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21.10.19 Russia Says It Missed Oil-deal Target Due To Rise In Gas Condensate Output
Reuters
Russia produced more oil in September than envisaged by a global deal due to an increase in gas condensate output as the country prepared for winter, local news agencies reported on Sunday. Russian oil output edged down to 11.25 million barrels per day (bpd) last month from August’s 11.29 million bpd but remained above the cap set under the global production deal. Under the accord reached between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers, Russia has agreed to reduce output by 228,000 bpd from an October 2018 baseline. Read more 
21.10.19 Sale Of Babies On Black Market Exposed In Russia
The Independent
Pavel Sarychev’s social media profile alone should have raised eyebrows. As a bachelor of 43 years old, with only a dozen linked friends, a history of psychiatric illness, and interest in groups such as “offer / receive children,” his adoption bonafides were clearly lacking. But when Sarychev asked a Russian adoption agency about ways to avoid social services checks, he received not questions but a menu of options. The adoption agency boasted to him of strong relations with social services, maternity wards and judges. It said it could get him a new-born baby for the equivalent of £5,000 – commission included. Read more 
21.10.19 Russian Government Supports Capping IT Companies Foreign Ownership
Reuters
The Russian government has supported a draft law on limiting foreign ownership in major IT companies to just under 50 percent, according to a parliamentary website, a move which may further tighten state control over the internet. Initially, the proposals on non-Russian ownership were harsher and seen capped at 20%. Shares in, Yandex, a Russian equivalent to Google, and another large IT company, Mail.ru, have been very sensitive to discussions about the law, first proposed last July. Read more 
21.10.19 Israelis Rally In Support Of Woman Imprisoned In Russia
The Associated Press
About 200 Israelis are demonstrating in Tel Aviv in solidarity with an Israeli woman imprisoned in Russia on drug charges. The demonstrators chanted and held signs reading “Free Naama” in Hebrew, Russian and English. Naama Issachar, 26, was arrested in Moscow airport in April on her way to Israel from India. Authorities found 9.6 grams of marijuana with her and last week sentenced her to seven and a half years in prison. Read more 
20.10.19 Russia Doesn't Rule Out New Contract To Supply Air Defense Systems To Turkey
Reuters
Russia does not rule out reaching a new contract to supply its air defense missile systems to Turkey, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov as saying on Saturday. Borisov also did not rule out Turkey expressing an interest in purchasing Russian SU-35 and SU-57 aircraft, it added. Read more 
20.10.19 Hillary Clinton Hints Russia Is Grooming Tulsi Gabbard As Third-party Candidate
The Guardian
Hillary Clinton has said Russia, which interfered in the US election she lost in 2016, is “grooming” a Democratic candidate for a third-party run next year, signalling she believes congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard could fill the role. The goal of this would essentially be to divide the US electorate and help Donald Trump win re-election, Clinton said. In the interview, Clinton also said she believes Russia had compromising information, or kompromat, on Trump. Read more 
20.10.19 Putin And Merkel Discussed Syria, Ukraine And Libya In Phone Call
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Ukraine, Syria and Libya during a phone call, the Interfax news agency quoted the Kremlin as saying on Saturday. Putin and Merkel agreed to continue preparing a meeting of leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine and stressed the importance of advancing the political settlement process in Syria. Read more 
20.10.19 Putin Oversees Nuclear Submarine Drills Across Russia
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin supervised major test launches of ballistic and cruise missiles on land, air and sea Thursday. The three-day Grom (Thunder)-2019 exercises involved five submarines, more than 100 aircraft, 200 missile launchers and 12,000 Russian troops. They aimed to test the readiness of Russia's command structure and how efficiently its orders are carried out in an armed conflict or nuclear war, the Defense Ministry said. Read more 
20.10.19 Erdogan To Discuss Syrian Deployment In 'safe Zone' With Putin Next Week
Reuters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would discuss the deployment of Syrian government forces in a planned “safe zone” in northern Syria during talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next week, but warned Ankara would “implement its own plans” if a solution was not reached. Turkey agreed with the United States on Thursday to pause its military offensive in northeastern Syria for five days while Kurdish fighters withdrew from a “safe zone”. Erdogan will visit Sochi for emergency talks with Putin on what steps to take next. Read more 
19.10.19 Last Soviet Leader Gorbachev Urges Russia, U.S. To Hold Nuclear Talks
Reuters
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, warned on Friday that the world was drifting into a dangerous era of militarised politics and appealed to Moscow and Washington to sit down for urgent nuclear arms control talks. Gorbachev, whose 1980s arms control push and democracy-oriented reforms helped end the Cold War, made the comments to the daily newspaper Izvestia two months after the demise of a landmark nuclear pact he signed in 1987. Read more 
19.10.19 Russia Dam Collapse At Siberia Gold Mine Kills 15
BBC News
At least 15 people have died and 13 others are missing after a dam collapse at a gold mine in Siberia. The dam, on the Seiba river in the region of Krasnoyarsk, burst after heavy rain on Saturday, flooding cabins where workers lived. Russia's health ministry said 14 miners were taken to hospital, including three with severe injuries. Read more 
19.10.19 Russia Sells Crude At Record Premiums To Asia After Freight Rates Surge
Reuters
Russia, the world’s No. 2 oil producer, has become an unintended beneficiary of U.S. sanctions after an embargo on Chinese ships drove up tanker freight rates, spurring record premiums for Russian crude that takes just days to arrive in North Asia. Demand for key Russian oil grades sold in Asia has been strong in the past month after an attack on key oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia drove up prices for spot crude while Asian refiners are processing more low-sulfur grades to meet shippers’ demand for cleaner fuels from 2020. Read more 
19.10.19 Russian Lawmakers Accuse BBC, Meduza, RFE/RL Of Violating Election Law
The Moscow Times
A State Duma commission on foreign interference says it has found violations of election law by six foreign and independent outlets operating in Russia, Interfax reported Friday. Russian lawmakers created the commission after this summer’s wave of opposition protests in Moscow. At the time, Russia had accused Germany’s Deutsche Welle news outlet, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and Google of meddling in Russia's internal affairs by allegedly promoting the protests and encouraging people to attend them. Read more 
18.10.19 Russia Protests After Catching U.S. Diplomats Near Military Test Site
Reuters
Russia said on Thursday it would issue a formal note of protest to the United States after police caught three U.S. diplomats in what it said was a restricted area near a closed military testing site. The diplomats were stopped by police after they arrived by train on Monday and were sent back, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Though protected by diplomatic immunity, they are accused of breaking the law as they did not have the special permits foreigners needed to visit the area. Read more 
18.10.19 Why Trump’s Withdrawal From Syria Has Israel On Edge
The Christian Science Monitor
America First” is not exactly a subtle slogan, and Israeli officials were well aware of President Donald Trump’s isolationist streak. But for decades Israel’s foreign policy has rested almost exclusively on the presumption of ironclad ties with the United States. And under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose personal political fortunes also are intertwined with the strength of those ties, that has meant his trusting relationship with Mr. Trump. Read more 
18.10.19 Russia Says It Is Starting To Resume U.S. Cyber Cooperation
Reuters
Russia and the United States are gradually starting to resume cooperation on cyber security, TASS news agency cited the head of Russia’s FSB Federal Security Service as saying on Thursday. Russia’s bilateral relations with the United States are at post-Cold War lows, strained by an array of issues including U.S. allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Read more 
18.10.19 Russians Accused Of Extremism Cut Wrists In Court
BBC News
Two Russians on trial for belonging to an anarchist organisation have slit their wrists in a Moscow courtroom. The pair, Ruslan Kostylenkov, 25, and Vyacheslav Kryukov, 20, face extremism charges after being accused of belonging to Novoye Velichiye (New Greatness) group. They were removed from the witness stand. Their condition is not yet known, Russian media report. Both had called to be put under house arrest but had their request rejected. Read more 
18.10.19 U.S. Helped Moscow Foil Recent Terror Plot With Intel
The Moscow Times
The United States has recently shared intelligence with Russia about a terrorist plot, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) intelligence agency said Thursday. FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov’s remarks come almost two years after news that the CIA helped Russia foil a terror attack in St. Petersburg. The FSB said it detained seven Islamic State suspects in December 2017 as a result of the cooperation and President Vladimir Putin thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for the tip-off. Read more 
18.10.19 Russia And Iran Stand Ready To Facilitate Talks On Syria
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, have discussed situation in north eastern Syria and expressed their readiness to facilitate relevant talks, Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday. Both Lavrov and Zarif said it was necessary to reach long-lasting stabilization on the eastern side of the Euphrates river via the “dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, as well as between the Syrian authorities and representatives of Syrian Kurds”. Read more 
18.10.19 ‘They Tried To Break Me, Then Offered Me A Deal’
The Moscow Times
Oleg Sentsov was the most high-profile prisoner among the 35 Ukrainian detainees who returned home last month in exchange for 35 prisoners wanted by Russia. The 43-year-old filmmaker was detained in Crimea in 2014 and sentenced to 20 years in a Russian maximum security prison on terrorism charges he says were trumped up. The European Union said Sentsov’s case was "in breach of international law" and the U.S. State Department called it a "clear miscarriage of justice." Read more 
17.10.19 Russia Removes U.S. Diplomats From Train Near Secret Test Site Accident
Reuters
Russia removed three U.S. diplomats from a train near the site of a mysterious military testing accident on Monday because they did not have special permits to be in the area, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday. Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom, has acknowledged that five of its nuclear workers were killed in an Aug. 8 explosion during a rocket engine test near the White Sea in far northern Russia. Read more 
17.10.19 Russia's Putin: From Pariah To Middle East Power Broker
BBC News
Remember five-year plans? They used to be popular around here. Communist Russia reckoned that in five years, you could transform an economy. Vladimir Putin's Russia has updated the idea. Over the last five years it's not the economy the Kremlin has been expanding: it's Moscow's geo-political clout. Read more 
17.10.19 Russia Says It Will Push For Agreements Between Syria, Kurds
Reuters
Russia will encourage Syria’s government and Kurdish forces to reach agreements and implement them following a Turkish operation in Syria’s northeast, the RIA news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Wednesday. Speaking in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi, Lavrov said the Turkish operation had allowed captured Islamic State fighters to escape. He added that Moscow would support security cooperation between Turkish and Syrian forces along their border. Read more 
17.10.19 US Diplomats Held Near Russian Rocket Test Site
BBC News
Three US diplomats were taken off a train on Monday while heading to an Arctic city near the site of a military testing accident in northern Russia. The trio were bound for the port of Severodvinsk, where access is restricted for foreign nationals. Severodvinsk hosts a naval shipyard and is close to a rocket test site where a deadly explosion in August led to a spike in radiation levels. Russia said the three had stated they would visit the city of Arkhangelsk. Read more 
17.10.19 Kremlin: Turkey's Syria Operation Should Not Damage Political Process
Reuters
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Turkey’s military operation in northeast Syria should not to damage the political process in the country and that Ankara’s actions there should be proportional. Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, however, that Moscow respected Turkey’s right to defend itself. Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Read more 
17.10.19 Three US Diplomats Held Near Russian Test Site Where Mystery Blast Killed Five
The Guardian
Three American diplomats were briefly detained in Russia near the military test site where a mysterious explosion released radiation in August, several Russia state news agencies have reported. The US embassy has confirmed the incident, the Interfax news service reported, but said the three diplomats had filed the proper paperwork to travel in the area. The Russian foreign ministry said the diplomats had named a different city as their destination and had “obviously got lost”. Read more 
17.10.19 Sweden Spent $2M Hunting For Nonexistent ‘Russian Sub’
The Moscow Times
The Swedish navy spent almost $2 million hunting for a Russian submarine off the coast of Stockholm that turned out to be a broken buoy, Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper has reported. Sweden said in 2014 it had proof that a foreign submarine had been operating illegally in the Stockholm archipelago after suspicions sparked the country’s biggest military mobilization since the Cold War. Analysts suspected it to be a Russian submarine, but a Swedish admiral said months later that the submarine was actually a white plastic boat named the "Time Bandit.” Read more 
16.10.19 Putin Invites Erdogan To Russia As Turkey Advances In Syria
Reuters
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin spoke with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan about Syria by phone and invited him to visit Russia in the next few days, the Kremlin said late on Tuesday. The Kremlin said that in their phone conversation, Putin and Erdogan agreed to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity. “Vladimir Putin invited Tayyip Erdogan to come to Russia with a working visit in the coming days. The invitation has been accepted,” the Kremlin said in a statement. Read more 
16.10.19 Russia Vows To Prevent Clashes With Assad Forces
BBC News
Russia has said it will not allow clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces, as Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria continues. "This would simply be unacceptable... and therefore we will not allow it, of course," said Moscow's special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev. The withdrawal of US troops from the region, announced last week, gave Turkey a "green light", critics say. Russia is a key military ally of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Read more 
16.10.19 Russia Says 'unacceptable' Turkish Incursion Into Syria Must Be Temporary
Reuters
Russia called Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria “unacceptable” and said on Tuesday the operation had to be limited in time and scale, a rare broadside that suggests Moscow’s patience with Ankara is wearing thin. In Russia’s strongest criticism since Turkey launched its military operation last week, President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria indicated Moscow wanted Ankara to wrap up its offensive soon. Read more 
16.10.19 Alexei Leonov: The Russian Who Could Have Been First To The Moon
BBC News
Pioneering cosmonaut Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov died on Friday in Moscow aged 85. With his passing, the world has lost another direct connection to the Cold War space race of the 1960s and 70s. Leonov was widely admired by other astronauts and cosmonauts, and his exploits in orbit were legendary. He was also regarded as a man of great compassion, who was deeply affected by the deaths of his colleagues and friends in the ground-breaking but perilous contest in space between the superpowers. Read more 
16.10.19 Russia Buries Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, First Human To Walk In Space
Reuters
Hundreds of Russians bade farewell to cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space, at a solemn funeral ceremony on Tuesday which culminated in a gun salute. The ceremony for Leonov, who died on Friday at the age of 85 after a long illness, was attended by Russia’s defence minister and prominent space exploration figures including 89-year-old former U.S. astronaut Thomas Stafford. Read more 
16.10.19 Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Condemns Mass Raids
The Guardian
The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has called a wave of raids by Russian authorities against his associates “probably the biggest coordinated searches in the country since 1938” – the final year of Joseph Stalin’s purges. Investigators launched simultaneous raids on Tuesday morning on offices used by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and the homes of the foundation’s employees, less than a week after the group was officially declared a “foreign agent” by Russian authorities. Read more 
16.10.19 Insults To Putin Come With A Fine
The Christian Science Monitor
Kirill Poputnikov was upset by what he saw. Somebody had spray-painted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name, followed by a vile Russian obscenity, across the stately columns of the police headquarters in his hometown of Yaroslavl. Mr. Poputnikov, an architect by profession, snapped a picture and later posted it on his Facebook page to start a discussion among his friends. Read more 
15.10.19 Russia To Hold Major Test Of Its Strategic Missile Forces
Reuters
Russia announced on Monday it would hold a large test of its Strategic Missile Forces that will see it fire ballistic and cruise missiles from the land, sea and air this week. The exercise, from Oct. 15-17, will involve around 12,000 military personnel, as well as aircraft, including strategic nuclear bombers, surface ships and submarines, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement. Read more 
15.10.19 As Turkish Forces Advance In Northeast Syria, Russia Warns Of Islamic State Revival
Washington Post
Russian President Vladi­mir Putin warned Friday that Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria could bring about a revival of the Islamic State militant group, adding to the international chorus of alarm about the military operation launched this week. “There are areas in northern Syria where [Islamic State members] are active militants,” Putin said in Turkmenistan, Russian news agencies reported. “Kurdish units used to keep an eye on those areas, but now that Turkish troops are entering the region, they may just flee away,” he added, referring to the Syrian Kurdish forces that are the target of Turkey’s offensive. Read more 
15.10.19 Russian Defense Ministry Denies Report Accusing It Of Bombing Syrian Hospitals
The Moscow Times
Russia has denied an explosive New York Times report saying it bombed Syrian hospitals, including four in one day in May, insisting that its planes attacked a “terrorist bunker” rather than an underground hospital. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Monday that the ministry last week organized a press tour for dozens of journalists to the site of one of the hospitals the paper mentioned in its report. Read more 
15.10.19 Russian Shadow Falls Over Syria As Kurds Open Door For Assad
The Guardian
The moment that changed the Middle East arrived with a sudden silence. Just before 7pm on Sunday, the internet was cut across north-eastern Syria where, for half an hour, the Kurds of the region had been digesting a news flash. The Syrian government was returning to two towns, Manbij and Kobane. The implication quickly sunk in. The regional capital, Qamishli, soon emptied; streets that had bustled with minibuses and shoppers became eerie and still. With the internet down phones were no help and nor were officials who had vanished along with the traffic. Air seemed to be suddenly vacuumed from the city, and the few people still around knew exactly what it meant: this was the moment power changed hands. It was a time to be scared. Read more 
15.10.19 'We Don't Want To Entertain Possibility Of Clash With Turkey In Syria'
Reuters
The Kremlin said on Monday it did not want to entertain the possibility of a clash in Syria between Russian and Turkish forces and said Moscow was in regular contact with Ankara, including at a military level. The Kremlin was commenting after Syrian Kurdish leaders said they had struck a deal with the Syrian government, brokered by Russia, which centered on Syrian army troops deploying along the border with Turkey. Read more 
14.10.19 Putin Offers To Help Ease Gulf Tensions Before Saudi Trip
Reuters
Russia can play a positive role in easing tensions in the Gulf following a spate of attacks in the region, President Vladimir Putin said in comments published on Sunday before his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade. He cited good Russian ties with Gulf Arab states and Iran in an interview with Arab broadcasters, but said he had no reliable information about who was behind attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14 which stoked tension and rattled oil markets. Read more 
14.10.19 Russia ‘bombed Four Hospitals In Syria In Four Hours’
The Independent
The Russian Air Force has repeatedly bombed hospitals in Syria in order to crush the last pockets of resistance to President Bashar al-Assad, according to an investigation by The New York Times. An analysis of previously unpublished Russian Air Force radio recordings, plane-spotter logs and witness accounts allowed The New York Times to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one. Read more 
14.10.19 Russia Says Exploring Settlement In Euros, Rubles For Energy Exports
Reuters
Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said the country is considering alternatives to the U.S. dollar for energy transactions and is exploring currency settlements in euros and rubles for energy exports to minimize U.S. exposure. "We have a very good currency, it's stable. Why not use it for global transactions?" Oreshkin said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday. Read more 
14.10.19 Putin Says Trump Not To Blame For Lack Of Improvement In Russia-U.S. Ties
Reuters
Moscow is not blaming U.S. President Donald Trump for failing to improve U.S.-Russian relations, a pledge he had made during his election campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Arab broadcasters. "We know that, including during his previous election campaign, he spoke in favor of a normalization (of U.S.-Russia relations), but unfortunately it has not happened yet," Putin told Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia and RT Arabic. Read more 
14.10.19 Putin: Russia Can Play Key Role In Middle East, Has Good Iran Ties
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia can play a key role in the Middle East as it has good relations with Iran and the Arab world, he told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV in an interview broadcast on Sunday. On his first visit to Saudi Arabia in more than a decade, Putin said nobody in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates wants a confrontation with Iran. He also said Russia was working on a free trade zone with Israel and Egypt, similar to one between Russia and Iran. Read more 
13.10.19 Yandex Shares Plummet As Russia Considers Limits On Foreign Ownership
The Moscow Times
Shares in Russian tech giant Yandex have plummeted after reports the Kremlin is backing plans to limit the stakes of foreign owners in Russian IT companies. Yandex shares fell by 17% in the first minutes of trading on the Nasdaq exchange in New York on Friday, wiping more than $1 billion from the company’s value. Shares were trading below $30 Friday afternoon, after closing Thursday’s session north of $35. Read more 
13.10.19 Brexit Party MEPs Vote Against Plans To Tackle Russian Propaganda
The Guardian
Nigel Farage and the Brexit party have voted against stronger EU measures aimed at countering “highly dangerous” Russian disinformation. The party’s MEPs cast their votes against a European parliament resolution calling for an upgrade of the EU’s anti-propaganda unit East StratCom, as well as support for public service media. Read more 
13.10.19 Russian Women Accused Of Killing Pakistani Prison Guard Over ‘Religious Dispute’
The Moscow Times
Three Russian women said to be followers of the Islamic State terrorist group are suspected of killing a prison guard in Pakistan, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said. The three women were charged with premeditated murder after the 23-year-old warden’s body was discovered by the gate of the women’s barrack near the city of Karachi, Pakistani media reported Tuesday. The suspects, who were reportedly awaiting deportation back to Russia, allegedly had a religious dispute with the warden who they thought was an “infidel.” Read more 
13.10.19 Ukraine Conflict: Can Election Deal In East Finally Bring Peace?
BBC News
Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has backed in principle an agreement to bring elections to the territories controlled by Russian-backed separatists in the east. It is hoped that the deal will eventually lead to peace in the Donbas region devastated by more than five years of fighting. But thousands of Ukrainian nationalists have held protests, describing the agreement as a "capitulation" to Russia. Read more 
13.10.19 Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, First Human To Perform Spacewalk, Dies
The Moscow Times
Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who made history by becoming the first man to walk in space, has died Friday at age 85. Leonov’s pioneering spacewalk marked a crucial step for the development of moon landing programs and the International Space Station. Leonov flew a second time in 1975, when he was the commander of the Soviet half of the landmark Apollo-Soyuz test project, the first Russian-American joint space mission. Read more 
12.10.19 As Turkish Forces Advance In Northeast Syria, Russia Warns Of Islamic State Revival
Washington Post
Russian President Vladi­mir Putin warned Friday that Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria could bring about a revival of the Islamic State militant group, adding to the international chorus of alarm about the military operation launched this week. “There are areas in northern Syria where [Islamic State members] are active militants,” Putin said in Turkmenistan, Russian news agencies reported. “Kurdish units used to keep an eye on those areas, but now that Turkish troops are entering the region, they may just flee away,” he added, referring to the Syrian Kurdish forces that are the target of Turkey’s offensive. Read more 
12.10.19 Trump Names John Sullivan As His Pick For U.S. Ambassador To Russia
Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will nominate U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia. If confirmed by the Senate, Sullivan would be the top U.S. diplomat in Russia at a particularly challenging time for Trump’s presidency, which is facing an impeachment inquiry after Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his domestic political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Read more 
12.10.19 A Political Prisoner In Russia Gains His Freedom
Washington Post
Last week, the French mission to the Council of Europe hosted an unusual meeting between a head of state and a prisoner he helped set free. French President Emmanuel Macron, who holds the rotating chairmanship in the Council, Europe’s oldest pan-continental body dedicated to defending human rights, met with Oleg Sentsov, a filmmaker from Crimea who was arrested by the Russian authorities after the annexation of the peninsula in 2014. Read more 
12.10.19 Alexei Leonov: First Person To Walk In Space Dies Aged 85
BBC News
Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who became the first person in history to spacewalk in 1965, has died aged 85. Tethered to a spaceship by a 4.8m (16ft) cable, the Russian floated above Earth for 12 minutes. "You just can't comprehend it. Only out there can you feel the greatness - the huge size of all that surrounds us," Leonov told the BBC in 2014. But the outing nearly ended in disaster as his spacesuit inflated and he struggled to get back in the spaceship. Read more 
12.10.19 Russia Jails U.S.-Israeli On Drug Charges Despite Netanyahu Plea
Reuters
A Russian court sentenced a U.S.-Israeli woman to seven and a half years in jail for drug offences on Friday, a ruling Israel condemned as disproportionate and which her family said Moscow had linked to the fate of a Russian citizen detained in Israel. Naama Issachar, 25, was arrested in April while in transit in a Moscow airport, en route from India to Israel, and accused of carrying 9 grams of cannabis, her family said. Russian authorities charged her with drug smuggling. Read more 
11.10.19 Ukraine, Russia Resume Blame Game As Peace Process Hits Roadblock
Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday accused Russia of delaying a summit aimed at resolving the conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's east, but Moscow said Kiev needed to pull back its troops first. Ukraine, France and Germany had planned to hold the meeting of the group known as the Normandy Four, aimed at resolving the five-year-long conflict, as early as last month, Zelenskiy told reporters, but Russia turned down the proposal. "We are ready to meet at any date," he said. Read more 
11.10.19 Ukraine's President Says 'no Blackmail' In Trump Call
BBC News
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there was "no blackmail" in a phone call with Donald Trump that is at the heart of a possible attempt to remove the US president from office. "This is not corruption, it was just a call," Mr Zelensky said on Thursday. The call prompted a whistleblower complaint and Democratic impeachment inquiry of the Republican president. Mr Trump denies withholding US aid while pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden. Read more 
11.10.19 What Does Turkey’s Syria Offensive Mean For Russia?
The Moscow Times
Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies attacked Kurdish militia in northeast Syria on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery before starting a cross-border ground operation that could transform an eight-year war. Turkey’s assault on the Kurds is potentially one of the biggest shifts in years in the Syrian war that has drawn in global and regional powers. Russia, Assad's strongest foreign ally, is urging dialogue between Damascus and Syria's Kurds. Read more 
11.10.19 Russia's Lavrov Discusses Turkey's Syria Incursion With Iraq's President
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the Turkish military operation in Syria’s northeast with Iraq’s president by phone on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. Moscow and Baghdad agreed on the need for stability on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and for Syria’s territorial integrity to be respected, the ministry said in a readout of the phone call. Read more 
11.10.19 Kremlin Critic Navalny Accuses Putin Of Foreign Funding ‘Setup’
The Moscow Times
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has accused President Vladimir Putin of framing his anti-corruption group as a “foreign agent” after Navalny urged people to strategically vote against pro-Putin candidates in elections last month. The Justice Ministry on Wednesday blacklisted Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) under a 2012 “foreign agent” law that imposes crippling auditing and reporting requirements on groups listed. Navalny and his allies maintain that they receive funding solely through Russian donations, but the Justice Ministry later said that it blacklisted the FBK because of donations from the U.S. and Spain. Read more 
10.10.19 Ukraine Wants Long-term Gas Transit Deal With Russia
Reuters
Ukraine wants a long-term gas transit contract with Russia based on European standards, the prime minister said on Wednesday, adding Kiev would not agree to a short-term deal that Moscow seeks. “We aim to get a long-term contract, because the continuation of the contract for one year... does not suit us,” Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk told journalists at a briefing. Read more 
10.10.19 Russia Plans Its Own Version Of Wikipedia By 2023
The Moscow Times
Russia is aiming to roll out an online encyclopedia in three years with a readership five times the size of Wikipedia’s, the RBC news website reported Wednesday, citing procurement documents. Russia has been planning to create its own version of Wikipedia to ensure Russians have access to more "detailed and reliable" information about their country since as far back as 2014. Russia previously attempted to block Wikipedia over an article containing instructions on how to prepare a type of cannabis drug. Read more 
10.10.19 Russia Brands Kremlin Critic's Anti-corruption Group "foreign Agent"
Reuters
Russia’s Justice Ministry on Wednesday formally labeled opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption group a “foreign agent”, a move the Kremlin’s critics said was part of a coordinated government attack on the group. Navalny and his allies led political protests this summer over a local election in Moscow that grew into the biggest sustained protest movement in the Russian capital in years, peaking at around 60,000 people before appearing to lose steam. Read more 
10.10.19 Russia: Opposition Figure Navalny's Foundation Declared 'foreign Agent'
BBC News
Russia has declared opposition leader Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation a "foreign agent". The move by the justice ministry means the organisation will now be subject to more checks by the authorities. It will also have to clearly state its "foreign agent" status on all official documents, and could be suspended. Mr Navalny, who has led nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin's rule, denied his foundation had received "foreign money". Read more 
10.10.19 ‘If They Send Us Back To China We Will Die’
The Moscow Times
At first sight, Shahrizat and Shahdiyar Shavkat, 23-year-old twin brothers from China, look like regular students. They spend their days listening to music, playing sports and hanging out with friends in Kazan, Russia’s sixth-largest city and the capital of the majority-Muslim republic of Tatarstan. Only a “Free the Uighurs” screensaver on one of their phones is a clue to the twins’ troubled story. Read more 
10.10.19 Russia Won't Get Involved In Conflict Between Turkey, Syria
Reuters
Russia will not get involved in the conflict between Turkey and Syria after Ankara launched an operation in Syria’s northeast, the RIA news agency cited a senior Russian lawmaker as saying on Wednesday. Russia’s military is in Syria for different reasons, RIA quoted Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chair of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of parliament, as saying. Read more 
10.10.19 Russian Scientists Find Microplastics Along ‘Entire’ Arctic Sea Route
The Moscow Times
Russian scientists say they have discovered small plastic debris along the entirety of an Arctic shortcut connecting Asia and Europe that Russia calls the Northern Sea Route. Microplastics — plastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters in length — are now present in every part of the environment, according to a 2019 scientific review by European Union researchers. While high concentrations of microplastics are harmful to the environment and living creatures, it’s difficult to measure the effects of these particles at normal concentrations, the researchers said. Read more 
09.10.19 Russia, Turkey Discuss Northeast Syria Amid Tensions
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in northeast Syria with his Turkish counterpart by phone on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said, amid tensions over a possible Turkish military operation there. Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has emerged as a leading power broker in Syria over more than eight years of civil war and has said that Syria’s territorial integrity must be respected by all outside powers. Read more 
09.10.19 Attacks On Journalists In Russia More Than Double Since 2017
The Moscow Times
The number of attacks and threats on Russian journalists by the authorities has more than doubled since 2017, according to a new report published by the international Justice for Journalists NGO on Monday. The report was published to mark the 13th anniversary of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskya’s murder. While five men were sentenced to prison for her assassination, it’s still unclear who ordered the killing. Read more 
09.10.19 Russia And China To Sign Agreement On Combating Illegal Online Content
Reuters
Russia’s state communications watchdog will sign an agreement with its Chinese counterpart this month as part of cooperation to combat the circulation of what it calls illegal online content, it said on Tuesday. Critics have accused Russia’s authorities of trying to implement Chinese-style curbs on the internet. Cooperation in this area between the two regulators could alarm Russian proponents of internet freedom. Read more 
09.10.19 For Trump, Syria Pullout Is A Win. Putin May See It That Way Too
Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said his decision to shift U.S. troops out of the path of a threatened Turkish military incursion in Syria will be regretted most by Russia and China. They “love to see us bogged down” in expensive military quagmires, he tweeted on Monday. To some Russian and U.S. analysts and officials, however, Moscow is likely to be a major beneficiary of the move. A complete U.S. pullout would remove Russia’s only military equal from the contest to shape Syria’s future, according to Trump’s former envoy for combating the so-called Islamic State, Brett McGurk. He has argued since resigning his post in December that in place of the U.S., Moscow would then have to deal with Turkey, a weaker and more compliant regional player. Read more 
09.10.19 Ex-U.S. Envoy Huntsman Urges Rethink Of Russia Sanctions In WSJ Op-ed
Reuters
Days after ending his term in Moscow, former United States ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has urged Washington to review its sanctions-dominated approach to Russia, questioning its efficiency and calling for dialogue. The U.S. has placed multiple layers of sanctions on Russia, its senior officials and largest companies, as well as businessmen it views as connected to the Kremlin, the bulk of them linked to Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian crisis which began in 2014 and has yet to be resolved. Read more 
09.10.19 Vladimir Aniskin And His Invisible Masterpieces
The Moscow Times
In 1881 the Russian writer Nikolai Leskov wrote a short story called “The Tale of Cross-Eyed Lefty and the Steel Flea” about a group of blacksmiths in Tula led by a left-handed master. In the story, Tsar Alexander I brought back a miniature mechanical flea made of steel from England. His son, Tsar Nicholas I, wants to find some Russian craftsmen who can outdo the English. A group of gunsmiths in Tula take on the challenge. After many months, the artisans hand back the same English steel flea, now broken. But under a microscope the tsar sees that Lefty and his team have fitted the flea with the tiniest horseshoes, which now prevent him from dancing. Read more 
08.10.19 Scientists Discover Record Methane Emission In The Russian Arctic
The Moscow Times
A group of scientific researchers has discovered a record methane emission coming from the eastern Siberian Sea, expedition organizer Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) said in a statement. The scientists found concentrations of the greenhouse gas — which can significantly influence the planet’s climate — up to nine times the global average. “This is the most powerful gas fountain I've ever seen,” said Igor Semiletov, the head of the expedition and a TPU professor. “No one has ever recorded anything like this before." Read more 
08.10.19 Russia Should Reform Oil Taxes To Sustain Output
Reuters
Russia’s energy minister has told Reuters his country should reform oil taxation to bring into production some 10 billion tonnes of currently uneconomic reserves and boost producers’ margins to compete better with rivals such as U.S. shale firms. Alexander Novak said oil production in Russia, which has enough reserves of crude to sustain current production for over 50 years, could decline if the tax system remained unchanged. Read more 
08.10.19 Putin Celebrates His Birthday
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin turns 67 today. The Kremlin announced that Putin would be spending his birthday outdoors with family and friends, and released a series of pictures of the president hiking in the Siberian taiga over the weekend. Today also marks the 13th anniversary of the murder of Russian investigative journalist and fierce Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya. Read more 
08.10.19 Russian Defense Minister Holds Talks By Phone With U.S. Counterpart
Reuters
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks by phone with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the RIA news agency reported on Monday, citing the Russian ministry. The talks were initiated by the U.S. side, RIA added. The Russian ministry did not disclose details of the talks, Interfax, another news agency, said. In Washington, the Pentagon confirmed Esper and his Russian counterpart had spoken but declined to provide any details on what was discussed. Read more 
08.10.19 Russian Village's Last Teacher Stays On For Her One Remaining Pupil
Reuters
Uminur Kuchukova, 61, could have retired years ago, but she continues to teach at this dying Russian village’s once bustling school for the sake of its last pupil, a 9-year-old boy. When she leaves next year, the school will close. Like thousands of villages dotted across Russia, the remote Siberian village of Sibilyakovo emptied after the closure of its state-run collective farm following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet planned economy. Jobs dried up and people left in droves. Read more 
07.10.19 EU Divisions Over Russia Mount As France, Germany Seek Peace In Ukraine
Reuters
French and German attempts to end the conflict in east Ukraine risk increasing tensions that were already rising in the European Union over how to handle Russia and which could complicate peace efforts. Progress at talks between Russian and Ukrainian envoys have raised hopes of convening the first international summit in three years on ending the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces. Read more 
07.10.19 Russia Looks For Leverage As Ukraine Slides Deeper Into Impeachment Probes
Washington Post
The United States is embroiled in an impeachment inquiry, Ukraine is scrambling to keep out of the fray — and then there is Russia, surveying it all with barely concealed satisfaction. If any country stands to gain from the developing turmoil, analysts and politicians in Kiev say, it is Russia. And they expect President Vladimir Putin’s government to exploit every opportunity it can find. Read more 
07.10.19 Russia Sends Note Of Protest To U.S. Over FBI Questioning Of MP
Reuters
The Russian embassy in the United States has sent a note of protest to the U.S. State Department over FBI questioning of a Russian lawmaker in a New York airport overnight. Russian deputy Inga Yumasheva was questioned for an hour by the FBI upon arrival in New York, the Russian embassy said in a statement posted here on its Facebook page. It did not specify which airport she arrived at. Read more 
07.10.19 Oligarchs, As U.S. Arts Patrons, Present A Softer Image Of Russia
The New York Times
Vladimir O. Potanin, a Russian billionaire who made his fortune in banking and natural resources, has been a donor and board member of the Guggenheim Museum since 2002. More recently he gave $6.45 million to the Kennedy Center in Washington, which used some of the money to install the “Russian Lounge,” a meeting space, in the performing arts complex created, in part, by Congress. His name is now inscribed on a wall there. Read more 
06.10.19 Russian Journalist Detained In Iran On Espionage Charges
The Moscow Times
Russian journalist Yulia Yuzik has been detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage, according to her family members and Russian media reports. Yuzik’s disappearance was first announced by her daughter, who said her mother was arrested “in another country” and that her trial was scheduled for this Saturday. She faces up to 10 years on charges of cooperating with Israeli intelligence, journalist Boris Voytsekhovskiy wrote on Facebook. Read more 
06.10.19 Medvedev: Russia Will Find Ways To Help Cuba Get Oil
Reuters
Russia will find ways to help Cuba secure supplies of oil and petroleum products, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview broadcast on Saturday. Medvedev pledged to help develop Cuba’s energy sector during a visit to the island this week, but did not announce any short-term measures to provide relief for the island from crippling fuel shortages in the wake of tougher U.S. sanctions. Read more 
06.10.19 Putin: It’s ‘Cynical’ To Blame Stalin For World War II
The Moscow Times
Blaming Stalin for starting World War II is “the height of cynicism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has said amid renewed discussion over the Soviet Union’s role in the conflict. “To say that Stalin unleashed the war is the height of cynicism,” Putin said at an international conference in southern Russia on Thursday. Read more 
06.10.19 Russian Deputy Prime Minister In Venezuela To Support Maduro
Reuters
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov met Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday to underline Moscow’s support for the leftist leader that has helped him stay in power despite intense Western pressure to quit. Moscow has acted as a lender of last resort for Venezuela, with the government and oil giant Rosneft providing at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006. Read more 
06.10.19 Trump Told Theresa May He Doubted Russia Was Behind Skripal Poisoning
The Guardian
Donald Trump disputed that Russia was behind the attempted murder of a former Russian spy in a tense call with Theresa May, it has emerged. Despite the widespread conclusion that Vladimir Putin’s regime was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia last year, the US president is said to have spent 10 minutes expressing his doubts about Russian involvement. Read more 
06.10.19 Russia’s Protest Movement Is Expanding And Becoming Political
The Moscow Times
Russia’s protest movement is spreading across the country and narrowing its focus to political issues, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday, citing a new study that tallied 434 rallies from April-June 2019. The Moscow-based Center for Social and Labor Rights NGO found that only the Chechnya and Chukotka regions saw little protest activity. “There are fewer and fewer regions that aren’t reporting protests,” study author Anna Ochkina told Kommersant. “Even then, there are occasional rallies in Chechnya.” Read more 
05.10.19 Russia Is Helping China Build A Missile Defence System
The Guardian
Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is helping China build a system to warn of ballistic missile launches. Since the cold war, only the United States and Russia have had such systems, which involve an array of ground-based radars and space satellites. The systems allow for early spotting of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Speaking at an international affairs conference in Moscow on Thursday, Putin said Russia had been helping China develop such a system. He added that “this is a very serious thing that will radically enhance China’s defence capability”. Read more 
05.10.19 Ukraine Says Plans Second Major Prisoner Swap With Russia
Reuters
Ukraine plans to carry out a major prisoner swap with Russia and hopes it will take place next week, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said late on Thursday. The Kremlin did not immediately confirm such plans, but said work on a swap was underway and that it favored an all-for-all prisoner exchange. The comments come after a breakthrough at talks between Moscow and Kiev this week that open the way for an international summit aimed at ending the conflict between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s east. Read more 
05.10.19 Five Die As Antonov Crash-lands Near Lviv
BBC News
An Antonov-12 transport plane crash-landed near Lviv airport in western Ukraine early on Friday, killing at least five people. The Ukraine Air Alliance plane ran out of fuel before a planned stopover at Lviv, en route from Vigo in Spain to Istanbul, Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Vladislav Krikliy said. The emergencies ministry said the plane had a crew of seven, and one other person was escorting the cargo. Read more 
05.10.19 Russia Summons Iranian Ambassador Over Journalist's Arrest In Tehran
Reuters
Russia’s foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday over the detention of a Russian journalist in Tehran, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. Moscow has close economic and political ties with Tehran, and it is unusual for the latter to target Russian citizens. Read more 
05.10.19 Ukraine Conflict: Zelensky Plans Frontline Troop Withdrawal
BBC News
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky plans to pull Ukrainian troops back all along the front line in the east, if Russian-backed rebels reciprocate. The announcement came from his foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, on Ukrainian TV. Such a pull-back has already happened in one frontline village. He also said he was hoping for another major prisoner swap with Russia, "literally next week". Mr Zelensky came to power promising to end the five-year conflict in the east. Read more 
05.10.19 Russian Women Fight Strict Beauty Standards With Body-positivity
The Guardian
In a new wave of Russian feminism, thousands of women are posting selfies on social media showing their pimples, cellulite and hair loss to challenge beauty stereotypes that women’s rights activists say fuel low self-esteem and eating disorders. The #AllIsFineWithMe trend – started by a Russian teen who has struggled with anorexia – is the latest initiative to push back against unrealistic pressures on women and girls to look perfect, often driven by airbrushed images on social media. Read more 
04.10.19 Russia Helping China To Build Missile-attack Warning System
Reuters
Russia is helping China to build a missile attack warning system, something which only Russia itself and the United States possess at the moment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. “This is a serious thing that will drastically increase the defense capabilities of the People’s Republic of China,” he told an international politics conference in the Russian resort town of Sochi. Read more 
04.10.19 Why Russians Don't Get Greta's Message
BBC News
For 30 Fridays on the trot, a young Russian violinist has stood in central Moscow in a one-person protest. Arshak Makichyan is not picketing about free elections, police violence or political prisoners. His big concern is the planet and his inspiration is Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. "This is about our future," the 24-year-old explains, echoing the teenage campaigner. He says he began to read about climate change after seeing her protests, and realised the threat. Read more 
04.10.19 Russia Jails The Most People In Europe
The Moscow Times
Russia jails more people than any other European country, according to a report published by the All-Russia Civil Forum civic monitor. Russia’s prison system has been under scrutiny since mid-2018, when revelations of torture sparked nationwide inspections and dozens of legal cases. The country has the world’s fourth-largest prison population, according to The World Prison Brief. Read more 
04.10.19 Medvedev Slams U.S. For Cuba Embargo During Havana Trip
Reuters
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev lambasted the Trump administration on Thursday for trying to create a “toxic atmosphere” around Cuba, during a two-day trip to the island demonstrating Russia’s support for its Communist government. The former Soviet Union was Cuba’s main backer for decades and Moscow has sought to renew its commercial, military and political ties with the island in recent years. The effort is part of Russia’s broader strategy to expand its presence in Latin America as a counterweight to China and the United States. Read more 
04.10.19 FBI Recruits D.C.-Area Russians With Russian-Language Facebook Ads
The Moscow Times
The FBI appears to be recruiting Russians living in and around the U.S. capital with awkwardly worded and grammatically incorrect Russian-language Facebook ads, CNN has reported. Three targeted ads on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s verified Facebook page solicit intelligence from Russian speakers in the Washington, D.C. area, CNN reported Wednesday. The still-active ads link to the website of the counterintelligence program at the FBI’s Washington field office, where a message in both English and Russian calls on potential recruits to “visit us in person.” Read more 
04.10.19 Russia's Sberbank Investigating Potential Client Data Leak
Reuters
Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, is investigating a potential leak of its customers’ personal data, the bank said on Thursday, as the Kommersant newspaper reported that the leak may be the biggest ever in the history of Russian banking. Sberbank said in a statement the leak could have affected at least 200 of its customers. According to the Kommersant report, 200 entries were just a sample offered to potential buyers by an unidentified online seller who claimed to have data on 60 million credit cards, including accounts and cards that have been closed. Sberbank currently has around 18 million active credit card customers. Read more 
03.10.19 Putin Criticises Greta Thunberg's UN Speech
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday dismissed environmental activist Greta Thunberg as a kind but poorly informed teenager manipulated into making unrealistic demands in her United Nations speech last month. “Go and explain to developing countries why they should continue living in poverty and not be like Sweden,” Putin told an energy conference, adding it was deplorable that Thunberg was being used by some groups - which he did not name - to achieve their own goals. Read more 
03.10.19 Ukraine Conflict: Anger As Zelensky Agrees Vote Deal In East
BBC News
Hundreds of Ukrainians have protested after President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had backed an agreement that would bring elections to territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Mr Zelensky came to power promising to end the five-year conflict in the east which has left 13,000 people dead. Any vote would be under international standards and would not be held "under the barrel of a gun", he said. Nationalists rallied in Kiev with banners demanding "no capitulation". Read more 
03.10.19 Putin Slams Climate Activist Greta Thunberg's UN Speech
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday took aim at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, telling an energy forum he did not share the excitement about her United Nations speech last month. The 16-year-old Swede electrified the UN summit in New York when she denounced world leaders for failing to tackle climate change, unleashing the outrage felt by millions of her peers by demanding: "How dare you?" While the schoolgirl has inspired Russia's nascent climate protest movement, her UN speech sparked a fierce backlash among Russians. Read more 
03.10.19 ‘A Victory For Common Sense’: Russia Reacts To Ukraine’s Donbass Compromise
The Moscow Times
Ukraine has agreed to sign a peace plan with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine that it had previously rejected, marking the first major breakthrough since a lapsed 2015 peace accord and a step toward an international peace summit. Negotiators meeting in Minsk, Belarus on Tuesday agreed on a schedule to allow elections in eastern Ukraine’s breakaway regions after a law is passed to grant them special self-governing status — a plan known as the Steinmeier Formula. Read more 
03.10.19 Russia's Putin Says Global Confidence In Dollar Is Falling
Reuters
Washington’s use of the dollar as a political tool is backfiring as more and more countries are reducing their holdings of the greenback and switching to other currencies in trade contracts, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. Putin also said the U.S. was “rudely intervening” in European affairs by objecting to the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Read more 
03.10.19 Russia Takes On The Viral Tetris Challenge
The Moscow Times
The challenge involves artfully arranging all of one's work tools and uniforms flat on the ground, making them fit together as if they were the iconic Tetris shapes. This year, the trend got a second wind, with public workers around the world getting in on the challenge. Because Tetris was first created in the Soviet Union, it's only fitting that Russians would take the Tetris Challenge into their own hands to show the rest of us how it's done. Read more 
03.10.19 Putin Backs Trump In U.S. Domestic Row, Jokes About Election Meddling
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sided with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in the domestic political storm raging in the United States, and briefly joked that Moscow would hack the U.S. presidential election in 2020. Putin said Trump, who faces an impeachment inquiry over accusations that he pressured Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on a political rival ahead of the November 2020 election, had done nothing wrong by looking into possible cases of corruption. Read more 
02.10.19 Russia's Putin, Iran's Rouhani To Discuss Nuclear Deal
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss Iran’s nuclear deal and situation in the Strait of Hormuz with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at their bilateral meeting in Armenia on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Read more 
02.10.19 Russian Alcohol Consumption Down 40% Since 2003
The Guardian
Russia may still have a reputation as a nation of heavy drinkers, but a report by the World Health Organization shows alcohol consumption has dropped by 43% since 2003. The WHO put the decrease down to a series of measures brought in under the sport-loving president, Vladimir Putin, including restrictions on alcohol sales and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Read more 
02.10.19 US Targets Russia In First Step Against Meddling In Midterms
The Associated Press
The Treasury Department on Monday took its first action in response to foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections by placing the yacht and private planes of a Russian financier on an international sanctions list along with employees of a Russian troll farm he funded to spread false information on social media. Sanctions placed on the planes and yacht of financier Yevgeny Prigozhin mean that any U.S. and many foreign ports would face penalties for providing services to the vessel or the aircraft, according to a U.S. Treasury Department notice announcing the measures. Read more 
02.10.19 US Targets Russia In First Step Against Meddling In Midterms
The Associated Press
The Treasury Department on Monday took its first action in response to foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections by placing the yacht and private planes of a Russian financier on an international sanctions list along with employees of a Russian troll farm he funded to spread false information on social media. Sanctions placed on the planes and yacht of financier Yevgeny Prigozhin mean that any U.S. and many foreign ports would face penalties for providing services to the vessel or the aircraft, according to a U.S. Treasury Department notice announcing the measures. Read more 
02.10.19 Putin, Maduro Discussed Venezuela's Debt To Russia Last Week
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro briefly discussed Caracas’ debt obligations to Russia last week during a visit to Moscow by the Venezuelan leader, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, without providing details. Close ally Moscow has acted as a lender of last resort for Caracas, with the Russian government and oil giant Rosneft providing at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006. Read more 
01.10.19 U.S. Sanctions 2 Russians Connected To ‘Kremlin Troll Factory’
The Moscow Times
The United States has imposed sanctions on two Russians over their alleged involvement in the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization accused of interfering in U.S. elections. The Internet Research Agency is believed to be financed by billionaire restaurateur Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as President Vladimir Putin’s “chef.” A U.S. special counsel indicted Prigozhin and 12 other Russians in 2018 on charges of defrauding the U.S. government by interfering with its political process. Read more 
01.10.19 After Saudi Attacks, Russia Makes Its Regional Presence Felt
Reuters
In the two weeks since attacks blamed on missiles or drones shut down half of Saudi Arabia’s oil output, the country that has arguably moved most deftly to position itself for any upside is Russia. Within hours of the attacks, Moscow’s state arms exporter said it would hold talks with countries in the Middle East on selling them new anti-drone weapons systems, muscling in on a market long dominated by the United States. Read more 
01.10.19 Russian Protesters Demand End To Political Crackdown
The Guardian
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied in Moscow to call for an end to prosecutions tied to this summer’s mass protests, as Russia’s opposition seeks to maintain its momentum after the largest anti-Kremlin demonstrations in years. Russian police estimated at least 20,000 protesters – and organisers said the numbers were higher – joined the sanctioned rally on a drizzly autumn Sunday to listen to speeches attacking the political crackdown amid chants of “let them go”. Read more 
01.10.19 Russian Actor Ustinov Has Jail Sentence Reduced On Appeal
BBC News
Pavel Ustinov, an actor jailed for more than three years after he was controversially convicted of injuring a police officer, has been given a one-year suspended sentence on appeal. The decision comes a day after more than 20,000 people took part in a rally in Moscow to demand the release of Russians detained in protests. Supporters say Ustinov was an innocent bystander caught up in a demonstration. Read more 
01.10.19 Kremlin: Trump-Putin Phone Calls Can Only Be Disclosed With Russian Consent
Reuters
The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington would need Russian consent to publish transcripts of phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Congress is determined to get access to Trump's calls with Putin and other world leaders, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee's chairman said on Sunday, citing concerns that the Republican president may have jeopardized national security. Read more 
01.10.19 Swedish Navy Returns To Vast Underground HQ Amid Russia Fears
The Guardian
Sweden’s navy HQ is returning to a vast underground cold war fortress designed to withstand a nuclear attack, in what has been seen as a defensive move against a resurgent Russia. After a 25-year absence, the navy will once again be commanded from beneath billions of tonnes of granite as the country strives to build up its defences in response to the perceived threat from Moscow. Read more 
01.10.19 Russia Plans Reusable Rocket To Compete With Elon Musk By 2024
The Moscow Times
Russia plans to build its own reusable Argo rocket to compete with Elon Musk and supply the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024, the RBC news website reported Monday. Russia has previously accused Musk's SpaceX of squeezing it out of the carrier rockets market with the company's relatively low-cost Falcon 9 rockets. Last year, Russia’s state-owned space corporation Roscosmos brushed off Musk’s successful launch of his Falcon Heavy reusable rocket toward Mars as “a nice trick.” Read more 
30.09.19 ‘The Dragon Has Unclenched Its Jaws’: 25,000 Rally In Moscow To Demand Release Of Jailed Protesters
The Moscow Times
The elections that triggered Moscow’s summer protest movement have come and gone, but Russia’s opposition is now focused on a new task: freeing those caught up in the Kremlin’s crackdown. With 14 people facing up to eight years behind bars for their roles in the demonstrations for fair elections, Russians from all walks of life have demanded their release. And after an unprecedented public outcry in recent weeks, prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against six of the defendants. Read more 
30.09.19 Thousands Rally In Moscow To Demand Release Of Jailed Protesters
Reuters
More than 20,000 Russians took to the streets of Moscow on Sunday to demand the release of protesters jailed over the summer in what opponents of the Kremlin say is a campaign to stifle dissent. The protesters were arrested at rallies that flared in July when opposition politicians were barred from a local election. Allegations of police brutality and what many Muscovites saw as harsh jail sentences have sparked an unusual public outcry. Read more 
30.09.19 Thousands Demand Protesters Freed In Moscow Rally
BBC News
Thousands of Russians have held a rally in Moscow demanding the release of jailed protesters. Independent protest monitor White Counter says 24,000 people gathered on Sunday, while the police estimated 20,000 had turned out. Authorities detained more than 1,000 people in July for demonstrating against the exclusion of opposition candidates from a local election. Read more 
30.09.19 Future Of Genetically Modified Babies May Lie In Putin's Hands
Bloomberg
This summer, after a Russian biochemist announced plans to follow in the footsteps of a rogue Chinese researcher and produce genetically modified children, a 150-year-old academic journal that reflects the current scientific consensus called on the world to stop him. “Time is of the essence,” Nature said. The dangers of altering human DNA that will be passed on to offspring simply aren’t understood well enough to allow Denis Rebrikov, a prorector of one prestigious Russian institute and a lab director at another, to proceed, the British publication argued. Read more 
30.09.19 No Reason To Probe Bidens: Former Ukraine Prosecutor
BBC News
A Ukrainian ex-prosecutor general has told the BBC there is no reason for his country to investigate President Donald Trump's political rival Joe Biden. Yuriy Lutsenko said any investigation into Mr Biden and his son would have to start in the US. "I don't know any reason to investigate Joe Biden or Hunter Biden according to Ukrainian law," he said. Mr Trump's efforts to have Ukraine investigate the pair prompted an impeachment inquiry by the Democrats. Read more 
30.09.19 Trump-Putin Phone Calls In Democrats' Sights
Reuters
Congress is determined to get access to Donald Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s chairman said on Sunday, citing concerns that the Republican president may have jeopardized national security. “I think the paramount need here is to protect the national security of the United States and see whether in the conversations with other world leaders - and in particular with Putin - that the president was also undermining our security in a way that he thought would personally benefit his campaign,” Democrat Adam Schiff said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Read more 
29.09.19 Trump Told Russian Officials He Was Unconcerned About Election Interference
The Guardian
The White House reportedly restricted access to comments that Donald Trump made in a 2017 Oval Office meeting with two senior Russian officials, concealing that he told them he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election, according to the Washington Post. The new claims concerning the details of the 10 May 2017 meeting emerged on Friday as the White House continues to reel from the fallout from a whistleblower complaint, which accused Trump of pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Trump’s potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. Read more 
29.09.19 Trump Told Russians In 2017 He Was Not Concerned About Election Meddling
Reuters
President Donald Trump told two Russian officials in a 2017 meeting that he was not concerned about Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. election, which prompted White House officials to limit access to the remarks, the Washington Post reported on Friday. A summary of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador to the U.S. was limited to a few officials in an attempt to keep the president’s comments from being disclosed publicly, the Post said, citing former officials with knowledge of the matter. Read more 
29.09.19 At Track Championships, It's As If Russia Doesn't Exist
The Associated Press
At the world track championships, it's as if the world's biggest country simply doesn't exist. Suspended for its second world championships due to doping, Russia has sent 30 "Authorized Neutral Athletes" who can't wear national colors. The icon next to their name on television and on the scoreboards in the stadium is the "IAAF" logo of track's federation instead of the Russian flag. Read more 
29.09.19 In U.S.-Ukraine Dealings, Russia Is Never Far Away
Washington Post
For decades, as Ukraine has drawn a parade of visiting American diplomats and officeholders and investors and political fixers, Russia has rarely been out of anyone’s line of sight. It’s all about location — and Ukraine’s now-hostile embrace with its big next door neighbor. Ukraine has become a magnet for all sorts of visitors with expansive — and Moscow-looking — visions. Some see Ukraine as a key to its big neighbor. To others, Ukraine is a crack in Russia’s armor. Read more 
28.09.19 Russia Seizes North Korean Vessels In Poaching Clampdown
Reuters
Russia detained three North Korean vessels and more than 200 crew on Friday in the second such incident in two weeks as part of a clampdown on poaching by the secretive nation’s fishermen. The detentions mark rare confrontation between North Korea and Russia, which sees itself as an important player in international talks on defusing nuclear tensions around the reclusive state’s missile program. Read more 
28.09.19 Trump Told Russian Officials He Was Unconcerned About Election Interference
The Guardian
The White House reportedly restricted access to comments that Donald Trump made in a 2017 Oval Office meeting with two senior Russian officials, concealing that he told them he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election, according to the Washington Post. The new claims concerning the details of the 10 May 2017 meeting emerged on Friday as the White House continues to reel from the fallout from a whistleblower complaint, which accused Trump of pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Trump’s potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. Read more 
28.09.19 Joint Investigation Links Chechen Rebel’s Killing In Berlin To Russia
The Moscow Times
A paper trail linked to the suspect in the killing of a Georgian citizen in Berlin suggests Russia provided “active support” to the suspect, according to an international team of investigators. Germany last month arrested a man who goes by the name Vadim Sokolov on suspicion of killing Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who fought alongside anti-Moscow separatists in Chechnya. Sokolov allegedly received a Russian passport, a French visa and traveled to Europe within a month, according to information obtained jointly by the German weekly Der Spiegel, the Russian investigative site The Insider and the U.K.-based investigative outfit Bellingcat. Read more 
28.09.19 Russia's Parliament Accuses Deutsche Welle Of Political Bias
Reuters
Russia’s parliament will ask its foreign ministry to consider revoking broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s right to work in the country for allegedly breaking laws on political impartiality, a senior lawmaker said on Friday. Vasily Piskarev said a parliamentary investigation had found evidence that Germany’s publicly funded international broadcaster had urged Russians to attend an unauthorized protest this summer, according to the lower parliamentary house’s web site. Read more 
28.09.19 A Corner Of Moscow Fights To Keep History From Being Built Over, Literally
The Christian Science Monitor
For the past two decades, the technocratic leadership of Moscow has remade the face of the city under development priorities set by a partnership between big business and the authorities. And while that has resulted in many widely acknowledged achievements, officials have moved ahead without paying much attention to public input. Activists now want that to change, and the battle over the Badaevskiy Beer Plant could be the moment. A coalition of small-business people, local residents, and newly elected opposition deputies of the Moscow City Council is uniting to stop a mega-development project in a picturesque corner of central Moscow, whose plan calls for building a vast luxury housing complex on stilts atop a rare and protected gem of 19th-century industrial architecture. Read more 
28.09.19 NRA Acted As 'foreign Asset' To Russia Before 2016 Election
The Guardian
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has acted as a “foreign asset” in providing Russian officials access to US political organizations, according to an investigation by Senate Democrats. The results of the investigation were published by the Oregon senator Ron Wyden on Friday. The report also alleges that the NRA may have broken tax laws by using donated funds to further its officers’ business interests. Read more 
28.09.19 NRA Acted As 'foreign Asset' To Russia Before 2016 Election
The Guardian
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has acted as a “foreign asset” in providing Russian officials access to US political organizations, according to an investigation by Senate Democrats. The results of the investigation were published by the Oregon senator Ron Wyden on Friday. The report also alleges that the NRA may have broken tax laws by using donated funds to further its officers’ business interests. Read more 
28.09.19 Russia In Talks With Turkey On Possible Su-35 Fighter Jet Sale
Reuters
Russia and Turkey are holding talks about the possible sale of Russian-made Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets to Turkey, but it is too early to talk about a concrete deal, RIA news agency cited a senior Russian official as saying on Friday. Turkey has been at odds with the United States over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, which Washington says are not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 ‘stealth’ fighter jets. Read more 
28.09.19 Russia Bans Smoking On Apartment Balconies
BBC News
Russian smokers have been left gasping after the emergencies ministry announced that smoking on the balconies of apartment blocks would be banned under new fire regulations. Under the new rules, "open fire" is prohibited on apartment balconies, as well as in the living areas of dormitories and hotels. Lighting matches and smoking are both classed as open fire, officials say. Read more 
28.09.19 Evidence Links Russia To Killing Of Chechen In Berlin
The Guardian
There is growing evidence that the murder of a former Chechen insurgent in Berlin last month was carried out on behalf of the Russian state, according to an investigation. Russian authorities had to have been involved in the complex procedure of assembling a false identity for the alleged killer, who has been in police custody for over a month, the team of investigative journalists from Der Spiegel, Bellingcat, the Insider and the London-based Dossier Center, which traces Kremlin links to criminal activity, has claimed. Read more 
27.09.19 Could Polygyny Be The Answer To Russia's Problems?
BBC News
What one thing could prevent depravity and fornication in Russia? Well according to one legal advisor in Islamic law - or mufti - in Moscow, Ildar Alyautdinov, the answer is polygyny. He told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti men having more than one wife at the same time would not only "ensure the enforcement of women's rights" but there would also be "much less depravity and fornication, which is spreading so rapidly nowadays". Read more 
27.09.19 U.S. Sanctions Firm It Says Supplies Jet Fuel To Russia In Syria
Reuters
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a firm it said was participating in a scheme to avoid U.S. sanctions while helping provide jet fuel to Russian forces in Syria. The U.S. Treasury Department said the newly sanctioned firm, Maritime Assistance LLC, was operating as a front company for OJSC Sovfracht, a company the United States had previously sanctioned in relation to operations in Ukraine. Read more 
27.09.19 'Anti-Russian And Dirty': Russia Reacts To Trump-Zelenskiy Call
The Moscow Times
A mid-July phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has caused a political firestorm in Washington. In a summary of the call released by The White House, Trump asks Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, the U.S. president's likely opponent in the 2020 election. A whistleblower from within the U.S. intelligence community brought a complaint relating to the conversation which was declassified on Thursday, and the U.S. House of Representatives has announced an official impeachment inquiry into Trump over the call. Read more 
27.09.19 Kazakhstan, Russia Agree Compensation For Contaminated Oil
Reuters
Kazakhstan and Russia have agreed on compensation of $15 per barrel for the contamination of Kazakh crude shipped through the pipelines of Russia’s Transneft, Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev told Reuters on Thursday. Three industry sources told Reuters earlier this year that compensation based on that figure would amount to $76 million, including payment for quality loss, demurrage and storage costs.

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27.09.19 Russia Complains Over Belarus's Refusal To Host Air Base
Reuters
Russia said on Thursday that Belarus’s refusal to host a military air base backed by President Vladimir Putin had been an “unpleasant episode”, a rare public display of disagreement between the close allies. Russia and Belarus are members of a largely symbolic union state and are in talks to deepen their integration, but the air base spat illustrates the limitations of their alliance as Moscow’s ties with the West have plunged to post-Cold War lows. Read more 
27.09.19 Gutted Russian Trawler Bukhta Nayezdnik Overturns In Norway
BBC News
A Russian fishing trawler which caught fire in Norway on Wednesday has overturned and is mostly submerged, pictures from the scene show. The decision was made to overturn the vessel to prevent yet more smoke clogging the air in surrounding areas. A 300-metre no-go zone around the site in Tromso has been scrapped. It means the 100 or so residents told to leave their homes can now return, but local authorities have warned them to keep their windows and doors closed. Read more 
27.09.19 'This Is Very Strange': Ukraine's View Of The Trump Whistleblower Complaint
The Guardian
The revelations that Donald Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family have reverberated through civil society and political circles in Kyiv, prompting some to ask if the United States can be viewed as a trustworthy ally in the country’s attempts to reform and stave off pressure from Russia. Members of Ukraine’s civil society and veterans communities on Thursday complained about the threat of withholding military funding and US political support to score points in domestic US politics. Read more 
26.09.19 Russia's Lavrov Favors Resumption Of Direct Flights To Georgia
Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov supports the resumption of direct flights from Russia to Georgia that Moscow suspended in July, the Kommersant daily cited him as saying in an interview published on Wednesday. “It seems to me that it will be right (to restore flights) after the majority of the Georgian population realized the counterproductive and provocative nature of the trick that took place in the Georgian parliament,” Lavrov said, according to Kommersant. Read more 
26.09.19 Ukraine Fears It Could Become Russia Of 2020 Election
The Guardian
As Democratic lawmakers plan to impeach Donald Trump for abuse of power, the novice Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, must run a gauntlet of US partisan pressure that he has sought desperately to avoid. Zelenskiy is squeezed between a US president urging him to dig up dirt on his political rival Joe Biden and a Democratic party that sees the White House’s pressure on him as a compelling argument to unseat Trump. Read more 
26.09.19 Russia Summons Senior U.S. Diplomat Over U.N. Visa Row
Reuters
Russia on Tuesday summoned a senior U.S. diplomat in Moscow to protest over what it said was Washington’s unacceptable refusal to issue visas to members of a Russian delegation traveling to the United Nations General Assembly. The Kremlin promised a tough response and said Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, had been summoned to the foreign ministry, but Russian news agencies said that Huntsman’s deputy had gone instead. Read more 
26.09.19 Trump Call Could Embarrass Ukraine's President
BBC News
Most of the content of the Trump-Zelensky July phone call on the US side had already been reported, but for Ukrainians the details offer a glimpse into how their new president operates in the real world. A year ago Volodymyr Zelensky was a comedian and an actor who starred as a fictional Ukrainian president in a hit television series. Many people assumed he'd take the straight-talking, principled style from TV to the office with him. It was seen as a big factor in his election win. Read more 
26.09.19 Russia, U.S. Team Up Against Abortion At UN
The Moscow Times
Russia, the United States and 17 other members of the United Nations have banded together to try to purge abortion- and reproductive health-related language from the international body’s terminology. The UN adopted a universal health care declaration Monday which included “the need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services and reproductive rights.” Russia has the second-highest abortion rate in the world after China, though its anti-abortion movement has gained momentum in recent years as the Orthodox Church has gained political influence. Read more 
26.09.19 'Pyramids Of Shame' Target Russian Debtors
BBC News
A utilities company in the Russian city of Samara is using giant, talking pyramids to shame residents who've fallen behind on their bills into paying up. The black-and-yellow pyramids weigh more than a tonne and have to be manoeuvred into place outside the alleged debtor's home, state-owned Rossiya 1 TV reported. Not only are the pyramids adorned with arrows and inscriptions like "a debtor lives here", they also broadcast a recording every 10 minutes of how much the debtor is said to owe. Read more 
25.09.19 Russia Summons Senior U.S. Diplomat Over U.N. Visa Row
Reuters
Russia on Tuesday summoned a senior U.S. diplomat in Moscow to protest over what it said was Washington’s unacceptable refusal to issue visas to members of a Russian delegation traveling to the United Nations General Assembly. The Kremlin promised a tough response and said Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, had been summoned to the foreign ministry, but Russian news agencies said that Huntsman’s deputy had gone instead. Read more 
25.09.19 Trump Ukraine Call: What's This Story All About?
BBC News
There's a new political controversy in the US - involving Donald Trump, foreign nationals, questions about legal and ethical behaviour, and allegations against a political rival. This feels a bit like déjà vu from 2016, with Russia, then-candidate Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it's a new country (Ukraine) and a new cast of characters (Joe Biden and his son Hunter). Mr Trump is still right smack in the middle, of course. Read more 
25.09.19 Sanctions Depress Russia's Rating By "at Least One Notch"
Reuters
Western sanctions constrain Russia’s credit rating and hamper its efforts to achieve higher rates of economic growth, global rating agency Fitch said on Tuesday. Fitch lifted Russia’s investment-grade rating in August to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘, citing a ‍strengthened policy mix and robust fiscal and external balance sheets. But economic and financial sanctions that the West has gradually imposed on Russia since 2014 to punish it for the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and other “malign activities” represent headwinds for Russia’s growth and rating prospects. Read more 
25.09.19 Russian Protesters Don't ‘Get Shot’ Like They Would In The U.S.
The Moscow Times
Protesters who were jailed over this summer's mass election rallies in Moscow would have been shot dead if they had been protesting in the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said in a leaked video. Dmitry Peskov’s conversation with students at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) appeared on social media in the wake of the city's largest sustained protest movement in years which saw thousands of demonstrators detained, sometimes violently. A handful of people have been jailed in connection with this summer's protests, catalyzing nationwide campaigns in their support. Read more 
25.09.19 Venezuela's Maduro To Hold Talks With Putin In Moscow On Wednesday
Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday and discuss efforts by third countries to meddle in Latin America, the Kremlin said. Russia has been one of Maduro’s biggest backers in the face of what it has described as unacceptable U.S. efforts to undermine him, providing loans and help for Venezuela’s military and oil industry. Read more 
25.09.19 Russian Aircraft Violates Airspace Of NATO Member Estonia
The Associated Press
Moscow's ambassador to Estonia has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry after a Russian military aircraft again briefly violated the airspace of the Baltic NATO member. Estonia's military said Tuesday that a Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-34 fighter spent less than one minute in Estonian airspace late Monday near the Baltic Sea island of Vaindloo. Read more 
25.09.19 Kiev Needs U.S. Support, Ukraine's Leader Says Before Trump Meeting
Reuters
Ukraine’s president said he expects a “meaningful, substantive” meeting with Donald Trump this week and, hoping there will soon be new peace talks on east Ukraine, reiterated Kiev’s need for U.S. support. In comments released by his office on Tuesday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not refer to allegations that the U.S. president pressured him to open a corruption investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son in exchange for U.S. military aid. Read more 
25.09.19 Russia Faces Ban From All Major Sports Events
BBC News
Russia could face a ban from all major sports events over "discrepancies" in a lab database, the World Anti-Doping Agency has warned. The country has been given three weeks to explain "inconsistencies" or risk being excluded from the Olympics and world championships. Russia also faces being barred from hosting major events. Read more 
24.09.19 Russia Gives Definitive Approval To Paris Climate Accord
Reuters
Russia said it would implement the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday approved a government resolution signifying Moscow’s final acceptance of the deal. The same resolution said Russia would not technically ratify the accord however due to a legal nuance. Medvedev said Moscow would adapt the accord to existing legal norms. It was unclear what, if any, the legal implications of failing to technically ratify the pact were. Read more 
24.09.19 The Trump-Ukraine Scandal, Explained
The Moscow Times
A phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy has become a political flashpoint in Washington following reports that Trump repeatedly pressed Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son. The July 25 call has wide-ranging implications for Russia’s western neighbor Ukraine, which depends heavily on U.S. aid for combating corruption and for its military operations against pro-Russian rebels in its eastern regions. For Zelenskiy in particular, the call — and how he chooses to proceed next — risk leaving a blotch on his short political career. Read more 
24.09.19 Russia To Fund Modernization Of Army In Breakaway Georgian Region
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a government proposal to bankroll the modernization of the armed forces in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, a government document published online showed on Monday. Georgia lost control of the Black Sea region of Abkhazia after an inter-ethnic conflict which followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia is one of only a handful of countries to recognize Abkhazia’s independence, something it decided to do in 2008 after it won a short war against Georgia over the fate of another Georgian breakaway region. Read more 
24.09.19 Russia Officially Declares Alleged CIA Spy Missing
The Independent
Russian authorities have declared a former Kremlin official – alleged to have become a CIA informant – a missing person and revealed they are looking for him. An entry in the Interior Ministry’s database shows officials are actively searching for Oleg Smolenkov, the RIA news agency reported on Monday. Mr Smolenkov disappeared with his wife Antonina and three children while on holiday in Montenegro in June 2017, according to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant. Read more 
24.09.19 Russia Formally Declares Alleged CIA Mole Missing, Says Search Underway
Reuters
Russia has officially declared a former Kremlin official alleged to have been a CIA informant missing and is looking for him, according to an entry in the Interior Ministry’s database, the RIA news agency reported on Monday. U.S. media reports, confirmed to Reuters by two sources, have said a CIA informant in the Russian government was extracted and brought to the United States in 2017. Read more 
24.09.19 Why Is Russia So Unproductive?
The Moscow Times
During his annual phone-in with the public in June this year, President Vladimir Putin described low productivity as “one of the most acute and important” problems facing Russia. Economists agree. Russia is one of the least productive moderately rich countries in the world, ranking 39th out of the 42 monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In cash terms, Russia produces $24.61 in GDP for every hour worked, half the $48.15 OECD average. Read more 
23.09.19 Protests Erupt Against Proposed Waste Plant In NW Russia
The Associated Press
Several thousand people took to the streets across northwest Russia on Sunday to protest a controversial plan to build a major waste plant there. Police in the regional capital of Arkhangelsk said that about 1,000 people attended a rally there while local media reported that more than 2,000 protesters showed up. Locals held Russian flags and placards saying, “Let’s stand for the Russian north.” Read more 
23.09.19 Trump’s Hold On Military Aid Blindsided Top Ukrainian Officials
The New York Times
Senior Ukrainian officials said they were blindsided over the summer when they heard the United States would withhold security assistance to the country. “It was a total surprise,” said Pavlo A. Klimkin, who was Ukraine’s foreign minister in August when he learned of the Trump administration’s suspension of military aid by reading a news article. Read more 
23.09.19 Beyond Borscht: A Food Tour Of Russia
The Guardian
At Taste to Eat, a contemporary restaurant with a distinctly SEO-unfriendly name in St Petersburg, I am about to plunge into a chicken kiev, its heart bursting with garlic. Over the past five days I have eaten hot pyshki doughnuts covered in sugar, scarfed down herring under fur coats, and gobbled barley porridge with blood sausage. I have looked askance at beef wobbling in grey-brown aspic. Read more 
23.09.19 Questions About Russian Doping Data Raise Fears About Manipulation
The New York Times
Inspectors at the World Anti-Doping Agency are considering recommending on Monday that the global regulator’s board once again ban Russia’s antidoping agency. The move would come days before the start of the world track and field championships in Qatar, and amid fears Russia manipulated athlete data provided to WADA earlier this year, according to two people familiar with the board’s plans. Read more 
22.09.19 Future Without Putin No Longer Taboo Issue
The Moscow Times
Any thought that Russia is simply a top-down authoritarianism, shaped by a brooding president’s masterplan, should be dispelled by the upsurge in open and indirect debates currently taking place in the higher echelons of the country’s elite. They demonstrate three things: that there are real differences in opinion, that this is a system where policy emerges from competitive lobbying, and that Vladimir Putin seems unwilling or unable to resolve the main issues of the day. Put together, they demonstrate the increasing dysfunctionality of "late Putinism." Read more 
22.09.19 Hands Off Our Cultural Heritage, Say World's Indigenous People
Reuters
rom disappearing languages to selfie-taking tourists at sacred sites, preserving native cultural heritage has become a race against the clock, indigenous groups said. The suicide of an indigenous rights activist protesting against Russia’s language policies has highlighted the cultural threats native communities face across the globe as they fight for their land and survival, campaigners and researchers warned. According to local authorities, a man died last week after setting himself on fire outside the regional parliament in Izhevsk, the capital of the so-called Udmurt Republic in western Russia. Read more 
22.09.19 St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport Eyes Opening Up To Foreign Budget Airlines
The Moscow Times
Low-cost international airlines could soon fly in and out of St. Petersburg more freely after an easing of restrictions announced by Russian officials, Russian media have reported. No other Russian city allows so-called “seventh freedom flights,” which allow international carriers to operate flights outside their country of registration. St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport projects that the permissions will help boost its annual passenger traffic from its current 20 million to 35 million by 2025. Read more 
22.09.19 Thousands Gather In Tbilisi For Protest Against Georgian Government
Reuters
Thousands of people gathered in the center of Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday for a protest against the government and ruling Georgian Dream Party, three months after the brutal dispersal of an anti-Kremlin demonstration. The demonstration was organized by young activists who have been holding daily protests outside the parliament building for the past three months and drawing thousands at their peak. Read more 
22.09.19 Russia’s Civil Society Has Woken Up
The Moscow Times
Russia is witnessing an unprecedented campaign in defense of individuals imprisoned for taking part in peaceful protest rallies in Moscow. Teachers, doctors, publishers and even priests have published open letters in their support. These are the people who keep this country running, and their lives offer the best measure of the state of the country.

A number of actors, outraged over the absurd sentence handed out to fellow thespian Pavel Ustinov, formed a picket line in front of the presidential administration building all day and into the evening on Sept. 18. Read more 
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