Staunton, April 16 – 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. Russian Foreign Ministry Says US is ‘an Opponent of Russia.’ Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that “the US is our opponent and is doing everything in order to undermine Russia’s position in the international arena” (ura.news/news/1052480322).
70 Percent of Russians aren’t Interested in Institutions, Democracy or Competition. Konstantin Remchukov, editor of Nezavisimaya gazeta, says that 70 percent of Russians have no interest in institutions, democracy or competition (ng.ru/politics/2021-04-12/100_echo12042021.html
3. Duma Deputies Average 512 Times More Income than Average Russians. The median income of Duma deputies is 512 times that of the median income of ordinary Russians (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84879).
4. Ever More Russians Risk Not Getting a Pension at All. Because so many Russians are now working as private contractors – some 25 percent – they are at risk of not receiving any pension after they reach retirement age (snob.ru/news/eksperty-vshe-v-rossii-mozhet-vyrasti-kolichestvo-lyudej-kotorye-riskuyut-ostatsya-bez-strahovoj-pensii-po-starosti/).
5. Duma Moves to Prohibit Government Employees and Military Personnel from Having Foreign Citizenship or Even Foreign Residence Permit. The Duma has passed on second reading a package of laws introducing these restrictions (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84824).
6. Russians Now Buying Every Fifth Luxury-Class House in Monaco. Real estate records show that wealthy Russians are buying a significant share of the best residences in Monaco (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84795).
7. Latvia, Lithuania and Malaysia have Passed Russia in GDP Per Capita over Last Decade. New statistics show that Latvia, Lithuania and Malaysia have passed Russia in per capital GDP over the last decade, another indication of the extent to which Russia under Putin is falling behind (trtrussian.com/ekonomika/za-10-let-rossiyu-po-vvp-na-dushu-naseleniya-obognali-litva-latviya-i-malajziya-5165159).
Russian Behavior in Occupied Crimea Said ‘Ace Card’ for Ukrainian Propaganda. Russians who go to Crimea behave so badly that Ukrainian propagandists routinely cite their actions as emblematic of what Russia is all about (svpressa.ru/society/article/295829/
9. Even the Bulgarians have Become Russophobes. Many nations aroundthe world don’t like Russians, but Russians always assumed they could count on the Bulgarians not to join this camp. But now that is happening, Moscow commentators say (svpressa.ru/politic/article/295628/). Adding insult to injury, a Bulgarian court has found credible testimony that Moscow Patriarch Kirill was a KGB agent (bgnews.bulgar-rus.ru/bolgariya-burgasskij-sud-podtverdil-chto-patriarx-vseya-rusi-kirill-agent-kgb/).
10. Czechs Erect Statue of Naked Putin on Solid Gold Toilet. Unlike the Bulgarians, the Czechs have never been noted as fans of Russia. In the midst of the current diplomatic spat, some activists in Prague have erected a statue of a naked Putin sitting on a gold toilet (rusmonitor.com/v-chehii-goloe-chuchelo-putina-posadili-na-zolotoj-unitaz.html).
Orthodox Church Shows Devils Using Smartphones and Notebook Computers. A Russian Orthodox church in Tver features a fresco showing devils carrying smartphones and notebooks (tver.kp.ru/daily/27266.5/4399689/
12. Siloviki Empty Sredneuralsk Monastery in ‘Stalin-Style Deportation.’ Russian siloviki emptied a dissident monastery in a manner that recalls the worst kinds of Stalinist deportations, without warning, with massive force, and without any respect for the people involved (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/04/14/deportatsiia-v-stalinskom-stile).
13. Energy Ministry Says Russia May Never Again Produce as Much Oil as It did in 2019. Not only that, the ministry says that production may continue to fall over the next two decades (kommersant.ru/doc/4763122).
14. Russians Offered a Hectare of Land if They’ll Move to the Arctic. For several years, Moscow has been trying without much success to entire Russians to move to the Far East by offering them a hectare of land. Now it is extending that program to the Far North (stoletie.ru/lenta/programmu_dalnevostochnyj_gektar_rasshirat_na_arktiku_688.htm).
15. Patriarch Kirill Unifies Moscow Bishoprics and Assumes Role of Their Boss. Patriarch Kirill secured the unification of bishoprics in the Russian capital into a single metropolitan see, something that might have offered a position for someone to challenge his rule had he not immediately named himself to the post (stoletie.ru/lenta/patriarkh_kirill_vozglavil_moskovskuju_mitropoliju_730.htm).
16. Discount Merchandisers Springing Up Across Russia. Because the incomes of Russians have been falling, major merchandisers have responded by opening discount stores in the hopes that they will be able to sell less expensive goods to the least well-off 20 percent of the population (svpressa.ru/economy/article/295617/).
17. Global Warming Really is Wrecking Russian North. Many articles in Moscow outlets talk about global warming, but they often do so in such an abstract way that people are not aware of just how much of an impact it has already had in the Russian North. There, buildings are collapsing as a picture in The Siberian Times shows (siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/building-breaks-in-middle-and-collapses-10-metres-as-thawing-permafrost-no-longer-supports-stilts/).
18. First Aid Can’t Reach Mari El Woman Because Officers Don’t have Horses. A seriously ill woman in Mari El went without treatment because first aid responders could not reach her. The road ran out, and they didn’t have horses that could carry them the rest of the way (nakanune.ru/news/2021/4/15/22599799/).
19. Russia Building Drone Factory at Forced March Pace. Komsomolskaya pravda reports that Russia is now building its first factory that will produce drones exclusively – earlier Russian drones have been produced as a sideline at other facilities. The new plant is being built at a forced march pace, the paper says (kp.ru/daily/27266.5/4399227/).
Western Sanctions Turning Russia into a Second Iran. Western sanctions are making Russian firms just as toxic internationally as are Iranian firms, commentator Ilya Grashchenkov says (rosbalt.ru/posts/2021/04/15/1897578.html).Roskosmos, for example, says it has had to turn down several contracts because of these sanctions (ehorussia.com/new/node/23191
21. Optimization Coming to Police, Regional Governments. Sources say that cost-cutting measures which will lead to a loss of jobs is now coming to the police and to regional governments, likely creating yet another class of people unhappy with the Russian authorities at the center (ura.news/articles/1036282157 and ura.news/news/1052480165).
22. Non-Russians Shouldn’t Fight with Each Other but Ally to Fight Moscow. The editors of Kazan’s Business Online say that the non-Russian nationalities shouldn’t squabble with one another but rather struggle together against Moscow to defend their rights (business-gazeta.ru/article/505463).
23. Duma Votes to Prevent Anyone from Taking a Pet in Payment for Debt. The Duma passed on third reading a bill that will prohibit debt collectors from seizing family pets. At the same time, it began consideration of a measure that will ban people from taking their pets to cafes and stores (znak.com/2021-04-13/gosduma_zapretila_izymat_u_rossiyan_domashnih_zhivotnyh_za_dolgi and echo.msk.ru/news/2820596-echo.html).
24. Moscow Patriarchate Preparing Exorcism Rulebook. The Theology Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church wants to ensure that all exorcisms in Russia follow the same set of rules and so is preparing a rulebook for those involved in the practice (forum-msk.org/material/news/17108963.html).
Russian Authorities Censoring Photographs Much as Soviets Did. Russian photographers say that it is not only words that the Putin regime cares about but photographs and that government agencies are increasingly cracking down on photographers who take pictures of things the regime doesn’t want people to see (newizv.ru/news/society/11-04-2021/shpionomaniya-v-deystvii-rossiyskie-fotografy-snova-zhaluyutsya-na-zaprety
26. Forty-Six Percent of Russians Under 24 have Never Heard of Nuremberg Trials. Of those over 45, only five percent say they don’t know what happened there, but 33 percent of all Russians say they are certain that the trials did not put an end to fascist ideology (echo.msk.ru/news/2819762-echo.html).