Tuesday, August 17, 2021

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

Paul Goble

Staunton, Aug. 13 – 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.      Russia Now World Leader in Violence Against Women. Two out of three Russian women who are murdered are killed by their husbands or partners, just one of the new statistics which has raised Russia to the top of the list of countries ranked by violence against women (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/08/13/papa-ubil-mamu-v-kvartire).

2.      Thirty Percent of Russian Orthodox Don’t Believe in God. A survey finds that 30 percent of Russians who identify as Orthodox Christians don’t believe in God and that 25 percent of Russians can’t name a single commandment, with a majority acknowledging that they never read the Bible (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/08/12/istoriia-rpts).

3.      Orthodox Priest Tells Parishioners Not to Show Charity to Roma. Father Dmitry Fetisov, an Orthodox priest in Ryazan, has urged his flock not to show any charity to Roma as that only encourages their “parasitic” way of life (nazaccent.ru/content/36369-ne-stoit-sponsirovat-tuneyadstvo-ryazanskij-svyashennik.html).

4.      Navalny Says Moscow’s Latest Charges Against Him Would Require Him to Have Had Access to a Time Machine. Imprisoned opposition leader Aleksey Navalny says that the latest charges Russian prosecutors have lodged against him are so poorly constructed that for him to be guilty, he would have had to had access to a time machine (rosbalt.ru/posts/2021/08/13/1916024.html).

5.      Putin ‘Newsspeak’ Now Calling Fires ‘Hotspots.’ Vladimir Putin and his regime don’t want to talk about the forest fires ravaging much of the country, and so they have adopted a new term, “hotspot,” so they don’t have to mention the reality of fires (rusmonitor.com/putinskij-novoyaz-popolnilsya-novym-slovom-termotochka-vmesto-lesnogo-pozhara.html).

6.      Moscow Gets Diplomatic Black Eye when Russian and British Ambassadors are Photographed at Site of Tehran Conference. Britain’s relationship with Iran is anything but warm, but Russia’s is warmer and Moscow hopes for more. But a decision of the Russian ambassador to have himself and his British colleague photographed in exactly the same place where Stalin and Churchill met in 1943 isn’t sitting well with Iranians. After all, at that time, Britain and the USSR jointly occupied their country (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=6115772CC1C9D).

7.      Every Third Marriage in Russia Ends in Divorce Because of Poverty. Low incomes are not the only cause of marital discord, but in Russia today, one in every three marriages ends because of poverty (ng.ru/economics/2021-08-12/4_8224_bednost.html).

8.      Russian Personal Debt Now Greater than Government’s Annual Budget. As incomes have stagnated or fallen, Russians have gone more deeply in debt; and now, personal debt has reached the point where it exceeds the government’s current annual budget (sobkorr.org/news/61134A6BD87DA.html).

9.      Shoygu Kicks Off Expansion of BAM. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu launched new construction on the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway. The project is to be completed in 2024 (stoletie.ru/lenta/shojgu_dal_start_rekonstrukcii_bam_462.htm).

10.  Foreign Minister Lavrov Proposes Creating Day of the Search Engine. As if Russia didn’t have enough holidays, Moscow’s top diplomat says he favors creating a new one, the Day of the Search Engine because of “the important and noble mission” such technology fulfills (ura.news/news/1052499282).

11.  Furgal’s Son Blocked from Running for Duma. The election commission in Khabarovsk kray said that former governor Sergey Furgal’s son Andrey had failed to collect enough signatures to be able to run for the State Duma (ura.news/news/1052499197).

12.  Even Putin’s Audience of Workers was Faked. Vladimir Putin visited a factory to reaffirm his support for the working class. But an investigation found that the people he was speaking to were not workers at all but rather officials playing the part. That raises the question as to whether the Kremlin leader is afraid of real proletarians (https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/08/11/shou-putinu).

13.  Calls for Return to Soviet System of Assigning University Graduates to Workplaces. The Soviet Union told students on their graduation from university where to work. Now, several politicians are proposing bringing that much-hated system back to promote the mobilization of the country (svpressa.ru/society/article/306755/).

14.  Chechen Woman who Fled to Daghestan and Was Forcibly Returned May have Been  Killed. There are unconfirmed reports that Khalimat Taramova, a Chechen woman who fled to Makhchkala and then was forcibly returned by Kadyrov’s goons may have been killed to keep her quiet about the abuse she has been subjected to (znak.com/2021-08-11/pravozachitnica_chechenka_halimat_taramova_bezhavshaya_ot_semi_mozhet_byt_mertva).

15.  Drought Pushes Down Estimated Russian Wheat Crop by 15 Percent. Analysts say that this year’s drought which has powered the numerous fires has also reduced the likely Russian wheat harvest by 12.5 million tons or 15 percent (newizv.ru/news/economy/13-08-2021/zasuha-v-rossii-unichtozhila-do-15-urozhaya-pshenitsy).

16.  Caspian States Understate Size of Oil Spill by 400,000 Times. Moscow’s Institute of Space Research says that satellite photos show that the Caspian littoral states have understated the size of a recent oil spill by 400,000 times (svobodaradio.livejournal.com/5737765.html).

17.  FSB Declassifies Materials on Concentration Camps in Karelia to Make Putin Look Good. A Sevreal commentator says the FSB has released documents about the concentration camps in Karelia to make Vladimir Putin’s repressions look less bad in comparison (severreal.org/a/fsb-rassekretila-arhivy-o-genotside-finnami/31403401.html).

18.  Only Two Aleuts in Russia Speak Their Native Language. The Aleut nation is dying in Russia. There are fewer than 500 people who identify as Aleut there now, and only two who speak their native language. What is intriguing is that these few remain in regular contact with the Aleuts of the US state of Alaska (indigenous-russia.com/archives/14715).

19.  60 to 70 Percent of Communal Infrastructure Must Be Replaced. Because the Russian government has not kept up with repairs and replacements in the fast, Sergey Stepashin, who follows such issues, says, 60 to 70 percent of it has outlived is useful life and must be replaced to prevent disasters (ehorussia.com/new/node/24034).

20.  Moscow Reduces Number of Poor Both by Economic Growth and Changing Metrics. The Russian government says it has cut the number of poor in that country by 3.4 million people. In part, analysts say, this reflects a slight economic uptick; but in another, it reflects a sleight of hand by changing the metrics used to come up with this figure (kp.ru/daily/28314/4456898/).

21.  Russians Work More Hours than Western Ones but with Much Lower Productivity. New data show that Russian workers spend several hundred hours more time at work during the course of a year than do Western ones but that their productivity per hour is less than half as much as their counterparts abroad (kp.ru/daily/28314/4456991/).

22.  Duma May Ban Those It Deems Active Russophobes from Entering the Country. Several deputies are pushing for legislation that would block any foreigner deemed an active Russophobe from entering the country (vz.ru/politics/2021/8/9/1113037.html).

23.  SVR Publishes Archival Document Highlighting Stalin’s Complicity with Hitler in Starting World War II. The Russian foreign intelligence service has done something remarkable: it has posted on its website a document concerning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that highlights the way in which Stalin cooperated with Hitler in opening the way for the start of World War II in Europe (ehorussia.com/new/node/24017).

24.  Some Russians Want Death Penalty Back. It has been 25 years since Russia last executed anyone legally. Many Russians would like to see it returned as the ultimate punishment, especially as some especially notorious criminals sentenced to life are being released and may engage in horrific new crimes (newizv.ru/news/society/06-08-2021/prishedshie-iz-ada-pervye-prestupniki-prigovorennye-k-vysshey-mere-vyhodyat-na-svobodu).

25.  For First Time in Decade, Incomes of Richest Tenth of Russians Grow Faster than Those of Poorest. A FinExpertiza study finds that the average pay of the highest decile of Russian earners increased more rapidly than that of the lowest decile. For the top tenth, the average monthly salary was 164,700 rubles (2400 US dollars); for the bottom tenth, it was 12,200 rubles (170 US dollars) (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/87120).

26.  Russians Now Protesting Police Action by Baring Their Backsides in Front of Police Stations. Although most involved have been quickly arrested, Russians upset with the police have come up with a novel way of protesting. They appear in front of police stations and then uncover their backsides to show their contempt (graniru.org/tags/police/m.282309.html).         



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