Putin Signs Internet Isolation Bill Into Law

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a bill that seeks to establish Russia’s “internet sovereignty” into law. Deputies first submitted the measures to tighten state control over the internet in December, citing the need to respond to an “aggressive” U.S. national cybersecurity strategy. It has drawn fierce criticism from civil society groups over fears that it…

Pussy Riot Activists Granted Asylum in Sweden

Sweden has granted asylum to two members of the anti-Kremlin activist group Pussy Riot, the country’s media reported on Wednesday. Artist Lusine Dzhanyan and her partner Alexei Knedlyakovsky have sought asylum for themselves and their two children in Sweden since 2017, saying they had received harassment and death threats in their home country. Their initial…

Moscow’s Labor Day Parade Draws 100K Marchers

May 1 marks Labor Day in Russia, one of the country’s major public holidays. Cities across the country hold official parades, organized street demonstrations and marches on this day, which celebrates workers and laborers. More than 100,000 people attended this year’s parade in Moscow, according to police estimates. Here’s a look at the celebrations throughout…

Putin Sacks Russian Envoy to Belarus Amid Oil Row

Russian President Vladimir Putin suddenly sacked Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, amid a row over contaminated oil and a wider political discord between the ex-Soviet countries. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has generally been more closely aligned with Moscow than any other ex-Soviet leader, while the lack of tolerance for…

Russia Blames U.S. for UN Visa Denials

The United States obstructs Russia’s work in the United Nations by selectively issuing visas to Russian nationals, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Russia’s chemical weapons expert Dmitry Poklonsky was denied a U.S. visa to attend a UN Security Council session last Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a press statement. He was due…

Russia Opens First Center To Issue Russian Passports to East Ukrainians

Russia has opened its first center aimed at issuing Russian passports to residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, Interfax reported on Monday. Last week, President Vladimir Putin signed an order to simplify the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting calls from Kiev for more international sanctions. “Today, the center…

Russian Prison Authority Ordered Hospitalization of About 200 Inmates

Around 200 prisoners in 2018 were so badly injured during questioning by investigators in Moscow region pre-detention facilities that they required hospitalization, a senior Federal Prison Service (FSIN) official has claimed. Russia’s federal penitentiary system was rocked by a scandal last year after bodycam footage showed guards violently beating prisoners in a notorious prison outside…

Putin Says Russians and Ukrainians Would Benefit From Shared Citizenship

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russians and Ukrainians would only benefit from sharing common citizenship, the Interfax news agency reported. Putin said on Saturday Moscow was considering offering all Ukrainian citizens fast-tracked Russian passports, a move that angered some politicians in Ukraine which has been at war with pro-Russian separatists since 2014.…

Kremlin Says It’s ‘Too Early’ to Discuss Russian Passports for All Ukrainians

The Kremlin considers it premature to discuss any details about expanding Russia’s fast-tracked passport offer to all Ukrainian citizens, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Moscow was considering offering all Ukrainian citizens fast-tracked Russian passports. Putin made the statement days after signing an order to simplify the procedure…

Moscow Celebrates Orthodox Easter

Orthodox Easter, called Paskha in Russian, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is one of Russia’s most widely celebrated religious holidays. Because it follows the Orthodox Calendar, it is usually celebrated later than Catholic Easter. People prepare for the celebration by coloring eggs, baking the traditional kulich cake and making paskha, a cottage cheese…

Meet Moscow’s Lone #ClimateStrike Protester

Every Friday, 24-year-old student Arshak Makichyan stands alone in Moscow’s Pushkin Square with a poster warning locals about the dangers of climate change. He started his protest in mid-March, inspired by the #Climatestrike movement led by young activists around the world. Back then, Makichyan and around two dozen other Muscovites gathered in Sokolniki Park in…

Putin Rides to Xi’s Rescue on Battered Silk Road as the West Stews

At the first Belt and Road summit in Beijing two years ago, Vladimir Putin offered little more than platitudes for Xi Jinping’s global infrastructure initiative, essentially calling China’s “project of the century” a welcome new plank in Russia’s own strategy for ending American hegemony. Since then, deep-pocketed Chinese companies have intensified their march across Asia, Africa…

Head of FSB’s Secretive Unit Detained for Bribery – Reports

The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) highly secretive branch has been detained on suspicion of large-scale bribery, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday. Colonel Kirill Cherkalin headed the FSB economic security department’s financial counterintelligence support unit. The department played key roles in investigations surrounding former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, deputy prime minister…

Ukraine Vote Shows ‘Total’ Policy Failure of Departing Leader – Putin

Outgoing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s policy has suffered a “total failure” which manifested in his election loss, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in first remarks on the Ukrainian vote. Poroshenko garnered 24 percent of the vote in the Sunday runoffs, behind television comedian and political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s 73 percent. His defeat was seen as…

Russian Ministry Moves to Ban Personal Imports of Parmesan and Jamon – Reports

Russia is considering banning certain meat and dairy products, including parmesan and jamon, over health concerns tied to infectious diseases, the Vedomosti business daily reported. Wholesale imports of fresh EU food products were banned in 2014 in retaliation to Western states imposing sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.…

Germany, Poland Halt Oil Imports From Russia Over Quality Concerns

Poland and Germany have suspended imports of Russian oil via a major pipeline, citing poor quality and triggering a rare crisis over supply from the world’s second-largest crude exporter. Halting imports from the Druzhba pipeline could trigger legal claims by Western buyers against Russian suppliers, who would in turn seek compensation from Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft, three traders…

Russia’s Passport Offer to East Ukrainians Slammed in Kiev, Washington

President Vladimir Putin’s order simplifying the procedure for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain a Russian passport prompted condemnations from Kiev and the United States. Putin’s decree on Wednesday eases the path to Russian citizenship for an estimated 3.7 million people living in the self-proclaimed Donetsk  and Luhansk republics after five years of war…

Reuters Corrects Story Saying Venezuela Is Avoiding U.S. Sanctions by Funneling Oil Sales Through Russia

Reuters has corrected a story it published on April 18 saying Venezuela is funneling cash flow from oil sales through Russian state energy giant Rosneft to evade U.S. sanctions after Rosneft threatened to ban the international news agency from operating in Russia. The story, datelined Mexico City, said Reuters had uncovered a scheme whereby Venezuelan…

Putin’s Closest Ally Fears Takeover as Kremlin Plots Succession

President Vladimir Putin may look beyond Russia for a mechanism to keep power after his current term ends. That’s making Moscow’s closest ally nervous amid spiraling tensions over Kremlin threats to slash economic subsidies. After years of spending billions of dollars to support Belarus’s state-dominated economy, Russia is intensifying pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to…