Russian Protesters Don’t ‘Get Shot’ Like They Would In the U.S., Putin’s Spokesman Says

Protesters who were jailed over this summer’s mass election rallies in Moscow would have been shot dead if they had been protesting in the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said in a leaked video. Dmitry Peskov’s conversation with students at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) appeared on social media in the wake…

Russia Tests Face, Voice Recognition Ahead of eSIM Integration – Izvestia

Russia is testing face- and voice-recognition technology to identify mobile device users as it moves toward approving eSIM technology which allows consumers to switch easily between carriers, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper has reported. The Central Bank is overseeing a pilot project that uses personal biometric data to remotely open accounts despite concerns over state surveillance,…

The Trump-Ukraine Scandal, Explained

A phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy has become a political flashpoint in Washington following reports that Trump repeatedly pressed Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son. The July 25 call has wide-ranging implications for Russia’s western neighbor Ukraine, which depends heavily on U.S. aid…

Russia’s Tsentr-2019 Military Drills: Vehicle Crashes, Ballistic Missiles and More

Russia, China and India held joint anti-terrorism exercises with Pakistan and four Central Asian republics last week. Nearly 130,000 troops, 20,000 pieces of equipment, 600 aircraft and up to 15 warships were rolled out across eight Russian training grounds for the Tsentr-2019 (Center-2019) drills.  The Sept. 16-21 war games, which President Vladimir Putin observed Friday…

Russia Facing Potential Olympic Ban After WADA Cites ‘Inconsistent’ Data

Russia is once again in danger of being banned from next year’s Olympics after the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed that historical data supplied by the country’s anti-doping authority contained “inconsistencies.” WADA said on Monday it had opened compliance proceedings against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) after examining the vast bank of historical testing data finally…

Putin Sought to Boost Russian Population With ‘Gay Propaganda’ Law – Ex-British PM Cameron

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron has said in his new memoir that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him he passed a law against “gay propaganda” to reverse the country’s declining birth rates. Russia banned “propaganda of homosexuality toward minors” in 2013 around the same time England legalized same-sex marriage, drawing criticism from Western states…

St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport Eyes Opening Up to Foreign Budget Airlines

Low-cost international airlines could soon fly in and out of St. Petersburg more freely after an easing of restrictions announced by Russian officials, Russian media have reported. No other Russian city allows so-called “seventh freedom flights,” which allow international carriers to operate flights outside their country of registration. St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport projects that the permissions will…

St. Petersburg’s New Governor, Undeterred by Charges of Vote Fraud, Promises Moscow-Style Revival

If all goes to plan for St. Petersburg’s new governor, Russia’s second-largest city may soon have the landscaped public parks, brand-new buses and budget surpluses of its big brother Moscow. The man behind the promises, Kremlin protégé Alexander Beglov, was inaugurated Wednesday in the gold and marble halls of the Mariinsky Palace in the city…

Russia Moves to Expand Its Arctic Icebreaker Fleet, Already the World’s Largest

The enterprise responsible for Russian seaport and maritime infrastructure development today operates a total of 36 icebreaking vessels. This is the largest fleet of its kind in the world, the state-run Rosmorport company says. And more is to come. According to company deputy general director Vasily Strugov, another nine vessels will be added to the fleet by 2024. Among them, there…

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…