Staunton, February 19 – At various points in the past, Windows on Eurasia sometimes has featured a weekly collection of stories this writer felt were noteworthy but could not write up as Windows. I have decided to resume the practice and will be putting out “a baker’s dozen” of such stories at the end of each week. What follows is the first of these renewed collections.
1. Russia’s Actual Population Three to Four Million Less than Moscow Says. Independent demographer Aleksey Raksha says that officials in some regions have claimed more people live there than do and immigrants are undercounted. As a result, he suggests the population of the country is actually 142 to 143 million and not the 146 million Moscow claims (lenta.ru/news/2021/02/18/naselenie/).
2. Siloviki Detain Remaining Protesters at Shiyes. The police arrested the small group of protesters remaining at the Shiyes site, effectively closing down the encampment of those who hope they have succeeded in forcing Moscow to drop plans for a trash dump there (ovdinfo.org/express-news/2021/02/18/na-shiese-zaderzhali-shesteryh-aktivistov).
3. Russia’s Pagans Offer to Help Rehabilitate Inmates in Prisons and Camps. Russia’s Traditional Religion Foundation, which unites Russians neo-pagans, has offered to help rehabilitate those incarcerated in that country’s prisons and camps (ng.ru/ng_religii/2021-02-16/9_502_heathendom.html).
Kremlin to Ignore Media Reports about Extra-Judicial Executions in Chechnya. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that the Russian authorities do not consider media reports about such killings in Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechnya as evidence of crimes (doshdu.com/press-sekretar-putina-gazetnyj-material-ne-mozhet-javljatsja-dokazatelstvom-vnesudebnyh-kaznej-v-chechne/
6. Putin Promotes 26 Siloviki to the Rank of General. In another move to keep the siloviki on his side, Vladimir Putin has promoted 26 officers of the siloviki to the rank of general; as the Duma approved his proposal for giving children of siloviki preference in admission to higher educational institutions (znak.com/2021-02-17/gosduma_odobrila_zakon_o_prioritete_pri_postuplenii_v_vuzy_dlya_detey_silovikov and echo.msk.ru/news/2792870-echo.html).
7. Chinese Bloggers Expand Territorial Claims on Russia, Up to the Urals. Chinese bloggers are increasingly saying that Russia must give to China all its territory east of the Urals, a trend that has prompted China specialists in Russia to demand that the FSB do something to counter this messaging (t.me/sytosokrata/232).
8. Russia Lays Fiberoptic Cable to Kaliningrad bypassing Baltic Countries. In a move that would mean the Russian exclave would not be cut off if Moscow exits from the worldwide web, the Russian government has laid a fiberoptic cable on the Baltic seabed from St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad, ending its dependence on Baltic country networks (echo.msk.ru/news/2792322-echo.html).
Russians Increasingly Positive about US, Increasingly Negative about EU. The Levada Center polling agency finds that Russians have turned more positive about the US over the last year and more negative about the European Union (echo.msk.ru/news/2793152-echo.html
11. Russians Ready to Pay More Taxes if Money Goes to Programs They Support and Control. The Higher School of Economics reports that 60 percent of Russians say they are prepared to pay higher taxes if the money goes to programs they favor and control (stoletie.ru/lenta/opros_vshe_pokazal_gotovnost_60_rossijan_platit_dopolnitelnyje_nalogi_612.htm).
12. Komi Man Fined Heavily for Demanding His Native Language be Used in Court. Even though the constitution of the Komi Republic specifies that Komi is an official language alongside Russian there, a man who demanded that a court case against him be conducted in his native language has been fined for insisting on that (idelreal.org/a/31109492.html, idelreal.org/a/31109951.html and idelreal.org/a/31105295.html).
13. In Halls of Power, Perestroika Generation Replacing Stagnation One. The generation of those in power who were formed by their experiences during Brezhnev’s stagnation is rapidly being replaced by young people whose ideas and values were defined by their life under Gorbachev’s perestroika, commentator Igor Eidman says (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=602E915376D73).