Moscow is closely watching the offensive, concerned about…

FBI Suspects U.S. Firm of Bypassing Sanctions to Ship WMD Tech to Russia – Reports

The FBI and U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating an American company for allegedly bypassing sanctions to supply lab equipment for Russia’s weapons of mass destruction programs, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday, citing newly unsealed documents it said it obtained.  According to the federal court documents, Intertech Corporation allegedly “intentionally falsified shipping documents, avoided and circumvented…

Neutral Olympic Athletes From Russia Told to Deflect ‘Provocative’ Questions

Russian athletes competing under a neutral flag have been instructed to avoid answering “provocative” political questions at the Tokyo Olympics that will open to mostly empty stands next week, the Vedomosti business daily reported Wednesday. “No comment” is the most commonly recommended response on issues ranging from Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the Russian doping…

EU Approval of Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Faces More Delays Over ‘Incomplete’ Data – Reuters

The European Union’s review of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine could be delayed until after the summer over “major” data shortcomings and the vaccine maker’s perceived lack of experience with overseas regulators, Reuters reported Tuesday. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched a rolling review of Sputnik V, which Russia touts as the world’s first government-approved…

U.S., Russia Say Will Cooperate on Climate

The U.S. and Russia said on Monday they would cooperate on climate change despite strained relations, during a visit to Moscow by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.  Kerry, the former secretary of state who has become U.S. President Joe Biden’s globe-trotting climate envoy, said “the stakes could not be higher” as he met with Foreign…

Russia’s Sputnik V Produces Weaker Response Against Delta, Other Variants – Developers’ Study

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine produces a weaker immune response against aggressive new mutations of the coronavirus such as the Delta variant, the jabs’ developers announced Monday in a new peer-reviewed study. Sputnik V’s developers used blood samples from people who had completed a course of vaccination with the jab to investigate the so-called virus-neutralizing activity…

Opposition Columnist Joins List of Self-Exiled Russians

Prominent Russian opposition-leaning columnist Fyodor Krasheninnikov has joined a growing list of activists and political figures to leave the country in recent months amid what Kremlin critics call an intensifying crackdown on dissent. Krasheninnikov fled Russia for neighboring Lithuania last August after being fined and then jailed for “disrespecting authorities” in his online posts criticizing…

Roscosmos Chief Pokes Russian Billionaires After Branson Space Flight

Russia’s space chief Dmitry Rogozin has pressed his country’s oligarchs to take a page from their Western counterparts and invest into space after British billionaire Richard Branson’s journey to the frontier of space. Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees breached the U.S.-recognized boundary of space Sunday and experienced a few minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of…

Siberian Wildfires Spread 17.5% in 24 Hours

Wildfires ravaging northeastern Siberia have spread by nearly 70,000 hectares in the past day, marking a 17.5% increase in a single day, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday, citing the regional emergencies ministry.  Some 400,000 hectares of forest are now burning in Russia’s republic of Sakha. Abnormally high temperatures and historic drought as well as strong winds…

EU Invites Russia to Discuss Mutual Vaccine Certificate Recognition – TASS

The European Union has approached Russia for talks on recognizing each other’s coronavirus vaccination certificates, EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer said Thursday.  The EU launched its own digital vaccination certificate on July 1, allowing vaccinated EU citizens to travel freely within the 27-member bloc. As the certificate only recognizes vaccines authorized by the EU,…