Staunton, March 5 – Some weeks have more noteworthy stories than others, often when some major story has ebbed and there is more space for items about developments that may have been neglected earlier. This last week, leading up to the anniversary of Stalin’s death today, has been one of those weeks. Hence, a Baker’s double dozen of other stories from Russia.
1. Mishustin Says English Terms Must Not Replace Russian Ones. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says that Russians should use the richness of their own language rather than import English words when there are already perfectly good Russian equivalents (regnum.ru/news/society/3207851.html).
2. Moscow Mulls Creating a Ministry for Youth Affairs. Given the Kremlin’s concerns about where young Russians are heading and its desire to direct them, some in Moscow are now actively discussing the formation of a Russian ministry for youth affairs (ura.news/articles/1036281995).
3. Urals Discussion on Stalin Stopped when It Gets Out of Hand. Efforts to discuss Stalin and his role in Russian history had to be stopped when those taking part became too heated in denouncing their opponents (regnum.ru/news/polit/3206223.html).
4. Moscow Wants Social Networks Operating in Russia to Count Those Using Them. The Russian government has prepared a draft rule that would require all social networks which have participants in the Russian Federation to count those participants and report the numbers to Moscow (regulation.gov.ru/projects#departments=47&npa=113844).
5. FSB Extends Ban on Dzhemilyev’s Visting Russia by Another 13 Years. The Russian security agency has extended an earlier ban on visiting Russia and Russian occupied Crimea that it had imposed on Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilyev, the leader of the Crimean Tatars (doshdu.com/mustafe-dzhemilevu-zapretili-vezd-v-rossiju-na-13-let/).
6. One-Third of Russian Regions Don’t have a Single Oncologist Specializing on Children. Twenty-seven of Russia’s federal subjects do not at present have an oncologist who specializes on children, despite increases in the number of young people who are victims of cancer (newizv.ru/news/society/05-03-2021/v-27-rossiyskih-regionah-net-detskih-onkologov).
7. Gay Lobby in Russian Orthodox Church Large and Well-Financed. A former Rostov priest who has come out as gay says that the gay lobby in the Russian Orthodox Church is very much alive, large and well-financed (https://mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/gej-lobbi-v-rpcz/).
8. Passions Heat Up over Possible Rasputin Statue in St. Petersburg. A debate has broken out over plans to put up a statue of Grigory Rasputin in the courtyard of the Yusupov palace in the northern capital. Much of the debate concerns not the appropriateness of having the mad monk memorialized but about having his statue erected on the grounds of the palace belonging to the family of his assassin (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/pamyatnik-rasputinu/).
9. Inflation Threatens Political Stability in Russia. The Bloomberg news agency says that Russia is one of the countries where recent rapid increases in prices for food could threaten economic and even political stability (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=603C7799386A8).
10. Widely Varying Costs for Highway Construction Likely Conceal Massive Corruption. The costs of building one kilometer of highways in Russia varies so widely that, while much of it may be justified, it almost certainly invites and reflects massive corruption (ng.ru/economics/2021-02-28/1_8091_road.html).
11. Wolves Attacking Children and Even Adults in North Russia Cities. As winter approaches its end, hungry wolves are invading cities in the Russian north and, having eaten all the stray dogs they could find, are now attacking children and even adults (regnum.ru/news/society/3202397.html).
12. Ponomaryev Closes Down His Rights Defense Group. Lev Ponomaryev, a longtime Russian campaigner for human rights, has closed his For Human Rights organization after a Russian court declared it a foreign agent (echo.msk.ru/news/2798502-echo.html).
13. Circassian Activist Given Suspended Sentence, Plans Appeal. Martin Kochesokov, a Circassian activist who was accused of possession of illegal drugs that by all accounts except those of Russian officials were planted on him, has been given a suspended sentence. He denies any guilt, and his lawyers have launched an appeal (meduza.io/news/2021/03/02/cherkesskomu-aktivistu-martinu-kochesokovu-dali-uslovnyy-srok-po-delu-o-hranenii-marihuany-on-govoril-chto-narkotik-emu-podbrosili-sotrudniki-tsentra-e).
14. 50 Percent More Russians Charged over Internet Posts in 2020 than a Year Earlier. Russian court records show that the number of people charged with crimes for posts on the Internet went up 50 percent between 2019 and 2020 with the number of cases involving threats to police and other officials doubling over the same period (sibreal.org/a/31129318.html).
15. Agora Reports Russian Officials Interfered with Internet Freedom 275,000 Times in 2020. In its annual report, the Agora media monitoring group said that Russian officials had interfered with Internet freedom more than 275,000 times during 2020 (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/agora-svoboda-interneta/).
16. Where Vodka is Favored Drink, Alcohol Consumption is Highest. A new Higher School of Economics study finds that excessive consumption of alcohol among Russians is linked to the propensity to drink vodka. Where vodka consumption is high, excessive alcohol consumption is likely to be highest (iq.hse.ru/news/448338231.html).
17. 40 Percent of All Tatarstan Residents Worried about Survival of Their Native Language. Forty percent of residents of Tatarstan are worried about the survival of their native language, with Tatars somewhat more so than Russians but Russians as well, a new survey finds (idelreal.org/a/31122900.html).
18. Son of Chekist Complains to Police about Publication of Dossier of NKVD Murderer. One of the problems the descendants of victims of Soviet crimes face is that those who carried out such crimes have descendants too. And they may as has happened in Tomsk complain to police when dossiers from the past are published (meduza.io/news/2021/03/03/zhitel-tomska-opublikoval-dosie-na-sotrudnika-nkvd-uchastvovavshego-v-rasstrele-ego-pradeda-syn-chekista-pozhalovalsya-v-politsiyu).
19. 80,000 Reindeer May have Starved to Death this Winter Because of Unusually Heavy Ice Cover. While global warming has sent temperatures rising across much of the Russian north, there are places where climate change has had the opposite effect and sent temperatures down. In the Russian tundra, one of those places, as many as 80,000 reindeer may have died over the winter because of unprecedentedly heavy ice cover (thebarentsobserver.com/en/climate-crisis/2021/03/russian-tundra-tragedy-80000-reindeer-might-have-starved-death).
20. Ever More Russians Shifting from TV to Internet. The latest survey by VTsIOM finds that Russians are continuing to shift from television to the Internet as they have done each of the last several years (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/mediapotreblenie-rossijan-monitoring).
21. Yaroslavl Buys 3-D Portraits of Stalin and Mao for Its Blind Pupils. Education officials in Yaroslavl Oblast have purchased three dimensional portraits of Stalin and Mao so that its blind pupils can familiarize themselves with two of the 20th century’s greatest criminals (trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/yaroslavskaya-oblast-kupit-dlya-nezryachih-shkolnikov-3d-portrety-stalina-i-mao-4657075).
22. Moscow Adds More People to Extremist List than Ever Before. Since Moscow established its list of those accuses of being involved in extremism and terrorism in August 2018, it has never added more people in a month than it has done in the last 30 days, 174 (kavkazr.com/a/31129205.html).
23. Latest Daghestan Head Already in Deep Trouble, Analysts Say. Moscow keeps running through heads of Daghestan, the most multi-ethnic and Islamic republic in the country, without finding anyone who can hold things together. The incumbent has been trying to run things like a governor general, but that isn’t working either (club-rf.ru/05/opinions/2578).
24. Upcoming Yakutsk Mayor’s Race will Show Who Matters in Sakha. Moscow, the government of Sakha, and the people of that city will show who has the real voice in the city when elections are held there for a new mayor, analysts say (club-rf.ru/14/interview/426).
25. Putin Forced to Appear in Public to Send Regional Heads a Message. Vladimir Putin can issue orders about how to handle the pandemic, but analysts suggest that he won’t be listened to if he wants governors to loosen up unless and until he personally appears in public (ura.news/articles/1036282000).
Russia’s Aging Metallurgical Plants in the North Pollute So Much They Must Be Shut Down. Environmentalists say that Russia’s aging metallurgical plants spread across the northern reaches of the country cannot be modified but must be closed down and replaced if Russia is to address this most serious source of pollution. That is unlikely to happen as long as Putin is in power because his friends own or control most of these plants (echo.msk.ru/blog/russian_north/2798840-echo/