Staunton, May 28 – 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:
British Cleaner Company Sponsors Contest for Worst
Bathroom in a Russian School. Domestos, a British cleaner company, has
announced a competition to find the worst bathroom in a Russian school.
Pictures of some of the horrors in that category are already pouring in (promonado.ru/domestos-schools/).
When Putin-Era Archives are Opened, They may Be Empty. Russia’s Archive
Watch says officials in that country are destroying many things that had been
saved in the archives in the past, making it likely that future historians will
not find what they are looking for (sovsekretno.ru/news/arkhivnyy-dozor-obvinil-federalnye-vedomstva-v-unichtozhenii-arkhivov/).
Climate Change Puts More than 40 Percent of Roads and
Buildings in Russian North at Risk. Natural Resources Minister Aleksandr
Kozlov says that the melting of permafrost as a result of global warming is
putting “more than 40 percent” of all roads and structures in Russia’s North at
risk of collapse and that the country will have to spend some five trillion
rubles (70 billion US dollars) over the next 30 years to fix or replace them (tass.ru/ekonomika/11490969).
Corruption in Russia Returns with a Vengeance as
Russia’s loss from corruption has risen 28 percent over the last four months,
an indication that as the population has become more active, it has also
returned to corrupt practices (vedomosti.ru/society/news/2021/05/27/871651-uscherb-ot-korruptsii-v-rossii-viros-na-28-za-chetire-mesyatsa).
5. Russians Say
Moscow Shouldn’t Send Peacekeepers Anywhere Unless Russia’s National Interests
A new VTsIOM poll finds that Russians are anything but enthusiastic about
having their country get involved in the peacekeeping business as it now is in
Qarabagh. Russians say Moscow should dispatch such forces only if it can show that
the country’s national interests are directly involved (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/mirotvorcy-rossii).
that Soviets Didn’t Care about Ethnicity Absurd, Dragunsky Says.
Commentator Denis Dragunsky says that those who say that no one in Soviet times
cared about ethnicity have either forgotten or are lying. People cared a lot,
especially in large and ethnically mixed cities (echo.msk.ru/blog/dragunsky/2844668-echo/).
85 Percent of Russian Commanders have
Served in Syria. Vladimir Putin told a meeting of
the defense ministry that the preparation of commanders had improved because 85
percent of them had served at least one tour in Syria in recent years (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/65653).
8. Four Out of Five
Russian Businessmen Don’t Feel Safe against Baseless Criminal Charges – and One
in Four Prosecutors Agrees with Them. A survey of Russian business leaders
found that “almost 80 percent” say they feel defenseless against baseless
criminal charges; and when prosecutors were asked if this was the case, 18
percent of them agreed with 6.6 percent saying the arrests for economic crimes
were unjustified (rbc.ru/society/26/05/2021/60abbad69a794710f338fb83).
Again Delays the Census. This
Time to Avoid Conflict with Duma Voting. Last year, Vladimir Putin delayed the
2020 census to this year because of the pandemic; now, he has postponed it
again so that it won’t conflict with the Duma elections, a move necessitated by
the fact that many officials are involved in both (znak.com/2021-05-25/v_glubinke_ne_ponimayut_kak_vypolnit_volyu_moskvy_i_provesti_perepis_naseleniya_reportazh).
Two Out of Three Russian Marriages End in Divorce. Eurostat, the
statistical service of the European Union, says that almost two out of every
three marriages in Russia ends in divorce, ranking Russia second only to
Ukraine on the continent (https://www.kp.ru/daily/27282/4418491/).
Ufa Artist Forms Putin Bust Out of Pulled Teeth. Yevgeniya
Khaybullina, an Ufa artist, has modeled a bust of the Kremlin leader out of 500
teeth. She did so after Putin declared that he would knock the teeth out of
anyone who tried to take Siberia away from Russia (sibreal.org/a/31273053.html).
Duma Moves to Prevent Lawyers from Taking Mobile
Phones or Other Recording Devices into Prison. The Duma has passed on third
reading a bill that will block lawyers from carrying mobile telephones,
cameras, or other recording devices when they visit their clients in prisons or
13. Russia Rail
Closing Most Restaurant Cars. Russia Rail says it will eliminate
restaurant cars on most runs to save money. Passengers will be expected to bring
food with them or purchase it at stops (rbc.ru/society/26/05/2021/60ad51319a7947964807df5f).
Moscow Wants State Media Except from Possible
Infringement of Foreign Agent Law. The Russian government says that state
media should be exempt from financial examinations to determine whether they
receive money from abroad because such outlets are not subject to foreign
Russia’s Caspian Flotilla Fitted with Anti-Drone
In an indication that Moscow wants to be prepared for any use of drones in its
southern region, the navy has fitted the Caspian Flotilla with drone killers, a
step it has taken in the wake of Azerbaijan’s successful use of drones in the
fighting with Armenia (casp-geo.ru/v-morskoj-pehote-kaspijskoj-flotilii-rossii-sozdali-otryady-borby-s-bespilotnikami/).
Muscovites Remain Divided on Fate of Lenin. Residents of the
Russian capital are divided almost by exactly the same percentages as they were
four years ago, with 45 percent who want to see the Bolshevik leader buried as to
the 42 percent who want to keep him in the mausoleum (levada.ru/2021/05/25/moskva-zahoronenie-tela-lenina/).
Russian Government Boosts Salaries for Siloviki. Prime Minister
Mikhail Mishustin has signed an order that will raise the salaries of military
contractors, siloviki and law enforcement personnel by 3.7 percent on October 1
First Contingent of Prisoner Ready to Be Sent to Work
on BAM Next Month. The
Federal Prison System has organized a continent of 600 prisoners who will work
on the Baikal-Amur Mainland (kommersant.ru/doc/4827428).
Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin says Russia needs many more workers than the
prisons and camps can currently supply (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/85660).
19. Moscow to Use AI
to Monitor Internet. Roskomnadzor
says it will use artificial intelligence to monitor the Internet for prohibited
information but that human beings will make the final decisions on bans (kavtoday.ru/article/6018). Russian
parents tells pollsters that they intend to limit their children’s use of the Internet
this summer (stoletie.ru/lenta/bolshinstvo_rossijan_namereny_ogranichit_detam_dostup_v_internet_vo_vrema_letnih_kanikul_410.htm).
20. Russia’s Search
for Minerals in Arctic Falling Short. A third of the 60 surveys Moscow has made
of the Arctic seabed for mineral wealth have not found any (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/85618).
Ministry Wants to Introduce a Real Death Tax. The construction
ministry is calling for the imposition of a 1.5 percent a year tax on Russians
so that their heirs will be able to bury them appropriately. The idea has been
savagely attacked and may not be going anywhere (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/85600).
22. All Components of Russians’
Breakfasts Jumping in Price. The components of an ordinary Russian breakfast
are increasing in price far beyond the average of inflation and eggs are on the
verge of disappearing altogether (vtimes.io/2021/05/28/podorozhal-vash-zavtrak-a5291
23. Russians Running
Short of Samogon. Because
of the rise in the price of components and a crackdown against it in some
places, Russians are finding it more difficult than at any time since Gorbachev’s
anti-alcohol campaign to find and purchase samogon, the Russian word for
24. Ever More Activist
Groups Shutting Down. Open Russia and Gulagu.net both
shut down this week after pressure from the authorities, and their leaders
moved abroad. There was even a report that the Russian government may declare
Wikipedia a foreign agent (sibreal.org/a/как-активистов-вынуждают-уезжать-из-россии/31273271.html,
Petersburgers Outraged by Gazprom’s Plan for 703-Meter
Gazprom plans to build a 703-meter skyscraper in St. Petersburg to house its
main offices. Residents are outraged not only by its location but by the fact
that it will overwhelm the city’s existing skyline (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/05/26/dryn-marzhovyi).
Toliatti Teacher Forced Out for Refusing to Campaign
for Ruling Party.
Alena Skvortsova, an English-language teacher in Toliatti, was told to write a
letter of resignation after she refused to vote for United Russia and campaign
for it among the parents of her pupils (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=60AE3B68F13FA).