Saturday, November 27

Russia

Russia is Europe’s new virus hotspot
Featured, Russia

Russia is Europe’s new virus hotspot

    Another record rise in coronavirus infections has propelled Russia past Germany and France to the fifth highest tally in the world, as the French government confirmed the country would start gradually lifting its strict eight-week lockdown from Monday. With much of Europe now easing itself out of confinement, Russia has become the continent’s new Covid-19 hotspot. More than half of the country’s 177,160 cases are in Moscow and the capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said research suggested the actual number was nearer 300,000, more than triple the official figure. Sobyanin, a leading ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said the tally was rising so steeply because of increased testing. “The fact that we have identified so many sick people is a huge plus, not...
Russian PM quits over Putin’s plans
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Russian PM quits over Putin’s plans

    Vladimir Putin has proposed changes to Russia’s constitution that would limit the power of a potential successor if he steps down in 2024, indicating he may occupy a beefed-up role as Russia’s prime minister or in the government’s state council. In a televised speech before senior officials, Putin suggested amending Russia’s constitution to limit a future president to two terms in office he has served four tightening residency requirements for presidential candidates, and letting parliament choose candidates for prime minister and the cabinet, in effect weakening the presidency. Shortly after the speech, the prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, said that Russia’s government would resign in full, allowing Putin to appoint new ministers as he embarks on a sweeping reshuff...
Is puppet master Putin losing his iron grip on Russia?
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Is puppet master Putin losing his iron grip on Russia?

    In the days following the arrest of Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist detained on drug charges, dozens of reporters and public figures began lining up quite literally to take part in a peculiarly Russian form of protest: the single picket. Demonstrations here require an official permit, and with authorities often loath to sanction critical rallies, protesters, in an effort to evade the requirement, will stand alone, holding up a banner or placard while a line of people will form nearby, ready to step in and offer relief. No two protesters can stand within 50 meters of each other. And so, outside police headquarters in the center of the Russian capital, three separate single pickets were taking place at once, all to draw attention to what the authorities late...
Why Putin might worry about Ukraine’s president-elect
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Why Putin might worry about Ukraine’s president-elect

    A landslide victory on the scale of Ukraine's president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is the kind of electoral result you might expect from his larger, autocratic neighbour to the east. But there are no question marks over the legitimacy of this vote or the strength of the democratic mandate it gives Ukraine's new leader. This was a cry from the gut of the Ukrainian people that they are fed up with what's gone before. It is as much an expression of rage as it is an endorsement. Between media appearances at campaign HQ, Mr Zelenskiy recorded a video message for distribution on social media. His Facebook and Insta-driven campaign looks set to continue in his presidency. He is promising to listen. His message is power to the people, direct democracy. A populist messag...
Russia to cut all domestic internet from world wide web
Featured, Russia

Russia to cut all domestic internet from world wide web

    Russian authorities are planning to disconnect the entire country from the global internet temporarily, according to reports. The experiment aims to test Russia’s cyber defenses and ensure the nation's internet service, known as Runet, can continue to function in the event of a foreign attack. Officials will verify whether Russia can continue to operate its web service without passing data to and from the outside world. Russian telecom companies will have to re-route all internet traffic to exchange points managed or approved by the Russian telecom supervisor Roskomndazor. The experiment is part of a new draft law known as the Digital Economy National Program. The law will also obligate Russia to create its own Domain Name System (DNS) so it can continue to operat...
Russia warns UK over foreign military base plans
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Russia warns UK over foreign military base plans

    Moscow on Friday condemned British plans for military bases in South East Asia and the Caribbean, and warned of retaliation if Russian interests or those of its allies were threatened. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Telegraph in an interview before the New Year that the UK would ramp up its military presence abroad after Brexit and open two new bases. Whitehall is reportedly considering building the bases in Singapore or Brunei in the South China Sea and in Montserrat or Guyana in the Caribbean. On Friday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists that Mr Williamson's remarks were destabilising and would lead to the further militarisation of British politics. Meanwhile, Moscow has waged a military campaign to save Bashar As...
Russian off the shelves: Vladimir Putin calendar sells out in Japan
Featured, Russia

Russian off the shelves: Vladimir Putin calendar sells out in Japan

    Whether he’s nonchalantly lowering himself into the icy waters of Lake Seliger or making short work of weights in the gym, Vladimir Putin is setting pulses racing in Japan, where his latest calendar is outselling those featuring homegrown celebrities. The Loft chainstore, which has exclusive rights over sales of the calendar, reported that those featuring Russia’s 66-year-old president were dominating sales at its outlets across Japan. With just two weeks of the year left, Putin’s calendars were more popular than those of Japanese actor Kei Tanaka and, in third place, Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic men’s figure skating champion. SoraNews24 speculated that while some people were snapping up the Putin calendars as a sort of practical joke, others were genuinely...
Putin heaps praise on Khabib
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Putin heaps praise on Khabib

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Khabib Nurmagomedov a heroes welcome after his win over Conor McGregor before giving his dad Abdulmanap some fatherly advice. The Russian retained his UFC lightweight title against Conor McGregor in a bout overshadowed by a post-fight brawl. Nurmagomedov's brutal submission victory over Ireland's McGregor on Saturday was followed by fights breaking out in and around the cage. Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage before leaping feet first at McGregor's team mate and cornerman Dillon Danis. But Putin asked Nurmagomedov's father not to punish him too severely Khabib had already revealed Vladimir phoned to congratulate him on his victory over McGregor . Nurmagomedov is now under investigation by the Nevada Athletic State Commissi...
Russian military doctor named as second suspect in Skripal attack
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Russian military doctor named as second suspect in Skripal attack

    The identity of the second suspect in the Salisbury poisoning has been revealed as Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a doctor in Russia's military intelligence agency. The Bellingcat investigative website posted the name online almost a fortnight after it outed the first suspect as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, 39, also a GRU officer. British police last month accused the two men of attempting to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia with a novichok nerve agent. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the attack was almost certainly approved at a senior level of the Kremlin though she has stopped short of directly accusing Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack and previously dismissed photos linki...
US admiral warns of Russia’s submarine capabilities
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US admiral warns of Russia’s submarine capabilities

    Russia is bolstering its underwater battle capabilities in a direct challenge to US forces in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, a top US admiral warned Friday. Admiral James Foggo, who heads NATO's Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, said Russia is investing heavily in its submarine fleet and wants to build an asymmetric threat to the US and NATO. While the Russian navy knows it cannot compete on the level of aircraft carriers and larger surface vessels, they have continued to do research and development and recapitalize the undersea domain, Foggo told Pentagon reporters. They see it as one (in) which there is a challenge, and that challenge is the United States Navy and the United States submarine force. Foggo said the Russians currently have six Kilo-class diese...