Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Baker’s Double Dozen of Other Notable Stories from Russia This Week

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 26 – Below are 26 more stories from Russia this week that deserve to be noted because they shed significant light on Russia, its government and its people, but that I was unable to write up as full-scale Windows:

1.      Three Russians Out of Four Say They Can’t Influence Political Situation. A poll conducted by the Institute for Social-Political Research finds that 74 percent of Russians say they have no way to influence political decisions by the powers that be (

2.      Wealthy Russians Hunkering Down for Period of Slow Growth; Middle Class Ones Increasingly Thinking about Emigration. Wealthier Russians are preparing to ride out a period of relatively slow growth; but members of the middle class are increasingly unhappy with where things are and are ready to form “a sixth wave” of emigres ( and

3.      Russian Officials Claim Underground in North Caucasus is Destroyed but in Daghestan Alone, They’re Seeking to Arrest 186 of Its Members. It has been a near constant refrain of Russian officials that the North Caucasus underground is no more, but this week, police in Daghestan said they were still seeking to arrest 186 of its members (

4.      For the First Time since 1998, Gazprom Operates at a Loss. It isn’t just oil exports that are down. Gas exports and income from them are falling as well. Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, announced it has suffered a year-to-year loss for the first time since 1998 (

5.      Busts of Russian Guards Chief have Become Much More Costly. Three years ago, Russians could buy a bust of Russian Guards head Viktor Zolotov for 40,000 rubles (550 US dollars), but now the going rate is 140,000 (2,000 US dollars), a possible indication of the rising importance of that institution (

6.      Putin Says His Greatest Achievement is ‘Restoration of Russia as United Centralized State.’ In the clearest statement yet of his attitude toward federalism and decentralization, the Kremlin leader said that “the chief milepost” of his rule has been to make Russia “a united and centralized state” (

7.      Counterfeiting Again on the Rise. After declining for much of the past decade, counterfeiting has risen dramatically over the last two years, 7.4 percent in 2019 and 17 percent in 2020 (

8.      Accounting Chamber Says Russian Oil and Gas Companies Overestimating Reserves. Russia does not have as much oil and gas left as its oil and gas companies routinely claim, the Auditing Chamber says; and Moscow should be thinking about what to do when these reserves eventually run out (

9.      FSB Bans Amateur Astronomers from Looking at the Moon. Officials in a small town in Irkutsk Oblast banned a meeting of amateur astronomers because it had been organized by a local rights activist. The officials said they had done so on orders from the FSB (

10.  Liberals Seek to Shut Down Tattoo Parlor Long Associated with Radical Right. Studio 18+, a Moscow tattoo parlor long connected with extreme Russian nationalists, is currently the target of a liberal effort to close it down. The liberals suspect that the right is still using it to spread its messages (

11.  One in Every Seven Landlords in Moscow and Petersburg will Rent Only to Slavs. A survey by real estate companies of 48,000 offers to rent in the capitals finds that 17 percent of landlords say they will rent only to those who at least look like Slavs (

12.  State Officials Highest Paid Group in North Caucasus. In many parts of Russia, those working in one or another branch of the economy are paid the most; but in the North Caucasus, RIA Novosti reports, it is government officials who are the highest paid (

13.  Street Cameras So Ubiquitous in Moscow that Russian Feel Big Brother has Arrived. The authorities in Moscow has set up so many street cameras ostensibly to fight crime that many residents feel that their real purpose is to monitor any protests and that Big Brother has arrived in their city (

14.  More than 150,000 have Signed Free Navalny Petition Despite Fears Officials will Crack Down on Those who Do. More than 150,000 Russians signed an online petition calling on the Kremlin to release Aleksey Navalny in the first 48 hours it was put up, despite widespread concern that the powers will be monitoring who signs and act against them (

15.  Kremlin Says Krasnoyarsk wasn’t Dropped from Currency as Punishment. Some Krasnoyarsk residents suspect that their city was dropped from the new issue of currency as punishment for its protests, but the Kremlin spokesman says that it not the case ( The editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta point to what may be a bigger problem for the Kremlin with the new money: it has reminded people about the denomination reforms of earlier Russian governments (

16.  If Chicago’s McDonald’s Museum can Tell US History, Volgograd’s Tractor Factory can Do the Same in Volgograd. Regional officials hope that they can attract tourists by using the city’s famous tractor factory as the centerpiece of a museum telling the story of Russia in the last century (

17.  Russian Diplomat in Strasbourg Caught Selling Bicycles He Stole. A Russian diplomat at the consulate in Strasbourg was caught selling bicycles he had been stealing in that French city. His diplomatic immunity protected him from arrest and punishment (

18.  Corruption and Theft at Naval Yards So Great They’re Delaying Ship Repair and Construction. Officials have determined that corruption and outright theft at Russia’s main naval repair and construction center are now so great that they have compromised the ability of the country to maintain its navy, let alone expand it (

19.  Russian Olympic Committee Asks IOC for Permission to Use Tchaikovsky Music at Games. Having been banned from using national symbols including its flag and national anthem because of its abuse of drug rules, the Russian Olympic Committee first asked to be allowed to use the popular song Katryusha. The IOC rejected that and now Moscow is asking for the right to use music by Tchaikovsky (

20.  Moscow Creates New Catch-22 for Regions. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has called on  Russian regions to come up with long-term development plans, but the Russian government won’t commit to providing the regions with the predictable funding that would make any such plans realistic (

21.  Duma Requires All Clergy to Be Trained in Russian Law about Religion. In a move that will make it almost impossible for any religious trained abroad to work in Russia, the Duma has passed on third reading an amendment to laws governing religion requiring that all clergy working in Russia have experienced training in Russian laws governing religion

22.  US Secretary of State ‘a Ukrainian,’ Moscow TV Commentator Says. A Russian television personality said that the reason the US policy toward Russia is so hostile is that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is a Ukrainian because his great grandfather was a Jewish writer from what was then part of the Russian Empire (

23.  Criminal Charges Being Lodged Against Holocaust Denier in St. Petersburg. Russian investigators have opened a criminal case against a St. Petersburg professor who denies the Holocaust occurred, He is being charged with the crime of rehabilitating Nazism (

24.  Is Kseniya Sobchak Planning to Interview Hitler? A significant portion of Russians are outrated that Kseniya Sobchak interviewed a mass murderer upon his release. Some suggested it showed just how low she would go in pursuit of ratings and one speculated that she’d interview Hitler if she had the chance (

25.  Navalny Protesters Dragged into Police Vans were Treated ‘Politely,’ National Guard Says. More than 70 supporters of Aleksey Navalny were dragged into police vans at the time of the January protests. The National Guard now insists that all of its officers acted “politely” in doing so (

26.  Only One Russian in Four Believes He or She Above Official Basic Income. The percentage of Russians who believe they have incomes that lift them above the government’s minimum income figure continues to fall. In 2018, 29 percent declared they were above that level. Now only 25 percent do ( Всего с 1940 по 1956 год по "указам" было осуждено 17.961.420 человек. Из них 4.113.190 к лишению свободы.


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