From Kyiv With Dry Jam

“What do you mean, jam from Kyiv? From where?” a patron of a Moscow restaurant shouted aggressively at the waiter. “Yes, it’s from the time of Catherine the Great,” the waiter said calmly. “Well, if that’s the case, all right then…” the diner muttered, mollified. That scene really happened about five years ago. Even then,…

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Mikhail Gorbachev, Theater Lover

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91, presided over period of artistic freedom in the U.S.S.R. that had not been seen since the post-Revolutionary era. Russian culture flourished under his leadership, particularly in the theater, in which he took an active interest. But unlike other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev did…

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China’s Visa Alternative Cuts Off Russian Banks Over Sanctions – RBC

China’s UnionPay paymentsystem has stopped accepting cards issued by Russian banks under Western sanctions over fears of penalties, the RBC news website reported Friday, citing financial industry sources. Demand for UnionPay cards in Russia surged following Visa and Mastercard’s exit in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.  A number of major Russian banks subsequently…

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Putin Will Skip Gorbachev Funeral Due to Tight Schedule — Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. “Unfortunately, the president’s work schedule will not allow him [to attend],” Peskov told reporters. Instead, Putin visited Thursday the hospital where Gorbachev died two days earlier at the age of 91 and placed…

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Praise and Blame: How Russia Reacted to the Death of Gorbachev

The death of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev prompted differing reactions from Russians on Wednesday, with criticism expressed alongside tributes, reflecting the Nobel Prize-winning leader’s polarizing legacy in the country that he called home.  Many supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin — who famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union overseen by Gorbachev…

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Russia Restricts Activities of Plagiarism Campaigner on ‘Extremism’ Charges

A Moscow court restricted internet access and freedom of movement Monday for prominent plagiarism campaigner and journalist Andrei Zayakin, independent media outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe reported. Zayakin, 41, was detained in Moscow on Sunday on charges of “financing extremist activities” for a 1,000 ruble ($16) donation he made to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. …

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What Do You Meme?

Six months into the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s political and economic life has changed significantly. New repressive laws forbid Russians from calling the war in Ukraine a “war,” the government blocks websites and social media and large companies have left the country. Protests are impossible. With little space to speak out freely, Russians have turned…

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