Sunday, May 16, 2021

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

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 14 – 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.      97.3 Percent of Russians Earn Less than Lowest Paid McDonalds Help in US. Now that the hamburger chain has raised its base pay, its lowest paid workers make more each month than 97.3 percent of all Russians (

2.      Income Russians Say They Need for Happy Life has Been Falling Since 2017. In 2017, Russians told Superjob that they needed 184,000 rubles (2600 US dollars) for a happy life. Now, they say they need only 166,000 (2300 US dollars). In reality, Russians did not make anything near that in either year (

3.      Putin Scores Hat Trip in Hockey Game in Ten Minutes. In a Sochi hockey game, the Russian president managed to score eight goals in all and three in only ten minutes against defensemen who seemed to be playing as if their lives depended on not stopping him. They may well have been right (

4.      Deputy Premier Says Combing Jewish AO and Khabarovsk Kray Not on the Agenda. After saying that he believed that the two federal subjects should be combined, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin reversed himself after fierce criticism and told the Jewish AO head Rostislav Goldshteyn that the issue was not on the agenda (

5.      Moscow has Been Expelling Diplomats at Rate of One Every Two Days. Over the last four months, the Russian government has declared 55 foreign diplomats persona non grata and expelled them from Russia, approximately one every two days (

6.      Duma Deputies Propose Restoring Soviet-Style Exit Visas to Limit Travel Abroad. A group of Duma deputies wants to restore the requirement that Russians get exit visas from the authorities before travelling to any foreign country (

7.      Meduza has Established that Groups Linked to Kremlin were Behind Leaks of Navalny Data. The Meduza news agency has shown that the April leaks of information about the Navalny movement were the work of people linked to the Presidential Administration (

8.      Kremlin Increases Financing for State Media Outlets. The Kremlin has announced that it is boosting the amount of money allocated to Russia Today, Novosti and Radio Sputnik by 221 billion rubles (three billion US dollars) over the next four years (

9.      Bashkir City Can’t Afford to Take Down Christmas Tree. The major of a city in the Muslim republic of Bashkortostan says his budget does not allow for taking down the Christmas tree he put up last December (

10.  Russia Restores Names Soviet Cities had during World War II for a Day. For Victory Day, Volgograd became Stalingrad and Perm became Molotov along with other cities as part of the celebrations ( Meanwhile, Maxim has published a list of the nicknames of 100 Russian cities ( Vladikavkaz is known by its people as Ordzho, in memory of its old name Ordzhoinikidze.

11.  Ligachev Dies at 100, Remembered for Telling Yeltsin ‘Boris, You are Wrong.’ Yegor Ligachev, the conservative opponent of Gorbachev on the Soviet Politburo, has died at 100. He was remembered not only for his remark about Yeltsin but also for observing that he wondered whether Russians had not reflected upon the fact that “after the era of dinosaurs would begin an era of rats” (

12.  Ryazan Goes to the Dogs before Victory Day. Persons unknown released 500 dogs from a Ryazan pound the night before Victory Day, an action that some suggested could not have been a coincidence (

13.  New Study Belies Belief that Pedestrians Die More Often than Drivers and Passengers. Many Russians believe that pedestrians are more likely to die than those riding in cars, but the data show, a new study says that that is not the case (

14.  Villagers Take the Lead in Adopting Orphans. One of the reasons that the number of Russian children in orphanages has declined in recent years is that people living in villages are adopting them as a means of keeping their places of residence going given that young people are leaving in such numbers (

15.  40 Moscow Metro Workers Dismissed for Supporting Navalny. No fewer than 40 employees have been fired after their names were found on an online list of those supporting imprisoned opposition leader Aleksey Navalny (

16.  Omsk Team Wins Siberian Grave-Digging Competition. Each year, a competition takes place near Novosibirsk to determine who can dig a grave the fastest. This year, a team from Omsk won by completing the work by hand in 38 minutes (

17.  100,000 Russian Children Forced to Walk Long Distances to School Because There are No Roads or Buses. In many places in rural Russia, children are forced to walk many kilometers to and from school because the roads are impassable or there are no buses to carry them (

18.  Muslims Allowed to Celebrate End of Ramadan in Public in Petersburg but Not in Moscow. Moscow officials banned the public demonstrations of faith near mosques that have been a regular feature of the capital’s life for the last several decades, but in the northern capital, officials allowed the commemorations to go ahead, and 50,000 Muslims assembled despite the pandemic (

19.  State Employees Being Forced to Take Part in United Russia Primaries. To give the appearance of widespread popular support for the ruling party, government employees in some places are being forced to vote in the primary elections of United Russia (

20.  Son of Ousted Krasnoyarsk Governor to Run for Duma. Anton Furgal, the son of the former governor of Krasnoyarsk, has announced that he will be a candidate in the upcoming Duma elections (

21.  Long May Holidays Reduced Popular Support for Putin. Not only did the holidays lead to a spike in coronavirus infections in Moscow but they depressed the rating of the Russian president according to a new poll (

22.  Russian Pensioners Take Part in Protests Because They have Time and Nothing to Lose. Most attention in recent times has focused on the young taking part in political protests, but many older Russians are as well. They say they aren’t afraid because they have little to lose (

23.  Shoygu Wants to Ban Drafting Anyone Who’s Used Drugs. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu says he wants to excuse from military service anyone who has used drugs apparently lest they bring such a habit into the ranks, a proposal that could easily backfire (

24.  Russia Gave Citizenship to 650,000 People Last Year and Moscow Wants to Make Procedure Even Easier. Prime Minister Mikhail MIshustin says that under the simplified procedures now in place, Russia was able to give citizenship to 650,000 people last year. He says he hopes to make the process even easier and increase that number (

25.  The Altai and Daghestan Top Ethnic Travel Destinations in Russia. Many Russians like to visit what they see as the exotic non-Russian republics. The two most popular this year when few Russians can travel approach are the Altai and Daghestan (

26.  Moscow Backs Down on Restrictions on Russians Working in US Embassy in Moscow. After very publicly declaring that Russians could no longer work in the US embassy in the Russian capital, Moscow has backed down, likely because at least some of these people have more than one employer and because the US cut back visa services when the embassy lost these workers (

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