Thursday, July 29, 2021

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

Paul Goble

Staunton, July 23 – 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.       Moscow Plans for Massive Expansion of Trade on Northern Sea Route. Over the next decade, Moscow hopes for a 2000 percent growth in the amount of cargo carried over the Northern Sea Route but says much of this will be within portions of Russia rather than international ( and ).

2.       ‘Shariat Patrols’ Begin in Moscow. Moscow residents are calling police units composed exclusively of Chechens in their city “shariat patrols,” a reference that does not promise good relations between them (

3.       Nizhny Novgorod Residents Overwhelmingly Oppose New Church in Square or Cemetery. Eighty-eight percent of  Nizhny Novgorod residents at a meeting called to discuss the possibility of a new Orthodox church either in a square or in a cemetery say they are opposed to the idea (

4.       Ten Percent of Chukotka Residents have Mental Problems. The Russian health ministry says that ten percent of residents in Chukotka have mental problems, the highest rate by far among the populations of Russia’s federal subjects (

5.      Russian Prison Factories Sometimes Pay Workers Less than Two Dollars a Month. Factories in Russian prisons which produce goods for hospitals, the siloviki and tax service are a growth industry in part because they operate without any outside inspection. As a result, in some of them workers are paid less than two dollars a month and required to work as much as 12 hours a day (

6.      Moscow Plans to Delay 2020 Census for Third Time. Faced with difficulties in organizing the enumeration, Moscow officials have decided to delay the 2020 census for a third time, but this time for only a month from October 15 to November 14. The count in some difficult to reach places may not occur until December 20 (

7.      Russians More Tolerant of Sexual Minorities but Still Overwhelmingly Opposed to Single-Sex Marriage. VTsIOM polls show that Russians have become more tolerant of sexual minorities over the last 17 years but that they remain overwhelmingly opposed to single-sex marriages with 75 percent saying those should not be allowed (

8.       Collapse of One Bridge Closes Trans-Siberian Railway for Three Days. The collapse of a small bridge used by the Trans-Siberian railway has forced officials to suspend traffic in both directions for three days, another sign of the lack of alternative routes east of the Urals (

9.       Those Searching for GULAG Victims have to Use Nazi Maps Because Soviet Ones have Been Destroyed. The only way investigators looking for GULAG victims have been able to find their graves inn some cases is to use Nazi aerial maps because the Soviet authorities destroyed all of the Russian ones that might have helped them (

10.    Cosmonaut Says Russians Could Organize Private Space Flights. Sergey Ryazansky, a Russian cosmonaut, says he sees no reason why his country couldn’t organize private space flights like those which have recently taken place in the West (

11.   Russian Occupiers Operate Illegal Bacteriological Labs in Crimea. Moscow has long complained about US laboratories in the former Soviet republics, but now its own operation of a bacteriological laboratory in occupied Crimea has been exposed, something illegal on a variety of grounds (

12.   Russian Quality of Life Rated Below Ukrainian. A Numbeo survey finds that Russia ranks 67th out of 83 countries in terms of quality of life, below Pakistan, Georgia and even Ukraine (

13.   Buddhists and Jews in Russia Using Actors to Attract Attention to Their Faiths. Russia’s Buddhists and Jews have begun employing prominent actors to attract attention to their faiths, thus copying what some minority religions have done elsewhere (

14.   As Putin Ages, He Keeps Raising Retirement Age for Those Around Him. Vladimir Putin has proposed a draft law that would allow senior military commanders to continue to serve well beyond their current retirement ages, part of a general process of the graying of the Russian leadership and one that recalls the Brezhnev era in Soviet times (

15.   Russian Government Shuts Down 49 Navalny Websites. Calling attention to just how Internet-dependent the Russian opposition is, Russian officials have announced the shuttering of 49 websites connected with Aleksey Navalny and his staffs (

16.   Private Prisons aren’t Illegal in Russia But They Do Raise Concerns. The authorities have discovered a private prison in St. Petersburg, which even has its own crematoria for the disposition of bodies. They say that the existence of such a facility is not illegal under Russian law but activists say its existence raises serious concerns (

17.   Moscow May Ban Importation of Luxury Women’s Underwear. Russian officials say that women’s undergarments produced abroad in many cases do not meet Russian “security” requirements and should be banned (

18.   Russians Say Inflation Five Times What Officials Report. A survey finds that Russians on average believe inflation is running at 30 percent, nearly five times what officials say, a reflection of the tendency of people to focus on those items whose prices have gone up rather than on others which have not (

19.   Divorce Rates in Russia Rise, Led by Increases in Muslim Republics. The divorce rate in Russia this year is the highest it has been in seven years, with three Muslim republics, Ingushetia, Chechnya and Daghestan, where divorce is historically rare, among the regions showing the largest increases (

20.   Moscow Patriarchate Wants to Block Doctors from Proposing Abortions. The Russian Orthodox Church has asked the government to introduce new laws that would prevent doctors or other medical workers from ever proposing to a woman that she get an abortion (

21.   Moscow Drops Marriage and Children Lines in Russian Passports. Russians will no longer have to list their marital status or their young children on their passports but may request that such information be entered under newly released rules (

22.   Russians Ignoring Tokyo Olympics But Officials Aren’t. 97 percent of Russians tell VTsIOM they can’t name a single Russian athlete at the Tokyo Games where Russians are competing not  under their own flag but as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee ( Four more Russian athletes have had to stay home because of drug use ( But Russian officials are pushing for victories by those Russian athletes who have gone to Japan and are angry that Tokyo, having shown Crimea as part of Russia, have now corrected their mistake ( and

23.   Only One Russian Business in Three Plans to Spend to Protect Environment. A new survey finds that only 32 percent of Russian business leaders have any plans to spend money to protect the environment (

24.   Russian Oil Production and Earnings from It have Peaked, Experts Say. 2019 was likely the peak in Russian oil production and its earnings from oil exports peaked earlier. Neither is likely to recover to the peaks they achieved a decade ago, Russian analysts say, the result of falling demand and the difficulties of pumping oil in ever more inaccessible places (

25.   Russian Case Against Ukraine at Strasbourg Unlikely to Be Decided for Years. Russian officials, having brought suit against Ukraine at the European Human Rights Court, are about to discover one of the features of Western jurisprudence. The case is unlikely to be resolved much before 2030 and so will continue to spark discussions about its absurdity throughout that period (

26.   Moscow Patriarchate Hopes Christian Right in US Can Help It in Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate hopes that the Christian right in the US will return the Republicans to power in Washington, something it believes will lead Washington to be more supportive of Russian religious organizations in Ukraine (

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