RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Lifts Outdoor Mask Requirements as New Coronavirus Cases Slow” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Thursday that wearing masks will no longer be required outdoors from July 13 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Arctic sets ‘fantastical’ heat records: weather chief” – AFP

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“The Russian Arctic set record temperatures in June that sparked abnormal tundra fires … Russia’s weather service [director] said … blaming climate change for … ‘fantastical’ anomalies. Russia’s northern territories, including parts of Yakutia region which borders the Arctic ocean, have faced a heat wave … with some districts declaring a state of emergency. … He noted one record in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Coronavirus Crisis Strains Russia’s Soviet-Era Regional Health System” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Doctors, equipment and basic supplies run short as cases climb; some facilities lack running water.” “… The episode at Karabanovo hospital offers a glimpse into the dysfunction and inefficiency that plagues Russia’s health-care system as the country fights the new coronavirus … the world’s third-highest caseload after the U.S. and Brazil. Many front-line medical workers in Russia say their safety […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russians Rushing Back to Work as Pre-Virus Life Returns; Most workers are back in the office, while traffic data shows Moscow is one of the busiest cities in the world again.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

The majority of Russians have stopped working from home and almost immediately returned to offices and workplaces across the country following the relaxation of quarantine measures […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Cultural Life Is Slowly Reawakening; First to open their doors – carefully – are museums” – Moscow Times/ Daniil Galaydov

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

… In almost every museum, visitors will only be able to buy electronic tickets, and everyone, including guests and exhibition staffers, are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “St. Petersburg Leads Russia’s Coronavirus Mortality – Analysis” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 16, 2020) Russia’s second-largest city St. Petersburg had the highest coronavirus mortality rate among all Russian cities in the month of April, according to a new analysis of official data. St. Petersburg recorded 200 deaths where Covid-19 was a direct cause or “had a significant impact” on the person’s death in April, state statistics […]

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Who Will Pay For Russia’s Unprecedented Oil Spill?

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Oilprice.com – Alex Kimani – June 11, 2020) Five days ago, Russia suffered its worst oil spill in modern history after a fuel storage tank owned by Russian nickel and palladium mining company, Nornickel, collapsed and spilled 21,000 tonnes (about 158,000 barrels) of diesel into the nearby Ambarnaya river outside the Siberian city of Norilsk. The accident–which has drawn comparisons […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Citing Virus, Some Russian Election Officials Shun Vote to Extend Putin Rule” – Reuters

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… [C]iting … coronavirus, … around 350 [Russian polling station officials] across the country say taking part [in a nationwide vote on reforms that could extend … Putin’s rule until 2036] is too dangerous … [with] authorities … reporting thousands of new infections each day despite a drop … in … Moscow. The officials have started a petition … to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin heightens the strategic role of the Northern Fleet” – Barents Observer/ Thomas Nilsen

Russian Naval Vessel file photo

“In an early June decree, President Vladimir Putin de facto equals the Northern Fleet with a military district” “… [Starting in] 2021, the Northern Fleet will have the same status as Russia’s four other military districts … the Western, Southern, Central and Eastern. … [T]he Republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Murmansk Oblast and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug will be part […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow, Center of Russia’s Coronavirus Crisis, Emerges From Lockdown” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Infections remain high as city authorities begin reopening and Putin prepares for parade, referendum” “… Moscow has been at the center of Russia’s novel coronavirus pandemic, with 40% of the country’s nearly half million infections. … Russia is recording about 9,000 new cases a day. On Tuesday, Moscow reported just over 1,500 new cases … [down] from … nearly 2,000 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s ‘miraculous’ coronavirus death statistics face scepticism” – The Times (UK)

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… [Its] mayor surprised [Moscow] … lifting the vast majority of coronavirus curbs …. even as the city registered more than 3,500 new cases and 110 deaths in the past 48 hours. … Since … suspected patient zero arrived in Moscow from Milan in February, the health ministry has recorded over 485,000 confirmed cases … third highest in the world […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Did Russia pass the coronavirus test? Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responds” – CNN/ Matthew Chance, Zahra Ullah, Nathan Hodge

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

“Russia has been one of the countries hardest hit by … [Covid-19] coronavirus … behind only the United States and Brazil in … [T]he government’s response has received heavy criticism at home and abroad. Russian doctors have described critical shortages of equipment, which hospital administrators and local governments deny. Observers have questioned whether Russia is under-reporting mortality figures …. But […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘A Political Decision’: Russia Declares Victory Over Coronavirus Even as Cases Rise” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Although coronavirus cases are still growing by the thousands, Moscow announced Monday it would lift lockdown restrictions […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Which Coronavirus Restrictions Is Moscow Lifting?” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Moscow officials announced plans to lift coronavirus restrictions starting Tuesday despite the Russian capital continuing to see about 2,000 new infections each day. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Diesel Spill In Russian Arctic Could Be Putin’s Exxon Valdez” – Forbes/ Ariel Cohen

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“… Putin ordered a state of emergency … in the Taymyr region near the Arctic Ocean, after 20,000 tons (150,000 barrels) of diesel fuel spilled from a Russian power plant into … soil and a nearby river. The accident occurred in the Siberian city … Norilsk … [T]he plant’s fuel reservoir collapsed into thawing permafrost, releasing its contents. Diesel is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Suing Russia’s president; An ‘ultra-Putinist’ ex-governor has made history with a lawsuit challenging his dismissal. Here’s his story.” – Meduza

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“Mikhail Ignatiev … lost his job as the head of Chuvashia in January … after two scandals: … he advocated ‘wiping out’ bloggers and journalists who praise Western countries … then … humiliated a fireman by forcing him to jump for the keys to a new fire engine. Ignatiev is now … the first public official in Russia to contest […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “City of Moscow Revises Up Its Coronavirus Death Toll for April After Criticism” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Moscow … issued a revised version of its coronavirus death toll for April after criticism of its initial figures, more than doubling the original tally by using what it said was an alternative counting method. … Russia has reported the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States and Brazil. … Data published this […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow’s First Steps Out of Coronavirus Lockdown, Explained” – Moscow Times

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

Starting Monday, Muscovites will be allowed to walk outside for the first time in two months – with a number of restrictions still in place […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Wants Russia to Get Back to Normal. New Outbreaks Show It May Be Too Early.” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

Budget deficits are driving regions to lift quarantine restrictions. But poor data could be hiding a second coronavirus wave. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – May 21, 2020) Before 136 employees of the distribution center for the popular Krasnoe & Beloe discount liquor chain in central Russia’s Sverdlovsk region tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the region […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Anatomy of lies; Russia’s covid-19 outbreak is far worse than the Kremlin admits” – The Economist

Kremlin and River

“Like its Soviet predecessor, Vladimir Putin’s system is steeped in falsehoods.” “… official numbers reveal less about covid-19 than they do about Russia’s political system … like its Soviet predecessor, … saturated with lies. Russian elections throw up similarly strange graphics. Many Russian athletes … took performance-enhancing drugs … their cheating … covered up … with official connivance. … [One […]

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Global Cities Versus Russian Rustbelt Realities

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

… According to Kudrin, Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s only “global cities” and the rest of Russia’s cities are “barely noticeable on the map of the world.” …

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow shifts to new Covid-19 testing level, ELISA tests – Sobyanin” – Interfax

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

MOSCOW. May 14 (Interfax) – The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, also known as ELISA, will increase the daily number of coronavirus tests carried out in Moscow to 100,000, or even 200,000, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday. “We have a new objective today: we need to achieve a new level of quality and quantity of testing using ELISA systems. Moscow […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Arrears now main threat for production chains in Russian economy – Belousov” – Interfax

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. May 6 (Interfax) – The main threat for production chains in the Russian economy is now arrears; governors must bring this problem under their supervision, said First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, who is currently acting prime minister. “Where do I see the problem? I see the problem in the fact that now, as enterprises are launched, breaks will […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Daily growth in Covid-19 cases dips to 1,370 in Moscow” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) – Moscow has detected 1,370 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours; this is the first decline in the number of Covid-19 cases seen in the city since April 11, the Moscow coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement on Thursday. “Moscow has identified 1,370 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As Pandemic Grips Russia, an Age-Old Bane Returns: Drinking” – New York Times/ Anton Troianovski

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

The widespread, false belief that alcohol will protect drinkers from the coronavirus is helping drive a spike in liquor sales and domestic violence. “… Across the world, the coronavirus pandemic has sparked fears of increased alcohol abuse …. In Russia, two weeks into a nationwide partial lockdown, those fears are becoming reality … evidence mounts that a spike in alcohol […]

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Part Two: COVID-19 Siberia: Life in the Village: March 29- April 4 “Non-work Week #1” in Manjerok, Altai Republic

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Subject: Part Two Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2020 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Part Two COVID-19 Siberia: Life in the Village March 29- April 4 “Non-work Week #1” in Manjerok, Altai Republic By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Sarah Lindemann-Komarova has been a community development activist in Siberia since 1992. Currently she is focusing on research and writing about civil society in Russia.] With […]

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RUSSIALINK: “How Do Moscow’s Coronavirus Lockdown Passes Work?” – Moscow Times

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 13, 2020) Moscow is tightening its lockdown with digital passes this week as the Russian capital’s coronavirus count surpassed 10,000 cases and officials warned of a continued influx of patients. Here’s an overview of what the citywide pass system means for Muscovites’ everyday life: When does it start? Digital passes will become mandatory this […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Confusing COVID-19 Response” – Foreign Policy Research Institute/ Fabrice Deprez

Kremlin and River

“The Moscow lockdown … is an unprecedented event in Russia’s post-Soviet history, as are the similar measures introduced across the country to slow the spread of COVID-19. Yet, the way that Russia has responded to the outbreak so far has followed an unusual pattern: early, swift action was followed by several weeks of uneasy lethargy, and then, as the number […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s Coronavirus Crisis Still in ‘Foothills’ Far From Peak, Warns Mayor” – Reuters

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“The mayor of Moscow warned the coronavirus outbreak was only in the ‘foothills’ of its development in the Russian capital … that a serious test lay ahead as new infections nationwide shot up …. even as Moscow and many other regions … [were in] their second week … of lockdown …. In the bustling capital of more than 12.5 million […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Muscovites flee coronavirus shutdown, bringing trouble to Russia’s regions” – Reuters/ Katya Golubkova, Polina Nikolskaya

Russia Regions Map

“[On one day] … about 730,000 cars … perhaps 10% of Moscow’s 12.7 million population, left the capital, centre of Russia’s epidemic, for the countryside, according to Moscow’s transport department. … rais[ing] fears that the virus is being carelessly spread … anger[ing] … residents of outlying regions who had thought themselves at least relatively protected. … [S]ome locals are accusing […]

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COVID-19 Siberia Update: Life in the Village

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Subject: COVID-19 Siberia Update: Life in the Village Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2020 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> COVID-19 Siberia Update: Life in the Village: Part I: Background By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Sarah Lindemann-Komarova has been a community development activist in Siberia since 1992. Currently she is focusing on research and writing about civil society in Russia.] With Pictures: medium.com/@ECHOSiberia/covid-19-siberia-update-life-in-the-village-a3a964a5290a [DJ: Great […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Italian Doctors Warned Hospitals Are Coronavirus Vectors. One Russian Region Proves Their Point.” – Moscow Times

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The sparsely populated northern Komi Republic is one of Russia’s coronavirus hotspots. Six of its hospitals are now under quarantine. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich, Pjotr Sauer – April 9, 2020) On March 21, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by a group of doctors who had for weeks been treating coronavirus patients in the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “No plans to create system for tracking tourists in Moscow – mayor’s office” – Interfax

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) – There are no plans to create a system that will track tourists in Moscow, the press service for the Moscow information technologies department said on Thursday. “The Moscow information technologies department currently has no plans to create a system for tracking tourists in Moscow,” the department told Interfax. The Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday, citing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘They need to quarantine Moscow’; How small businesses in Russia’s capital are scrambling to stay afloat as coronavirus clobbers the economy” – Meduza

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“… The news website RBC estimates that shutting down for a single day costs the average shopping and entertainment center in Moscow and the surrounding region roughly 60-155 million rubles (between $775,800 and $2 million). Fitness clubs … will lose as much as 300,000 rubles ($3,900) a day, while coffee shops in the city center will lose 100,000-200,000 rubles ($1,290-$2,585) […]

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Taming the Leviathan: How Russians Learn to Counter the State

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – Andrei Semenov – March 20, 2020) Andrei Semenov is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Perm State University and Associate Research Scholar at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Among the distinctive features of Vladimir Putin’s 20 years in power, the resurgence of the state […]

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COVID- 19: The View from Siberia

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Subject: COVID-19: The View From Siberia Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> COVID- 19: The View from Siberia By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Sarah Lindemann-Komarova has been a community development activist in Siberia since 1992.] With pictures: medium.com/@ECHOSiberia/covid-19-the-view-from-siberia-fd04bfa38db5 I did not do any special reporting for this piece. It is a chronology of consciousness and events in relation to […]

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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Update

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Subject: COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Update Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2020 From: Josh Wilson <jwilson@sras.org> COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Update SRAS.org SRAS Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update as of March 10, 2020 Russia, including the city Moscow where elevated precautions are being taken, has not yet applied any restrictions to US citizens traveling to Russia. US citizens arriving to Moscow or any […]

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New Moscow-St. Petersburg Highway Emblematic of Russia’s Road Problems and Much Else

Moscow Roads

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, Nov. 15, 2019) By the end of November, the new M-11 superhighway between Moscow and St. Petersburg is scheduled to be opened for traffic, a move that will significantly shorten the time for travel between the two capitals. But both its construction and its finished form reflect many problems that plague Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘Where Is Our Land?’: Challenges for Indigenous Groups in the Russian Arctic” – Kennan Institute/ Arbakhan K. Magomedov

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Arbakhan Magomedov – Nov. 14, 2019) Arbakhan Magomedov is visiting professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities. (RSUH). His fieldwork in the Far North was done as part of the project “Rising Voices of Northern Indigenous People in the Context of Growing Pressure of Russian Nationalism,” for which he received financial support through […]

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Russian Governors Now More Popular than Putin but Unlikely to Act as a 1990s-Style Fronde

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 13, 2019) Polls show that the approval ratings of Russia’s governors have risen significantly over the last year, while the standing of Vladimir Putin has continued to fall. If this trend continues – and it is likely to, Abbas Gallyamov says – the governors will soon be more popular than the […]

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Appointed Governors Locked in Battles with Elected Mayors in Russian Regions

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 5, 2019) The Nakanune news agency suggests that conflicts between governors and mayors increasingly resemble those of the 1990s when cities and regions squared off against each other in order to stake out their power (nakanune.ru/articles/115597/). But this trend contains within it of a more dangerous development in the late 1980s. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Chechnya Outperforms Kremlin’s KPIs Nationwide – Reports” – Moscow Times

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 12, 2019) Russia’s republic of Chechnya has the highest trust ratings toward its leaders and President Vladimir Putin among all regions, Russian media reported Monday. The Kremlin closely monitors Putin’s trust ratings, which dipped to historic lows then quickly bounced back after the Kremlin challenged state pollsters’ methodologies. Its domestic policy curator Sergei Kiriyenko […]

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Sure, Help The Homeless, These Moscow Residents Say, But Don’t Do It In Our Neighborhood

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Anastasia Kuzina, Robert Coalson – MOSCOW – Oct. 27, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-homeless-moscow-neighborhood-not-in-my-backyard/30238628.html) “If you want to do good deeds, do them – but don’t make those around you uncomfortable,” said Kira Gorchakova, a resident of Moscow’s Begovoi district when asked about a shelter […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Cities at Risk as Climate Change Accelerates Permafrost Thaw – Report” – Moscow Times

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 3, 2019) Russia’s permafrost is expected to thaw at an accelerating rate between now and 2100, a process that could trigger a “feedback loop” of carbon emissions, according to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). More than 50% of Russia’s territory is located in the planet’s frozen cryosphere. […]

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Russia Might Be Better Off if ‘Heavyweight’ Governors Returned, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 27, 2019) Vladimir Putin spent much of the first decade of his reign working to eliminate the so-called “heavyweight” governors who had real power in their regions and republics and replace them will technocrats, typically people without ties to the local population, who would simply do what he told them. That […]

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VIDEO & ARTICLE: A Blow To Fair Elections: Russian Police Stand Idly By As Election Observer Is Sucker Punched

Screenshot of Video at https://twitter.com/CurrentTimeTv/status/1171888101989539842 showing man punching another man in the stomach at Russian polling place while second man was looking down at mobile device

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – Sept. 12, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-police-stand-idly-by-as-election-observer-sucker-punched/30160427.html) [click here to jump down to video] Based on the reaction of police and election officials inside St. Petersburg polling station 1619, the event that unfolded before them on election day last week was nothing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Turns Trampled Grass Into Weapon Against Opponents” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“A state-owned organization responsible for maintaining Moscow’s roads is seeking compensation from protest leaders for grass trampled during a recent unsanctioned protest, part of a multi-pronged assault on the opposition …. [A]uthorities raided at least 39 offices in Navalny’s political network [across the country], seeking evidence for a money laundering investigation … against his Anti-Corruption Foundation, his ally Leonid Volkov […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Common moral, ethical values of all religions in Russia ensure state stability of country – Putin” – Interfax

Russian Mosque file photo

BOTLIKH VILLAGE, Dagestan. Sept 12 (Interfax) – The common moral and ethical values of all religions represented in Russia guarantee the stability of the Russian state, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We have a multi-religious country, but if you look closely, all our religions have the same values. As regards the moral and ethical component, they are practically the same,” […]

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