From Yandex to RT: Russia Expands Presence in Serbia Amid Ukraine War

BELGRADE, Serbia — The lavishly decorated main entrance of Serbia’s baroque-style parliament building was barely visible behind a sea of protest tents and a makeshift stage adorned with billboards.  One of the billboards featured the face of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alongside the caption “the world’s greatest diplomat.” “We are the same people,” one…

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Bolstering Asia Ties, Putin Watches Military Drills With China

President Vladimir Putin attended large-scale military exercises on Tuesday involving China and several Russia-friendly countries as Moscow seeks to strengthen partnerships in Asia in the face of Western sanctions.  Russia has found itself increasingly isolated as tensions between Moscow and Western capitals soared since Russia sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine in February.  Slapped with unprecedented…

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Russia Sanctions 25 U.S. Citizens Including Actors Sean Penn, Ben Stiller

Russia barred 25 U.S. citizens from entering the country Monday, including actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn, in its latest round of personal sanctions.  The Hollywood actors were included on a list published by the Russian Foreign Ministry alongside high-ranking business and political figures.  “The hostile actions of the American authorities, which continue to follow…

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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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