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06.12.19 Student Protester Zhukov’s Closing Statement
The Moscow Times
Popular YouTube blogger and political science student Yegor Zhukov faces up to five years in prison on charges of calling for extremism online, a case that critics say is politically motivated. Authorities initially charged Zhukov, 21, with mass unrest in connection with anti-government protests that swept Moscow this summer. After fellow students and activists campaigned in Zhukov’s support, investigators dropped that case and charged him with calling for extremism online instead. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia Expels Bulgarian Diplomat In Tit-for-tat Move
Reuters
The Russian government has expelled a Bulgarian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Sofia asked Moscow to recall a diplomat on suspicion of espionage, Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. Sofia’s ambassador in Moscow, Atanas Krastin, has been informed that the diplomat must leave Russia within the next 24 hours in line with diplomatic protocol, the ministry said in a statement. Moscow cited the “principle of reciprocity”, it said. Read more 
06.12.19 Libya To Send List Of 800 Russian Mercenaries To Moscow
The Associated Press
Libya’s internationally recognized government plans to present a list of up to 800 Russian mercenaries fighting for its opponents to Russian officials, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Tripoli has accused Moscow of escalating the conflict in the oil-rich North African nation following reports of at least two deployments of Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenaries in recent months. Forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive this spring, with Wagner’s reported help, to seize Tripoli from Libya’s UN-backed government. Read more 
06.12.19 Putin Says Russia Ready To Extend New START Nuclear Arms Treaty
Reuters
Russia is ready to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty by the end of this year without any more conditions or discussion, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, appearing to drop Moscow’s earlier defiant tone. The New START accord, signed in 2010, limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that Washington and Moscow can deploy. Its fate has been in the spotlight since Washington pulled out of another key arms accord in August, citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies. Read more 
06.12.19 U.S. Sanctions Russian Cybercrime Outfit 'Evil Corp'
Bloomberg
The U.S. Treasury Department said it would sanction a Russian group known as “Evil Corp” and its leaders for cyber-thefts at hundreds of financial institutions around the world that total more than $100 million. The targets include the group’s leader, identified as Maksim Yakubets. The U.S. said he also worked for the Russian Federal Security Service, an intelligence agency known as the FSB that’s already under U.S. sanctions, and was directed to work on projects for the Russian state as of 2017. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia, Ukraine Have No Plans For Face-to-face Gas Talks On Thursday
Reuters
Russia and Ukraine do not plan to hold face-to-face talks on Thursday about a new deal on gas supplies and transit, two sources familiar with the plans said. Ukraine’s energy ministry had previously said that the two countries were expected to hold talks either in Vienna or Brussels on that day. Read more 
06.12.19 Far-north Russian Village Overrun By Polar Bears
BBC News
More than 50 polar bears have descended on a village in Russia's far north. All public activities in Ryrkaypiy, in Chukotka region, have been cancelled, and schools are being guarded to protect residents from the bears. Conservationists say climate change could be to blame, with weak coastal ice forcing the bears to search for food in the village rather than at sea. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia Suspends Project With Iran Due To Uranium Enrichment
The Associated Press
A Russian state company suspended a research project with Iran because of its decision to resume enriching uranium, a move a senior official said Thursday was necessary after the U.S. canceled a waiver to allow the joint venture. The TVEL company said in a statement that Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility makes it impossible to convert the facility to produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes. Read more 
06.12.19 Germany-Russia Murder Row Raises Tensions For Merkel
BBC News
The violent death of a former Chechen rebel commander at the hands of a man suspected to be a Russian-backed assassin in a Berlin park has shocked and outraged many Germans. Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot in the head in broad daylight in August. Germany's most senior prosecutor believes the evidence points to a cold-blooded contract killing on German soil, ordered either by authorities in Russia or its Chechen republic. Read more 
06.12.19 Belarus' Lukashenko Dismisses Fears Russia Could Swallow His Country
Reuters
The veteran leader of Belarus on Thursday dismissed opposition fears that a possible integration pact with Russia could end with his country losing its independence to Moscow, saying the two countries were not discussing deeper political ties. Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is due to hold talks on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on an integration road map, but a lack of detail on what it might include has fuelled fears that Moscow aims to gain new influence in ex-Soviet Belarus as part of a creeping plan to absorb it. Read more 
05.12.19 Berlin Murder: Germany Expels Two Russian Diplomats
BBC News
Months after a man was shot dead in a Berlin park, Germany is throwing out two Russian diplomats because it suspects the murder was ordered by Russia or Russia's Chechen republic. The expulsions come shortly after Germany's chief prosecutor decided to take over the case. Germany has accused Russia of failing to assist in the investigation. Russia has rejected accusations of its involvement as "absolutely groundless" and says it will retaliate. Read more 
05.12.19 Russia Arrests Conman Who Built Fake Border With Finland
The Guardian
Russian authorities have detained a man who built a fake frontier post in the woods near the country’s border with Finland and promised migrant workers he could smuggle them into the European Union. The man erected mock border posts and charged four men from south Asia more than $10,000 to take them to EU member Finland, the Russian border guard service said on Wednesday. “The man never planned to carry out his promises,” Interfax news agency said. Read more 
05.12.19 Navalny Links $50M Jet To Russian PM Medvedev’s Wife
The Moscow Times
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s wife jetsets on the government’s dime, prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said in a new video published ahead of Medvedev’s annual end-of-year press conference with reporters from 20 television channels. Medvedev, the subject of Navalny’s viral 2017 investigation into corruption that has been viewed 32.7 million times, is scheduled to sit down for the interview Thursday. The prime minister had dismissed the 2017 investigation as a “compote of nonsense.” Read more 
05.12.19 Russia Pledges A Response To Germany's 'unfriendly' Diplomatic Expulsions
Reuters
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday promised it would respond to Germany’s expulsion of two Russian diplomats, a move it called unfriendly and unfounded, Russian news agencies reported. Germany earlier on Wednesday said it was expelling two diplomats at the Russian embassy in Berlin over what it said was Moscow’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation of a murder where German prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement. Read more 
05.12.19 People Smuggler 'built Fake Russia-Finland Border Posts'
BBC News
A man has been arrested in Russia for erecting fake border posts to trick four migrant workers into thinking they had entered Finland. After reaching the posts, the man left the group to wander alone in what they believed was the EU country - but was actually a swampy forest in Vyborg. After a while the four South Asian men were stopped by real border guards, who told them they were still in Russia. Read more 
05.12.19 Russia Restricts Imports From Seven Beef Plants In Argentina And Paraguay
Reuters
Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog will impose restrictions on beef supplies to Russia from five plants in Argentina and two plants in Paraguay starting from Dec. 18, it said on Wednesday, warning that it could widen these restrictions. Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement it found ractopamine in some shipments, a feed additive that is banned in Russia. Its officials will hold talks with their counterparts from Argentina and Paraguay on Dec. 6. Read more 
05.12.19 Germany Expels Two Russians Over Killing Of Chechen Separatist In Berlin
The Guardian
Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats after state prosecutors announced they had “sufficient evidence” that Moscow or the Chechen government sanctioned the assassination of a a Chechen separatist in Berlin. The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe, which deals with crimes against the state, on Wednesday declared the shooting of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in broad daylight in August a deed of “highest relevance to state security” and said it would take over investigations. Read more 
05.12.19 Russian President Warns Over Expansion Of US Space Force
BBC News
President Putin has said that the US is rapidly developing its military forces for operations in space, adding that Russia needed to develop its own space forces further. In a meeting with defence officials, Mr Putin made it clear that US expansion in space posed a threat to Russian interests. In August, President Trump launched a new Pentagon command focused on warfare in space. The US, Russia and China are all believed to have tested weapons that could destroy a satellite in space. Read more 
05.12.19 Russian Officials Appropriating Jets For Family And Lovers
The Guardian
The Russian anticorruption activist Alexei Navalny has claimed that the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has appropriated a commercial jet for his wife’s private use, the latest in a series of viral investigations into the use by senior officials of planes, yachts and expensive mansions for their families and lovers. In another alleged case, a state television anchor was lavished with gifts from the head of a Kremlin-linked bank, and then dedicated a plaque in New York’s Central Park to him that said: “Don’t forget we are of the same blood. I LOVE YOU.” Read more 
05.12.19 Kazakh Leader: ‘We Don’t Call It Annexation’
The Moscow Times
Kazakhstan doesn’t believe that Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, its new leader said in an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle news outlet published Wednesday. Kazakh President Kassym Jomart-Tokayev appeared to tamp down concerns that, given northern Kazakhstan’s sizable ethnic Russian minority similar to Crimea’s, the Kremlin could seize parts of its territory. Moscow does not appear to be fanning separatist sentiment in Kazakhstan, though it has worked to keep the ex-Soviet republic in its sphere of influence. Read more 
05.12.19 Russia Accuses U.S. Of Deliberately Delaying Visas For Its Officials
Reuters
Russia has accused Washington of deliberately delaying the issuing of visas for Russian officials traveling to the United States, something it said could further damage already strained relations. The U.S. embassy in Moscow failed to issue visas to a Russian delegation of treasury officials who were due to attend an international audit management conference in Washington on Dec. 3, the Russian embassy in Washington said late on Tuesday. Read more 
05.12.19 Investigation Names Alleged Killer Of Chechen Rebel In Berlin
The Moscow Times
Investigative outlets Bellingcat and The Insider said Tuesday they have uncovered the real identity of the assassin of a Georgian citizen in Berlin in August, while The Wall Street Journal reported that Germany could impose sanctions on Russia for the murder. Germany arrested a man it identified as Vadim Sokolov on suspicion of killing Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who fought alongside anti-Russia separatists in Chechnya, in August. Russia provided “active support” to Sokolov, German weekly Der Spiegel, Russian website The Insider and Bellingcat reported in September in a joint investigation. Read more 
04.12.19 Putin Criticizes NATO Expansion As Alliance Holds London Summit
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday criticized NATO's continued expansion, something he suggested was pointless given the absence of a threat from Moscow following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Speaking at a meeting of Russian military leaders in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia, but said he hoped that a shared interest in common security would prevail. Read more 
04.12.19 Labour's Ben Bradshaw Claims He Was Target Of Russian Cyber-attack
The Guardian
The Labour candidate Ben Bradshaw has said he has been the victim of a suspected Russian cyber-attack after he received an email from Moscow with attachments containing sophisticated malware. Bradshaw – who has repeatedly raised the subject of Kremlin interference in British politics, including in the EU referendum – received the email at his election gmail address. The sender – “Andrei” – claimed he was a whistleblower from inside Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration. Read more 
04.12.19 Senior U.S. Official: Russia In Compliance With New START Weapons Treaty
Reuters
A top U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday that Russia remains in compliance with its obligations under the New START weapons control treaty, but took a hard line on overall weapons policy by saying Moscow is not complying with most other arms control obligations. “We assess that Russia does still remain in compliance with its New START obligations, but its behavior in connection with most other arms control agreements — and not merely the ill-fated INF Treaty — has been nothing short of appalling,” Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, told a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Read more 
04.12.19 Russia Wants More Influence In Africa
Washington Post
In October, the Russian government hosted the first Russia-Africa Summit. More than 40 African heads of state arrived in Sochi to “identify new areas and forms of cooperation,” as Vladimir Putin noted in his greeting to participants. A week later, Facebook announced that it had removed three networks of pages and accounts engaged in a long-term influence operation spanning eight African countries. Facebook, which had proactively identified a majority of the pages, attributed this operation to companies run by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a man with close ties to Putin. Read more 
04.12.19 Russia To Make Investors Pass Exam Before Trading Shares
Reuters
Millions of Russians will have to take a test to prove they understand financial markets if they want to carry on trading foreign stocks, under a central bank plan aimed at stemming potentially heavy losses among retail investors. The central bank had sought to limit access for non-professional investors, arguing that some lacked the knowledge and experience needed to play foreign markets without undue risk. But after talks last week with Russian brokerages and two market lobby groups, it agreed to introduce a test instead, the bank's first deputy governor Sergey Shvetsov said on Tuesday. Read more 
04.12.19 'Russia Link' Suspected' In Chechen Exile's Berlin Park Murder
BBC News
The killing of a Chechen exile in the heart of Berlin will be investigated by the chief German prosecutor as a possible Russian intelligence operation, reports say. Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, was shot in the head from behind in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in August. A man was quickly arrested but now federal prosecutors say they plan to take over the case. That step suggests a foreign intelligence service is suspected. The case is currently being investigated by Berlin prosecutors and criminal police. Read more 
04.12.19 Trump: Russia Wants Deals On Arms Control And Nuclear
Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Russia wanted to agree deals on arms control and nuclear and that he was willing to bring China into those either now or later. In Britain for a meeting of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, Trump said: “I have to say this, Russia wants to make a deal on arms control ... Russia wants to make a deal as recently as, like, two weeks ago. Russia wants very much to make a deal on arms control and nuclear.” Read more 
04.12.19 Russia To Label Individuals As 'foreign Agents' Under New Law
BBC News
Russia can designate independent journalists and bloggers as "foreign agents" after amending a controversial law. The "foreign agent" label already applies to certain media organisations and NGOs which engage in politics and receive funding from abroad. The amended law has been condemned by the EU, Amnesty International and the OSCE international security body. "Foreign agent" was a Soviet-era term of abuse for political dissidents. Read more 
04.12.19 Rosatom Signs Deal To Boost Russia’s Arctic Infrastructure
The Moscow Times
State nuclear agency Rosatom has confirmed it will take a stake in transport conglomerate Delo Group as part of Russia’s plans to capitalize on Arctic shipping routes. In a statement published on Rosatom’s website Tuesday, the organization said the deal would “launch a global international transport and logistics business” to develop Russia’s infrastructure and capacity to benefit from goods shipments from Asia to Europe via the Northern Sea Route. Read more 
04.12.19 Sight Of Polar Bear Daubed With Graffiti Sparks Outrage
The Guardian
A video showing a polar bear spray-painted with graffiti has sparked outrage among environmentalists amid fears that the creature was targeted by locals in an area where the animals increasingly forage. Scientists were concerned that the bear filmed in Russia – daubed with the letters “T-34”, the name of a second world war-era Soviet tank – would have trouble hunting and maintaining camouflage with the black lettering clearly visible on its side. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia's Putin Signs Law To Label People Foreign Agents
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed legislation allowing individuals to be labeled foreign agents, drawing criticism from rights groups that say the move will further restrict media freedoms in the country. An initial foreign agent law was adopted by Russia in 2012, giving authorities the power to label non-governmental organizations and human rights groups as foreign agents - a term that carries a negative Soviet-era connotations. But the expansion of the definition of foreign agent to include private individuals now raises fresh concerns about the ability of independent journalists and bloggers to operate in the country. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia’s New ‘Foreign Agent’ Law, Explained
The Moscow Times
Russia has passed legislation that will allow individual journalists and bloggers to be labeled “foreign agents,” a move that critics say will tighten curbs on the media and free speech. At least nine news organizations funded by the U.S. government have been designated “foreign agents” under the original version of the law since it was signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2017 as a retaliation to America’s decision to restrict Kremlin-run media. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia Blocks Shutterstock Domain Over 'objectionable' Content
Reuters
Russia’s communications watchdog has blocked one of U.S. stock photography and footage provider Shutterstock’s domains over content the company said had been “deemed objectionable” by the Russian authorities. The website of regulator Roskomnadzor showed that one of the firm’s domains had been blocked in Russia as a result of a decision by the country’s Attorney General on Nov. 13. It did not say what had prompted the decision. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia Bans Sale Of Smartphones Without Russian Apps
The Moscow Times
Russia will force tech companies to pre-install Russian-made government-approved applications and software onto new smartphones from next year. The measures — dubbed the “law against Apple” due to the U.S. iPhone maker’s refusal to sell products loaded with third-party apps — sailed through the Russian parliament and was rubber-stamped by President Vladimir Putin Monday. It will come into force next July. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia Central Bank Says External Factors Pose Biggest Threat To Economy
Reuters
The main risks to Russia’s economy are external, primarily trade wars, geopolitics and the global slowdown in economic growth, Russia’s central bank said in a regular report on Monday. “Increased volatility on external financial markets can be transmitted into the Russian financial market amid a global economic growth slowdown,” the central bank said in its Financial Stability Review. Read more 
03.12.19 HIV Cases In Russia Surpass 1 Million
The Moscow Times
The number of people living with HIV in Russia has surpassed 1 million as government officials have largely remained silent, Interfax reported, citing consumer protection watchdog data. More than 340,000 people with HIV have died in Russia since the first case was registered three decades ago, two-thirds of them since 2012, Iskander Yasaveyev, a sociologist at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, wrote in the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper Friday to mark World AIDS Day. Read more 
03.12.19 Russia Refused Dutch Request To Hand Over MH17 Suspect
Reuters
Russia has refused a Dutch request to hand over a suspect in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in violation of European law, prosecutors said on Monday. Volodymyr Tsemakh, a Ukrainian national, had been identified as a suspect by the Netherlands, which is leading an investigation into the disaster on July 17, 2014 which killed all 298 people onboard. Two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch. MH17 was shot out of the sky over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Investigators say the missile that hit the airline came from a launcher transported from a Russian military base in Kursk, just across the border. Read more 
03.12.19 3 Russian Military Police Injured In Bomb Attack On Syrian Border
Reuters
Three Russian military police officers were hurt in a blast from a homemade bomb on Monday as they carried out a routine patrol in Syria near the border with Turkey, the state-run RIA news agency cited Russia's Defense Ministry as saying. The bomb went off near the town of Kobani in Syria's northern Aleppo province, the ministry was quoted as saying, adding that it did not believe the lives of the injured servicemen were in danger. Read more 
02.12.19 Nineteen People Killed In Bus Crash In Russia's Far East
Reuters
Nineteen passengers died when a bus skidded off a bridge in Russia’s far east on Sunday and plunged into a river, local government said. “According to updated information, 19 people died, 21 have various injuries,” the local government for the Zabaikalsk region said in a statement. Russia’s emergencies ministry said in a statement on its website that the bus, traveling from the town of Sretensk to the city of Chita, 6,320-km (3,930 miles) east of Moscow, fell from a bridge into the Kuenga river at around 0938 Moscow time (0638 GMT). It said about 43 passengers and a driver were on the bus. Read more 
02.12.19 On This Day In 1934 Sergei Kirov Was Killed
The Moscow Times
On Dec. 1, 1934 Sergei Kirov, Party boss of Leningrad, was gunned down as he left his office. In the Soviet Union, this case turned out to be like the Kennedy assassination in the U.S.: a charismatic leader murdered in his prime by a lone assassin, whose death would burnish his memory and go on to spawn countless conspiracy theories. The murder was pivotal in Soviet history: It created a martyr whose death Stalin would use to justify the waves of mass arrests that dominated the rest of the decade, signaling a turn to brutally repressive times in which critical speech was seen as tantamount to terrorism. Read more 
02.12.19 Ukrainian Lawmaker's Son Killed In Attack In Kiev
Reuters
Unknown gunmen opened fire at the car of a local lawmaker in the center of Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Sunday, killing his three-year old son, a police source said. Vyacheslav Sobolev, a businessman and Kiev regional council lawmaker was at wheel of the car when it was attacked, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has not identified the owner of the vehicle or the identity of the victim. Read more 
02.12.19 Russian Athlete Says Country Unfair Target In Doping Scandal
Reuters
Russian high jumper Ilya Ivanyuk, bronze medalist at this year’s world championships, believes his country is being unfairly scrutinized for doping, an issue he said existed all over the world. Russia finds itself on the brink of a four-year Olympic ban after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found Moscow had tampered with laboratory data it handed over earlier this year. Read more 
01.12.19 Russia Tests Hypersonic Missile In Arctic
Reuters
Russia's MiG-31K interceptor jet carried out a test of the Kinjal (Dagger) hypersonic missile in Russia's part of Arctic earlier this month, TASS new agency reported on Saturday, citing two military sources. The report came a day after Danish intelligence service warned of intensifying geopolitical rivalry in the Earth's freezing North, and said that China's military was increasingly using scientific research in the Arctic as a way into the region. Read more 
01.12.19 US: American Jailed In Russia Should Be Freed, Not Swapped
The Associated Press
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow says it won’t be looking for a prisoner swap with Russia for an American jailed on spying charges. Instead, it said Wednesday that Paul Whelan should be released immediately as there is no evidence against him. Last week, Whelan’s lawyer urged the U.S. and the other countries Whelan holds nationality with to seek a prisoner exchange with Russia once the trial is concluded. The trial is expected to take place early next year. Read more 
01.12.19 Russian Billionaire Deripaska Stripped Of Cyprus Passport
The Moscow Times
Cyprus has stripped Kremlin-friendly Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and two other Russian nationals of Cypriot passports after admitting flaws in its citizenship-for-investment program, Cyprus’ Politis newspaper reported Wednesday.
Cyprus said this month it had started a process to strip 26 individuals of citizenship they received under a secretive passports-for-investment scheme. Sources on the Mediterranean island had told Reuters its list of individuals to lose passports included nine Russians. Read more 
01.12.19 Turkey And Azerbaijan Mark Completion Of TANAP Pipeline To Take Gas To Europe
Reuters
Turkey and Azerbaijan formally marked the completion of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) on Saturday, a milestone in a major project to help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. TANAP comprises the longest stretch of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, a series of pipelines that will carry gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to Europe. Read more 
01.12.19 Russia Presents Long-awaited Domestic Violence Bill
The Associated Press
A group of lawmakers in the country’s upper house of parliament, mainly from President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, have presented a long-anticipated bill on preventing domestic abuse. The draft law, released Friday by the Federation Council, gives domestic violence a legal definition and outlines various prevention measures, such as restraining orders. It comes two years after Russia decriminalized simple assault of family members, which was followed by cases of spousal and parental abuse. Read more 
01.12.19 Apple To Take 'deeper Look' At Disputed Borders
BBC News
Apple says it is taking "a deeper look" at how it handles disputed borders. Ukraine criticised the tech giant for showing Crimea as part of Russia's territory on its Maps and Weather apps. An Apple spokeswoman says the company follows international and domestic laws and the change, which is only for users in Russia, had been made because of new legislation there. Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 was condemned by much of the international community. Read more 
01.12.19 Pushkin’s Classic ‘Eugene Onegin’ Sells For $150K In London
The Moscow Times
A rare set of Alexander Pushkin’s famous novel “Eugene Onegin” sold for £118,750 ($153,000) at an auction in London, Christie’s auction house said on its website Wednesday. Russia's most revered scribe wrote his classic novel in verse in eight parts, published between 1825 and 1833, about a young, world-weary member of upper-class Russian society. Read more 
30.11.19 ‘There Will Be More Arrests’
The Moscow Times
A Moscow court on Friday placed a new protester under arrest until Jan. 27 on suspicion of assaulting police at this summer’s anti-government rallies, the latest prosecution under the so-called “Moscow Case.” Russians took to the streets nearly every weekend this summer after a slew of opposition politicians were barred from taking part in Moscow’s local election. Thousands were briefly detained and dozens arrested on criminal charges at the rallies, which grew into the biggest sustained protest movement in the Russian capital in years. Read more 
30.11.19 Russia And China Deepen Ties With River Amur Bridge
Reuters
Russia and China have finished building the first road bridge linking their two countries, Russian officials said on Friday, in the latest sign of warming relations. The bridge across the River Amur will connect the cities of Blagoveshchensk in Russia’s Far East and Heihe in northeastern China and is intended to increase the volume of freight traffic and agricultural products between the two countries. It is expected to open in spring 2020, Russia’s Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic said. Read more 
30.11.19 5 Facts About Russia’s First Highway Bridge To China
The Moscow Times
Russia and China have completed the first vehicle bridge to cross the two neighbors’ border, the RBC news website reported Friday. Footage from the bridge’s opening ceremony showed trucks crossing the bridge between the cities of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe as ice drifted underneath. Russia and China connected their sides of the bridge across the Amur River in May 2019, three years after signing the construction deal. Read more 
30.11.19 Apple 'taking A Deeper Look' At Map Policies After Calling Crimea Part Of Russia
Reuters
Apple Inc is “taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders” after it referred to the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russia in its Maps and Weather apps for Russian users, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters that Apple has not made any changes to its maps outside of Russia and made the change for Russian users because of a new law that went into effect in that country. Read more 
30.11.19 Russia Arrests Suspected Ukrainian Spy In Crimea
Reuters
Russia has arrested a Russian woman in Crimea on suspicion of state treason for allegedly attempting to obtain Russian military secrets on behalf of Ukraine, the state-run RIA news agency cited Russia's Federal Security Service as saying on Friday. The woman was arrested in the city of Sevastopol, the report said. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, but Kiev and the West consider it Ukrainian territory. Russia has spent heavily to integrate the region into its territory, and it has been the focus of espionage and military tensions since the annexation. Read more 
29.11.19 U.S. Accuses Russia Of Helping Syria Cover Up Chemical Weapons Attack
Reuters
The United States on Thursday accused Russia of helping Syria conceal the use of banned toxic munitions in the civil war by undermining the work of the global chemical weapons agency trying to identify those responsible. The comments by the U.S. representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Kenneth Ward, drew a rapid denial from Moscow and came as Western powers and Russia clashed at the agency's annual conference in The Hague. Read more 
29.11.19 Ukrainians Condemn Apple's Crimea Map Change
BBC News
Ukrainian politicians and bloggers have added their voice to condemnation of Apple's decision to show Crimea as a Russian territory on its maps. Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted: "Apple, please stick to hi-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side." Russian ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov added his voice, calling the decision "unacceptable appeasement". Read more 
29.11.19 Russia Signals No Change To Its Oil Quotas At Next Week's OPEC+ Meeting
Reuters
Russian oil companies proposed on Thursday not to change their output quotas as part of a global deal until the end of March, when the current agreement expires, putting pressure on OPEC+ to avoid any major shift in policy when the group meets next week. They also offered to exclude production of gas condensate, a light oil, from the output quotas as Russia has been struggling to meet its supply-reduction targets in recent months. Read more 
29.11.19 Apple Under Fire For Labelling Crimea As Part Of Russia In Its Apps
The Guardian
A decision by Apple to label Crimea as part of Russia in its Maps and Weather apps has sparked a backlash in Ukraine, where the move has been seen as the firm’s tacit acceptance of Russia’s annexation of the territory. Users in Russia have reported seeing that locations in Crimea now list their country as Russia, a move that Apple and other technology companies had resisted since the 2014 annexation. Users in Russia also see a boundary between Ukraine and Crimea when viewing maps of the region, although it seems to disappear when they zoom out. Read more 
29.11.19 Russia Readies For 2020 Olympics Despite Potential Ban
Reuters
The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee said on Thursday it was carrying on with preparations for the Tokyo Olympics next year and criticized World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendations to punish some Russian Olympic officials as excessive and wrong. A WADA committee recommended this week that Russia be banned from the Olympics and world championships in a wide range of sports for four years after Moscow was found to have provided the agency with doctored laboratory data. Read more 
29.11.19 French Sociologist Banned From Russia For 10 Years Ahead Of Yellow Vest Lecture
The Moscow Times
Russia has banned a prominent French sociologist from entering the country for 10 years after she arrived to give a lecture on France’s yellow vest protests, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday. Carine Clément was due to give a lecture in Moscow on Friday on yellow vest protesters in Paris, which she researched for a year after living in Russia for 20 years. President Vladimir Putin has said he “doesn’t want yellow vests in Russia” at the height of this summer’s anti-government rallies in Moscow that saw widespread law enforcement crackdowns on protesters. Read more 
29.11.19 Ahead Of NATO Summit, Serbia Buffeted Between West And Russia
Reuters
Since October, French President Emmanuel Macron has questioned the effectiveness of NATO, hit pause on EU enlargement and called for a new ‘strategic relationship’ with Russia. Plenty of countries have reason to pay close attention to his “shake it up” style of diplomacy, but few places will feel his words more keenly than Serbia. For Belgrade, any pullback by Europe or NATO could allow space for Russia to fill the void, given the close political, military and economic ties Moscow has with its Balkans cousin - a fellow Slavic and Orthodox Christian state. Read more 
29.11.19 Russia, Syria Agree To Restore Ancient Palmyra
The Moscow Times
Russian and Syrian state museums have signed two agreements to begin restoring the ancient city of Palmyra after it was heavily damaged by the Islamic State, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has said. Aided by Russian airstrikes, the Syrian army captured Palmyra from the Islamic State twice in March 2016 and March 2017. The terrorist group had destroyed several centuries-old monuments in Palmyra, including the facade of its Roman Theater, the Temple of Bel, the Tetrapylon and the Monumental Arch, during its occupation of the site. Read more 
28.11.19 U.S. Rejects Proposal For Spy Swap Of Ex-Marine Held In Russia
Reuters
The United States rejected on Wednesday a suggestion it seek a prisoner swap involving a former U.S. Marine jailed in Russia for nearly a year over spying allegations, and called for his immediate release. Paul Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained by agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28 last year. After a U.S. diplomat visited him in jail on Wednesday, the U.S. embassy complained about Whelan’s declining health and called Russia’s treatment of him “shameful”, saying Moscow had refused to allow the diplomat to bring him Thanksgiving dinner. Read more 
28.11.19 Goar Vartanyan: Russian Spy Who 'changed History' Dies At 93
BBC News
Russia has paid tribute to a former Soviet intelligence officer it credits with uncovering a Nazi plot to kill the Allied leaders Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt during World War Two. Goar Vartanyan died on Monday at the age of 93. She was married to Soviet spy Gevork Vartanian, who died in 2012. Without the pair "the history of our world could have been different", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "These are people who left their mark on the history of mankind." Read more 
28.11.19 Russian Investigative Journalist Says He Was Attacked In Moscow
Reuters
The head of a prominent Russian investigative website said on Wednesday he had been attacked in Moscow by an assailant who punched him and splashed him with an antiseptic green dye, echoing past assaults on opposition politicians. Ruslan Leviev, founder of Conflict Intelligence Team, which investigates Russian military and mercenary activity, posted pictures of himself on Facebook with patches of green on the right side of his face and hands as he washed it off. Read more 
28.11.19 Russia Urges U.S. To Extend Nuclear Pact Due To Expire In 2021
Reuters
Russia has formally proposed to the United States that the two nuclear superpowers extend their New START arms control treaty by five years, though Moscow would also settle for a shorter extension, a senior Russian official said on Wednesday. The New START accord, which is due to expire in February 2021, is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington. It limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy to 1,550 each. Read more 
28.11.19 Apple Changes Crimea Map To Meet Russian Demands
BBC News
Apple has complied with Russian demands to show the annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russian territory on its apps. Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, drawing international condemnation. The region, which has a Russian-speaking majority, is now shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app, when viewed from Russia. Read more 
28.11.19 Yandex Is Safe For Now, But Kremlin Compromise Is Fragile
The Moscow Times
Earlier this month, Russian technology giant Yandex announced that it would be undertaking a company restructure. The decision followed lengthy negotiations with Kremlin officials, worried that foreigners could gain control of the privately owned internet giant. The deal gives the state greater control over Yandex, with the company agreeing to create a new body, a “Public Interest Foundation,” registered in one of Russia’s offshore zones in Kaliningrad. The foundation will have a veto over any share consolidations above 10% and operational decisions over how the company uses personal data and intellectual property. President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed the formal decree making the necessary changes to Russian law and paving the way for the organization to be established. Read more 
28.11.19 Euro 2020 Matches In Russia Not Affected By Sanctions
Reuters
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Wednesday that a recommendation to bar Russia from hosting major sporting events will not affect the Euro 2020 soccer championships or the 2021 Champions League final. A WADA committee this week recommended Russia be handed a four-year ban from the Olympics and world championships in a number of sports and be barred from hosting major events. Four Euro 2020 matches are taking place in St Petersburg, including a quarter-final, while the 2021 Champions League final will also take place in the Russian city. Read more 
28.11.19 Uighur Twins’ Asylum Plea Rejected As Deportation To China Looms
The Moscow Times
A court in Kazan has rejected asylum claims from Chinese Uighur-Tatar twin brothers who fear deportation and imprisonment in China, their lawyer told The Moscow Times. Shahrizat and Shahdiyar Shavkat (23) moved to Russia in 2015 to study at Kazan’s Federal University. Chinese immigration authorities told the twins last year that they would need to travel to China to renew their Russian visas. The brothers decided to stay in Russia without the proper documentation because they fear that in China they will be placed in a concentration camp for Muslim ethnic minorities. Read more 
28.11.19 Russian Cows Get VR Headsets 'to Reduce Anxiety'
BBC News
A Russian farm has given its dairy cows virtual reality headsets in a bid to reduce their anxiety. The herd donned VR systems adapted for the "structural features of cow heads" and were shown a "unique summer field simulation program". Moscow's Ministry of Agriculture and Food cited research which they say has shown a link between a cow's emotional experience and its milk yield. Initial tests reportedly boosted "the overall emotional mood of the herd". Read more 
27.11.19 Russia Shows Off Hypersonic Nuclear Missile To U.S. Inspectors
The Moscow Times
Russia said it has showed its new hypersonic nuclear missile system to U.S. inspectors as part of a bilateral arms control treaty ahead of the missile’s deployment, Interfax reported Tuesday. President Vladimir Putin said late last year that Russia would be ready to deploy the Avangard missile system in one year’s time. One of several new weapons announced in 2018, the Avangard was touted as a highly maneuverable weapon able to evade the United States’ missile defense systems. Read more 
27.11.19 Report Cites Pilot Error In 2016 Flydubai Plane Crash In Russia
Reuters
Pilot error and possible crew disorientation during bad weather at night led to the fatal 2016 crash of a Flydubai passenger jet in Russia, Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee said in a report issued on Tuesday. The Boeing (BA.N) 737-800 from Dubai, operated by the Dubai-based budget carrier Flydubai, came down in the early hours of March 19, 2016 at Rostov-on-Don airport in southern Russia after aborting a second landing attempt in high winds. Read more 
27.11.19 Central Bank Warns Russians Not To Save In Euros
The Moscow Times
Russia’s Central Bank is warning Russian lenders against conducting operations in euros, governor Elvira Nabiullina has said. Nabiullina said doing business in euros brings no profits to Russian banks because of the negative interest rate environment in the eurozone, and the Central Bank is pushing Russian financial institutions not to have “excessive” foreign currencies on their balance sheet. Read more 
27.11.19 Russia's Putin Says Met With Yandex Shareholders
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he met with shareholders in the country’s biggest technology company, Yandex, the RIA news agency said, just days after the company approved changes to its corporate governance structure. “I just recently met with Yandex managers and major shareholders,” RIA quoted Putin as saying. “It was literally two days ago.” Read more 
27.11.19 U.S. Study Downplays Russian Trolls’ Influence On American Politics
The Moscow Times
The impact of Russian trolls on U.S. voters may have been exaggerated, according to a preliminary U.S. study of Twitter interactions with troll accounts published Monday. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Kremlin used social media to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through disinformation and other tactics. Calls for research to measure the impact of Russian online meddling have become widespread in the wake of the U.S. election and the Brexit referendum. Read more 
27.11.19 Wada Pushes For Russia To Be Banned From Tokyo Olympics
The Guardian
Russia faces a four-year ban from global sport after World Anti-Doping Agency investigators found that a number of positive drugs tests were deleted from a database it extracted from a Moscow laboratory in January. The recommendations, if approved by Wada’s executive committee in a meeting in Paris on 9 December, would likely lead to Russian athletes and teams being barred from next year’s Tokyo Olympics as well as a host of other major sporting competitions. Read more 
27.11.19 UK Would Be 'outgunned' In Russia Conflict
BBC News
British ground forces would be "comprehensively outgunned" in a conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe, according to a defence think-tank. Research by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) found that the Army, as well as Nato allies, has a "critical shortage" of artillery and ammunition. It concluded that it could not maintain a credible defence position. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the UK works closely with Nato and is "well equipped to take on a leading role". Read more 
27.11.19 Young Russians’ Desire To Leave Hits 10-Year High
The Moscow Times
The number of young Russians who would like to move out of their home country has soared to a 10-year high, according to an independent Levada Center poll published Tuesday. Sociologists have warned that younger generations’ increasing willingness to move abroad risks hurting Russia’s economy, while the Kremlin dismissed it as no cause for alarm. The share of young Russians who want to emigrate has been creeping upward in the years since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, when it was at just 20%. Read more 
26.11.19 Ukraine's Naftogaz Pledges To Press On With Russia Gas Talks
Reuters
Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz has pledged to press on with talks on gas transit with Russian gas exporter Gazprom and the European Union, a senior Naftogaz official said on Monday. Gazprom, which owes Ukraine around $3 billion, may repay that debt with gas supplies, Naftogaz Executive Director Yuriy Vitrenko said on Facebook. Last week Gazprom said it had sent Ukraine a letter to formally propose extending a deal supplying gas to the country either for its own use and for transit to Europe, or the signing of a new one-year agreement. Read more 
26.11.19 ‘He Tried To Fire Putin Twice’: Yeltsin’s Chief Of Staff Remembers The 1990s
The Moscow Times
Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff Valentin Yumashev has made headlines for his candid interview about President Vladimir Putin’s career in the late 1990s. Shortly after Yumashev’s appointment as unsalaried adviser appeared on the Kremlin’s website in June 2018, the Kremlin revealed that he had actually served in that role for 18 years and had his own office. 2019 marks 20 years since Putin has been in power as either president or prime minister. Read more 
26.11.19 Kazakhstan Asks Russia To Join Plans To Boost Gas Exports To China
Reuters
Kazakhstan has told Russia it wants to join plans to boost gas exports to China, proposing that a new pipeline being drawn up by Moscow is connected to the Central Asia nation, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin said on Monday. Russia expects to start up its first gas pipeline to China, known as Power of Siberia, on Dec 2. The pipeline aims to transport 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year when it reaches its full capacity. Russian gas producer Gazprom is considering two more projects to boost gas exports. Read more 
26.11.19 Wada Pushes For Russia To Be Banned From Tokyo Olympics
The Guardian
Russia faces a four-year ban from global sport after World Anti-Doping Agency investigators found that a number of positive drugs tests were deleted from a database it extracted from a Moscow laboratory in January. The recommendations, if approved by Wada’s executive committee in a meeting in Paris on 9 December, would likely lead to Russian athletes and teams being barred from next year’s Tokyo Olympics as well as a host of other major sporting competitions. Read more 
26.11.19 Russia's Putin, Ukraine's Zelenskiy Discuss Natural Gas In Phone Talk
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy have discussed natural gas supplies to Ukraine and gas transit via the country further into Europe, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday. The current deal regarding Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and transit to Europe expires after Dec. 31. The Kremlin also said the leaders have talked about the handover to Ukraine of the three ships Russia seized in the Kerch Strait last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors. Read more 
26.11.19 Historians Unmask Fourth Soviet Spy In U.S. Manhattan Nuclear Project
The Moscow Times
Cold War sleuths have discovered a fourth Soviet spy within the United States’ atomic bomb project whose work helped the Soviet Union end Washington’s monopoly on nuclear arms, The New York Times reported Saturday. The Soviet Union detonated its own atomic bomb just 49 months after the U.S. detonated the world’s first atomic bomb in 1945, kicking off an arms race between the two superpowers. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin is said to have known about the U.S. Manhattan Project long before U.S. President Harry Truman was told of its existence. Read more 
25.11.19 Gazprom In $3Bln Share Sale To Mystery Buyer
The Moscow Times
Russian gas goliath Gazprom raked in $3 billion Friday selling shares to an unknown mystery buyer in an unconventional share deal. Gazprom sold 3.6% of its own shares in a 188 billion ruble ($3 billion) deal, almost completing a share-offloading program announced in the summer by CEO Alexey Miller, the firm confirmed in submissions to the Moscow stock exchange. Read more 
25.11.19 Russia Again Faces Olympic Ban After Non-Compliant Recommendation
Reuters
Russia is again facing a possible Olympic ban after the World Anti-Doping Agency's Compliance Review Committee recommended on Friday that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency be ruled non-compliant. The CRC put forward the recommendation after WADA's Intelligence and Investigations Committee found evidence of manipulation of data retrieved from a tainted Moscow laboratory in January. Read more 
25.11.19 Ice Between Russia And Alaska Is At Record Lows
The Moscow Times
Arctic sea ice recovery between Russia and Alaska has slowed to record levels since bottoming out over the summer, according to research, as climate change clears ice quicker and for longer periods. Frozen water vanished from Russia’s Northern Sea Route in mid-August, opening up the Arctic shipping lane coveted by the Russian government. Arctic sea ice minimum in 2019 tied for the second-lowest in recorded history, according to NASA and the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center Read more 
25.11.19 Art Show Seeks The ‘Real Moscow’ In Grim Suburbs
The Associated Press
As sleet falls on a cold November day, communist-era apartment blocks dominating Moscow’s suburban skyline look bleak and forbidding. But it’s precisely these sprawling city outskirts that are the focus of a major international art exhibition. “Beyond the Center” is staging art events across Moscow’s vast urban space starting this fall and culminating in March 2020. With the participation of the Museum of Vienna and the Austrian Cultural Forum, the exhibit uses contemporary art to explore the many hidden facets of life outside the Russian capital’s nucleus. Read more 
24.11.19 Why It Is Nearly Impossible For A Common Russian To Follow The Upcoming US Elections
The Moscow Times
With only a year left until the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, it is prime time to discuss the Russians. No, not the Russian-speaking voters of Brooklyn or Silicon Valley, nor even the Russian hackers who are allegedly trying to meddle in the campaign again. No, here we will talk about the average Russian citizen living in an average apartment block and their inability to understand any U.S. elections on two key levels. Read more 
24.11.19 Lavrov: US-Japan Security Alliance ‘a Problem’ For Russia
The Associated Press
Russia’s foreign minister says the U.S.-Japan security alliance poses “a problem” for Russia-Japan relations and complicates peace treaty talks. The two countries have been struggling to negotiate a peace treaty after World War II because of a territorial dispute. The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands during the final days of the war, which Japan asserts territorial rights to. Read more 
24.11.19 Russia-Israel Relations: Expectations And Reality
The Moscow Times
Russia has sought to maintain good relations with Israel over the past few years. The relationship between the two has been multi-faceted and sensitive to developments in the Middle East and further afield. In the military dimension, particularly with regard to Syria, there is continuous coordination between Israeli and Russian armed forces on a number of levels, as has been the case for several years. This coordination is exemplified by the deconfliction line aimed at preserving the countries' interests in regard to Israeli operations in Syria. Russian-speaking officers occupy both ends of the line. Read more 
24.11.19 Alexander Lebedev's 'Hunt The Banker'
The Moscow Times
Can billionaires be good, honest people? Alexander Lebedev, a Russian oligarch turned philanthropist and media mogul, certainly wants us to think he is. His new memoir, “Hunt the Banker,” begins with a preface that laments the burdens of immense wealth. Lebedev confesses that the millions he made during the unbridled capitalist 1990s have brought him more hardship than good. Read more 
23.11.19 Convicted Agent Butina Accepts Russian State Job Offer
Reuters
A Russian agent briefly jailed in the United States and then deported back to Moscow has accepted a state job to defend Russians imprisoned abroad, the state-run TASS news agency reported Friday. Maria Butina, 31, pleaded guilty in a U.S. court last December to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia by infiltrating a gun rights group and influencing conservative activists and Republicans. Read more 
23.11.19 Putin Vows To Perfect Mystery Rocket After Engine Blast
BBC News
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to press on with the development of a nuclear-powered rocket believed to have been at the centre of a deadly accident. Five engineers and two others died when a rocket engine exploded at a test range on the White Sea on 8 August. Defence experts think it was part of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Read more 
23.11.19 Forbes Ranks Russia’s Richest Instagrammers
The Moscow Times
Russian television presenter and onetime presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak is the country’s highest-earning Instagrammer, Forbes Russia has said in its list of the top 15 earners on the social media app in 2019. The magazine ranked each user by the income they earn from advertising and sponsored posts on their Instagram pages. All 15 names on the list are people in the entertainment industry, and only two of them are men. Read more 
23.11.19 Zelenskiy Will Emerge From Trump Inquiry Unscathed
The Guardian
Ukraine’s president will emerge from the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry unscathed, the country’s prime minister has predicted. Ukraine’s leadership has been anxious to avoid becoming embroiled in the US political dogfight over the pressure allegedly placed on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by Trump and his associates to announce an investigation into Burisma, a gas company with ties to the former Democratic vice-president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Read more 
23.11.19 Be Kinder, Think Tank Tells Pro-Putin Leaders Ahead Of Vote
The Moscow Times
Russian lawmakers have an image problem and they know it. One think tank may have the solution ahead of a crucial parliament vote: be kinder and temper your repressive urges. The pro-Kremlin United Russia party’s brand became so toxic amid anti-government protests this summer that many of its members ran for Moscow’s city council as independents in September. Critics accused the Kremlin of waging a campaign of repression against the protesters, while a new law passed this year made it a punishable offense to disrespect the authorities. Read more 
23.11.19 Russia's Dividend Yields Quell Sanctions Fears As Stocks Break Records
Reuters
Russian stock indexes have comfortably outperformed their emerging market peers in 2019 and with dividend yields high and perceptions of Russian risk improving, analysts say there is every chance the stock rally can continue. Russia’s economic growth has been sluggish since the imposition of western sanctions in 2014, but the absence of fresh sanctions, strong oil prices and an improved sovereign credit rating are attracting investors eager for risk. Read more 
23.11.19 A Russian ‘Freegan’ Challenges Capitalism And Consumerism
The Moscow Times
Alina Afasyeva wears black leather gloves as she delicately picks through mountains of trash bags in Moscow’s elegant central Tverskaya neighborhood. This is the fourth or fifth dumpster she’s visited tonight, but none of them have yielded results so far. Despite the early winter chill in the air, the smell is pungent — equal parts sweet and sour. It’s easy to imagine how much worse it gets in summer. “There’s something here!” she exclaims. Read more 
23.11.19 World Athletics Stops Process Of Russia's Reinstatement
BBC News
World Athletics - formerly the IAAF - has halted Russia's reinstatement after senior athletics officials were suspended for anti-doping rule breaches. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) introduced suspensions over violations involving athlete Danil Lysenko. World Athletics said the AIU will investigate further and the body is considering expelling Russia. Read more 
23.11.19 Japan Foreign Minister To Visit Russia To Discuss Formal WWII Treaty
Reuters
Japan’s foreign minister agreed on Friday to visit Russia next month for talks about a formal World War Two peace treaty, a ministry official said, following a decades-old dispute that has prevented the countries from reaching a pact. Toshimitsu Motegi agreed with counterpart Sergei Lavrov to visit Russia in mid-December and discuss the issue, the official said at a briefing on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) nations in the central Japanese city of Nagoya. Read more 
22.11.19 Serbia Accuses Russia Of Spy Plot After Video Leak
BBC News
The Serbian president has said his country's security services have uncovered spying by Russian agents. Aleksandar Vucic confirmed a Russian intelligence official had a meeting with a retired Serbian military officer during which money changed hands. A YouTube video of the December meeting surfaced at the weekend. Mr Vucic said his officials had also found evidence of 10 other contacts between Russian agents and Serbian officers. Read more 
22.11.19 Kremlin: Syria Beheading Video Not Linked To Russian Forces
Reuters
The Kremlin on Thursday distanced itself from a video showing four Russian-speaking men torturing, stabbing and beheading a Syrian man in 2017 and said the incident had nothing to do with Russia's military. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had not seen the footage, but said: "I am certain that this has no relation to Russian military operations in Syria." Part of the video, obtained by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, first appeared in June 2017, before new recordings emerged this month. Read more 
22.11.19 Serbian President Accuses Russia Of Spy Plot Involving Army
The Guardian
Serbia’s intelligence agencies have uncovered a Russian intelligence plot involving members of the Serbian army, President Aleksandar Vučić has said, after convening a meeting of the country’s national security council. His comments on Thursday evening came after a video was uploaded to YouTube by an anonymous user this week, showing a purported Russian spy handing over a bag of cash to another man, whose face was blurred. Read more 
22.11.19 Russia Opens Investigation Into Space Center Fraud After Putin Rebuke
Reuters
Russian investigators said on Thursday they had opened two criminal cases into the management of a company involved in building the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space center in the country’s Far East. The announcement came less than two weeks after President Vladimir Putin complained to government officials about corruption at the facility and called for further investigations. Read more 
22.11.19 Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Returning Ships 'stripped Of Toilets'
BBC News
Ukraine has accused Russia of removing weapons and equipment - including toilets - from navy boats it returned after seizing them in the Black Sea. "[Russia] removed even dome lights, sockets, and toilet bowls," Ukraine's navy commander Ihor Voronchenko said. But Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said the ships were returned in "normal condition and with good plumbing". The boats, which were seized last November, were handed over on Monday. Read more 
22.11.19 Ukraine In Play: How Chinese Investments Change The Game
The Christian Science Monitor
Ukraine has been held up in impeachment hearings as a critical U.S. ally. But its industry is ailing. And with the West showing little interest in helping, China has stepped in – and could reshape Ukraine’s allegiances. Ukrainians have watched nervously over the past couple weeks as a parade of professional United States diplomats and security officials have extolled Ukraine as a vital U.S. ally, one whose security was imperiled by President Donald Trump’s alleged withholding of aid in return for personal political favors. Read more 
22.11.19 Man Who Filmed Beheading Of Syrian Identified As Russian Mercenary
The Guardian
A Russian-speaking man who filmed the torture and killing of a prisoner in Syria has been identified as a member of Wagner, a Russian private military company with ties to the Kremlin that has aggressively expanded into the Middle East and Africa in recent years. The video, which appears to have been taken in 2017, showed several men in military-style clothing beating a prisoner with a sledgehammer, then beheading him, amputating his arms with a sapper’s trowel and setting his body on fire using gasoline or another accelerant. Read more 
22.11.19 Russia Passes Bill Targeting Bloggers And Journalists
The Associated Press
Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed a bill that gives the government the right to register bloggers, journalists and social media users as foreign agents. The bill, which was almost unanimously approved by the State Duma on Thursday, extends an existing law involving foreign-funded media outlets. That was adopted in 2017 in response to the decision by the U.S. Justice Department to label the Russian state-funded RT television a foreign agent. Read more 
22.11.19 Russian Parliament Backs Law To Label Individuals 'Foreign Agents'
Reuters
Russia's lower house of parliament passed legislation on Thursday that will allow individual journalists to be labeled foreign agents, a move that critics say will tighten curbs on the media. Russia adopted an initial foreign agent law in 2012 which gave the authorities the power to label non-governmental organizations and human rights groups foreign agents. Read more 
21.11.19 Ukraine: Russia Returned Ships In Bad Condition
Reuters
Ukrainian naval ships, captured by Russia last November and released on Tuesday to be returned to Ukraine, are in very poor condition and cannot move independently, the commander of Ukraine’s navy said on Wednesday. Russia seized three ships in the Kerch Strait last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors. Moscow said the ships - two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat - had illegally entered its territorial waters. Kiev denied that. Read more 
21.11.19 Putin: US ‘political Dramas’ Diverting Focus From Russia
The Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he’s pleased that the “political battles” in Washington have put on the back-burner accusations that Russia interfered in U.S. elections. “Thank God,” he told an economic forum in the Russian capital on Wednesday, “no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore; now they’re accusing Ukraine.” Read more 
21.11.19 Putin: Zero-Carbon Energy Will ‘Send Us Ba?k To Caves’
The Moscow Times
Producing energy without carbon emissions will send humanity back to the prehistoric period, Russian President Vladimir Putin told an investment forum Wednesday. Putin has joked about climate change in the past, saying in 2003 that warmer weather could increase grain harvests and cut spending on fur coats. This summer he criticized wind turbines, saying they contribute to bird deaths and “cause worms to come out of the soil.” Read more 
21.11.19 Russia Detains Serviceman Suspected Of Spying For Ukraine
Reuters
Russia’s FSB security service has detained a Russian serviceman suspected of spying for Ukraine, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday. The serviceman was allegedly gathering secret information for Ukraine’s intelligence service and is being investigated for treason, RIA reported, citing the FSB. Read more 
21.11.19 Russian Domestic Violence: Women Fight Back
BBC News
Two years ago, many Russians were shocked when the parliament significantly reduced penalties for domestic violence. Since then, women have been fighting back - demanding new legislation to restrain abusers, demonstrating in support of three sisters who took the law into their own hands, and finding new ways of tackling outdated attitudes on gender. On a blustery, grey afternoon, Margarita Gracheva takes her small sons to the playground. They run ahead then jump on to the swings and shoot down the slide. "They're pretty independent for their age," she says. "They know I can't do up their buttons or tie their shoelaces, so they've learned to do it themselves." Read more 
21.11.19 Putin: Russia To Continue Cooperation With OPEC To Keep Oil Market Balanced
Reuters
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and OPEC have ‘a common goal’ of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+. “Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important - and I want to underline this - predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday. Read more 
21.11.19 State-Run Bank Says Putin Unlikely To Meet Economic Targets
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to meet most of his flagship economic and development goals during his final term without a significant increase in spending and better performance on a host of key indicators, a new report from a government-owned bank said Wednesday. The National Projects program — a $400 billion package of investments covering everything from new roads and railways to healthcare, demographics, digitalization and import substitution — is the backbone of Putin’s fourth term as president. Read more 
20.11.19 Russia Calls U.S. Backing For Israeli Settlements Blow To Peace Process
Reuters
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that a U.S. decision to effectively back Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank undermined the legal basis for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday abandoned Washington’s four-decade-old position that such settlements were “inconsistent with international law.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the change of policy in a statement on Tuesday, warning the move would escalate tensions in the region. Read more 
20.11.19 Maria Butina: New Job Offered To Agent Deported From US
BBC News
Maria Butina, the Russian agent deported from the US, has been offered a job defending Russians jailed abroad. Butina, 30, was arrested in July 2018 and pleaded guilty to trying to infiltrate the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a Russian agent. She was sentenced to 18 months, and deported to Russia in October 2019. Tatyana Moskalkova, Russian high commissioner for human rights, offered Butina a job working for her, "defending compatriots abroad". Read more 
20.11.19 Lawyer For Alleged U.S. Spy Held In Russia Calls For Prisoner Swap
Reuters
A Russian lawyer for Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine held in Moscow on spying charges, urged the United States and other countries on Tuesday to push for a prisoner swap with Moscow that could get his client released. Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was arrested in December and accused of espionage. Moscow says he was caught red-handed, but he denies the accusation and says he was set up. Read more 
20.11.19 Russia Repatriates 32 Children Of IS Members From Iraq
The Associated Press
Russia says it has repatriated another 32 children of members of the Islamic State group from Iraq. Russia’s state TV on Tuesday showed footage of the children arriving at Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow. It said the children aged between one and nine will undergo extensive medical check-ups before relatives take them home. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the children had been held in asylum centers in Iraq or in prisons with their mothers. Their arrival represents the fourth group of Russian children to be repatriated from Iraq. The Foreign Ministry said a total of 122 children have been brought home. Read more 
20.11.19 Russia Balks At Turkish Idea Of New Syrian Military Operation
Reuters
Russia said on Tuesday it was bewildered by a Turkish pledge to conduct a new military operation in northern Syria if the area was not cleared of people Ankara calls terrorists, warning that any such move would damage efforts to stabilise the region. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was cited on Monday as saying his country would launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of Kurdish YPG militia. State-owned Anadolu agency quoted him as saying that Russia and the United States had not done what was required under agreements that halted a Turkish offensive last month and called on them to make good on their pledges. Read more 
20.11.19 Putin's Pet Space Project Vostochny Tainted By Massive Theft
BBC News
Russia's new Vostochny space centre has lost at least 11bn roubles (£133m; $172m) through theft and top officials have been jailed. So what went wrong with President Vladimir Putin's pet project? Russia's Federal Investigative Committee (SK) says it is handling 12 more criminal cases linked to theft in this mega-project, which Mr Putin sees as a strategic priority for Russia, because of its huge commercial potential. The longest jail term handed down so far was 11-and-a-half years for Yuri Khrizman, former head of state construction firm Dalspetsstroy. Read more 
20.11.19 Tory Donor Calls For Russia Interference Report To Be Published
BBC News
A Conservative Party donor has called for the publication of a report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy. Alexander Temerko said the paper by the Intelligence Security Committee (ISC) should be published "for democracy reasons". The report has formal security clearance, but it will not be released until after the 12 December election. Former Russian official Mr Temerko has donated more than £1m to the Tory Party and its candidates in recent years. Read more 
20.11.19 Russia Beefs Up Patrols In Northeastern Syria
The Associated Press
The Russian military says it is beefing up its forces in northeastern Syria. Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday the military was fielding additional military police units to carry out joint patrols with Turkey. He didn’t elaborate. Konashenkov bristled at Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement that Russia wasn’t fulfilling its end of the deal. He added that Cavusoglu’s warning that Ankara could resume its military action could “exacerbate the situation.” Read more 
20.11.19 Russia Unlikely To Deepen Oil Output Cuts
Reuters
Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia, three sources said on Tuesday. Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia, three sources said on Tuesday. Read more 
19.11.19 Ukraine Confirms Russia Returning Three Captured Naval Ships
Reuters
Ukraine’s military confirmed on Monday that Russia is returning three Ukrainian naval ships that it captured in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier on Monday that Moscow had successfully handed three naval ships it captured last year back to Ukraine. Ukraine has been pushing for their return as a goodwill gesture from Moscow ahead of a four-way peace summit on eastern Ukraine next month in Paris. Read more 
19.11.19 Russian 'Agent' Butina Offered Job In Parliament Following Return Home
The Moscow Times
A controversial Russian lawmaker has offered admitted agent Maria Butina a parliamentary post, Russian news agencies reported Monday. State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky met Butina the day after she returned to Russia in October, saying that Butina “has many victories ahead.” Butina served most of her 18-month sentence in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian government. Read more 
19.11.19 Russia Says It Has Handed Captured Naval Ships Back To Ukraine
Reuters
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Moscow had successfully handed three naval ships it captured last year back to Ukraine. The handover, confirmed by the two countries' foreign ministries, occurred in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russia seized the ships on the same area in November last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors. Moscow said the ships — two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat — had illegally entered its territorial waters, a claim Kiev denied. Read more 
19.11.19 Russia Returns Ukrainian Boats Seized Off Crimea
BBC News
Russia has returned three navy boats to Ukraine almost a year after they were seized in the Black Sea off the Crimean Peninsula, officials say. The two gunboats, Berdyansk and Nikopol, and the Yana Kapa tug were handed over at a location agreed by both Moscow and Kyiv on Monday. Ukraine's foreign ministry said the boats were heading for Odessa. The 24 Ukrainian sailors on board the ships were returned in a deal agreed between Moscow and Kyiv in September. Read more 
19.11.19 Russia Offers Job To Maria Butina, Woman Convicted By U.S. Of Being An Agent
Reuters
In her first public appearance since being deported by U.S. authorities who had jailed her for being a Russian agent, Maria Butina was on Monday offered a job by Moscow to defend Russians imprisoned abroad. During an event for the media, Russia’s human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, offered Butina, 31, a job working for her commission. “I invite you to work in our group defending compatriots abroad. I’m sure together we’ll be able to do a lot of good for people who’ve ended up in tough situations abroad,” Moskalkova said. Read more 
19.11.19 US: Egypt Could Face Sanctions Over Russia Warplanes
The Associated Press
A senior U.S. official warned Egypt on Monday that if it purchases Russian fighter jets it risks American sanctions. R. Clarke Cooper, the State Department’s assistant secretary in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, made the comment to journalists on the sidelines of the biennial Dubai Airshow. Cooper said the planned purchase of Russian jets puts Egypt “at risk of sanctions and it puts them at risk of loss of future acquisition.” Read more 
19.11.19 Russian Activists Detained Over Giant Blow-Up Whale Protest Near Kremlin
Reuters
Russian police detained two activists on Monday after they floated a giant inflatable killer whale on the Moscow River outside the Kremlin to call on authorities to protect the creatures, protesters said. Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said it had staged the stunt to urge authorities to ban the capture of whales for educational or cultural purposes after dozens of beluga and killer whales were caught last year to be sold to marine parks or aquariums in China. Read more 
18.11.19 Russia Says It Will Return Captured Naval Ships To Ukraine On Monday
Reuters
Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea’s border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday. A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine. Read more 
18.11.19 Russia Providing Mood Music For House Impeachment Drama
The Associated Press
For all the talk about Ukraine in the House impeachment inquiry, there’s a character standing just off-stage with a dominant role in this tale of international intrigue: Russia. As has so often been the case since President Donald Trump took office, Moscow provides the mood music for the unfolding political drama. “With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last week, and not for the first time. Read more 
18.11.19 Belarus Threatens To Pull Out Of Russia Integration Deal Over Subsidy Row
Reuters
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday threatened to pull out of signing an integration deal with Russia next month if Moscow failed to resolve their dispute over energy subsidies. Russia has propped up its traditional ally with loans and subsidies to keep Belarus in its political orbit but now plans to phase these out to lessen the burden on its economy. That has strained ties at the same time as Lukashenko has sought to improve relations with the West. Read more 
18.11.19 Tory Donor Alexander Temerko Calls For Russia Report To Be Published
The Guardian
The Conservative donor Alexander Temerko has called for the publication of a parliamentary report on Russian influence in British politics, suppressed by Boris Johnson, and has denied claims he is a Kremlin agent. In an interview with the Guardian, Temerko said he supported disclosure of the report before next month’s election. “My position is we should publish it. My party says we need to do Brexit because we are democrats but we can’t release the report. It’s clearly a contradiction.” Read more 
18.11.19 Russia Flags Possible 2019 Summit On Eastern Ukraine
Reuters
A summit between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine to try to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine is possible this year but no date has been agreed, a Kremlin aide said on Sunday. France said on Friday that the so-called Normandy summit will take place in Paris on Dec. 9, but Moscow has not confirmed either the plans or the date. “I think there will be a chance to organize (the summit) this year. I can’t say the exact date, because it is still under discussion, but, obviously, this year,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told a news show on local TV network Russia-1. Read more 
17.11.19 Turkey Says It Bought Russian S-400s To Use Them, Not Put Them Aside
Reuters
Turkey bought S-400 missile defense systems from Russia to use them, not put them aside, the head of the Turkish Defense Industry Directorate said on Saturday, days after talks between President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump. Erdogan and Trump held talks in Washington on Wednesday to overcome increasing differences between the NATO allies, ranging from Syria policy to sanctions threats over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s, which Washington says pose a threat to its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. Read more 
17.11.19 Putin And Zelensky To Meet For First Time Over Ukraine Conflict
The New York Times
The war is the biggest flash point in a broader conflict between Moscow and the West, triggering international sanctions and rippling into the American impeachment hearings. The presidents of Russia and Ukraine will meet in Paris next month for long-anticipated talks that could change the contours of the five-year-old conflict in eastern Ukraine whose repercussions have spread worldwide. The talks, scheduled for Dec. 9, will be the first between President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the comedian who won the presidency in April on a pledge to end the fighting with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the Russian leader, Vladimir V. Putin. Read more 
17.11.19 Belarus Holds Parliamentary Election As Strongman Leader Keeps Grip
Reuters
Parliamentary elections being held in Belarus on Sunday will be closely watched by the West to see how much leeway President Alexander Lukashenko will allow opposition candidates while keeping his grip on power. Lukashenko, 65, has ruled the east European country with an iron fist for a quarter of a century, but has begun allowing some opposition in a bid to foster ties with the West as relations with Moscow stutter. In September, the U.S. and Belarus announced they would resume ambassadorial relations for the first time since 2008. Read more 
17.11.19 Russian Meddling Report – Dissident's Widow Goes To Law
The Guardian
The widow of a Russian dissident murdered in London plans to challenge a government decision not to publish a report on alleged Russian meddling in Britain, a lawyer representing the widow said. Marina Litvinenko, whose husband Alexander, a former KGB agent, was murdered with a radioactive isotope in 2006, sent Boris Johnson a letter on Wednesday telling the prime minister she planned to take legal action, lawyer Elena Tsirlina said. “A response is now expected by 4pm on [Tuesday] 19 November,” Tsirlina said in a statement, adding that Litvinenko would only proceed if she secures funding via the CrowdJustice fundraising site by that date. Read more 
16.11.19 Russia Exchanges Spies With Lithuania, Norway In Cold War-style Swap
Reuters
Russia freed two Lithuanians and a Norwegian on Friday in return for two Russian spies held in Lithuania, in a Cold War-style spy swap that brought several high profile espionage cases to a close. The Norwegian, Frode Berg, a retired border guard, was arrested in Moscow in 2017 and convicted of gathering intelligence on behalf of Norway. He pleaded not guilty. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference she had spoken with Berg by telephone and he would come home as soon as “practically possible”. Read more 
16.11.19 Russia’s FSB Linked To $450M Bitcoin Disappearance
The Moscow Times
Russia’s intelligence agency the Federal Security Service (FSB) could be behind the disappearance of $450 million worth of cryptocurrency from an online exchange platform, the BBC has reported. The BBC investigation into how Wex, an online exchange for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, went out of business in 2018 has revealed fresh links between the platform’s demise and Russia’s security services. Read more 
16.11.19 Poland Threatens To Stop Importing Gas From Russia
The Associated Press
Poland’s state gas company said Friday it will stop importing natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom when a long-term contract expires in three years, unless it can secure better commercial terms. The announcement comes as Poland has been working to reduce its dependence on Russian energy sources, which Moscow has sometimes used as a tool of political pressure on its partners. Read more 
16.11.19 Russia Lands Forces At Former U.S. Air Base In Northern Syria
Reuters
Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel said on Friday. Armed Russian military police were shown in footage aired on Zvezda flying into the Syrian air base in northern Aleppo province near the border with Turkey and fanning out to secure the area. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from parts of Syria last month. Read more 
16.11.19 US Accuses Russia Of Exploiting Conflict In Libya
The Guardian
Fears that Russian mercenaries, unofficially backed by Moscow, are tipping the scales in Libya in favour of the military leader Khalifa Haftar appears to have prompted the US to issue a strong warning to the general to pull back. The US has been accused of taking little interest in the eight months of fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli that began when Haftar’s Libyan National Army mounted an assault on Tripoli, provoking a fierce counter-offensive by militia forces supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA). Read more 
16.11.19 Spy Swap: Five Freed In Russia-Lithuania-Norway Exchange
BBC News
Russia has taken part in a carefully co-ordinated spy swap with Norway and Lithuania, in a deal that required the Lithuanians to change their laws. It took place at Lithuania's southern border with Russia's Kaliningrad exclave and involved two Russians, a Norwegian and two Lithuanians. The three countries have been working on the operation for weeks.
The best known of the five men is Frode Berg, a Norwegian ex-border guard arrested in Moscow in 2017. Read more 
16.11.19 Widow Of Ex-KGB Agent Plans Legal Action On UK's Russia Report
Reuters
The widow of a Russian dissident murdered in London plans to challenge a decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government not to publish a report on alleged Russian meddling in Britain, a lawyer representing the widow said. Marina Litvinenko, whose husband Alexander, a former KGB agent, was murdered with a radioactive isotope in 2006, sent Johnson a letter on Wednesday saying she planned to take legal action, lawyer Elena Tsirlina said. Read more 
16.11.19 St. Petersburg Scientology Leader Released 2 Years Into Arrest
The Moscow Times
A court in St. Petersburg has ordered the release of a Church of Scientology leader from pretrial custody two years after he was arrested, the Russian city’s court system announced Friday. Ivan Matsitsky was among five people taken into custody on extremism, illegal entrepreneurship and incitement charges during a 2017 raid on the church’s St. Petersburg headquarters. The U.S. government has labeled Matsitsky and a Danish Jehovah’s Witness convicted on extremism charges as religious prisoners of conscience. Read more 
15.11.19 Putin: Warns Bolivia Is On The Brink Of Chaos
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Bolivia was on the brink of chaos and there was a power vacuum after Evo Morales resigned as president under pressure on Sunday. Speaking to reporters in Brasilia at a BRICS summit, Putin said he hoped that whoever comes to power in Bolivia would continue to cooperate with Moscow. “A situation has arisen in which there is no authority at all,” Putin said. “The country is on the verge of chaos.” Read more 
15.11.19 MH17 Crash Probe Releases Intercepted Calls Between East Ukraine Rebels And Russian Officials
The Moscow Times
A team of international prosecutors has released a new batch of intercepted audio recordings of calls it says are between pro-Russian separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine and high-ranking Russian officials in the weeks leading up to the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The calls include conversations with separatist leaders including Alexander Borodai, self-proclaimed ‘prime minister,’ and defendant Igor Girkin, self-proclaimed ‘defense minister’ of the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR). They communicated with Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed leader in Crimea and Vladislav Surkov, a high-ranking official of the Russian government. Read more 
15.11.19 Russia To Deliver S-400 Missiles To India As Planned
Reuters
Russia plans to deliver S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India on schedule, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. India agreed to buy the S-400 system from Russia last year despite U.S. warnings the purchase could trigger sanctions against it. India said it needed the weapons to bolster its defenses against China. Read more 
15.11.19 UK-educated Russians Are Upholding Putin’s Regime
The Guardian
The children of Russian oligarchs learn about freedom in the UK only to return to Moscow to reinforce Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial rule, Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian dissident jailed for five years by Russia, has warned in a stark assessment of Putin’s stranglehold on power. Sentsov, Russia’s most famous political prisoner, was released with 35 other Ukrainians in a high-profile prisoner swap in September, in which an equal number of Russians were released. Read more 
15.11.19 Owner Of Russia's Largest Car Dealership Considering Sale
Reuters
The controlling shareholder of Rolf, Russia’s largest car dealership, said on Thursday it was exploring options for selling the firm. A spokeswoman for Delance Limited, which is Cyprus-based and controlled by the family of Rolf’s founder, said it had considered selling Rolf over the last few years and that there had always been interest from potential buyers. Read more 
15.11.19 Russia Tests ISIS Orphans’ DNA Ahead Of Repatriation
The Moscow Times
Russia has taken DNA samples from 49 orphans in Syria to confirm their relations to Russian citizens and clear their return home, Russia’s top children’s rights official said Thursday. Under a program spearheaded by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia has worked on returning women and children linked to Russians who fought for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Kadyrov last year called for mass DNA tests in his majority-Muslim region to help repatriate Russian children from the war-torn countries. Read more 
15.11.19 2 Dead, 3 Injured In A School Shooting In Russia
The Associated Press
A student killed a fellow student and wounded three more in a shooting Thursday at a college in Russia before taking his own life, police said. Russia’s state Investigative Committee said the 19-year-old shooter brought a hunting rifle to class in Blagoveshchensk near the border with China and opened fire on students, killing one and severely injuring three more. Read more 
15.11.19 MH17 Investigators Say Phone Calls Show Ukraine Rebels' Ties To Russia
The Guardian
Dutch-led investigators have released new recordings of intercepted telephone calls that show separatist leaders in Ukraine requesting military support and political guidance from Russian political figures in the period before the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner that killed all 298 people on board. Those caught on tape allegedly include Vladislav Surkov, a political aide to Vladimir Putin, whom separatist leaders have called “our man in the Kremlin”. Security officials in the audiotapes also refer to “a mandate” from the Russian defence minister, Sergey Shoigu, to change east Ukraine’s military hierarchy and coordination with the FSB director, Alexander Bortnikov, to deliver military aid, apparently including night-vision equipment and ammunition. Read more 
15.11.19 Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Why Ukraine Is So Important To The US
BBC News
Did President Donald Trump withhold military aid from ally Ukraine for his own political reasons? That is the big question at the heart of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry. Ukraine is not in Nato and it has struggled with years of corruption. But its future direction is of geopolitical importance. Why does Ukraine matter to US? For much of its 28-year independent history it has been unclear whether Ukraine would end up aligned with Russia or the West. Read more 
15.11.19 Russia Says BRICS Nations Favour Idea Of Common Payment System
Reuters
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a group of major emerging economies known as BRICS, back the idea of developing a common payment system, a Russian official said on Thursday. Russia and its BRICS peers have been looking for ways to decrease their dependence on the U.S. dollar and have advocated using their national currencies in mutual trade. Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said “increasing non-market risks of the global payment infrastructure” was behind the plan to integrate the group’s national payment systems. Read more 
15.11.19 MH17 Disaster: Phone-taps 'show Russia Directed Ukraine Rebels'
BBC News
An international inquiry into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 believes high-level Russian officials were directing separatists in eastern Ukraine linked to the attack. Investigators allege a top aide of President Vladimir Putin was in contact with rebel leaders on a regular basis. All 298 people on board were killed when a missile struck the plane over rebel-held territory on 17 July 2014. Russia's foreign ministry has rejected the latest findings. Read more 
15.11.19 Russia Says It's Ready To Work With New Interim Bolivian Leader
Reuters
Russia said on Thursday it was ready to work with Bolivia’s new interim leader, but noted that she had come to power without having a full quorum in parliament. Jeanine Anez, the Senate vice-president, stepped in as interim leader on Tuesday after long-time president Evo Morales resigned under pressure on Sunday in what Russia has compared to an orchestrated coup. Moscow had good ties with Morales, who visited Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin as recently as June. Read more 
14.11.19 Russia To Cut Share Of U.S. Dollar In National Wealth Fund, Mulls Other Currencies
Reuters
Russia will reduce the share of the U.S. dollar in its National Wealth Fund and is considering investing in other foreign currencies including the Chinese yuan, Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev said on Wednesday. Kolychev confirmed a Reuters report from earlier this month that Russia was planning to diversify its foreign currency holdings in 2020. Kolychev said the move was in part meant to shield Russian reserves from external risks. He did not give an exact figure for what the U.S. dollar’s share would be trimmed to in the National Wealth Fund. Read more 
14.11.19 Ukrainian Tycoon Kolomoisky’s Change Of Heart Over Russia
The Moscow Times
Ukraine should give up on the West and go back into Russia’s fold, influential Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky said in an interview with The New York Times Wednesday. Kolomoisky’s business ties to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have been under heavy scrutiny since the start of the former comedian’s election campaign this year. Both men have rejected suggestions that Kolomoisky has behind-the-scenes influence over Zelenskiy. Read more 
14.11.19 Why Ukraine And Russia Are Still At War
Washington Post
America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., described Russia on Wednesday as Ukraine’s “bully neighbor.” Taylor’s remarks during the first open hearing of the impeachment inquiry repeatedly came back to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists that began in 2014. The war has seen Russia play a shadowy role in provoking and then supporting fighters in two of Ukraine’s eastern regions, including Donbas. Read more 
14.11.19 Russia Is Trying To Legalise African ‘blood Diamonds’
The Independent
They have been linked to corruption, violence, civil war, rape and murder. But this week Moscow announced it wanted an end to an international embargo on diamonds exported from the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR is the only country in the world still subject to a ban on so-called “blood diamonds”. According to most estimates, more than 90 per cent of CAR’s diamonds end up being exported anyway – via the black market. Read more 
14.11.19 Russia's Putin Slams Sanctions, Says They Impede Global Growth
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday the global economy has been suffering from protectionism and sanctions. “Without a doubt, the global economy has been influenced by the wider usage of unfair competition, unilateral sanctions, including those that are politically motivated,” Putin told the leaders of the BRICS countries in Brazil. Read more 
14.11.19 Kneeling Russian Pensioner Confronts Medvedev Over Hot Water Shutoff
The Moscow Times
A Russian pensioner has dropped to her knees in front of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in an encounter that drew comparisons to his iconic 2016 quote that turned into a meme. Cameras were rolling during Medvedev’s visit to a Siberian village with his entourage when the woman kneeled on the snowy ground in front of the prime minister, ignoring security agents urging her to stand up. Read more 
14.11.19 The Toxic Relationship Between Britain And Russia Has To Be Exposed
The Guardian
Someone in Downing Street calculated that it was less embarrassing to suppress the intelligence and security committee’s report into Russian interference in the UK than it was to publish it. Boris Johnson’s refusal to allow voters to read the report made waves in parliament a week ago, yet the election campaign has offered a convenient distraction since then. The government can survive one uncomfortable news cycle; but a 50-page report full of revelations about rich Russians funding political parties and associating with politicians, as well as Russian bots meddling in the referendum, could have fed the media for days. Read more 
14.11.19 Russian Child Witnessing Father’s Violent Arrest Was Tortured
The Moscow Times
Russian authorities subjected a child to torture by letting her witness her father’s violent arrest a decade ago, Europe’s human rights court said Tuesday in a ruling that advocates say sets a precedent across Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Russia to pay the unnamed plaintiff 25,000 euros ($27,500) in damages in its unanimous ruling. It said that “witnessing such a violent incident had amounted to ill-treatment,” resulting in the daughter being diagnosed with neurological and post-traumatic stress disorders. Read more 
13.11.19 Ex-Kazakhstan Leader Proposes Russia-Ukraine Presidents Meet In Bid To Ease Conflict
Reuters
Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev is trying to arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose countries are at odds over the war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. “Zelenskiy has already agreed to a tete-a-tete, and (I have) informed the president of Russia about that. We shall see now (if Putin agrees),” Nazarbayev told a conference on international politics in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan on Tuesday. Russia, however, gave a guarded response. Any such meeting must be well prepared and “meeting for the sake of meeting would serve little purpose,” the Kremlin said. Read more 
13.11.19 Israel Extradites Suspected Russian Hacker To U.S. In Snub To Moscow
The Moscow Times
Israel has extradited suspected Russian hacker Alexei Burkov to the United States despite Moscow’s proposal to swap him for an Israeli woman jailed in Russia over marijuana possession, The Times of Israel reported Monday. Burkov, who was detained during a visit to Israel in 2015, is wanted in the U.S. on charges of credit card fraud. Russia last month had asked Israel to exchange Burkov for Naama Issachar, a U.S.-Israeli citizen sentenced to seven and a half years in Russian prison on drug-smuggling charges. Read more 
13.11.19 Indian Oil In Talks With Rosneft To Import Russian Oil
Reuters
Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, is in talks with oil major Rosneft to explore possibility of importing Russian oil, its chairman Sanjiv Singh said on Tuesday. “We have taken very small quantities from Russia in the past which cant be considered significant so we are trying to explore if we can increase the Russian crude volume coming to India...We are in discussion with Rosneft and we are hopeful that something should work,” Singh told reporters at an energy conference. Read more 
13.11.19 Brutal Killing Sparks Public Outcry In Russia
The Moscow Times
For years Oleg Sokolov was a well-known eccentric among the academic elite of Russia’s cultural capital St. Petersburg. As one of the founders of the city’s historical reenactment society, at weekends he liked to dress up as Napoleon Bonaparte, ride a white stallion and bark orders at pretend soldiers. His obsession with the French emperor echoed another of the city’s famous characters — the anti-hero Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment” who became convinced he was a genius like Read more 
13.11.19 Aeroflot: 'Fat Cat Smuggler' Falls Foul Of Russian Airline
BBC News
Russian carrier Aeroflot has stripped a passenger of his air miles for breaching its rules by sneaking his overweight cat aboard a flight. Mikhail Galin, 34, took his cat Viktor on board flight SU1702, from Moscow to Vladivostok, Aeroflot said. Under Aeroflot's rules, pets weighing more than 8kg (17lb) must be placed in the luggage hold. Because Viktor was too heavy for the passenger cabin, Mr Galin devised a cunning plan. Read more 
13.11.19 Russia Jails 6 Crimean Tatar Activists For Terrorism, Sparking Condemnation
The Moscow Times
A Russian court has jailed six Crimean Tatar activists to jail terms between seven and 19 years on charges of terrorism Tuesday, a move that has sparked condemnation from abroad. Some Crimean Tatars have accused Russia of locking up its ideological opponents as religious extremists in the wake of the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Moscow says it is purely acting to prevent acts of terrorism within the mainly Muslim ethnic minority that lives in Crimea. Read more 
12.11.19 Russia Accuses Bolivian Opposition Of Unleashing Violence
Reuters
Russia accused Bolivia’s opposition of unleashing violence in the South American nation and said it looked like the government’s hopes for dialogue had been swept aside by an orchestrated coup. Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Sunday he was resigning to ease violence that has gripped Bolivia since a disputed election, but stoked fears of more unrest by saying he was the victim of a coup and faced arrest. Moscow has commercial interests in Bolivia where Russia’s state nuclear agency is building a nuclear centre. Morales visited Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin in June, pointing to Bolivian gas and lithium as areas for cooperation. Read more 
12.11.19 Libya Slams Russian Intervention: ‘Wherever Wagner Goes Destruction Happens’
The Moscow Times
Russia is using private military contractors to escalate the conflict in Libya and boost its influence there, the security chief of Libya’s UN-backed government has said. Libyan interior minister Fathi Bashagha’s accusations follow reports of at least two deployments of Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenaries in recent months as forces based in eastern Libya attempt to take the capital. Russia denies its military presence in Libya and says it supports conflict settlement efforts in the oil-rich nation. Read more 
12.11.19 Lavrov: Armenia To Grant Russia Access To Biological Labs
The Associated Press
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia and Armenia have finalized talks on cooperation in biological security. Russia long has pushed for access to three biological labs in Armenia, which have been sponsored by the United States. Some Russian media have alleged that the laboratories could have been involved in military research, something that Armenia has denied. Read more 
12.11.19 Russia's NLMK Sees Domestic Demand Growth At 3-5% In 2019
Reuters
Russian steel producer NLMK expects steel demand growth in Russia in 2019 to stand at 3-5% due to support from the domestic construction sector, Commercial Director Sergey Horn said on Monday. NLMK expects domestic demand growth to slow to 2-3% next year and to stabilize at an annual 2% for the subsequent few years. The introduction of escrow accounts in the Russian construction industry in July compelled builders to buy more metal in the first half of this year, Horn said. Read more 
12.11.19 Secret U.K. Report Names Conservatives’ Russian Oligarch Donors
The Sunday Times
Nine Russian businesspeople have donated to Britain’s Conservative Party, according to a secret parliamentary report on Russian interference in British elections, The Sunday Times newspaper reported Sunday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opponents accuse him of blocking the report ahead of the Dec. 12 parliamentary election, an assertion that his Conservative-led government dismissed. Johnson’s office has not yet approved the report, which looked at Russian activity aimed at Britain, for publication despite security services clearing it last month. Read more 
12.11.19 Russia's Lukoil Does Not Plan To Invest In Saudi Aramco's IPO
Reuters
Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil producer, does not plan to invest in Saudi Aramco’s planned initial public offering, its CEO and biggest shareholder, Vagit Alekperov, told reporters on Monday. Saudi state oil giant Aramco plans to start the offering, set to rank it as the world’s most valuable company, on Nov. 17. It has not said how much of the company will be floated or named any cornerstone investors. “Lukoil is not considering investing in Saudi Aramco shares. Lukoil is not an institutional investor,” Alekperov said. Read more 
12.11.19 Russian Historian Found With Body Parts Accused Of Murder
BBC News
Russian prosecutors have accused a renowned historian of murder after he admitted shooting and then dismembering his student partner in St Petersburg. Oleg Sokolov, 63, was rescued drunk from the Moika river in the city early on Saturday and was found to have a woman's arms in his backpack. Police later found other body parts further downriver and in his flat, identified as Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24. She had been living with him. Read more 
12.11.19 Putin Wants To Own The Russian Language
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin attended a meeting of the Russian Language Council at the Kremlin a few days ago and made several very significant statements. First, he said that the Russian language is under attack by “cave-dwelling Russophobes” and nationalists. Second, he said the Russian language constitutes a form of soft power. Third, he expressed his views of Wikipedia. “It would be better to replace it (Wikipedia) with the Great Russian Encyclopedia in electronic form,” he said. “At least this would be credible information.” Read more 
12.11.19 Iran Signs Wheat Import MOUs With Russia, Kazakhstan
Reuters
Iran has signed memorandums of understanding with Russia and Kazakhstan for the temporary importation of wheat, Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Akbar Mehrfard told the official IRNA news agency. “Given that the capacity of the flour factories of the country is double the domestic consumption needs, the temporary import of wheat for producing flour can be counted as a benefit for the economy of our country,” Mehrfard said. Read more 
11.11.19 Russia Releases Last Of Captured Whales Into The Wild
Reuters
Russian authorities said on Sunday they had completed the release of dozens of captured beluga whales whose plight sparked an appeal by Hollywood celebrities and the intervention of President Vladimir Putin. The mammals, caught last year to be sold to marine parks or aquariums in China, were being kept in cramped conditions in a bay near the Pacific port of Nakhodka along with 11 orcas. Russian media dubbed their enclosures a “whale jail.” Read more 
11.11.19 Ukrainian Freed In Poland After Detention On Russian Request
The Associated Press
A Ukrainian activist and veteran of the war in the country’s east, who was earlier detained in Poland based on an Interpol request issued by Russia, was released on Sunday, according to officials and Polish media. Ihor Mazur, however, must remain in the eastern Polish city of Lublin as authorities there examine the extradition request, private television broadcaster TVN reported. Read more 
11.11.19 Russian Professor Admits Murder After Woman’s Severed Arms Found In Bag
The Moscow Times
A prominent Russian historian has confessed to murdering one of his former students after he was discovered in a St. Petersburg river with a backpack containing the woman's arms. Police in St. Petersburg on Saturday detained Professor Oleg Sokolov, 63, on suspicion of murdering a former student after he was pulled out of the city’s Moika river with a backpack containing the severed limbs, authorities said. Read more 
11.11.19 Russia Professor Admits Murder After Woman's Arms Found In Bag
BBC News
A well-known Russian historian has confessed to murdering his lover, his lawyer says, after he was found in a river with a backpack containing a woman's arms. Oleg Sokolov, 63, was drunk and fell into the river as he tried to dispose of body parts, Russian media said. Police then found the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, at his home in the city of St Petersburg. Read more 
10.11.19 Turkish And Russian Presidents Discuss Northeast Syria
Reuters
President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin discussed Turkey’s military offensive in Syria in a phone call on Saturday, Turkey’s presidency said. Turkey launched its cross-border offensive one month ago, saying it aimed to drive Kurdish-led forces from the border region and create a “safe zone” to settle Syrian refugees. It halted its advance under a deal with the United States which called for the withdrawal from the border of Kurdish YPG fighters - whom Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their links to Kurdish guerrillas waging an insurgency inside Turkey. Read more 
10.11.19 Trump Says He's 'thinking About' Attending Russia's May Day Parade
The Independent
Donald Trump says he's considering attending Russia's May Day parade in 2020. The president told reporters outside the White House that he was "invited" by Russian President Vladimir Putin and is "thinking about" attending the procession, which commemorates the end of the Second World War with a display of the country's military might. "It’s right in the middle of our campaign season, but I would certainly think about it", Mr Trump told reporters on Friday. Read more 
10.11.19 Ukraine, Russian-backed Rebels Begin Donbass Village Withdrawal
Reuters
Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels began withdrawing from a village in the disputed Donbass region on Saturday, one of a series of measures that could pave the way for a summit between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany. Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels began withdrawing from a village in the disputed Donbass region on Saturday, one of a series of measures that could pave the way for a summit between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany. Read more 
10.11.19 Which Markets Did Best From Berlin Wall's Collapse? Wall Street And The BRICs, Of Course
Reuters
The toppling of the Berlin Wall made free market economics the norm across Europe - but which financial markets have done the best since then? Wall Street and the BRICs, of course. While the events of 1989 redefined Europe’s boundaries, they also ushered in almost two decades of powerful economic liberalization and globalisation that took in China, India and Latin America - a wave that is only now cresting. Read more 
09.11.19 Trump Says He Might Attend Russia Victory Day Events In May
Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering attending Russia’s May 9 Victory Day commemorative events after President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation. “I appreciate the invitation. It is right in the middle of political season, so I’ll see if I can do it, but I would love to go if I could,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House for campaign-related events. Read more 
09.11.19 Pompeo Attacks Russia And China In Berlin Speech
BBC News
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned of the dangers posed by Russia and China, and called on Nato to grow and confront "the challenges of today". On a visit to Berlin, Mr Pompeo said methods used by China to suppress its own people would be "horrifyingly familiar" to East Germans. And he accused Russia of invading its neighbours and crushing dissent. Read more 
09.11.19 Russia Deploys Military Helicopters To Patrol Syria-Turkey Border
Reuters
Russia has deployed military helicopters to patrol an area near Syria’s border with Turkey in order to help protect Russia military police working on the ground, the Interfax news agency said on Friday. Turkish and Russian forces are holding joint patrols in northeastern Syria to monitor an agreement struck by Moscow and Ankara after Turkey launched an offensive across its border with Syrian rebels a month ago, seeking to push out Kurdish YPG fighters it sees as a threat to its security. Read more 
09.11.19 Far-right Protests Greet Georgia Gay Film Premiere
BBC News
Protests have been taking place in Tbilisi over the premiere of Georgia's first LGBTQ film, And Then We Danced. Directed by Levan Akin, the film tells the story of how Merab, a traditional Georgian dancer, discovers his sexuality while training in the National Georgian Ensemble. In an interview with Variety magazine, the award-winning Georgian-Swedish director said he wanted to show "the challenges of dealing with homosexuality in a conservative society, the hope in a new generation and the roles of art and tradition". Read more 
09.11.19 Austria Charges Retired Army Colonel With Spying For Russia For Decades
Reuters
Austrian prosecutors said on Friday they have charged a retired army colonel with spying and betraying state and military secrets, alleging that he worked for Russian military intelligence for at least 25 years. The now 71-year-old former officer was arrested a year ago when spying allegations against him were first made public, embarrassing the then right-wing government that had positioned Austria as arguably Moscow’s closest ally in the European Union. Read more 
09.11.19 Russia Launches Direct Crimea Train Ticket Sales
The Moscow Times
Russia on Friday began selling tickets for direct train journeys to Crimea, bypassing Ukraine and further cementing its 2014 annexation of the peninsula. Direct trains from Moscow and St. Petersburg will start to run in late December, replacing the route that ran through Ukraine before the annexation. Russia already opened a road section of its controversial $4-billion bridge to the peninsula last year. Now the state property agency has bought 166 passenger carriages and 10 locomotives for the new train route, although it has not said who supplied them over apparent sanctions concerns. Read more 
08.11.19 Macron: Closing Off Dialogue With Russia A 'Huge Mistake'
The Moscow Times
Europe shouldn’t make the “huge mistake” of avoiding dialogue with Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist, continuing his recent overtures to the country that the West has shunned over its annexation of Crimea. Macron previously attempted to bridge the European Union’s differences with Moscow this summer, warning against the “strategic error” of isolating Russia and describing Russia as “deeply European.” The EU, the United States and other Western allies have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Read more 
08.11.19 Alibaba, Russian Post Launch China-Russia Flights To Cut Delivery Times
Reuters
Alibaba Group’s (BABA.N) logistics operator and Russia’s Pochta postal service have launched their first direct China-Russia cargo flights to deliver AliExpress goods purchased online by Russians, AliExpress Russia said on Thursday. The move, which AliExpress Russia hopes will help it cut the time it takes to deliver orders from China to Russia to 10 days, comes with Russia’s rapidly growing e-commerce market producing an annual turnover of more than $14 billion. Read more 
08.11.19 Russian Nuclear Subs Stage Arctic ‘Duel’
The Moscow Times
Two Russian nuclear-powered submarines simulated a “duel” during recent tactical drills in the Arctic, the RBC news website reported Thursday. Two Northern Fleet Sierra-class submarines, the titanium-hulled Pskov and Nizhny Novgorod, sailed out from their homeports toward the Norwegian Sea for deep-sea diving and weapon testing two weeks ago. Read more 
08.11.19 Lithuania Votes Paves Way For Large Spy Swap With Russia
The Associated Press
Lithuanian lawmakers adopted a bill Thursday that is paving the way for a spy swap with neighboring Russia. The exchange could include a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence for espionage in a Russian jail. Lithuania’s parliament voted 76-2 to give the country’s president the right to pardon a convict involved in a spy swap deal. Frode Berg, a 63-year-old retired Norwegian border inspector, was arrested in Moscow in December 2017 on espionage charges for collecting information about Russian nuclear submarines. Read more 
08.11.19 A Russian View On The Fall Of The Berlin Wall, 30 Years On
The Moscow Times
A month before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited East Germany. The diaries of his advisor Anatoly Chernyaev provide a crucial historic record of the scenes: “The crowds chant ‘Gorby! Gorby!’ and no one is paying any attention to [East German leader] Erich (Honecker). At the rallies, people hold up posters in Russian that read: ‘Gorbachev, you are our hope.’” Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the unprecedented scope of “Gorba-mania” at the time, or a situation in which the leader of one country is exponentially more popular abroad than at home. Read more 
08.11.19 Russia-China Fund Seeks Chinese Investors For Saudi Aramco IPO
Reuters
The Russia-China Investment Fund is working to attract Chinese investors for Saudi Aramco’s planned initial public offering, the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday. Aramco kicked off its IPO on Sunday, announcing its intention to float on its domestic bourse in what could be the world’s biggest listing as the kingdom seeks to diversify its economy away from oil. Read more 
08.11.19 Moscow Re-Enacts Famous 1941 Military Parade On Red Square
The Moscow Times
Thousands of troops, historical re-enactors and more marched across Red Square today to mark the 78th anniversary of one of the most famous Soviet military parades. On Nov. 7, 1941, the Soviet Union held the October Revolution Parade, its first military parade during World War II. It's best known for taking place during the Battle of Moscow. Units marched from Red Square to the front, and many of the soldiers who marched were killed in the battle. Read more 
08.11.19 Robot Wars: Russia's Yandex Begins Autonomous Delivery Testing
Reuters
Russian internet giant Yandex has started testing autonomous delivery robots, the latest addition to its technological arsenal, the company said on Thursday. Named after the space exploration device, the Yandex.Rover is a cabin suitcase-sized robot that can navigate pavements at walking pace, carrying small packages, using adapted technology from the firm’s self-driving cars unit. Read more 
07.11.19 Russia's Foreign Ministry Opposes Call To Ban Deutsche Welle
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he did not support banning foreign media outlets including Germany’s Deutsche Welle from working in Russia, something that had been proposed by parliament, Interfax news agency reported. Russia’s parliament accused Deutsche Welle in September of breaking election legislation and asked the foreign ministry to consider revoking the German broadcaster’s right to work in the country. Read more 
07.11.19 Putin’s Ex-Wife Co-Owns Top Russian Microlender
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin’s former wife owns shares in one of Russia’s top 10 microfinance providers, according to an investigation published by the Sobesednik news website Wednesday. Lyudmila Putina was said to have changed her name twice since divorcing Putin in 2014. A woman named Lyudmila Shkrebneva (Putina’s maiden name) allegedly bought a 7% stake in microlender CarMoney last year through a company she solely controls, Sobesednik reported. Read more 
07.11.19 On Norway's Icy Border With Russia, Unease Over Military Buildup
Reuters
Under a soft winter sun in northern Norway, U.S. Marines train in the ice and snow as they learn how to fight in the freezing cold. “Which country is to the northeast?” Staff Sergeant Daniel Croak bellows at a group of 20 soldiers in camouflaged combat jackets and white trousers in a pine forest near the town of Setermoen. “Russia!” they shout back. The troops are part of a contingent of 650 Marines staging a recent joint military exercise with 3,000 soldiers from NATO-member Norway at a time when both NATO and Russia have increased their military presence in the Arctic. Read more 
07.11.19 Putin: New Weapons Will Offer Russia Reliable Protection
The Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s new weapons have no foreign equivalents but he insists the country will not use them to threaten anyone. Speaking during a meeting Wednesday with senior military officers, Putin said no other countries have hypersonic, laser and other prospective weapons that have been commissioned by the Russian military, adding that “it’s not a reason to threaten anyone.” Read more 
07.11.19 Russia Obtains Israel’s New Interceptor Missile In Syria
The Moscow Times
The Russian military has allegedly obtained Israel’s new interceptor missile that Syria captured on its soil last year, Israeli news outlets reported Wednesday. Israel launched two of its intermediate ballistic missile interceptors called David’s Sling into Syria on July 23, 2018, one of which landed intact, the Middle East intelligence website DEBKAfile wrote at the time. The website expressed concerns that Russian and Syrian intelligence engineers may have “by now studied actively” the missile and may have shared its secrets with Israel’s adversary Iran. Read more 
07.11.19 Russia Drafting Law To Bar Dopers From Working In Sports
Reuters
Russia is drawing up legislation that would bar people serving doping suspensions from working as sports officials or in sports schools, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Wednesday, as the country boosts efforts to put its doping scandals behind it. Russia has faced heightened scrutiny in recent months after Reuters reported that two athletics coaches and one doctor suspended for doping were still working with athletes. Another Reuters report in June found that race walking coach Viktor Chegin, banned for life in 2016, had been awarded state contracts to provide security at the venue where he was formerly head coach. Read more 
07.11.19 Russian Army's Hazing Culture Drove Son To Kill Soldiers
The Guardian
The father of a Russian conscript who allegedly shot and killed eight fellow soldiers on an army base last month has blamed a culture of brutal bullying for driving his son to carry out the attack, raising fresh concerns over a poisonous culture of hazing that Russia claimed to have eliminated from its army. Ramil Shamsutdinov opened fire from his service weapon last week on a military base in Russia’s Transbaikal region, killing two officers and six soldiers. Some media reports said he Read more 
07.11.19 ‘They Warned They’ll Rape Me’: Russian Soldier Stands By Mass Shooting
The Moscow Times
A Russian conscript who gunned down eight fellow soldiers in the country’s Far East last month acted in retaliation to hazing and a rape threat, according to his reported testimony and his father’s remarks published Wednesday. Private Ramil Shamsutdinov, 20, was detained Oct. 25 at the military base where he served and charged with murder. The Defense Ministry was quick to blame the shooting on a nervous breakdown, while later reporting hinted at hazing within unit 54160 in the closed town of Gorny, Zabaikalsky region. Read more 
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