Sunday, June 13, 2021

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

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 11 – 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.       Putin Denounces Kyiv’s Decision to Declare Russians a Non-Indigenous People in Ukraine. In what many are describing as his most emotional statement about Ukraine yet, Vladimir Putin has denounced a new Ukrainian law that specifies that ethnic Russians are not indigenous to Ukraine. The Kremlin leader says this recalls “the theory and practice of Nazi Germany” and wonders how this is possible because the Ukrainian president himself is “a Jew by nationality” (

2.       Russian Attitudes toward Police Deteriorating, Volunteer Militiamen Say. Russians who have volunteered to help the police control demonstrations say the attitude of other Russians toward law enforcement personnel has sharply deteriorated ( Six times as many Russians have been arrested in recent years for attacking the police than have police for attacking the population ( In a possibly related development, a new law bans traffic police from taking documents from Russians if they include money (

3.      Forest Fires East of Urals So Serious that Officials are Using Children to Fight Them. Forest fires have come to Siberia and the Far East earlier and in larger numbers than ever before. As a result, regional officials are now deploying school children to fight them (

4.      Zionist Star on Statue of Alexander III Quickly Removed. The sculptor who created the latest statue of Alexander III, supposedly Putin’s favorite tsar, says he made a mistake and put a Zionist star on the chest of the statue because he was under so much pressure to finish the statue in time for Putin’s appearance at its opening. He says he has now removed it (

5.       Russian Arrested in Front of Mausoleum Calling on Lenin to ‘Wake Up, We have a Tsar Again!’ A Russian was quickly arrested after he began to shout in front of the mausoleum on Red Square “Wake up! We have a tsar again!” (

6.       Russian Officials Report They Detained 17,600 in Navalny Demonstrations Last Winter. In a document dated April 20 but published only now, Russian officials admit that they detained some 17,600 Russians during the Navalny protests in January and February (

7.      Muscovites Say Migrants, Traffic Bigger Problems than Inflation and Pandemic. A new Levada Center poll finds that by small margins, residents of the Russian capital say immigrants and traffic are more serious problems for them than inflation and falling incomes or the pandemic (

8.       Moscow Creates Electronic Library of Books on Cossacks. In what Russian historians are describing as a breakthrough, the Russian State Library has now created an online library of books on Cossacks. It is available at

9.      New Russian Law Strips Numerically Small Peoples of Control of Their Alphabets. Vladimir Putin has signed into law a measure that gives Moscow rather than the numerically small peoples of the Russian North and Far East of the power to make decisions about their alphabets and related linguistic issues, yet another act of centralization that will further threaten the survival of these languages and the peoples who speak them. Earlier Moscow had blocked them from using any alphabets but those based on Cyrillic. Now the center will have the power to decree what their Cyrillic-based alphabets should look like (

10.  Military Journalists Must Serve Kremlin, Not the Military. Moscow is facing a problem of its own making: each bureaucracy that has its own journalists seeks to control them to protect itself, often hiding problems from the country as a whole. Now, senior officials close to the Kremlin are insisting that this practice be ended and that military journalists must serve the country and not the bureaucracy which employs them (

11.  Moscow to Build Orthodox Churches for Military in Each Military District. In violation of Russian law, the defense ministry has announced plans to build Orthodox churches for uniformed personnel in each of the country’s military districts (

12.  Plans Afoot to Preserve Putin So He Can Return and Rule Russia During Second Coming. A group of Russian Orthodox activists want to build a new mausoleum for Vladimir Putin so that at the time of the second coming, he can return and resume his rule over Russia (

13.  Kozyrev, Yeltsin’s First Foreign Minister, Publishes Memoirs in US. Russian critics have savaged the memoris of Andrey Kozyrev, Boris Yeltsin’s foreign minister whom they denounce as “Mr. Yes,” which have now been published in English in the US (

14.  Lavrov Says Russia ‘has No Super Power Ambitions.’  Putin’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, says that Russia has “no superpower ambitions” or any “messianic” goals and does not want to impose itself on others or have anyone impose Western values on Russia (

15.  Russians Attend University for Four Main Reasons. A Moscow commentator concludes most Russians enroll in universities for one of four main reasons: to get a diploma needed for a job, to avoid military service, to improve their chances of moving to Moscow, or to be in a position to get further education and jobs outside of Russia (

16.  Russia Stages Beauty Contest for Female Prison Guards. There are so many female prison guards now that Moscow has organized an all-Russian competition to determine the most beautiful one. Preliminary competitions occurred in the regions and then an all-Russian champion was crowned ( New statistics show that approximately 16 percent of all Russian convicts are women (

17.   Russians are Losing Five Billion Rubles a Month to Telephone Fraud. Fraudsters using the telephone are currently stealing five billion rubles (70 million US dollars) a month from Russians (

18.  A Third of Russians Say They Haven’t Read a Book in the Last Six Months. Russians who have long prided themselves on being a leading “reading” nation are becoming less so. A new VTsIOM poll finds that a third of them have not read a single book in the last six months (

19.  Employers in North Caucasus Now Demanding Applicants Know Russian Well. Almost 20 percent of employers in Daghestan and slightly smaller percentages in other North Caucasus republics are now demanding that those who want to work for them speak “grammatically correct Russian,” a sign that this is an increasing problem there (

20.  Far Fewer Russians Expect Protests or Plan to Take Part in Them Now than Six Months Ago. In January, roughly 45 percent of Russians said they expected protests to occur in their regions and that they would take part in them. Now, the share making such declarations has fallen to roughly 30 percent (

21.  Toilet Paper Holders on Planes Putin Uses Cost 1400 US Dollars. An investigation finds that the toilet paper holders on Vladimir Putin’s planes cost 1400 US dollars and the toilets themselves cost 37,000 (

22.  Interior Ministry Opposes Reducing Speed Limits in Cities to 30 Km/Hour. The interior ministry says it is against cutting speed limits in Moscow and other cities to 30 kilometers per hour, a speed that in the capital at least cars rarely care reach given traffic jams (\).

23.  Nevsky Ice Battle Museum Closed Because Only Road to It Impassible. Officials at the Pskov museum celebrating the victory of Aleksandr Nevsky over the Teutonic knights have had to shut it down because the only road leading to it is now impassible (

24.  Russian Liberals and Conservatives United in Opposing West’s Woke Culture. Russian liberals and conservatives may disagree on almost everything, a Moscow commentator says; but they share a common aversion to the woke culture now spreading in the West ( and

25.  Samara Activists Call for Elimination of Patronymics in Russian Names. A group of activists in Samara Oblast are pressing for dropping the use of patronymics in Russian names, but their efforts have been opposed by almost all who have spoken out on the issue (

26.  Deputies Worn Out from Passing So Many Restrictive Laws. Many Duma deputies have left the chamber long before adjournment on days when sessions have gone on for as much as nine hours in order to pass all the restrictive legislation before them ( Among the many such laws this week are bans on comparing Stalin and Hitler or denying the liberating role of the Red Army in World War II and provisions allowing people to be followed without a court order ( and

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