Stories about Russia from May, 2013
The Russian government-sponsored initiative to increase public participation in policy making through a petition process, was met with suspicion even before its launch in April. Now, almost two months later, opposition bloggers are crying foul, claiming that the process has already been corrupted.
Last week, when Surkov-ally Alexey Chesnakov quit United Russia and publicly criticized the party, few in the English-speaking world noticed, but the event—like Surkov's ouster weeks earlier—could just as easily represent an important moment for Russian society.
Environmental protection has become a dangerous area of public activism in Russia—at least where industrial pollution is concerned. This is because eco-activists often directly oppose regional business interests, who sometimes react with force. A case in point: unknown assailants attacked and severely beat an eco-blogger from Pervouralsk, in retaliation for the publicity he is creating over a local chrome manufacturer dumping waste into the Chusovaya River.
In an April 2013 interview with Evgeny Voropai of Social Technologies Greenhouse, Tatiana Nikitina, president of the charity group Mercy Island, discussed why public organizations are interested in social media and what challenges they face in their everyday work.
As Navalny's show-trial for lumber embezzlement continues, such questions are perhaps more important than ever. Here are some data-points which could be used to make a rough approximation:
Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on his country's fifth place finish in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. At a press conference, Lavrov denounced supposed voting irregularities, claiming that Russia's points were "stolen," and called the anomaly "an outrageous act," promising Russian retaliation. Netizens were deeply amused.
Science isn’t safe in Russia today. That, anyway, was Lev Gudkov’s message in a public statement today, announcing that prosecutors in Moscow contacted him five days ago, to issue an official warning that the Levada Center is operating in violation of a recently minted federal law requiring politically-active NGOs receiving funds from abroad to register with the government as foreign agents.
Following Saturday's scoreless soccer game that catapulted Moscow's CSKA club to its fourth Russian Premier League title, the team's fans clashed with riot troops in downtown Moscow. Police detained 140 people [ru], later releasing all but two. Bloggers posted photos to LiveJournal here, here, and here [ru], alleging police brutality.
Fogle's alleged letter (written in awkward if grammatically correct Russian) looked like "Nigerian spam run through Google translate".
Are Russia's members of parliament, who have fostered a climate of homophobia over the past year, to blame for a man tortured to death by drunk hooligans in Volgograd?
Earlier this week, opposition figure Maria Baronova penned an open letter to writer and political dissident Eduard Limonov, wherein she dropped a sexual bombshell. Her text unabashedly refers to “masturbating in the shower” and credits Limonov with teaching her (through his books) how to “suck dick” “without false modesty” and “fuck like an animal.” The online response has been intense.
When Vladislav Surkov left the government last week, it triggered an avalanche of speculation about what the loss of “the grey cardinal” means for Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in particular and his “liberal” political clan in general. At the center of an ongoing related police probe is Duma Deputy and anti-Putin protest movement leader Ilya Ponomarev, who earned a surprising $750,000 for his work for the Skolkovo innovation center.
"Before there was trickery, now it has been replaced with criminal charges and prison sentences. Surkov, whatever you may think of him, is, first of all, a political aesthete, who won't break pots with a hammer"
At this very moment, Kirov police are searching [ru] Alexey Navalny's local headquarters, established to coordinate the blogger's public outreach in the city where he currently stands trial for embezzling roughly half a million dollars. The case has attracted international attention as the latest in a long series of politicized Russian judicial...
The Russian opposition, it seems, can't catch a break. Sometimes, this is because the Kremlin's political technologists outmaneuver them. Other times, it is thanks to internal bickering. On May 6, however, the culprit was plain bad luck. For one man, that bad luck was fatal.
Every Russian opposition rally and march attracts wild online speculation about the numbers of the participants -- both by observers and the participants themselves.
Migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus are the usual victims of racist sentiment in Russia. Aware of deepening anti-migrant feelings, many of Moscow's politicians promote right-wing policies. But there is one politician that always goes a step further than the rest.
"A Monstration is a parody of a traditional demonstration, with absurd demands and slogans, where every participant says what they want."
“Do you really have the feeling that the old system collapsed after the December 2011 protests? The system defeated the opposition. It’s a fact.” Vladislav Surkov delivered this line earlier today to a crowd of reporters and students in London. Russian netizens were not happy.
Tensions increased during the night of April 26-27 in the Security Zone of the Republic of Moldova, as the Transnistrian authorities unilaterally installed two checkpoints between the village of Varniţa and the city of Bender. Diana Lungu reports.