Authorities Raid Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses

Authorities raided homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in northern Russia as part of a criminal probe into extremism against the banned religious organization, investigators said in a statement Monday. Russia banned the Christian denomination known for door-to-door preaching, close Bible study and rejection of military service and blood transfusions in 2017. Rights groups have condemned the…

Britain Floated NATO Membership for Russia, Archives Reveal

Britain considered granting Russia partial membership in NATO 25 years ago, according to declassified National Archives documents cited by British media Tuesday. NATO, a U.S.-led Western military alliance created to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, suspended relations with Russia in response to Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Russia…

Russia, Ukraine Clinch Final Deal on Gas Transit to Europe

Russian and Ukrainian companies signed a final five-year agreement safeguarding Russian gas transit to Europe via Ukraine, Kremlin-controlled gas giant Gazprom and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday night. The deal, which came just 24 hours before the current agreement expires on Tuesday, averted a potential Russian gas-flow interruption to Europe and helped Moscow avoid…

Russia Detains 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses on Christmas

Authorities in northwestern Russia have detained what they say are two branch leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group, investigators said Wednesday. They accused the unnamed 45-year-old and 67-year-old of “organizing extremist activity” in the form of religious services in the city of Vologda. Authorities placed the alleged leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Vologda branch in…

Russia in 2020: Will the Economy Grow Faster?

How do you achieve fast growth, without compromising macroeconomic stability? That is the central dilemma which has faced Russian policymakers since 2014.  When it came to making a choice between the two, stability won out nearly every time. Following the annexation of Crimea, provision of support for pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine and interference in…

Russia’s Internet Is Ready for Isolation, Officials Say After Partial Shutdown

Russia completed a series of tests on Monday checking that its internet services could function if the country were to get cut off from the worldwide web, Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Sokolov said. The tests, conducted over the course of several days on specially designated networks,  follow Russia’s controversial “sovereign internet” law enacted last month,…

Putin Launches Direct Train Service to Crimea

President Vladimir Putin launched Russia’s first direct train to Crimea on Monday, opening railway service along a now-completed $4 billion bridge that links continental Russia to the annexed peninsula. Dozens of Western countries targeted Russia with economic sanctions over its annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 following an unrecognized referendum. The…

U.S. Concerned as Libyan Conflict Turning Bloodier With Russian Mercenaries

The United States is “very concerned” about the intensification of the conflict in Libya, with a rising number of reported Russian mercenaries supporting Khalifa Haftar’s forces on the ground turning the conflict into a bloodier one, a senior State Department official said on Saturday. The United States continues to recognize the Government of National Accord (GNA)…