Russia Says Venezuela’s Opposition Is in Contact with Moscow

Venezuela’s opposition, including representatives of its leader Juan Guaido, has been in contact with Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website on Tuesday. “We’ve been actively talking to representatives of Venezuela’s political landscape — government, opposition figures, including J. Guaido’s people, who are reaching out to us,” the ministry said, citing interviews given by…

Russia Moves to Ban Keeping Businessmen in Detention for No Reason

Russian lawmakers have approved legislation banning law enforcement authorities from extending pre-trial detentions for businesspeople without reason amid criticism over the criminalization of business disputes.  Officials are seeking to lure investment to boost Russia’s struggling economy and President Vladimir Putin has called for an end to unfounded probes into so-called economic crimes. However, government polling…

Putin Grants Russian Citizenship to Novatek’s Finance Chief, a U.S. National

President Vladimir Putin handed Russian citizenship to gas producer Novatek’s veteran finance chief Mark Gyetvay on Monday, a move that could potentially help the U.S. national bypass some sanctions restrictions. U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 ban U.S. nationals and companies from helping organize long-term funding for some major Russian firms, including Novatek. The sanctions were imposed following…

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Headed for Commanding Win in Parliamentary Election

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s party took a commanding lead in Sunday’s snap parliamentary election, consolidating the power of the novice politician whose stunning rise has upended traditional politics in the war-scarred nation. A former comedian who played a fictional schoolteacher-turned-president in a popular TV series, the 41-year-old Zelenskiy has tapped into widespread voter anger over…

Former Austrian Chancellor Lands Russian Job

Russia’s state railway company appointed the former chancellor of Austria to its management board this week, continuing a trend of retired European politicians landing lucrative posts in Russia. Christian Kern, 53, headed Austria’s national railway system before serving as chancellor of the central European nation from 2016-2017. Austria has been among a minority of EU…

Russia to Phase Out Paper Passports by 2022

Russia is planning to phase out paper passports within three years as part of its national digitization program, drawing support as well as criticism over privacy concerns, according to the official government website. The government resumed discussions on issuing digital passports last fall, five years after it initially considered the idea. Cost estimates for the…

Russia Could Ground International Flights Under New Proposal

New rules could grant Russian authorities the power to ground international flights if Russian airlines fail to provide personal information about passengers or if they pose a “security threat.” Unnamed sources within Russia’s aviation industry told the Kommersant business daily that the Federal Security Service (FSB) has been seeking to tighten regulations governing international flights…

Hard Man Putin May Be Showing Softer Side to Russia’s Neighbors

The stage was prepared last week for Russian President Vladimir Putin to hammer tiny Georgia with new economic sanctions after parliament called on him to punish anti-Kremlin protests. Instead, Putin refused “because I respect the Georgians.” The uncharacteristic reaction left some wondering if the Kremlin is beginning to rethink its traditionally tough approach to neighboring states by…

Moscow Officials Sued For Allowing Gay Couple to Adopt

Russia’s Investigative Committee has accused social welfare officials in Moscow of criminal negligence for allowing a gay couple to raise children they adopted nearly a decade ago. Russia banned gay adoption, along with “homosexual propaganda among minorities,” in 2013. The Investigative Committee said this week that it has opened a criminal negligence case against officials in…

Ukraine Announces Fast-Track Passports After Putin’s Russian Citizenship Offer

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ordered an overhaul of the process for granting Ukrainian citizenship, in response to a Russian decree expanding the number of Ukrainians who can apply for fast-track Russian passports. Zelenskiy’s office said early on Thursday, just a few hours after the Kremlin published Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order, that the foreign…

Chinese and Russian Cyber Watchdogs Meet in Moscow

A delegation from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees national cyber policy, met officials at Russia’s state communications watchdog in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian regulator said. Critics have accused Russia’s authorities of trying to implement creeping China-style Internet curbs. Cooperation in this area between the two regulators could alarm Russian proponents of Internet freedom. The presence of the Chinese delegation in Moscow has not previously…

Kremlin Opens Door to Changing Constitution as Succession Looms

The Kremlin raised the possibility of changing Russia’s constitution after a top lawmaker proposed bolstering parliament’s powers, in a move that could help to extend President Vladimir Putin’s rule. The idea of constitutional amendments, including allowing parliament a say in forming the government, received “a widespread response” and are “a matter for discussion,” Putin’s spokesman,…

Two Russian Boxers Competed While Serving Bans for Doping

Two Russian boxers serving doping suspensions have competed while banned, highlighting inconsistencies in Russia’s efforts to reform its anti-doping practices. Competition records show that Russian amateur boxers Islam Dashaev and Alyona Tokarchuk fought in official tournaments last year despite bans announced by Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which is forbidden under international anti-doping rules. These lapses…