Staunton, February 26 – Below are 13 more stories from Russia that deserve to be noted but that I was unable to write up as full-scale Windows:
1. Amnesty Denies Being Pressured to Strip Navalny of Prisoner of Conscience Status. After having given and then withdrawn the status of prisoner of conscience to Aleksey Navalny, Amnesty International said it had done to not in response to pressure from the Kremlin as has been suggested but because its review of Navalny’s past statements means that he does not qualify for that status under Amnesty rules. The organization still said it wanted him to be released (zona.media/news/2021/02/25/amnesty-response).
2. Duma Moves toward Make Slandering a Veteran a Crime. Even though a veteran has won his suit against Navalny for slander, a group of United Russia deputies is calling for making any such attacks a criminal offense. The measure has already passed its second reading (sobkorr.org/news/6033A2EE41B14.html).
3. Will Stalin’s Remains Soon Be Returned to the Mausoleum? Discussions about whose statue should be erected in the front of the Lubyanka have sparked debates about what may happen next. One commentator says he thinks that in a year or two, the Kremlin will return Stalin’s body to the mausoleum on Red Square (rosbalt.ru/posts/2021/02/26/1889599.html).
4. Khakass Court Sentences Elderly Jehovah’s Witness Woman to Two Years in the Camps. In an unprecedented move given the age and gender of the defendant, an Abakan court sentenced an elderly female member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to two years in prison camp (sobkorr.org/news/603761E200321.html).
5. Trial Postponed Because Russian Judge Doesn’t Know Defendant’s Language. This week in the Komi Republic a defendant who demanded that his case be heard in his national language rather than Russian succeeded in forcing the court to delay hearings until a translator could be found (ru.fennougria.ee/v-syktyvkare-sud-ne-smog-provesti-protsess-nad-uchastnikom-mitinga-tak-kak-on-odin-govoril-na-yazyke-komi/).
6. Another Scandal Waiting to Happen. A Russian call girl says that some of her clients are senior officials she sees on television and she wants the world to know that many of them behave like “swine” (business-gazeta.ru/article/500151).
7. Moscow Establishes Coordinating Center for Russian Government. In an effort to improve cooperation among the various agencies and ministries, the Russian government has now set up a new Coordinating Center that will be responsible for ensuring that communication among them improves (kp.ru/daily/27243/4371679/).
8. Russian Diplomats Escape North Korea on Self-Propelled Rail Car. Not being able to fly or take a train out of North Korea, a group of Russian diplomats found a self-propelled rail car and managed to return to Russia (meduza.io/shapito/2021/02/25/iz-za-zakrytyh-granits-iz-kndr-ne-uehat-ni-na-poezde-ni-na-samolete-rossiyskie-diplomaty-nashli-reshenie-oni-vernulis-na-rodinu-na-drezine).
9. Anti-Putin Shaman Charged with Using Sword to Resist Arrest. Aleksand Gabyshev, the self-proclaimed Sakha shaman who has announced plans to again march on Moscow and exorcise Putin from Russia, has been charged by officials in his home region with using a sword to resist arrest after he failed to show up for his required monthly meeting with psychologists (ykt.sledcom.ru/news/item/1543067/).
010. TikTok Now More Popular than Facebook in Russia. According to a new Levada Center poll, TikTok has become more popular than Facebook among Russians (snob.ru/news/levada-centr- v-rossii-tiktok-stal-populyarnee-facebook/).
11. Americans Exploring Mars while Russian Preparing to Retake Reichstag Model. A commentator highlights just how different east and west now are by pointing out that the US is currently exploring the surface of Mars while Russian officials are organizing a mock retaking of the German Reichstag (rusmonitor.com/ines-ledovski-amerikanczy-provodyat-issledovaniya-na-marse-a-v-rossii-planiruyut-opyat-shturmovat-rejhstag-za-mozhajskom.html).
12. Many Socialist Realist Pictures Banned Because They Showed Soviet Life Too Accurately. Many Russian artists in Soviet times used socialist realist techniques but painted more honestly about what they saw around them. Their pictures were banned then, but now a selection of them shows precisely what they saw and communicated (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=6030C60EBB47D).
13. ‘Krokodil,’ Another Window on Soviet Life, Now Available Online. The complete run of the Soviet humor magazine, from 1922 to 2008, is now available online, allowing people now to see the cartoons and stories that captured Soviet and for a few years post-Soviet life more adequately than almost any other officially permitted source (newizv.ru/news/society/26-02-2021/veselye-kartinki-grustnoy-epohi-v-set-vylozhen-polnyy-arhiv-zhurnala-krokodil).