Staunton, Sept. 10 – Below are 39 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. Russian Bankruptcy Laws Allowing Firms to Walk Away from Billions They Owe. Over the last five years, Russian bankruptcy courts have allowed firms to walk away from all but five percent of the 12 trillion rubles (160 billion US dollars) they owed. That amounts to 10.5 percent of Russia’s GDP over that period and is equal to ten annual budgets for Russian higher education (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/87542).
2. Russians Plan to Live Far Beyond Existing Life Expectancy. Russian men expect to live to 88.3 while Russian women expect to live to 86.9, both figures far beyond the existing life expectancy numbers in their country (vestikavkaza.ru/news/rossiane-rasskazali-skolko-let-hoteli-by-prozit.html).
3. Russian Government Runs Out of Money for HIV/AIDS Medications. The Russian government has run through the amount of money it budgeted for the purchase of HIV/AIDS medication and has seen the prices of 30 other critical medicines rise dramatically in recent months (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/87588https://www.trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/minzdrav-rf-v-2021-m-povysil-ceny-na-bolee-chem-30-zhiznenno-vazhnyh-lekarstv-6547585).
4. Moscow Thinking about Subsidizing Use of Northern Sea Route. In order to meet Vladimir Putin’s ambitious plans for shipping on the Northern Sea Route, officials in Moscow say they may subsidize those companies who use it (minvr.gov.ru/press-center/news/32385/). Meanwhile, Moscow staged a massive military exercise along its route (interfax.ru/russia/789418).
5. Officials’ Use of Doubles to Confuse Voters Spreads Far Beyond St. Petersburg. Russian media have focused on efforts to confuse voters in St. Petersburg by coming up with two similarly named and in appearance candidates to undercut an opposition figure there. But that practice has been widespread across the country (themoscowtimes.com/2021/09/06/st-petersburg-election-ballot-features-3-near-identical-boris-vishnevskys-a74975, https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/10/politik-ilia-iashin-soobshchil-o-poiavlenii-svoego-kandidata-dvoinika-na-vyborakh-v-gosdumu-newshttp://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=61377D8DB4A39).
6. Russians Buying Ever Smaller Apartments in Moscow as Prices Skyrocket. The price of a square meter of an apartment in Moscow now stands at approximately 300,000 rubles (4,200 US dollars), a figure eight to ten times the average income of Russians there. As a result, Russians are buying ever smaller apartments (lenta.ru/articles/2021/09/09/cheap_homes/).
7. Russian Women Less Troubled by Divorce than Men. As divorces have become more common, ever more Russians are acceptant of the idea that sometimes they are the best solution for troubled couples. Russian women are less disturbed by the prospect than are Russian men (superjob.ru/research/articles/113047/zhenschiny-otnosyatsya-k-razvodu-prosche/).
8. Russia Now has Nearly 300,000 Dollar Millions, Of Whom a Third Live in Moscow. Approximately 297,000 Russians are dollar millionaires. Of that number, 35 percent live in Moscow city or Moscow oblast (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=613B204287C7E).
9. Police Break Up Online Murder for Hire Service. A Russian web page offering to murder people has been exposed and shut down by the police (newizv.ru/news/incident/09-09-2021/politsiya-zaderzhala-vladeltsa-taynogo-servisa-po-onlayn-naymu-killerov).
10. Some Say Putin and Shoygu Looking for GULAG Sites. The vacations Vladimir Putin takes with his defense minister have sparked many anecdotes. Among the latest is one that suggests the two leaders are searching for possible sites for new GULAG camps (kavkazr.com/a/ischut-mesta-dlya-lagerey-blogery-ob-otdyhe-putina-i-shoygu-v-tayge/31451323.html).
11. Fewer than Half of Russian Companies Expect to Completely Restore Business after Pandemic. According to a Rabota.ru survey, only 44 percent of Russian companies expect to be able to completely restore their business after the pandemic to what it was before. At the same time, 18 percent say the coronavirus has not affected them (echo.msk.ru/news/2900252-echo.html).
12. Russian City Sends Out SOS to the World. Chelyabinsk, which will soon mark the 285th anniversary of its founding has come up with a symbol for the city that appears to say not 285 but SOS, some observers say (sobkorr.org/news/613872C92AA25.html).
Mari El Chief Wants Pupils to Study Pagan Faith. Aleksandr Yevstifeyev, head of Mari El, wants children in his republic to have the chance to study the traditional pagan religion of his nation when they study religions and culture (idelreal.org/a/31448416.html
According to Zen.Yandex, most North Caucasians identify as Russians in the non-ethnic sense, but at the same time, they don’t like what other Russians think about them (zen.yandex.ru/media/centralasia/schitaiut-li-kavkazcy-sebia-rossiianami-60fec64f0191a72d06bf79f5
20. Instead of Preparing to Fight Fires, Moscow Imposes More Fines. Instead of developing or even maintaining a fire-fighting capacity, the Putin government has assumed that it can prevent forest fires by imposing fines and even jail terms. But this year’s record fires show that that approach doesn’t work (tvrain.ru/teleshow/kto_zdes_vlast/kto_vinovat_v_lesnyh_pozharah_v_rossii-537290/).
21. If You Want to Meet an IT Professional, Go Running; if You Want to Meet a Siloviki, Go to the Pool. A new Superjob survey finds that Russians from different professions relax in different ways. Bosses go to fitness clubs, programmers go running, while siloviki go to the pool (superjob.ru/research/articles/113045/kadrovika-bolshe-shansov-vstretit-v-fitnes-zale/).
22. Chechens Continue to Emigrate to Germany. Most of the 1268 Russian citizens who were granted political asylum in Germany since the start of 2021 are Chechens fleeing the repression in their homeland (caucasustimes.com/ru/chechency-prodolzhajut-iskat-ubezhishhe-v-evrope/).
23. Vladivostok Didn’t Want Putin to See ‘How Estonian Hippies Destroyed the Soviet Union.’ Before Vladimir Putin arrived in Vladivostok, city authorities forced the Primorsky Youth Theater to cancel performances of Mikhail Durenenkov’s play, “How Estonian Hippies Destroyed the Soviet Union” (therussianreader.com/2021/09/02/estonian-hippies-putin-vladivostok/).
Call for Orthodox Hierarchs to Declare Their Incomes; More Actions by Siloviki to Block That. A Russian priest in Chuvashia has called on Patriarch Kirill and other senior churchmen to declare their incomes. Immediately, the government’s coercive arm has sprung into action against him for such an appeal (znak.com/2021-09-06/rossiyskiy_svyachennik_prizval_patriarha_i_drugih_cerkovnyh_deyateley_raskryt_svoi_dohody and ng.ru/news/719195.html
25. Two-Thirds of Russians Says They are More Divided than United. A new Higher School of Economics survey finds that 65 percent of Russians say that there is more division among them than unity, although the remainder feel just the opposite (iq.hse.ru/news/484650243.html).
26. Thirty-Nine Percent of Russians Don’t Trust Internet Voting. Like some in other countries, many Russians don’t trust electronic voting. According to one new survey, 39 percent say they have a negative attitude toward any such arrangements (forum-msk.org/material/news/17393418.html).
27. Seventy Percent of Muscovites Opposed to Moving the Russian Capital. According to Superjob, seven out of ten residents of Moscow are opposed to any shift of the Russian capital away from their city (superjob.ru/research/articles/113044/moskvichi-ne-hotyat-perenosa-stolicy/). The intriguing fact is that more than a third of Muscovites aren’t opposed to the idea.
28. Putin Continues to Make Historical Mistakes. Despite being corrected by a schoolboy, Vladimir Putin continues to make historical mistakes not only on the subject of two wars which he confused earlier but on other historical questions, critics say (znak.com/2021-09-03/putin_snova_kosnulsya_semiletney_voyny_petra_i_i_sdelal_pyat_istoricheskih_oshibok_razbor and svpressa.ru/post/article/308827/).
29. Interior Ministry Sues Navalny Demonstrators for Cost of Dispersing Their Actions. In several Russian regions, the interior ministry has sued Navalny activists to try to recover form them the cost of police actions at the time of last winter’s protests (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/02/pereputali-ushcherb-s-raskhodami).
Kurgan Oblast Residents Say They’re Cutting Back on Everything. Various polls have found that economic problems have led Russians to reduce spending on this or that product, but a survey in Kurgan Oblast recorded the most negative assessment yet. Most people there said they were having to cut back on their spending on everything (sovross.ru/news/53572
31. Inflation at FiveFive-Year High as Russians Head to the Polls. According to the Russian government, inflation has reached its highest level in the last five years, just two weeks before Russians head to the polls (rosstat.gov.ru/storage/mediabank/161_08-09-2021.html).
32. Underlying Economic Factors All Point to More Trouble Ahead, Inozemtsev Says. Russian economist Vladislav Inozemtsev says that all underlying economic factors are pointing in a negative direction, and what is happening in one may reinforce what is happening in others unless policy changes are made (rosbalt.ru/posts/2021/09/08/1920194.html).
33. Duma Deputies Want to Equate Rehabilitation of Nazism with Extremism and Make Talk about Soviet Genocides a Crime. With each passing week, Duma deputies come up with new things to ban or criminalize. This week, one wanted to equate any rehabilitation of Nazism with extremism, and another wanted to criminalize any suggestion that Soviet officials committed acts of genocide in the USSR (sovsekretno.ru/news/krasnov-predlozhil-priravnyat-k-ekstremizmu-reabilitatsiyu-natsizma/ritmeurasia.org/news--2021-09-06--v-rossii-razrabotali-zakonoproekt-zakrepljajuschij-ponjatie-genocid-narodov-sssr-56309).
In Moscow, Rapes Up but Murders Down This Year. According to the Moscow city government, the number of rapes in the Russian capital rose 32.4 percent during the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier, while the number of murders fell by 21.2 percent (t.me/moscowproc/304
Khabarovsk School Director Filed for Allowing Belly Dance at School Reopening Ceremony. A school director in Khabarovsk was unceremoniously sacked for allowing some of his students to demonstrate belly dancing during the September 1 ceremonies reopening school (capost.media/news/obshchestvo/direktor-shkoly-v-khabarovske-gde-1-sentyabrya-na-lineyke-detyam-pokazali-tanets-zhivota-uvolnyaetsya/
36. Aeroflot Rerouting Flights around Moscow and St. Petersburg. Anyone travelling in Russia knows that one must usually travel through the capitals to get from point A to point B, but now congestion and noise complaints may be changing that. Aeroflot has announced it is rerouting some of its domestic routes around the capitals so that people will be able to travel within the country without in almost every case having to go through Moscow or Petersburg (rbc.ru/business/10/09/2021/6139ff989a7947ef32ce62f5).
37. Moscow Erects New Barrier to Russians Wanting to Travel Abroad. The Russian government will no longer allow Russians to book flights between two foreign destinations using international booking systems. Instead, they must use Russian ones, something that will make travel more difficult but make it easier for the authorities to keep track of where people are going (vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2021/09/08/885838-posrednikam-aviabiletov).
38. With Elections Ahead, Russians are More Tense and More Inclined to Protest. New surveys show that Russians are increasingly tense and more inclined to take part in protests but also that they do not expect major protects where they live (politsovet.ru/71563-v-rossiyskom-obschestve-snova-nachali-rasti-trevozhnye-nastroeniya.html).
39. Russian Businessmen, Duma Deputies and Putin Express Concern about What Children are Watching on the Internet. A major tool the authorities are likely to use to shutter much of the Internet in Russia is the fact that most of the elite is concerned about the content Russian children have access to when they go online (znak.com/2021-09-07/putin_prizval_zachitit_detey_ot_vrednogo_kontenta_v_internete_chto_dumayut_rossiyane_opros).