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16.04.21 Russia Registers 8,995 New Cases Of Covid-19, 397 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,995 cases of Covid-19 and 397 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Friday. "Over the past day, 8,995 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,172 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (13.0%)," the headquarters said. In the past 24 hours, 9,109 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery, and 397 patients died from Covid-19 across Russia. According to the headquarters, Moscow saw 2,476 new cases of Covid-19, 57 deaths and 1,901 recoveries in the past 24 hours. Daily coronavirus morbidity has been higher than 2,400 in Moscow for two consecutive days, and it was also the highest in Russia. The smallest growth was reported by Tuva (two cases) and the Jewish Autonomous District and the Chukotka Autonomous District (one case in each) in the past 24 hours. There were zero infections in the Nenets Autonomous District. Read more 
16.04.21 Poland Declares Three Russian Diplomats Personae Non Gratae
TASS
Poland has declared three Russian diplomats personae non gratae, the Polish Foreign Ministry informed on Thursday. "A diplomatic note was handed to the [Russian] Ambassador [to Poland] which informs of three employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw being declared personae non gratae," a statement by the Polish Foreign Ministry says. According to the Polish Foreign Ministry, "the basis for this decision was the violation of the conditions of diplomatic status by the aforementioned persons," as well as alleged "actions aimed to harm the Republic of Poland.". Read more 
16.04.21 US Expels Russian Diplomats, Imposes Sanctions For Hacking
AP
The Biden administration has announced the U.S. is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against dozens of people and companies, holding the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies. The sweeping measures announced Thursday are meant to punish Russia for actions that U.S. officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money. The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, which promised a response, even as President Joe Biden said the administration could have taken even more punitive measures but chose not to in the interests of maintaining stability. Read more 
16.04.21 Rosstat: Poverty Rate In Russia Drops To Lowest Level Seen Since 2014
Meduza
At the end of 2020, 17.8 million people in Russia were living below the poverty line, according to preliminary estimates from the Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat). This equates to 12.1 percent of the country’s population — meaning the poverty rate went down 0.2 percentage points (or, by 300,000 people) compared to 2019, according to Rosstat’s website. RBC writes that this is the lowest poverty rate Russia has seen since 2014, when 11.3 percent of the population was living below the poverty line. According to Rosstat’s estimates, in the fourth quarter of 2020, 13.5 million people in Russia, or 9.2 percent of the population, had incomes below the subsistence level. Compared to last year’s third quarter, the number of people living in poverty decreased by 5.3 million (or by 3.6 percentage points) — from 18.8 million to 13.5 million people. Read more 
16.04.21 More Than 8 Mln People Vaccinated Against Covid-19 In Russia To Date
Interfax
The number of people vaccinated against Covid-19 in Russia significantly exceeds the figure of eight million, and the further intensification of the vaccination campaign will allow the country's authorities to consider lifting coronavirus-related restrictions soon, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said. "The figure of more than eight million has been mentioned here [at a meeting of the Russian Health Ministry board], but the film was probably prepared long before the board meeting, and today this number is already considerably higher," Golikova said at the ministry board meeting on Friday. "The volume of vaccination in Russia is growing, which is good. It allows us to consider lifting the restrictions at some point in the near future," she said. Read more 
16.04.21 Russia's Yandex To Launch Rapid Delivery In France
The Moscow Times
Russian tech giant Yandex said Thursday it plans to launch its rapid grocery delivery service in France later this year and is also gearing up to start operations in London. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic demand for online grocery deliveries has spiked, buttressing 15-minute grocery delivery services such as Yandex.Lavka. Yandex.Lavka currently operates in several big Russian cities as well as Tel Aviv. The company said the service would start operating in Paris in the second quarter of this year. Read more 
15.04.21 Russia Reports Over 8,900 Daily COVID-19 Cases
TASS
Russia confirmed 8,944 COVID-19 cases over the past day, bringing the total caseload to 4,675,153, the anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on Thursday. The growth rate stands at 0.19% in relative terms. The lowest growth rates were registered over the past day in the Nenets Autonomous Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Region (0%), the Republic of Tuva (0.01%), the Magadan Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region (0.02%). Read more 
15.04.21 Months After Hack, US Poised To Announce Sanctions On Russia
AP
The Biden administration is preparing to announce sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats from the U.S. in response to a massive Russian hacking campaign that breached vital federal agencies, as well as for election interference, a senior administration official said. The sanctions, foreshadowed for weeks by the administration, would represent the first retaliatory action announced against the Kremlin for last year’s hack, familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach. In that intrusion, Russian hackers are believed to have infected widely used software with malicious code, enabling them to access the networks of at least nine agencies in what U.S. officials believe was an intelligence gathering operation aimed at mining government secrets. Read more 
15.04.21 Navalny Ally Sobol Sentenced For Visiting Alleged FSB Poisoner’s Apartment
The Moscow Times
Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s close associate Lyubov Sobol was sentenced to a year of community service Thursday for visiting the apartment of an alleged security agent implicated in his poisoning. Sobol was detained in December when she appeared outside the home of alleged Federal Security Service (FSB) chemical weapons expert Konstantin Kudryavtsev. Navalny and the open-source investigative group Bellingcat said Kudryavtsev was part of an FSB squad tasked with his poisoning and cleaning up the crime scene last August. Read more 
15.04.21 Russia’s Flag Banned But National Colors On Olympic Uniforms
AP
The Russian flag is barred from the Olympics in a doping dispute. You wouldn’t know it to look at the Russian uniforms. The International Olympic Committee told The Associated Press that Russian athletes in Tokyo will be allowed to wear a range of uniforms in national colors unveiled by models in a runway show in Moscow on Wednesday. That unveiling show included polo shirts and jackets with white shoulders above thick bands of blue and red — the colors of the Russian flag, in the same order. Read more 
15.04.21 Biden To Hit Russian Officials With Sanctions As Tension Rises With Putin
The Independent
The United States is expected to announce sanctions on Russia for alleged election interference and a massive hacking campaign amidst mounting tensions between the two countries. The measures, which will target Russian individuals and entities, are expected to be announced on Thursday. They will likely include a blacklist of 30 entities and expulsion of about 10 Russian officials from the US, Reuters cited a person familiar with the matter as saying. The sanctions would come in response to the SolarWinds breach that was identified in December. The US government has said that the hack, which affected at least 100 private-sector businesses and nine federal agencies, was likely carried out by Russia. The US had last month warned of “seen and unseen” responses to the attack. Read more 
15.04.21 Court Restricts Moscow Student Magazine Editors To One Minute Outside Per Day
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
A Moscow court has placed in de facto house arrest four editors of the student magazine Doxa who have been accused of "engaging minors in actions that might be dangerous" over a video related to unsanctioned rallies to protest the incarceration of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. The Basmanny district court late on April 14 ordered Armen Aramyan, Vladimir Metyolkin, Natalya Tyshkevich, and Alla Gutnikova not to leave their homes between 11.59 p.m. and midnight for two months, giving them only one minute to be outside each day. The four were detained for questioning at the Investigative Committee after their homes and the magazine's offices were searched over the video, which the magazine posted online in January. Read more 
15.04.21 Kremlin Says Demand In Russia For Vaccinations Remains Disappointing
Reuters
The Kremlin on Thursday said demand for vaccinations in Russia against COVID-19 remained disappointing, but was gradually increasing. Russia has three coronavirus vaccines, the most well-known of which is Sputnik V. Moscow has also given approval to two others, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Thursday said more than 820,000 residents in the city of around 13 million people had received two doses of a vaccine. More than 1 million have received a first dose. Read more 
14.04.21 Russia Registers 8,326 New Covid-19 Cases, 399 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,326 new cases of Covid-19 and 399 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Wednesday. "Over the past day, 8,326 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,156 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (13.9%)," the headquarters said. Over the past day, 399 people have died of Covid-19 across Russia, and 9,447 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery.

According to the headquarters, Moscow has registered 1,837 new cases of Covid-19, 52 deaths, and 1,751 recoveries in the past 24 hours. Daily morbidity was the lowest in the Republic of Altai and Tuva (two cases each), as well as in the Jewish Autonomous District (one case). There were zero infections recorded in the Nenets Autonomous District. Read more 
14.04.21 Four People Recovered Alive After Power Plant’s Collapse In Central Russia
TASS
Four people have been pulled out from the rubble after the collapse of the roof and part of the wall on the thermal power plant’s premises in Tambov, central Russia, the region’s First Vice Governor Oleg Ivanov reported on Wednesday. "We have pulled out three people and are getting one more now, everyone is alive," Ivanov stated. According to Tambov’s official, there are no more people under the rubble. The Emergencies Ministry’s staff are working on the spot. Read more 
14.04.21 Putin Foe Navalny Says He Sues Prison For Withholding Quran
AP
Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Tuesday he was suing his prison for withholding the Quran, which he intended to study while serving time outside Moscow. Navalny has been on a hunger strike for two weeks, protesting prison officials’ refusal to let his physician examine him behind bars after he developed severe back and leg pain. But he said Tuesday in an Instagram post that his first lawsuit against prison officials had to do with the Muslim holy book. “The thing is, they’re not giving my Quran. And it pisses me off,” Navalny said, adding that “deeply studying” the Quran was one of several “self-improvement” goals he set for himself while in prison. The politician said he hasn’t been given access to any of the books he brought or ordered over the past month, because they all need to be “inspected for extremism,” which officials say takes three months. Read more 
14.04.21 Nevskaya Manufaktura
Meduza
On April 12, a massive fire broke out at the Nevskaya Manufaktura, a historic factory in St. Petersburg. The blaze spread over a 10,000-square-meter area (more than 107,600 square feet), and the emergency services declared it a “level five” — the hardest type of fire to put out. After 10 hours, firefighters managed to get the blaze under control, though it wasn’t completely extinguished. One firefighter was killed and three others were injured; two of them were hospitalized in serious condition. According to sources in law enforcement, the preliminary assessment is that the fire was caused by arson. The property was handed over for a residential development about a month ago. The authorities have detained both the factory’s director and his deputy in connection with a criminal case for negligence leading to the death of a person. Read more 
14.04.21 Russian Police Raid Independent Moscow Student Publication
The Moscow Times
Law enforcement authorities have raided Moscow student-run publication DOXA’s office and its editors’ homes over recent rallies in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the journal said early Wednesday. The searches by security officers are at least the second raids targeting Russian journalists in the past week. Authorities last Friday searched the home of prominent investigative journalist Roman Anin for seven hours in a move he believes is a warning shot to independent media of a renewed clampdown. “[Security officers] came with searches to the DOXA office and the homes of editors Armen Aramyan, Volodya Metelkin and Natasha Tyshkevich,” the outlet said on its social media page. It later added that DOXA staffer Alla Gutnikova’s home has also been raided.
Read more 
14.04.21 Another Treason Case
Meduza
On Tuesday, April 13, a Moscow court remanded theoretical physicist Valery Golubkin in custody on suspicion of treason. Allegedly, he passed information to a NATO country. Golubkin’s arrest comes in connection with a treason case against another scientist — physicist Anatoly Gubanov, who was arrested in December 2020. Though the details of the case remain classified, both professors have denied any guilt. Read more 
14.04.21 Kremlin Doesn’t Rule Out Shutdown Of Visa, MasterCard In Russia
Sputnik
The US has threatened to pile new sanctions on Russia over a range of pretexts, including Moscow’s alleged role in the SolarWinds hack, election meddling, rising tensions in Ukraine, and more. On Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Russia to continue to expand non-dollar trade, and to abandon Western-controlled payment systems. Moscow isn't ruling out the West restricting the use of Visa and MasterCard payment systems in Russia, Presidential Spokesman Dmitri Peskov has said. The best way for Moscow to hedge such risk was to create alternative payment systems and other services to support financial activities, “that is, systems to strengthen sovereignty in all sectors of the economy, banking,” Peskov added. Read more 
14.04.21 'Quietly Dying On The Streets'
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
The winter months are especially harsh for the homeless in Russia’s northern city of St. Petersburg, especially for those suffering serious medical problems. “Recuperating from many illnesses in the winter and on the streets is impossible. After release from the hospital, they end up back on the streets in conditions that aren’t conducive to recovery,” said Sergei Iyevkov, the founder and direct of Charity Hospital, which has more than 100 volunteers -- including dozens of doctors -- delivering health care to the homeless. An estimated 50,000 people in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, are believed to lack a permanent home. Beyond the daily struggle to find food and shelter, those in need of medical attention face further hurdles. Many lack health insurance or even basic identification documents. Without those, only emergency wards and the city’s sole specialized hospital for infectious diseases will treat them. Discrimination and hostility on the part of some health-care workers also dissuades many of the homeless from seeking hospital treatment, experts say. And even if they are treated for an illness, many of them never fully recover.
Read more 
14.04.21 Iran And Russia Discuss Ties, The Middle East, And Nuclear Deal
Aljazeera
Iran and Russia have held high-level talks on bilateral ties, the region, and Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers during Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s trip to Tehran on Tuesday. In a meeting with Lavrov, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran wishes to expand regional cooperation with Russia on Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen in order to help establish stability and combat American interventions. He also called for more defence and military cooperation, especially as a United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran ended in October 2020. “Opening the Zionist regime’s foothold to the Persian Gulf region as a destabilising and tension-creating element will be a dangerous act,” Rouhani said of Israel, which Iran has accused of orchestrating “nuclear terrorism” on its facilities at Natanz on Sunday. Read more 
13.04.21 Russia Restricts Air Service With Turkey From April 15 To June 1
TASS
Russia imposes restrictions on regular and chartered air service with Turkey for a period from April 15 to June 1 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Monday. "We have taken a decision to restrict regular and chartered air service from Russian international airports to Turkish airports and back from April 15 to June 1, except flights necessary for the participation of Concern Titan-2 Joint-Stock Company in the construction of a nuclear power plant <…>, bringing Russian nationals vacationing in Turkey home," she said, adding that two flights, from Moscow to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Moscow would only be allowed per week on a reciprocal basis. Read more 
13.04.21 Russia Puts Feminist Activist On Trial For Pornography
AP
A feminist artist went on trial Monday in Russia on charges of disseminating pornography after she shared artwork online depicting female bodies. Human rights groups linked her prosecution to the Kremlin’s conservative stance promoting “traditional family values.” The charges against activist Yulia Tsvetkova, 27, in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur have brought international outrage. She faces up to six years in prison on charges reportedly related to her group on the popular Russian social media network VKontakte, where stylized drawings of vaginas were posted. Tsvetkova is not allowed to disclose details of the criminal case against her. Read more 
13.04.21 Yuri Gagarin Image Lights Up Dubai’s Burj Khalifa
TASS
A portrait of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, was projected onto the facade of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, TASS reports from the site. The Dubai landmark honored Gagarin’s memory on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his space flight. The event lasted about three minutes. "Yuri Gagarin’s flight marked a new era in space conquest. There is not a country in the world where the name of our celebrated cosmonaut would not be known. We are very happy that the UAE Space Agency supported the initiative of the Russian side to shine light on the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight in such a beautiful and original way," Russia’s Consul General in Dubai Oleg Fomin told TASS. Read more 
13.04.21 2 Navalny Allies Missing Day After Opening Regional Office
The Moscow Times
Two allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have gone missing the day after opening a campaign office in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, the office’s Twitter account said Monday. Sunday’s low-key opening in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala follows an abandoned attempt in February, when the then-regional campaign manager was assaulted hours after Navalny’s team first announced their plans. “Yesterday we opened a headquarters in Makhachkala, and today our coordinator Eduard Atayev disappeared,” Navalny’s office said. A regional election observer added that Atayev’s assistant Murad Manapov has also gone missing after leaving his home. Read more 
12.04.21 Russia Plans To Resume Charter Flights To Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada Soon
TASS
Moscow hopes that charter flights fly again from Russia to the Egyptian resort cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada at the soonest possible date, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. "I would like to reaffirm our interest in the resumption of regular air travel between Russia and the Egyptian resort cities," he said. "I expect that charter flights from Russia to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada will be resumed as early as in the immediate future," he said. The Russian foreign minister highly praised grandiose joint efforts of the Russian and Egyptian specialists in this area and also highlighted good prospects for bilateral cooperation in other fields. Read more 
12.04.21 Kudermetova Wins Her 1st WTA Title On Clay In Charleston
AP
Veronika Kudermetova of Russia won her first WTA title, coming up strong on the big points to beat Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-2 at the Volvo Car Open on Sunday. The 23-year-old Kudermetova did not drop a set in six matches on the way to the championship at the season’s first clay-court tournament — a feat last accomplished here by Serena Williams in 2012. Kovinic, also seeking her first title, sailed a forehand long on match point, making the fifth first-time winner this season on the WTA. “I really enjoyed the play here,” Kudermetova said to the few dozen people watching as she held the championship trophy up high. Read more 
12.04.21 Azur Air’s Flight Lands In Sochi After Reporting Cabin Depressurization
TASS
Azur Air’s flight has landed safely at Sochi airport after the crew decided to turn back to the departure airport over possible cabin depressurization, the airport press service told TASS on Sunday. "The landing was safe at 22.24 Moscow time," he said. Earlier in the day, it was reported that the crew of Azur Air’s flight from Sochi to St. Petersburg decided to return to the departure airport after the cabin had possibly depressurized. There were 190 passengers on board the Boeing 737-8 plane. According to the Sochi Airport’s information board, the Azur Air’s flight took off at 20.49 Moscow Time. Read more 
12.04.21 Soviet Cosmonaut Made Pioneering Spaceflight 60 Years Ago
The Independent
Crushed into the pilot's seat by heavy G-forces, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin saw flames outside his spacecraft and prepared to die. His voice broke the tense silence at ground control: “I’m burning. Goodbye, comrades.” Gagarin didn’t know that the blazing inferno he observed through a porthole was a cloud of plasma engulfing Vostok 1 during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, and he was still on track to return safely. It was his quiet composure under pressure that helped make him the first human in space 60 years ago. Read more 
12.04.21 Kremlin Says Not Moving Toward War With Ukraine
The Moscow Times
The Kremlin on Sunday said it was not moving toward war with Ukraine as Russia increased its military presence on the border with Ukraine's eastern breakaway territories. In recent weeks fighting has intensified between Ukraine's army and pro-Russian separatists controlling two regions in the country's east, raising concerns of major escalation in the long-running conflict. "Of course, nobody is planning to move toward war and in general, nobody accepts the possibility of such a war," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a televised interview on Sunday. Read more 
12.04.21 Chechen Deported From France Faces Possible Torture And Death In Homeland
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
A Chechen refugee deported from France to Russia now faces potential torture or even death after being handed over to Chechnya’s security services, Amnesty International said on April 11. The French branch of the rights group said in an emergency appeal that they were extremely concerned about the fate of Magomed Gadayev, who was deported from France to Moscow on April 9. The 37-year-old was subsequently handed over by Russian security agents to authorities of the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Novaya gazeta newspaper reported. Read more 
11.04.21 Three Russians Taken To Hospital After Tourist Bus Crash In Turkey
TASS
At least three Russian nationals were taken to hospital after a tourist bus crash in central Turkey, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Turkey told TASS on Saturday. "According to updated information the embassy officers received from the local police and the travel company, five Russian tourists sought medical assistance after the accident on the Konya-Aksaray highway this morning. Three of them were taken to hospital with bruises and fractures of various degrees of gravity. Two of them are expected to be release after medical examination later in the day," the spokesman said. "Other Russian tourists are staying at a hotel in Konya. They will be taken to their vacationing destination as soon as the probe is over and the weather is favorable," the diplomat added. Read more 
11.04.21 Apartment Of Russian Investigative Journalist Raided
AP
Russian authorities took a prominent investigative journalist in for questioning after searching his apartment, and the news website he works for said the actions were likely connected to a story about one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates. Roman Anin, chief editor of the Vazhnikh Istorii website, is considered a witness in a criminal case for violation of privacy. Anin’s lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, told Russian news agencies on Saturday that Anin refused to answer questions and was released but is to be interviewed again on Monday. Vazhnikh Istorii said the questioning likely involved a 2016 story Anin wrote for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta that alleged a lavish super-yacht belonged to Igor Sechin, head of Russian state oil company Rosneft. Read more 
11.04.21 Russia’s Akhmerova Wins Gold At European Weightlifting Championships
TASS
Russian athlete Daria Akhmerova wins the gold medal at the European Weightlifting Championships underway in Moscow. The Championships will end on April 11. Read more 
10.04.21 Number Of Confirmed Coronavirus Cases In Russia Rises By 8,704 Over Day
TASS
The number of coronavirus cases in Russia increased by 8,704 over the day to 4,632,688, the operational headquarters for the fight against coronavirus told reporters on Saturday. In relative terms, the increase in the number of cases was 0.19%. In particular, 699 cases were detected in St. Petersburg, in the Moscow region - 587, in the Nizhny Novgorod region - 245, in the Rostov region - 240. The number of so-called active cases, patients who are being treated at the moment, has decreased to 271,760, the headquarters said. This is the lowest figure since mid-October 2020. Read more 
10.04.21 Kremlin Says It Fears Full-scale Fighting In Ukraine’s East
AP
The Kremlin said Friday it fears a resumption of full-scale fighting in eastern Ukraine and could take steps to protect Russian civilians there, a stark warning that comes amid a Russian troop build-up along the border. The statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, reflected the Kremlin’s determination to prevent Ukraine from using force to try to retake control over separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military chief dismissed the Russian claims that the country’s armed forces are preparing for an attack on the rebel east. Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since shortly after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. More than 14,000 people have died in the conflict, and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have stalled. Read more 
10.04.21 Kremlin Defends Russian Military Buildup On Ukraine Border
The Guardian
Kremlin officials have said that its forces massing on the border with Ukraine could intervene if Kyiv launches an assault on Russian-backed separatists, as concerns grow about the largest military buildup since 2014. Open source intelligence reports have shown that tanks, rocket artillery, and short-range ballistic missiles have been transported to just 150 miles from Ukraine, where Russia has established a large new military staging area. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov on Friday defended the Russian military buildup, calling the border region a “powder keg” and saying that Russia “will not stand aside” if it believes hostilities could lead to “mass civilian casualties”. Read more 
10.04.21 Disruptions And Threats Plague Russia’s Top Documentary Film Festival
Meduza
Over the course of the past week, Artdocfest — the largest documentary film festival in Russia — has been disrupted by the police, Russia’s consumer protection agency, threats, and pro-Kremlin activists. In response, Artdocfest’s organizers have been forced to cancel screenings and pull films, and have done their best to see the festival through regardless. Meduza breaks down the chain of disruptions and threats that have plagued Artdocfest 2021. Read more 
10.04.21 Putin Sends Queen Elizabeth II Condolences Following Prince Philip’s Death
The Moscow Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to Queen Elizabeth II following the death of her husband, Prince Philip, the Kremlin said Friday. The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest serving royal consort in British history, died Friday at age 99. He was discharged from hospital in March a month after treatment for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition. “The name of His Royal Highness is associated with many important events in your country’s recent history,” Putin said in a telegram to Queen Elizabeth. “He rightfully enjoyed respect among the British and internationally,” Putin said. Read more 
09.04.21 Russia Wants Slovakia To Return Its Sputnik V Vaccines
AP
Russia asked Slovakia on Thursday to return its Sputnik V vaccines it has received “due to multiple contract violations.” The official Twitter account of the Sputnik V vaccine said Slovakia’s drug regulator “in violation of existing contract and in an act of sabotage” tested Sputnik V “in a laboratory which is not part of the EU’s Official Medicines Control Laboratory network.” It tweeted Slovakia’s State Institute for Drug Control “has launched a disinformation campaign against Sputnik V and plans additional provocations.” The Slovak institute said the network of EU certified labs tests only vaccines registered in the European Union, which is not the case of Sputnik. It added it doesn’t know details about the Russian-Slovak contract because it was classified. Read more 
09.04.21 Ulyanovsk Regional Governor Resigns After 16 Years In Office To Run For State Duma
Meduza
The governor of Russia’s Ulyanovsk region, Sergey Morozov, has announced his resignation, as well as his plans to run for the Russian State Duma. “Today I appealed to the head of our state with a request to step down voluntarily, in order to fully focus on solving vital issues at the federal level. I made the decision to run for the State Duma,” Morozov said in an address to local residents, broadcast on the state television channel Rossiya 24 on Thursday, April 8. “I sincerely believe that a new team will preserve all our best practices [and] will do what’s best in order to improve the quality and standard of living of Ulyanovsk residents.” Read more 
09.04.21 Sputnik V Developer Confirms Jab Is Less Effective Against South African Variant
The Moscow Times
The developer of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has confirmed the jab is less effective against the South African variant of the virus, but claimed that the Russian-made vaccine still offers better protection against virus mutations than its rivals. In an interview with state-run news agency Interfax, Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute which developed the jab, accepted the results of a U.S.-Argentinian study showing Sputnik V produced a “markedly reduced” antibody response to the South African variant of the virus compared with other strains. The study showed that two thirds of the 12 blood samples analyzed did not produce a sufficient antibody response to offer protection against the South African variant, while effectiveness against the British variant was similar to that observed in Russia’s peer-reviewed clinical trials into Sputnik V’s overall effectiveness. Read more 
09.04.21 Russia Reports 9,150 New COVID-19 Cases, 402 Deaths
Reuters
Russia on Friday reported 9,150 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,421 in Moscow, taking the national infection tally to 4,623,984 since the pandemic began. The government coronavirus taskforce reported 402 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing its death toll to 102,247. The statistics agency has kept a separate count and reported a much higher toll of 225,000 from April 2020 to February. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Maria Kiselyova) Read more 
09.04.21 Merkel Urges Putin To Pull Troops Back From Ukraine Border
Aljazeera
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to pull back a military build-up near the country’s border with Ukraine amid heightened tensions in the conflict-stricken Donbas region. Ukrainian government troops have battled Russian-backed separatists in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which form part of Donbas, since the rebels seized a swath of territory there in April 2014. Fears of an escalation in hostilities have mounted in recent weeks, with Ukraine raising the alarm about an increase in Russian forces along the countries’ shared border and renewed front-line clashes. Read more 
08.04.21 Bank Of Russia Plans To Test Digital Ruble In 2022
TASS
Russia’s Central Bank plans to test the digital ruble during the whole 2022, after which a roadmap will be drafted for future implementation of the project, First Deputy Governor of the regulator Olga Skorobogatova told a press conference on Thursday. "We plan to spend the whole 2022 on the testing stage, and only after obtaining the results of testing we will understand which roadmap on introduction of the targeted platform will be implemented and when," she explained. According to the files to the press conference, the regulator plans to create a prototype of the digital ruble platform by December 2021. Drafting of legislation amendments is planned in January 2022, whereas the start of the digital ruble’s testing - in the first quarter of 2022. Read more 
08.04.21 Russia Registers 8,672 New Covid-19 Cases, 365 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,672 new cases of Covid-19 and 365 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Thursday. "Over the past day, 8,672 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 83 regions of Russia, including 1,149 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (13.2%)," the headquarters said. Over the past day, 365 people have died of Covid-19 across Russia, and 9,558 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery. According to the headquarters, Moscow has seen 2,024 new cases of Covid-19, 55 deaths, and 1,746 recoveries in the past 24 hours. Moscow reported the largest number of coronavirus infections among Russia's regions, while morbidity is the lowest in the Magadan region (three new cases) and the Jewish Autonomous District and Tuva (two each). There are no new infections in the Nenets Autonomous District or the Chukotka Autonomous District. Read more 
08.04.21 Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Has Spinal Hernias
AP
A lawyer for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has complained of serious back and leg pain in custody, said Wednesday that doctors have found him to be suffering from two spinal hernias. Vadim Kobzev told the Interfax news agency that Navalny also has a spinal protrusion and is beginning to lose feeling in his hands. Navalny went on a hunger strike last week to protest what he called poor medical care in a Russian prison. On Tuesday, the leader of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union was detained by police after trying to get into the prison to talk to doctors. Read more 
08.04.21 Moscow Court Lifts House Arrest For Some Of Navalny’s Associates
Meduza
The Moscow City Court has granted the appeals of four defendants in the so-called sanitary case, releasing them from house arrest and placing them under alternative preventive measures, the court’s press service told Meduza on Wednesday, April 7. The “sanitary case” was launched against a number of Alexey Navalny’s associates following the protest in support of the jailed opposition politician in Moscow on January 23. Beginning in late January, all of the suspects in the case were placed under house arrest. On Wednesday, the court released Navalny’s brother Oleg Navalny from house arrest, along with opposition figure Lyubov Sobol, and municipal deputies Lyusya Shtein and Konstantin Yanukauskas. Read more 
07.04.21 Zoom Access Restrictions Not To Affect Operation Of Schools
TASS
Russian Ministry of Education seeks to utilize domestic video services in the education processes, including the new Sferum video conference system, which should mitigate the effect of the new Zoom policy, says Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov. "We have our domestic system, Sferum, which we have presented just recently. This is our domestic video conference system, which we have presented just recently, so we are prepared to any situation. And, of course, we will orient ourselves more towards our own software," he said, answering a TASS question during an online conference Wednesday. Earlier, Kommersant reported, citing a letter by RighConf, the Zoom distributor in Russia and CIS, that Zoom Video Communications prohibited selling the video conference service access to Russian state agencies and companies. Read more 
07.04.21 Russia Registers 8,294 New Cases Of Covid-19, 374 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,294 new cases of Covid-19 and 374 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said on Wednesday. "Over the past day, 8,294 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,037 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (12.5%)," the headquarters said. Over the past day, 374 people died of Covid-19 across Russia, and 9,445 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery. Read more 
07.04.21 Russia To Boost Ties With Pakistan, Supply Military Gear
AP
Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday said Moscow and Islamabad will boost ties in the fight against terrorism, with Russia providing unspecified military equipment to Pakistan and the two holding joint exercises at sea and in the mountains. Sergey Lavrov spoke on the second day of a two-day trip to Pakistan. It’s the first visit by a Russian foreign minister in nine years, part of a warming of frosty relations. It comes as Moscow seeks to increase its stature in the region, particularly in Afghanistan, where it seeks to inject itself as a key player in efforts to find a peaceful end to decades of war. Read more 
06.04.21 Putin Signs Law Enabling Him To Run For President Again
TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law letting him run for the president of Russia again. The law was uploaded to the official Internet-portal of legal information on Monday. A number of provisions of the law was developed on the basis of amendments to the Constitution. One of the newly-introduced amendments is the restriction on the number of presidential terms for one person. It is applied to the incumbent president regardless of the previous presidential terms and allows the current head of state to contest the presidency twice. Read more 
06.04.21 Jailed Kremlin Critic Navalny Moved To Sick Ward, Tested For Coronavirus
Reuters
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been moved to a sick ward with symptoms of a respiratory illness and has been tested for the coronavirus, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Monday, after he said he had a high temperature and cough. Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin who declared a hunger strike last week and accused prison staff of denying him proper treatment for acute back and leg pain, alleged earlier there was a tuberculosis outbreak in his ward. The 44-year-old politician whose release the West has demanded said three people from his ward had been hospitalised with tuberculosis and joked darkly that catching the disease might offer him relief from his other ailments. Read more 
06.04.21 First Large Batch Of EpiVacCorona Vaccine Shipped To 40 Russian Regions
TASS
Over 230,000 sets of the EpiVacCorona vaccine against the coronavirus developed by the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology have been shipped to 40 Russian regions, the press service of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing reported on Monday. "The first large batch of the EpiVacCorona vaccine was shipped to regions. On April 5, over 230,000 sets of the EpiVacCorona vaccine were shipped to more than 40 entities of the Russian Federation," the statement said. Read more 
06.04.21 Russian Open, Indonesia Masters Super 100 Cancelled Due To COVID-19
Reuters
This year’s Russian Open and Indonesia Masters Super 100 have been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Monday. The Russian Open, a Super 100 event on the BWF World Tour, was due to take place from July 20-25 and the Indonesia Masters Super 100 was scheduled for Oct. 5-10. “The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and complications left local organisers no choice but to cancel the tournaments,” BWF said in a statement. Read more 
06.04.21 ‘There’s No Evidence In The Case At All’
Meduza
On Monday, April 5, the Russian business newspaper Kommersant published an interview with Sergey Furgal, the jailed former governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk territory, who was arrested in July 2020 on charges of organizing multiple murders in the early 2000s. Furgal’s arrest prompted large-scale protests in the regional capital that continued into the fall of last year. Today, he remains in pre-trial custody in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison. In conversation with Kommersant, Furgal discussed the case against him, its alleged connection to his business dealings, and more. Here’s what he said, in a nutshell. Read more 
06.04.21 1 In 2 Russians Say Navalny Rightly Jailed
The Moscow Times
Nearly half of Russians say that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was rightly imprisoned for violating parole while recovering abroad from a poisoning attack, according to an independent survey published Monday. The Levada Center polling agency said 48% of Russian respondents consider Navalny’s sentence of two and a half years in one of the country's most notorious penal colonies to be fair. Only 29% of respondents called Navalny’s verdict unjust, according to the poll results. Read more 
05.04.21 Russia’s Media Watchdog Extends Measures To Slow Down Twitter Until May 15
TASS
The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) has decided to extend measures to slow down Twitter until May 15, the service reported on Monday. "Taking into account the decision made by Twitter for the first time to change the principles and speed of its own moderation service in Russia and to remove a significant part of the prohibited content, Roskomnadzor decided not to proceed to the next measure - to completely block activities of the social network on the territory of the country, extending a measure to limit Twitter traffic until May 15," the statement said. Read more 
05.04.21 Russia Records 8,646 New Covid-19 Cases, 343 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,646 new cases of Covid-19 and 343 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Monday. "Over the past day, 8,646 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 83 regions of Russia, including 1,125 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (13.0%)," the headquarters said. Over the past day, 343 patients died of Covid-19 across Russia, and 7,052 were discharged from hospitals upon recovery. According to the headquarters, Moscow has seen 1,876 new cases of Covid-19, 50 deaths, and 815 recoveries in the past 24 hours. Moscow has been reporting the most coronavirus infection cases in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic. The least coronavirus infections detected in the past 24 hours were reported by the Republic of Altai (three) and the Jewish Autonomous District, the Magadan region, and Tuva (two each). There were zero cases in the Nenets Autonomous District and the Chukotka Autonomous District. Read more 
05.04.21 Putin And The Myanmar 'Khaki Revolution'
The Moscow Times
It has long been assumed that Russian President Vladimir Putin dislikes “color revolutions”. The Kremlin was perhaps not so much moved by the Revolution of Roses in Georgia but the Orange Revolution in Ukraine had a significant impact on how Moscow started seeing Western capitals, which the Kremlin started to increasingly accuse of instigating protests in the “post-Soviet space”. The idea of regime change became a nightmare for the Kremlin, and the Arab Spring — a series of anti-government uprisings and rebellions in the Arab world in the early 2010s — only strengthened Putin’s conviction that the West was behind the protests even in the Middle East and Africa. The chilling images of bloodied Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi beaten up and eventually killed by a mob apparently convinced Putin that Dmitry Medvedev was unfit to be in charge of Russian foreign policy: Medvedev did not veto the UN Security Council resolution supporting military action against the Gaddafi regime. Read more 
05.04.21 Sputnik V Light Vaccine Halves Chance Of COVID-19 Infection
Sputnik
The single-shot Sputnik V Light version of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus decreases the chance of infection by 50-60 percent, Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya research institute behind the vaccine, said on Sunday. “There is a ‘light’ option, which is the first component of the Sputnik V vaccine. If used separately without a second vaccination, it makes it possible to reduce the disease with this infection by 50 percent, or even 60 percent," said Gintsburg said in a televised appearance. The slimmed-down version of the vaccine was registered in late March as an alternative to the main two-shot Sputnik V after successfully undergoing all three phases of clinical trials. The latter will remain the main version. Read more 
05.04.21 Russians Post More Profanities After Social Media Swearing Ban
The Moscow Times
Russian-speaking social media users have posted 10% more profanity-laced content in the two months since a law requiring platforms to delete them came into force than before, the RBC news website reported Sunday. The Medialogia media monitor tallied 20.2 million posts containing swear words on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, as well as three Russian platforms, from Feb. 1-March 31. The same period in 2020 saw 18.3 million profane posts, according to Medialogia’s comparison of 66 Russian swear words and phrases across eight platforms. The 10% spike in the use of foul language came after amendments to Russia’s data protection laws banning swearing on social media entered into force on Feb. 1. Read more 
04.04.21 Russia’s COVID-19 Case Tally Climbs By 8,817 To 4,580,894
TASS
Russia confirmed 8,817 new COVID-19 cases in the past day, bringing the total case tally to 4,580,894, the anti-coronavirus crisis center told reporters on Sunday. In relative terms, the growth rate dropped to 0.19%. The lowest growth rates in the past day were registered in the Chukotka Autonomous Region (0%), the Magadan Region and the Tuva Republic (0.01%) and the Sakhalin Region (0.05%). Some 1,901 COVID-19 cases were registered in Moscow, 711 in St. Petersburg, 598 in the Moscow Region, 276 in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, 241 in the Rostov Region and 203 in the Voronezh Region. Read more 
04.04.21 Russia’s Excess Death Toll Hits 422K
The Moscow Times
Russia recorded almost 30,000 excess deaths during February, the country’s statistics agency announced Friday — a figure which takes Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic above 422,000. Excess deaths are calculated by comparing fatalities during the pandemic with mortality rates in the same months of previous years. It is seen by demographers as the most reliable indicator of the human toll of the coronavirus. At more than 422,000 between the start of the pandemic and the end of February — the latest such data is available — Russia has recorded one of the highest excess death tolls in the world, including after adjusting for population size. Read more 
04.04.21 Russia Backs Extending Space Cooperation Deal With U.S. To 2030
Reuters
The Russian government approved extending an agreement on cooperation in space with the United States until December 2030, news agencies cited the cabinet’s press service as saying on Saturday. Moscow’s ties with Washington are at a post-Cold War low, with U.S. President Joe Biden saying he believes his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is a killer who deserves to be hit with sanctions for meddling in U.S. politics, charges the Kremlin denies. “The agreement ...on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes will be in place until December 31, 2030,” the cabinet said in a statement carried by agencies. The U.S. Commerce Department last month said it was tightening sanctions on some exports to Russia, but was partially excluding certain items such as those related to aviation and space. Read more 
04.04.21 Sputnik V Developer Says Getting COVID Possible After Jab, But Rules Out Severe Outcomes
Sputnik
Symptoms reported by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez are a flu-like syndrome, and those vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V can still develop it, but are protected from severe consequences, Gamaleya research institute director Alexander Gintsburg told Sputnik. Earlier on Saturday, Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez said that he had received a positive antigen test for COVID-19 and is awaiting confirmation via a PCR test. The president added that he had a 37.3℃ temperature and a slight headache, but feels well. In January, the Argentine leader received the first dose of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. Three weeks later, he received the second shot, the newspaper Clarin reported on Saturday, citing sources. Read more 
03.04.21 Over 3.3 Million Foreigners Settled Their Legal Status In Russia Amid Pandemic
TASS
More than 3.3 million foreigners, including illegal migrants, have settled their legal status in Russia since a presidential decree easing certain requirements for migrants came into force last April, the Russian Interior Ministry’s press service said in a response to a request from TASS. The presidential decree allowing all foreign citizens to legally stay in Russia came into force in April 2020. It gives illegal migrants an opportunity to settle their status and legalize their stay in Russia. The decree was adopted amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions, and has been extended until June 15, 2021. "During the period while the decree <…> remains in force, over 3.3 million people have settled their legal status and will stay in Russia on legitimate grounds further on. This includes 500,000 people, who earlier violated their terms of stay," the Interior Ministry’s press service said. Read more 
03.04.21 Russian Activists Issue Report On Rights Abuses In Syria
AP
Russian human rights activists released a report Friday that chronicles alleged war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law during the 10-year conflict in Syria. Activists from the Memorial Human Rights Center, the Civic Assistance Committee and other groups interviewed over 150 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, several European nations and Russia. The organizations analyzed accounts of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial executions, the use of prohibited weapons against civilians, starvation, sexual violence and other abuses. Read more 
03.04.21 Moscow Prosecutors Launch Inquiry Into Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation For ‘extremist Activity’
Meduza
Moscow prosecutors are looking into Alexey Navalny’s non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), for alleged extremist activity. This was reported by FBK director Ivan Zhdanov during live broadcast on the YouTube channel “Navalny Live” on Thursday, April 1. During the broadcast, Zhdanov shows a photo of the warrant for conducting the inquiry. The document is dated March 26, 2021, and is signed by Moscow’s first deputy prosecutor. It describes the grounds for the inquiry as “information about violations.” “The subject of the inquiry: compliance with the legislation on non-profit organizations and countering extremist activities,” the document says. Within the framework of the investigation, local prosecutors are asking the FBK to provide information about the organization’s structure and members, as well as reports on its income and expenditures, and a “list of targeted funding receive, broken down by year.” Read more 
03.04.21 Russian State-Funded Sputnik News Pulls Out Of Britain
Sputnik
Russia’s state-run Sputnik news organization will shut down its British operations five years after opening a bureau in Scotland, the news agency described as a Kremlin propaganda tool announced Friday. Sputnik began broadcasting from its Edinburgh studio in August 2016, the same year that U.S. intelligence agencies accused it and the RT news channel of participating in an influence campaign to sway the U.S. presidential election. Members of Scotland’s ruling party criticized its launch as a “tool for disinformation.” Sputnik, which broadcasts in more than 30 languages online, said in a statement that it was moving Britain-based activities to the United States and Russia as part of a reorganization ordered by its Russian parent company. Read more 
02.04.21 Moscow Court Hits Twitter With $117,000 In Fines Over Three Federal Violations
TASS
Moscow’s Tagansky District Court has handed Twitter a total of 8.9 mln rubles in fines ($116,778) for refusing to delete tweets urging minors to join an unauthorized and illegitimate event, the court’s press service told TASS. "The court found Twitter guilty under Part 2 of Art. 13.41. of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (violation of the procedure for restricting access to information, access to which is subject to restriction under the legislation of the Russian Federation) and imposed a fine totaling 2.4 mln rubles ($31,490)," the court stated. Read more 
02.04.21 Russia Registers 8,792 New Covid-19 Cases, 400 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has seen 8,792 new cases of Covid-19 and 400 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Friday. "Over the past day, 8,792 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 85 regions of Russia, including 1,138 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (12.9%)," the headquarters said. Following an uptick in coronavirus infections, which exceeded 9,000 on Thursday, the numbers decreased to over 8,000 on Friday, as they did at the beginning of this week. Over the past day, 9,832 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery, and 400 patients died from Covid-19 in Russia. Moscow reported 1,764 new cases of Covid-19, 57 deaths, and 1,324 recoveries in the past 24 hours, the headquarters said. Read more 
02.04.21 Russian Businesses Adapt To Virus Challenges
AP
Russia had a six-week coronavirus shutdown last spring, but was never fully locked down again after that, easing some challenges for its economy, industries and enterprises. But Russia also saw its mortality rates rise. When virus infections surged again in the fall, the government resisted imposing restrictions that would have shut many businesses. Russia emerged from 2020 with an economy that overall has shrunk much less than in many Western countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Russia’s gross domestic product fell by just 3.6%. That’s a little more than the global average of 3.4%. Read more 
02.04.21 Russia’s Financial Aid To Nagorno-Karabakh Victims Currently About $15 Mln
TASS
Russia has allocated about $15 million as aid to victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh escalation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said in an interview Friday. "Russia’s direct financial aid to Nagorno Karabakh victims is about $15 million as of today," he said. The diplomat noted that the Russian peacemaker contingent and the humanitarian response center guarantee the security and stability in the region, and carry out tasks, vital for the local population. Rudenko noted the results of the trilateral working group, chaired by Deputy Prime Ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, which works on unblocking economic and transport connections in the region, which has already held five meetings. Read more 
01.04.21 Nearly All Foreign Diplomatic Staff Leaving N. Korea, Less Than 290 Persons Left
Interfax
A substantial part of foreign diplomatic staff, including the personnel of international humanitarian organizations, have left North Korea, which is experiencing an acute shortage of goods, including medicine, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang said in a statement on Facebook. "The two-week quarantine, which 38 foreign citizens who left Pyongyang on March 18 spent in a hotel in the Chinese border city of Dandong, ended today. Now they will head to Beijing or Shanghai and will take flights to their home countries from there," the embassy said. "It's hard to tell what number this collective departure of diplomatic missions' employees from North Korea has in the total succession," it said. Read more 
01.04.21 Navalny On Hunger Strike To Protest Prison Treatment
AP
Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Wednesday he has started a hunger strike to protest authorities’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains. In a statement posted on Instagram, Navalny complained about prison officials’ refusal to give him the right medicines and to allow his doctor to visit him behind bars. He also protested the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation torture. Read more 
01.04.21 Navalny On Hunger Strike To Protest Prison Treatment
AP
Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Wednesday he has started a hunger strike to protest authorities’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains. In a statement posted on Instagram, Navalny complained about prison officials’ refusal to give him the right medicines and to allow his doctor to visit him behind bars. He also protested the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation torture. Read more 
31.03.21 Russia Registers World's First Anti-coronavirus Vaccine For Animals
TASS
The world’s first animal vaccine against COVID-19, developed by scientists of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), has been registered in Russia, the watchdog’s deputy head Konstantin Savenkov has told reporters. "Carnivak-Cov, a sorbate inactivated vaccine against the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) for carnivorous animals, developed by Rosselkhoznadzor’s Federal Center for Animal Health, has been registered in Russia. So far, it is the world’s first and only product for preventing COVID-19 in animals," he said. The mass production of the world’s first animal vaccine against COVID-19 may be launched as early as in April, on the basis of the country’s largest platform to produce veterinary products - the Federal Center for Animal Health, the official said. Read more 
31.03.21 Leaders Of Russia, France, Germany Discuss Global Crises
AP
The leaders of Russia, France and Germany met by conference call Tuesday and discussed coronavirus vaccines, the Iranian nuclear standoff and the conflicts in eastern Ukraine, Libya and Syria. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin also responded to questions about jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in their “frank and business-like” video call. In its readout of the call, the Kremlin noted that the three leaders talked about prospects for the registration of the Russia-designed Sputnik V vaccines in the European Union and the possibility of its shipments and joint production in EU nations. Read more 
31.03.21 Man Who Opened Fire At Law Enforcers Found Dead After Blaze In His Home
TASS
The dead body of the man, who earlier opened fire at law enforcement officers in a gated community of Novye Veshki near Moscow, was found in his burnt-out house, a law enforcement source told TASS on Tuesday. "The shooter’s body was discovered in his burned-out cottage," the source said. According to the source, the body was located in the attic, in the epicenter of the blaze. It was badly charred, so his identity will be confirmed via a DNA test. The fire had spread to the total area of 69 square meters and has been fully extinguished by Wednesday. Read more 
30.03.21 Russia Records 8,277 New Covid-19 Cases, 409 Related Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,277 new coronavirus infection cases and 409 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Tuesday. "Over the past day, 8,277 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,007 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (12.2%)," the headquarters said. The number of new Covid-19 cases has been exceeding 8,000 for two consecutive days, correlating to the figures recorded in late September 2020, when the coronavirus morbidity curve was rising in Russia. The epidemic is currently on decline. Russia has also reported 409 related deaths and 9,588 recoveries in the past day. Moscow is still recording the largest numbers of new Covid-19 cases daily, registering 1,291 new cases of the disease, 56 deaths, and 1,165 recoveries over the past day, the headquarters said. Read more 
30.03.21 Australia Slaps Sanctions Against Four Russian Companies And One Individual
TASS
Australia has imposed sanctions against four Russian companies and one individual linked to the Crimean Bridge’s construction, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated on Tuesday. "Australia has imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against a Russian individual and four Russian companies connected to the construction and operation of the Kerch Strait Railway Bridge," according to the statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. According to the minister, the decision on the restrictions was made in coordination with Canada and aligned with action taken by the United Kingdom and European Union. Today’s Australian listings bring the total to 168 individuals and 52 entities. Read more 
30.03.21 Russia Says Hopes To Avoid Ban On Western Tech Giants
The Moscow Times
The Kremlin said Tuesday it hopes Moscow will not be forced to block Western tech giants in the country but stressed that the companies had to abide by Russian law. Russian authorities have in recent months ramped up pressure on foreign social media platforms, particularly those hosting content supporting jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. "No one wants a full ban and it would be silly to advocate for one," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty weekly.
Read more 
29.03.21 Putin Felt Minor Side Effects From COVID-19 Vaccine
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he had experienced minor side effects from the coronavirus vaccine after receiving the first shot on Tuesday, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a TV interview. “I woke up the next morning after the vaccination and it seemed to me I felt slight pain in muscles. I took a thermometer... my temperature was normal,” he told the state Rossiya 1 TV channel. He said he also had an uncomfortable feeling on the site of the injection. Read more 
29.03.21 Hobbled Daniil Medvedev Limps To 3rd-round Win At Miami Open
AP
Daniil Medvedev could barely walk, much less run. He could still serve, though. The top-ranked Medvedev held his final two service games despite being hobbled by cramps and beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (3), 6-7 (7), 6-4 in the third round at the Miami Open. Medvedev said the victory brought a special sort of satisfaction. “Winning a Grand Slam final in straight sets doesn’t feel the way I felt after the match point today,” he said with a grin. “A match to remember for sure.” Medvedev failed to convert three match points in the second set after taking a 5-2 lead. An hour later the Russian was still playing, and on a humid afternoon with temperatures in the mid 80s, he paid a price. Read more 
29.03.21 Russia Highlights Northern Sea Route's Potential After Suez Canal Mishap
Sputnik
The Northern Sea Route (NSR), which runs along Russia’s Arctic coast, dramatically slashes journey times for goods shipped from Asia to Europe and has a huge potential to ramp up cargo traffic, the Russian Ministry of Energy said on Monday after a stranded megaship caused almost a week-long shutdown of the Suez Canal. According to the ministry, given the growing global energy trade, including in LNG, the emergence of additional short shipping routes is becoming a matter of time. Even in the pandemic year of 2020, cargo traffic via the NSR exceeded the planned target and totaled nearly 33 million tonnes, including over 18 million tonnes of LNG. Read more 
29.03.21 Another Doctor At Omsk Hospital Where Navalny Was Treated Reportedly Dies
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
The head of the trauma and orthopedics department at the Russian hospital where opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was treated for poisoning last summer has died, according to a Russian newspaper. Rustam Agishev, 63, died of a stroke, Taiga.info reported on March 28. Agishev worked at Omsk emergency hospital No. 1 for 30 years. The chief physician of the hospital, Yevgeny Osipov, said his death was "an irreplaceable loss for the entire medical community." Agishev will always remain an example of "boundless dedication to the profession, mercy, and wisdom. He was a talented doctor, a responsible leader, a man of high moral and ethical qualities," Osipov said, according to Taiga.info. The report said Agishev suffered the stroke in December and never recovered. He died on March 26. Read more 
29.03.21 Over 340,000 St. Petersburg Residents Vaccinated Against Covid-19 To Date
Interfax
More than 340,000 residents of St. Petersburg have received the Covid-19 vaccine to date, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov said. "We have received a new batch of Sputnik V, 39,200 doses, and are continuing the vaccination campaign. More than 340,000 residents of St. Petersburg had been vaccinated by the end of last week," Beglov told Radio Russia in St. Petersburg on Monday. Read more 
28.03.21 Kremlin, Over 2,000 Buildings Go Dark For Earth Hour In Moscow
TASS
The outside lights were switched off at the Kremlin and 2,000 more landmarks in Moscow on Saturday night to mark the Earth Hour global movement. "We must understand the most important thing that this movement is not aimed at switching light off. Millions of people take part in it worldwide as they are worried about what is happening to our Earth, what will be tomorrow and what will be left to our children," Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Alexander Kozlov told reporters on Red Square before the event. Earth Hour is an annual international event held by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on last Saturday in March. It aims to encourage people around the world to treat the nature and its resources with greater care. Participants of the movement - private individuals, organizations, municipal and commercial agencies and enterprises - turn off lights in residential buildings as well as illumination of famous city landmarks and monuments for one hour between 20:30 and 21:30 local time (the movement is not applied to street lights, plane navigation flights and traffic lights). Read more 
28.03.21 Could Russia Benefit From The Suez Canal Blockage?
The Moscow Times
Almost $300 million worth of Russian oil products are waiting to enter the Suez Canal, which remains closed following the grounding of the Ever Given container ship. But Moscow is hoping it can turn the freak grounding into long-term gain. Efforts to dislodge the vessel are now in their third day and those tasked with moving the container ship have warned there will be little progress before next week, with some estimating the ship could be stuck well into April. Goods worth a total of $10 billion pass through the canal — which cuts 15 days off the journey time for vessels travelling from Europe to Asia — every day, accounting for 12% of global trade. Read more 
27.03.21 Number Of Confirmed Coronavirus Cases In Russia Rises By 8,885 Over Day
TASS
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia increased by 8,885 per day to 4,510,744, the federal operational headquarters for the fight against the new infection told reporters on Saturday. In relative terms, the increase in the number of cases was 0.2%. The lowest growth rates were recorded per day in the Republic of Tyva (0.01%), Magadan Region (0.02%), Jewish Autonomous Region (0.05%). In particular, 749 coronavirus cases were detected per day in St. Petersburg, 586 - in the Moscow region, 328 - in the Nizhny Novgorod region, 244 - in the Rostov region, 212 - in the Voronezh region. Read more 
27.03.21 Russia Sweeps Women’s Medals, Wins Rhythm Dance At Worlds
AP
A sweep of the women’s medals Friday further stamped Russian dominance of these World Figure Skating Championships. Yet the two American women did just enough to earn a third berth at next year’s Olympics. Three-time national champion Anna Shcherbakova made her first appearance at worlds golden despite finishing second to countrywoman Alexandra Trusova in the free skate. Shcherbakova, who turns 17 Sunday, won the short program. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 world champion, earned silver in her return to the event, ahead of Trusova. It was the second 1-2-3 finish in the modern era, matching the United States with Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in 1991. Read more 
27.03.21 Russian Conservationists Hail Rare Sighting Of Amur Leopard With Cubs
The Guardian
Russian conservationists have hailed a rare sighting of an Amur leopard mother with three cubs in the far-eastern region of Primorye as proof of the efficiency of the country’s efforts to boost the population of the endangered species. Scientists in a Russian national park in Primorye on the border with China obtained the images using a remote camera trap. The video footage shows the feline family standing on top of a hill in the Land of the Leopard national park. In the video, the young mother, identified as Leo 117F, is seen spotting a mystery animal and then leaving the scene, apparently walking closer towards it. Read more 
27.03.21 World’s Deepest Lake In Siberia Has Become A Place To Be Seen For Russians
The Independent
She drove 2,000 miles for this moment: hanging out the sunroof of her white Lexus SUV that glittered under the blinding sun, face to smartphone selfie camera, bass thumping, tires screeching, cutting doughnuts over the blue-black, white-veined ice. “It’s for Instagram and TikTok,” says Gulnara Mikhailova, who drove two days and two nights to get to Lake Baikal with four friends from the remote Siberian city of Yakutsk. It’s about zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18C) as Mikhailova, who works in real estate, puts on a swimsuit, climbs up onto the roof of her car and, reclining, poses for pictures. This is winter on the world’s deepest lake, 2021 Pandemic Edition. Read more 
27.03.21 A New Strategy For Moscow
Meduza
Russia’s ruling political party is concerned about its low electoral ratings in Moscow. According to the latest VTsIOM survey, United Russia only stands at 20 percent — but the party is holding out hope for an even better result in the September 2021 State Duma race than in the previous parliamentary elections. As such, United Russia is preparing to counter Alexey Navalny’s strategic voting initiative — including by betting that inattentive voters will fall for fraudulent websites and misleading bots. The ruling party is also preparing to drive a wedge between Russia’s opposition parties, by creating “inter-party conflicts” and turning “opposition events into a circus.” Meanwhile, their “Full Speed Ahead” project for controlling turnout at polling stations awaits state employees. Or at least that’s the plan according to the strategy for United Russia’s Moscow branch obtained by Meduza. Read more 
27.03.21 Russia To Deepen Ties With Myanmar Military Junta
The Moscow Times
Russia and Myanmar are deepening their defense ties as Moscow’s military supplies continue to pour into the country, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said Friday at a meeting with the country’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing. Fomin’s visit marked the first high-profile visit to Myanmar by a foreign official since the country was rocked by a military coup that deposed its elected leadership in February. "The Russian Federation adheres to a strategic line to intensify relations between the two countries," Fomin said at the meeting. Read more 
26.03.21 About 1 Mln People Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Moscow
Interfax
About one million people in Moscow have been vaccinated against coronavirus, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. "We have already vaccinated about one million people. We see that this is absolutely safe and that the vaccine has very good efficacy," Sobyanin said in an interview shown on the Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television channel. About 40% of those vaccinated in Moscow are senior citizens, he said. Read more 
26.03.21 Emergency Beyond Crew Control Seen As Possible Cause Of Kaliningrad Helicopter Crash
TASS
Investigators are looking into two main versions of the helicopter crash in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad: violation of safety rules and an emergency situation that was beyond the crew’s control. A Ka-52 helicopter took off from the Khrabrovo airport to perform a scheduled training flight. It was flying at low altitudes above the Curonian Lagoon, some 5 km away from the city of Polessk, when communication with the crew was lost. The helicopter had three people on board: two pilots, who survived, and a flight engineer, who died. "The versions that are currently being considered are safety rules violations and, possibly, some kind of emergency that was beyond the control of the aircraft’s crew. Here are the two main versions at the moment," the press service of the North-Western transport investigation department of the Russian Investigative Committee said. Read more 
26.03.21 Russia’s Mishina And Galliamov Win World Championship Gold In Pairs Figure Skating
TASS
Russia’s Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov won the pairs gold at the 2021 World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, on Thursday. The athletes received 227.59 points in total for their short program and free skate. "We are happy. We did everything well after the short program and were simply preparing for the free skate," Mishina said during the post-competition press conference. "It [the victory] came as a surprise for us, a very big surprise. So far, we have not yet realized that we are the world champions now, but maybe this understanding will come a bit later." Read more 
26.03.21 Yulia Navalnaya Has Reportedly Flown To Germany Once Again
Meduza
Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny, has reportedly left Russia once again. An informed source told Interfax that Navalnaya flew to Germany on Wednesday, March 24. Interfax didn’t offer any other details about Navalnaya’s alleged trip. Asked about her client’s whereabouts, Navalnaya’s lawyer Svetlana Davydova told RBC, “I have no information about Yulia Navalnaya’s movements, and we do not comment.” Navalnaya’s last trip to Germany was first reported by Interfax on February 10. The German outlet Der Spiegel wrote that she had flown to Frankfurt for “private visit.” Navalnaya returned to Russia on February 22. Read more 
26.03.21 Zvuki Mu Founder Alexander Lipnitsky Dies At Age 68
The Moscow Times
On March 25, Alexander Lipnitsky, a journalist, writer and one of the founders of the cult Soviet rock group Zvuki Mu, died near his dacha at Nikolina Gora. His son, Vladimir, said he had been skiing across the Moscow River when he fell through the ice and drowned. Lipnitsky was a childhood friend of Pyotr Mamonov, the extravagant and eccentric lead singer of Zvuki Mu. When Mamonov was putting together a group in the early 1980s, he asked Lipnitsky, who had no musical background, to play bass guitar. Lipnitsky taught himself to play using his own method of musical notation and would perform with the group for several years. Read more 
26.03.21 Ultra-Precise Microthermometers From Russia Will Increase Efficacy Of Cancer Therapy
Sputnik
Ultrasensitive molecular thermometers to be used in medicine were created by a Russian-Finnish team of scientists with the participation of specialists from the National University of Science and Technology MISiS (NUST MISIS). According to the authors, the unique development will increase the accuracy and efficiency of therapy for various tumors. According to the scientists, some promising therapies for tumors such as photodynamic and photothermal therapies require accurate, regular measurement of temperature of living systems at the molecular level. Read more 
25.03.21 Canada Slaps Sanctions On Nine Russian Officials Over Navalny
TASS
The Canadian government has introduced sanctions against nine Russian officials over the situation around blogger Alexey Navalny, a statement by the Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau reads. The sanctions list includes Russia’s FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia Sergei Kiriyenko, Director of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov, Chief of the Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate Andrei Yarin, Deputy Defense Ministers Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov, head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Kalashnikov and Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, and Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian President in the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo. Read more 
25.03.21 Duma Adopts Bill That Resets Number Of Served Presidential Terms To Zero
Interfax
The bill harmonizing Russian elections and referenda laws with the constitutional amendments passed the third, final reading in the State Duma on Wednesday. The bill clarifies the existent restrictions on serving more than two terms of presidential office. For instance, Law No. 19-FZ "On Elections of the Russian President" says at a Russian citizen who has served two terms of office as the president or is serving his second term as the president on the day of the official publishing of the resolution on holding a Russian presidential election has no right to be reelected. At the same time, the bill does not count the number of presidential terms served by the person previously and/or at the moment of the entry into force of the relevant constitutional amendment. The Law on Elections of the Russian President has also been augmented with a constitutional clause, according to which a Russian citizen aged 35 and up, who has permanently resided in Russia for at least 25 years and who has no foreign citizenship or residence permit or other document allowing permanent residence abroad could be elected the president of Russia. Read more 
25.03.21 Russia’s Shcherbakova Wins Women’s Short Program At Worlds
AP
The expected was seeing two Russians and a Japanese woman in the top three after the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships. Less predictable was the two American skaters, helped by the struggles of other contenders, putting the United States in range of the maximum three berths at next year’s Olympics. Anna Shcherbakova, Russia’s three-time national champion, won the free skate Wednesday. Shcherbakova’s balletic performance flowed in a way none of the other competitors managed. Her triple lutz-triple loop combination was the most difficult of any tried, and she wore a huge smile leaving the ice. Read more 
25.03.21 Alexei Navalny Says Health Has Sharply Deteriorated In Jail
The Guardian
Alexei Navalny has complained of a “sharp deterioration” in his health in prison and has been blocked from meeting lawyers, a senior aide to the Russian opposition leader has said. Navalny has reported “serious back pain” and numbness in one of his legs that has left him unable to stand on it, Leonid Volkov said on Wednesday. Navalny’s lawyers said they had been blocked from meeting him on Wednesday and they suspected that he was in an infirmary in the IK-2 prison colony in the Vladimir region. “We don’t understand where Alexei Navalny is or why he is being hidden from his lawyers,” they said, adding that they suspected the prison administration was trying to cover up his possible hospitalisation. Read more 
25.03.21 Trudeau Says Putin Behind 'Terrible Things,' Skirts Killer Label
The Moscow Times
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday Vladimir Putin is responsible for "terrible things," but wouldn't go so far as U.S. President Joe Biden in calling the Russian leader a "killer." Trudeau, unaccustomed to criticizing other world leaders in public, was questioned during an interview on SiriusXM radio's The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge about Biden's remarks. "I'm sure (Putin) is responsible for all sorts of terrible things because his behavior continues to demonstrate that," he said. He cited as examples Russia's annexation of Crimea, "significant cyber attacks he's responsible for and the attempts to destabilize our democracies." Read more 
24.03.21 Russia Registers 8,861 New Covid-19 Cases, 401 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,861 new Covid-19 cases and 401 deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Wednesday. "Over the past day, 8,861 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 85 regions of Russia, including 1,078 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (12.2%)," the headquarters said. The number of new Covid-19 cases has been exceeding 8,000 for two consecutive days, compared to over 9,000 daily infections reported throughout last week. The numbers reported on Tuesday and Wednesday correlate to those of late September, when the coronavirus morbidity curve was rising in Russia. The epidemic is currently on decline. Russia confirmed 401 coronavirus-related deaths over the past day, and 10,355 patients were discharged from hospitals upon recovery. According to the operative headquarters, Moscow reported 1,431 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number across Russia in the past 24 hours, in addition to 53 deaths and 1,593 recoveries. Read more 
24.03.21 Teenager Plotting To Kill Classmates Detained In Sochi
TASS
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained a student of a lyceum in Sochi, who plotted an attack on his classmates using an explosive device, the FSB Public Relations Center told TASS on Wednesday. "Following a search effort, the FSB in the city of Sochi has detained a student of a lyceum, who had posted information on the plans to manufacture an explosive device and carry out an attack on his classmates," the Center reported. During the search of his home, officers seized an improvised explosive device and components for making explosives. They also found the means of communication, a diary with instructions on assembling and using explosive devices as well as files on armed attacks on educational facilities. A criminal investigation is underway. Read more 
24.03.21 UN, US, Russia And EU Meet Virtually On Israel, Palestinians
AP
The United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union met virtually Tuesday to discuss relaunching their long-stalled effort to get Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a two-state solution to their decades-old conflict. A brief statement from the four Mideast mediators, known as the Quartet, said envoys discussed returning “to meaningful negotiations that will lead to a two-state solution, including tangible steps to advance freedom, security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis, which is important in its own right.” There have been no substantive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians since 2014, and the two sides are fiercely divided over the core issues of the conflict. Read more 
24.03.21 EU Delays Its Review Of Relations With Russia Until Next Summit
TASS
The debate on the European Union’s new strategy in relations with Russia has been delayed until the next in-person summit, European Council President Charles Michel said on Tuesday. "As regards Russia, I propose to have an information point and will share with you the outcome of my latest contacts with President Putin in advance of a more strategic debate on the matter at our next physical European Council meeting," Michel said in an invitation letter to EU leaders ahead of their video conference on March 25 and 26. According to the EC president, the upcoming video conference will focus on tackling the third wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has gripped European countries. Read more 
24.03.21 Twitter Removing Content Prohibited In Russia, But Not Fast Enough
Interfax
The Twitter microblogging and social networking service has begun removing prohibited content following the slowing of its speed in Russia, but the process has not been fast enough, and the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) will insist on the complete removal of such information, Roskomnadzor said in a statement. "Roskomnadzor notes that as a result of the measures taken on March 10, 2021 to slow down Twitter's traffic, the social network has begun the removal process, but has actually removed only a third of the content prohibited in Russia and associated with child pornography, materials inciting minors to commit suicide, and advertising the procurement, production, and use of narcotics," Roskomnadzor said. "The pace of the removal of prohibited information by the social network has been unsatisfactory," it said. Read more 
24.03.21 3 Russian Bomber Pilots Killed By Ejection System Glitch
AP
Three members of a Russian bomber’s air crew died Tuesday when their ejection seats accidentally activated during preflight checks, the military said. The Russian Defense Ministry said the incident happened at an airbase in the Kaluga region, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Moscow. It said the crew of a Tu-22M3 long-range bomber was preparing for a training mission when its ejection system malfunctioned and accidentally shot the crew out. The ministry said the altitude wasn’t enough for the parachutes to open and three of the four crew members died of injuries. Read more 
24.03.21 Khachaturyan Sisters Recognized As Victims In Sexual Abuse Case Against Their Late Father
Meduza
Sisters Maria, Angelina, and Krestina Khachaturyan have been recognized as victims in a sexual abuse case launched against their late father, Mikhail, whom they killed in July 2018, arguing that they acted in self-defense. They are still suspects in their father’s murder case. On Tuesday, March 23, Angelina Khachaturyan’s lawyer Alexey Parshin told the state news agency TASS that the Investigative Committee had officially notified the sisters’ lawyers that a criminal investigation had been opened against the late Mikhail Khachaturyan. According to RIA Novosti, the case was opened on charges of sexual assault, sexual coercion, and torture. The lawyer Alexey Parshin believes that being recognized as victims in the case will allow for the termination of the criminal proceedings against the Khachaturyan sisters. Read more 
24.03.21 Americans More Pessimistic Than Russians On Improving Ties
The Moscow Times
Russians are on average more optimistic than Americans toward the prospect of warmer relations between the countries, though both remain largely pessimistic, a new poll by the independent Levada Center has said Wednesday. If only 10% of American respondents said they believe U.S.-Russian ties would improve in the next decade, 19% of Russian respondents held that view, according to Levada and its U.S. partner, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. A previous Levada survey conducted after President Joe Biden’s election victory in November showed only 12% of Russians believing in improved U.S.-Russian relations.
Read more 
24.03.21 Allies Of Jailed Kremlin Critic Navalny Plan Big Spring Protest
Reuters
Allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny announced plans on Tuesday to stage the biggest anti-Kremlin street protest in modern Russian history this spring, in a new push to win the opposition’s politician’s freedom. Navalny, 44, was jailed last month for two and a half years on charges he called fabricated. He was arrested as he returned to Russia from Germany in January where he had been recovering from what doctors said was a nerve agent poisoning. Supporters staged three protests at the height of winter despite the COVID-19 pandemic to demand his release. The authorities said they were illegal and broke them up with force, detaining thousands and prompting the opposition to declare a moratorium on protests. Read more 
24.03.21 Russia Offers Turkey To Resume Operation Of Checkpoints In Idlib, Aleppo
Sputnik
Due to an ongoing and difficult humanitarian situation, Russia has offered Turkey the option of resuming several checkpoints in Idlib and Aleppo beginning March 25 according to a Tuesday statement by Rear Adm. Alexander Karpov, deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria. "In connection with the difficult humanitarian situation in the territories of the Syrian Arab Republic controlled by the Turkish armed forces, the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties sent proposals to the Turkish side to resume the work of the Seraqab and Miznaz checkpoints in the Idlib de-escalation zone and the Abu Zeidin checkpoint in the area of ​​the settlement of al-Bab in Aleppo province," he said. According to Karpov, it is proposed to organize the admission of humanitarian cargo and the exit of refugees beginning on March 25. Read more 
23.03.21 Russia Records 8,457 New Covid-19 Cases, 427 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 8,457 new coronavirus infection cases and 427 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Tuesday. "Over the past day, 8,457 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 85 regions of Russia, including 945 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (11.2%)," the headquarters said. Russia has also reported 427 related deaths in the past day. Moscow is still recording the largest numbers of new Covid-19 cases daily, registering 1,042 new cases of the disease, 51 deaths, and 1,379 recoveries over the past day, the headquarters said. Moscow is followed by St. Petersburg (812 new cases in the past day) and the Moscow region (513). Read more 
23.03.21 Child Injured After Avalanche In Russia’s Murmansk Region Declared Dead
TASS
A child born in 2008 who was seriously injured after an avalanche struck a route in the Khibiny Mountains in the Murmansk Region has been declared dead, the press service of the local Investigative Committee informed reporters. "The local investigator informed that the child was declared dead by the medics," the department said. An avalanche was recorded in the area of the Khibiny Mountains on Monday evening. Governor of the Murmansk Region Andrei Chivis informed that three teenagers had been found under the avalanche, two of them were swiftly rescued, they are alive. Read more 
23.03.21 China, Russia Officials Meet In Show Of Unity Against EU, US
AP
The foreign ministers of China and Russia affirmed their countries’ close ties at a meeting Tuesday, amid intense criticism and new Western sanctions against them over human rights. Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov rejected outside sniping at their authoritarian political systems and said they were working to further global progress on issues from climate change to the coronavirus pandemic. At their initial meeting in the southern Chinese city of Nanning on Monday, Wang and Lavrov accused the U.S. of interference in other countries’ affairs and urged it to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement, something that President Joe Biden’s new administration has approached cautiously. Russia and China both maintain close relations with Tehran, with which they share a firm approach against any political opposition. Read more 
23.03.21 Vladimir Putin To Receive Covid-19 Vaccine On Tuesday
The Guardian
The Russian presidenthas said he will get vaccinated against Covid-19 on Tuesday, amid a push by the authorities to encourage Russians to get the shot. Vladimir Putin did not specify which vaccine he would take. The main vaccine publicly available in Russia is the Sputnik V, which it is promoting for export. Moscow has also given emergency approval to two other domestic vaccines, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. “Vaccination, of course, is a voluntary decision for every person. It is every person’s personal decision,” Putin said during a televised government meeting on Monday about Russian vaccines against Covid-19. “By the way, I plan to do this tomorrow.” Read more 
23.03.21 Entrepreneurs Not Ready To Work 4 Day Week, Or Divide Work By Gender
TASS
Russian entrepreneurs consider the idea of a reduced employment format for doing business utopian; most of them also do not support the division of working conditions on the basis of gender, calling it a "step backward," representatives of the business community told TASS on Monday. On March 11, the ombudsman for human rights in Moscow, Tatyana Potyaeva, during a round table "Women in leadership positions: achieving an equal future in the COVID-19 world," announced that she supports the idea of introducing a four-day work week for women. She noted that her office will monitor and prepare a questionnaire to find out the opinion of the population on this issue. This is not the first time that the reduction of the work week to four days has been brought up for discussion. In October 2020, the Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev also proposed to continue discussing this issue. Read more 
23.03.21 Russian Foreign Minister Says EU ‘Destroyed’ Relations With Moscow
The Moscow Times
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused European Union leaders of “destroying” relations with Moscow, the state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday. “There are no relations with the European Union as an organization. The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by the unilateral decisions of Brussels,” Lavrov was quoted as saying during a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Lavrov noted however that Moscow and Beijing are not uniting against anyone.
Read more 
23.03.21 EU Imposes Sanctions On Chechen Officials For Involvement In LGBTQ Repressions And Extrajudicial Killings
Meduza
The European Union has sanctioned two Chechen officials for their involvement in serious human rights violations in Russia’s Chechnya. This was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union on Monday, March 22. The EU imposed sanctions against Ayub Kataev, the former chief of police in the city of Argun, as well as Abuzaid Vismuradov, the “Terek” special forces commander and deputy prime minister of the Chechen Republic, who is known for his close links to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. According to the EU, Kataev is responsible for personally overseeing “widespread and systematic persecutions in Chechnya, which began in 2017” and targeted LGBTQ+ people, as well as Kadyrov’s suspected opponents. Similarly, the EU holds Vismuradov responsible for torture, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial killings, among other things. The sanctions include a ban on entry into the EU and a freeze on assets held within the union. Read more 
23.03.21 Name Of Vaccine Russia's Vladimir Putin To Take Will Be A Secret
Reuters
The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had deliberately decided it would not reveal the name of the Russian-made vaccine which President Vladimir Putin is due to take later on Tuesday. “We are deliberately not saying which shot the president will get, noting that all three Russian (-made) vaccines are absolutely reliable and effective,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He said Putin, who announced his intention to get vaccinated a day earlier, would probably be vaccinated in the evening and would receive one of the three Russian-made shots. Peskov said Putin had already done a lot to promote Russian-made vaccines, the most famous of which is Sputnik V. Moscow has also given emergency approval to two other domestic vaccines, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. Read more 
22.03.21 Russia Registers 9,284 New Covid-19 Cases, 361 Deaths In Past 24 Hours
Interfax
Russia has registered 9,284 new cases of Covid-19 and 361 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Monday. "Over the past day, 9,284 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,015 asymptomatic cases identified proactively (10.9%)," the headquarters said. Russia has been recording over 9,000 new coronavirus infection cases per day for practically the past two weeks except for March 17, when 8,998 cases, the lowest since late September 2020, were registered. On the whole, coronavirus morbidity has been declining in Russia since the beginning of this year, following an all-time high of almost 30,000 new cases per day on December 24, 2020. Over the past day, 7,790 patients have been discharged from hospitals upon recovery, and 361 patients have died from coronavirus. Read more 
22.03.21 Russia’s Kasatkina Returns To WTA Top 50
TASS
Russian tennis player Daria Kasatkina has risen 19 spots in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings to reach No. 42, the updated list of best players in the world has been published Monday. Last week, Kasatkina, 23, won the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy tournament, her second title of the season. She has now won four WTA titles in her career. Kasatkina’s best Grand Slam performance is the quarterfinals of the French Open (2018) and Wimbledon (2018). Read more 
22.03.21 Russia Launches 38 Satellites For 18 Countries
The Moscow Times
A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday carrying 38 foreign satellites after takeoff was twice postponed due to technical issues, Russian space agency Roscosmos said. Video published by Roscosmos showed the Soyuz blaster launching against grey and cloudy skies at 06:07 GMT. "The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 38 spacecraft from 18 countries took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome," Roscosmos said on its Twitter account.
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22.03.21 Russia's Top Diplomat Starts China Visit With Call To Reduce U.S. Dollar Use
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began a visit to China on Monday with a call for Moscow and Beijing to reduce their dependence on the U.S. dollar and Western payment systems to push back against what he called the West’s ideological agenda. Lavrov, on a two-day visit to China, is expected to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart at a time when both countries’ ties with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden are badly strained. U.S. and Chinese officials on Friday concluded what Washington called “tough and direct” talks in Alaska, while Russia’s ambassador arrived back in Moscow on Sunday for consultations after Biden said he believed President Vladimir Putin was a killer. Read more 
22.03.21 Russia To Soften Visa Policy For Tourists, Relatives Of Russians
The Moscow Times
Russian lawmakers have moved toward easing visa rules for tourists and relatives of Russian citizens. The reforms introduced last week will allow foreign tourists with valid hotel bookings to stay in Russia for up to six months, up from the current maximum visa stay of one month. Relatives of Russian citizens will be able to obtain simplified visas valid for up to 12 months, up from the current three months, and will be permitted to stay in the country while applying for renewals. Read more 
21.03.21 Karatsev Beats Harris 6-3, 6-2 To Win Dubai Championships
AP
Wild card Aslan Karatsev defeated South African qualifier Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the Dubai Championships for his first title on Saturday. The 27-year-old Karatsev saved the two break points he faced to win in 1 hour, 15 minutes, becoming the third Russian champion this season. Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are the others. The 42nd-ranked Karatsev has only been beaten by Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in 14 matches this year. He beat top-seeded Rublev 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in their semifinal on Saturday, when he claimed his fourth consecutive win over a seeded player at the hard-court tournament. Read more 
21.03.21 Technical Problems Delay Launch Of Soyuz Rocket Carrying 38 Satellites
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Technical problems forced the launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket with 38 satellites on board to be postponed until March 22, the Russian space agency Roskosmos said. The launch from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome, originally scheduled to take place on March 20, was delayed after a surge in voltage was detected, space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin said. "Having heard reports from the work managers, the State Commission decided to conduct the launch on the morning of March 22, 2021," Roskosmos said later in a statement. Read more 
21.03.21 Bulgarian PM Tells Russia To Stop Spying After Intelligence Ring Charges
Reuters
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told Russia on Saturday to stop spying in his country, a day after prosecutors said they had charged six people on charges of working as spies for Moscow. Prosecutors said on Friday members of the alleged spying ring, who included former and current military intelligence officers, had passed classified information about Bulgaria, NATO and the EU to an official at the Russian embassy in Sofia. During the last 18 months, Bulgaria has expelled six Russian diplomats, including a military attache, over suspected spying - straining historically close diplomatic ties between the NATO and EU member and Moscow. Read more 
21.03.21 Gamaleya Centre To Send Researchers To Rome For Lab Studies Of Sputnik V
Sputnik
The Russian Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology will send three staffers to Rome to join their Italian colleagues in studies of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Francesco Vaia, the medical director of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani (INMI), said on Sunday. "After signing a non-disclosure agreement, the Gamaleya Centre will send three researchers to monitor lab studies of the behavioral factors of the Sputnik V vaccine," Vaia told the Il Messaggero newspaper. The INMI medical director added that the institute would also consider the possibility of revaccinating research participants of the Italian-made vaccine developed by ReiThera biotech company. Read more 
21.03.21 Russia's Top Envoy In UK Brands Diplomatic Ties 'Nearly Dead'
The Moscow Times
Russia's ambassador to Britain said Sunday that diplomatic ties between the two countries were "nearly dead," after a UK strategic review this week branded Moscow an "acute direct threat." Andrei Kelin also criticised Britain's decision to bolster its nuclear stockpile, arguing the reversal of decades of policy was a violation of various international agreements. Britain unveiled Tuesday one of the biggest overhauls of security, defence and foreign policy since the Cold War era, which concluded Russia would continue to pose a "full spectrum of threats." Read more 
20.03.21 Russian Warning Against NATO Membership Denounced By Bosnia
AP
Bosnian officials on Friday denounced a Russian warning that it will take action if the country takes steps toward NATO membership. The Russian embassy in Sarajevo had said a day earlier that “in case of practical rapprochement” of Bosnia and NATO, “our country will have to react to this hostile act.” It was not clear from the statement what action Russia might take against Bosnia, which has long proclaimed membership in the Western military alliance and in the European Union a strategic goal. Zeljko Komsic, the Croat member in Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, said that Moscow’s statement represents “a veiled threat” not only against Bosnia, but also against its Western allies, including the United States. Read more 
20.03.21 Turkey’s Erdogan Criticizes Biden Over ‘Killer’ Putin Remark
The Moscow Times
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized U.S. leader Joe Biden’s remarks describing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "killer," the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported Friday. Biden ignited a diplomatic crisis with Moscow on Wednesday when he answered "I do" after being asked in an ABC News interview if he thinks Putin is a “killer,” adding that the Russian leader would “pay a price” for election meddling. “Mr. Biden's comment about Putin does not suit a head of state,” Erdogan was quoted as saying after Friday prayers in Istanbul. “For me, Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very smart, very classy response,” he added. Read more 
19.03.21 Central Bank Of Russia Hikes Rate 25 Bps To 4.5% With Hawkish Signal
Interfax
The Central Bank of Russia's board of directors on Friday decided to hike the key rate 25 basis points to 4.50% per annum, the regulator said in a press release. Most analysts polled said they thought the regulator would opt to hold the rate at 4.25% but a very few said an increase to 4.50% was possible. The CBR last changed the rate in July 2020, lowering it 25 bps to 4.25%. It left the rate unchanged following policy meetings in September, October and November 2020 and at its last meeting on February 12, 2021. The regulator had not hiked the rate since December 2018, when it went up 25 bps to 7.75%. Read more 
19.03.21 Household Gas Explosion Hits Apartment Building In Moscow Region
TASS
Faulty gas equipment is believed to be the cause of an explosion that hit a nine-storey apartment building in the town of Khimki outside Moscow on Friday, an emergency source told TASS. "Faulty gas equipment and a gas leak are among the possible causes," he said. The explosion occurred in an eighth-floor apartment on Friday morning, causing a fire that engulfed five apartments. As a result, a ninth-floor deck and several balconies were destroyed and many windows were shattered. The incident killed two people, including a child, and left three injured. Another child was pulled out of the rubble alive. Read more 
19.03.21 Russia Hosts Afghan Peace Conference, Hoping To Boost Talks
AP
Russia hosted a peace conference for Afghanistan on Thursday, bringing together government representatives, the Taliban and international observers in a bid to help jump-start the country’s stalled peace process. The one-day gathering was the first of three planned international conferences ahead of a May 1 deadline for the final withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from the country, a date fixed under a year-old agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban. Moscow’s attempt at mediation comes as talks in Qatar between the Afghan government and the Taliban, still waging an insurgency, have stalled. Washington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace talks with the Afghan government. Read more 
19.03.21 Russian Police Raid Opposition Activists, News Outlet
The Moscow Times
Russian security agents raided the Moscow offices of the opposition news website MBKh Media and the blacklisted Open Russia pro-democracy group, the outlet reported early Friday. The raids came two days after Russia’s state communications regulator asked Twitter to delete MBKh Media’s account for allegedly posting tweets containing materials from Open Russia. “There are more than four of them and they have a support group, men in balaclavas, and they’re waiting for someone to arrive at the office,” editor-in-chief Veronika Kutsyllo told the RBC news website.
Read more 
19.03.21 US-Russia Ties Nosedive After Biden-Putin Tit-for-tat
AP
U.S.-Russia ties nosedived on Thursday after Russian leader Vladimir Putin shot back at President Joe Biden’s description of him as a killer. The back and forth underscored Biden’s desire to distance himself from former President Donald Trump’s perceived softness on Putin despite actions his administration took against Russia. Although Biden agreed to extend a major arms control deal with Russia, he has been notably cool toward Moscow and highly critical of many of its activities. In taking a tough stance on Russia, Biden has said the days of the U.S. “rolling over” to Putin are done. And he has taken pains to contrast his style with the approach of Trump, who avoided direct confrontation and frequently spoke about Putin with approval. Read more 
19.03.21 'Russia's Forests Are Defenseless': Charges Against Ranger Highlight Dangers Of Battling Poaching
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
In 2017, Sergei Krasikov won a national competition for best young forest ranger in Russia. "It was a contest among all rangers under the age of 30," said one of Sergei's colleagues at the Altacheisky State Nature Preserve in the Siberian region of Buryatia who asked that his name be withheld. "They looked at everyone's work in its entirety -- how many cases had been filed, how many weapons had been confiscated, how many criminal and administrative cases were sent to the courts. And Sergei took first place in the whole country." Now Krasikov is the target of a criminal case on charges that he exceeded his authority during the October 2020 arrest of five alleged poachers in the protected area, which is part of the ecosystem of Russia's world-famous Lake Baikal. Read more 
18.03.21 Kremlin: Biden’s Comment About Putin ‘very Bad’
AP
The Kremlin on Thursday denounced U.S. President Joe Biden’s remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin, warning it would rethink its approach to relations with Washington. Russia on Wednesday announced it’s recalling its ambassador in Washington for consultations after Biden was asked in an interview whether he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer and said “I do.” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was a “very bad statement by the U.S. president” that made it clear that “he doesn’t want to normalize relations.” Read more 
18.03.21 Twitter Told To Delete Russian Opposition's Online News Content
The Guardian
Russia’s media watchdog has told Twitter to delete the account of an opposition news outlet following threats from Moscow to block the social network entirely if it did not remove “banned content” within a month. The moves are part of a wider crackdown on social media and the opposition after protests supporting the jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which were organised via online platforms. Analysts said the threat to ban Twitter was the first step in a campaign that could lead to other networks being blocked in Russia, where most traditional media are tightly controlled by the state. The watchdog Roskomnadzor had contacted Twitter to demand it removed the account of MBKh Media, an online news outlet founded by Mihkail Khodorkovsky, an exiled oligarch and critic of Putin, the media group said on Wednesday. Read more 
18.03.21 Group Of Seven Slams Russia Annexation Of Crimea, 7 Years On
AP
The Group of Seven major industrialized countries on Thursday issued a strong condemnation of what it called Russia’s ongoing “occupation” of the Crimean Peninsula, seven years after Moscow annexed it from Ukraine. The foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. said in a joint statement that Russia’s actions continue to “undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.” “We unequivocally denounce Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol,” the seven countries said. “Russia’s attempts to legitimize it are not, and will not, be recognized.” Read more 
18.03.21 Hollywood Stars Sign Open Letter Urging Russia To Drop (new) Charges Against Pussy Riot Activists
Meduza
Dozens of actors, musicians, and directors from the United States and Europe have signed an open letter calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges against Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein, Pussy Riot told Meduza on Wednesday, March 17. More than 40 cultural figures signed the letter, including director Whoopi Goldberg, actresses Gillian Anderson and Mia Farrow, actor Mike Farrel, and musicians Peter Gabriel and Tom Morello. The letter underscores that the persecution of the Pussy Riot activists is a direct violation of human rights and international standards of political freedom. As such, the signatories are calling on the Russian government to drop all charges against Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein. Read more 
18.03.21 Siberian Concert Pianist’s Anti-Repression Speech Sparks Uproar
The Moscow Times
A Siberian pianist sparked an uproar Tuesday with a speech against “state repression” at a concert honoring Italian-born French concert pianist Vera Lotar-Shevchenko, who spent eight years in a Soviet gulag prison camp in Siberia. Timofey Kazantsev was nearly hauled offstage at the Novosibirsk Philharmonic after urging attendees to sign a petition demanding the release of a local activist who faces 5 years in prison for attending multiple unauthorized protests. Read more 
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