Staunton, Sept. 24 – 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:
Russian ‘Dam’ to Rival Chinese Firewall in Blocking Internet. The Russian government is blocking or seeking to block several hundred websites connected with groups opposed to the Kremlin, and observers say that this “Russian dam” will soon rival the Great Chinese Firewall in preventing citizens from going to sites based abroad (graniru.org/tags/banned/m.282645.html
2. Russian Shipbuilders have Plans for New Aircraft Carriers but Kremlin hasn’t Ordered Any. Aleksey Rakhmanov, head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, says his designers have come up with plans for a new aircraft carrier but that the Kremlin hasn’t made a decision to order one (ria.ru/20210924/rakhmanov-1751452273.html).
3. Patriarch Kirill Appears to Be in Trouble with His Own Propagandists. Normally ROC MP outlets carry everything Patriarch Kirill says; but in recent weeks, they have been editing or not covering at all many of his presentations, raising questions about his future, church critic Andrey Kurayev says (echo.msk.ru/blog/kuraev_andrey/2908300-echo/).
4. More than One Prisoner in Five in Four Russian Regions HIV Infected. Russian penal authorities say that in four Russian regions, 20 to 25 percent of those behind bars have HIV and that the share elsewhere is rising (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/24/v-chetyrekh-regionakh-rossii-dolia-zakliuchennykh-s-vich-prevyshaet-20-news).
5. Half of Foreign Students Unable to Return to Russian Universities This Fall. Some 145,000 foreign students out of a total of 316,000 enrolled last year have not been able to return to Russia because of the pandemic (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/25/okolo-poloviny-inostrannykh-studentov-ne-smogli-vernutsia-na-uchebu-v-rossiiu-sredi-nikh-900-afgantsev-news).
6. Some Russians Want to Put Russian Suffixes on All English Loan Words. Some Russians are pressing the government to require that Russian suffixes be put on all loan words from English so that it will be clear that they have been integrated into the Russian language (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/24/mozhno-li-vsem-anglitsizmam-pridelat-russkie-suffiksy).
7. Peskov Says There is No Censorship in Russia but that There are Limits. In a Russian version of a non-denial denial, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insists that there is no censorship in Russia but that there are limits beyond which the government can’t be expected to ignore what is going on (znak.com/2021-09-24/peskov_politicheskaya_cenzura_v_rossii_ne_presleduetsya_no_est_tonkaya_gran).
8. Russians Increasingly Using Internet for News. Many in the Putin regime have comforted themselves with the assumption that most Russians use the Internet for entertainment, but a new VTsIOM survey finds that Russians are increasingly using the world wide web for news and information that they can’t get from official media (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/mediapotreblenie-i-aktivnost-v-internete).
9. Bullying Now Follows Religious Lines in Daghestan. Ever more Daghestani pupils who wear a hijab are being subjected to bullying by non-Muslims, a serious problem in the overcrowded schools of that republic which are still running on a three-shift basis (daptar.ru/2021/09/24/hijab-dlya-uchenicy/).
10. Shipping Up on Northern Sea Route but Only for Parts of It. Moscow has celebrated the fact that this year, more ships have used the Northern Sea Route than ever before. But while the overall number is up, that of ships passing across the entire route is not. Instead, most ships are going only part of the way and delivering to Russian ports. What that means is that the NSR is not yet becoming the east-west passageway Moscow hopes for. Instead, it is being used to develop the Russian North much of which is inaccessible via roads or railways (nsra.ru/ru/rassmotrenie_zayavleniy/perechen_zayavlenii.html).
11. Tatarstan Now Ranks Third Behind Crimea and Moscow in Number of Political Prisoners. The Memorial human rights organization says that Tatarstan, with 53 political prisoners, now ranks third among Russian regions, behind only occupied Crimea, with 83 and Moscow with 79 (idelreal.org/a/31470466.html).
12. Critics Call New People Party ‘Liberals for Dictatorship.’ Now that the New People Party has won seats in the Duma, many other Russian opposition figures are calling it the party of “liberals for dictatorship” (rusmonitor.com/czik-poschital-100-protokolov-vse-te-zhe-i-novye-lyudi-no-rasklad-interesnyj.html).
13. As Russians Tighten Their Belts, They’re Buying Cheaper but More Caloric Foods. Russians facing rising prices and declining incomes are buying cheaper but more caloric foods. As a result, the negative impact of the economic situation on their health is not as obvious but is more profound (profile.ru/society/tuchnaya-bednost-zhiteli-rossii-vse-chashhe-vybirajut-bolee-deshevuju-i-kalorijnuju-pishhu-925473/).
14. Russians have Less Disposable Income After Fixed Expenses are Paid. The amount of money Russians have to spend after their fixed expenses are covered continues to decline, down five percent between July and August of this year alone (ehorussia.com/new/node/24333).
Khabarovsk Shows What Repression Can Do. A year ago, Khabarovsk was a hotbed of protests, but now, after a year of tightening the screws, Moscow-installed officials there have driven people out of the streets and ensured that the Kremlin rather than the people there are setting the weather ehorussia.com/new/node/24323
16. Moscow Now Using Prisoners in Construction Projects in Major Cities. Facing rising anger about immigrant workers, the Russian government is now using prisoners in ever greater numbers at construction sites in major Russian cities (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/zaklyuchennykh-fsin-nachali-napravlyat-na-stroyki-v-krupnye-goroda-1030817183).
17. Russian Government Spending for Siloviki Up 28 Percent. The Russian government is budgeting 28 percent more for the interior ministry, Russian Guard, investigators, security agencies and the prison system over the next three years than it spent during the last three (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/87956).
18. Crime Up, Cases Closed Down. Crime is rising in Russia but the number of cases, including those of serious crimes, that the authorities have closed is declining (iq.hse.ru/news/484652383.html).
Moscow Upset Minsk Textbooks Don’t Mention Russians as Part of Belarusian Ethnogenesis. Textbooks now being used in Belarusian schools say that the Belarus ethnos was formed between the 13th and 14th centuries out of various Slavic tribes, but these books do not mention the ancient Rus. Not surprisingly, given Putin’s insistence that Belarusians are really Russians, some in Moscow are angry (fondsk.ru/news/2021/09/21/drevnerusskaya-narodnost-propuschennoe-zveno-54516.html
20. Bust of Zeki Velidi Togan Taken Down in Bashkortostan, Angering Population. Persons unknown in Bashkortostan have removed a bust of the early 20th century national leader Zeki Velidi Togan, infuriating many across the Middle Volga region (milliard.tatar/news/v-baskirskom-sibae-iscez-s-postamenta-pamyatnik-validi-gorozane-vozmushheny-956).
21. Russian Men Recall Wanting to Be Cosmonauts or Soldiers; Russian Women, Doctors or Teachers. A new Superjob poll finds that adult Russian men recall that as children they wanted to be cosmonauts or soldiers and that adult Russian women wanted to be doctors or teachers (superjob.ru/research/articles/113073/muzhchiny-v-detstve-mechtali-stat-kosmonavtami-i-voennymi/).
22. Fear of More Russian Columbines Sparks Proposals to Ban Private Gun Ownership or Expand It to Include Teachers. In a mirror image to what happens whenever there is a mass school shooting in the United States, some Russians are calling for banning private gun ownership while others are pushing to arm teachers so that they can shoot back and protect their pupils. The Cossacks say they should be allowed to patrol the schools, and others say the schools must screen students to identify problem children. All this is likely to come to a head over the next two months as a report on what to do is being prepared for Putin by the end of November (dailystorm.ru/detali/doklad-dlya-putina-spch-v-noyabre-predstavyat-sekretnye-predlozheniya-po-predotvrashcheniyu-kolumbaynov, capost.media/news/obshchestvo/vlasti-vydelyat-bolee-1-6-mlrd-rubley-na-vyyavlenie-potentsialno-opasnykh-uchashchikhsya/, vz.ru/politics/2021/9/21/1120006.html, dailystorm.ru/obschestvo/kazaki-poobeshchali-ostanovit-volnu-kolumbaynov-v-rossii and dailystorm.ru/vlast/zarezat-mozhno-i-sigaretnym-filtrom-vasserman-ne-otkazhetsya-ot-idei-legalizacii-oruzhiya-posle-tragedii-v-permi).
23. Moscow Blames Internet for Spread of Violence and Vows to Control It. Senior officials in Moscow say that the Internet is to blame for the spread of aggression and violence in Russia and argue that only by blocking such messaging can Russia be stabilized (sobkorr.org/news/61482B51CDF2C.html and graniru.org/blogs/govnomer/entries/282651.html).
24. In Rural Karelia, Some Villages Didn’t Notice Elections. Saying that officials treat them like an aboriginal population, some in rural parts of Karelia say they didn’t see anything special in the runup to the elections or any attempt to involve them, reducing still further the importance of voting for people there (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/22/my-dlia-nikh-periferiia-aborigeny and region.expert/no-elections/).
25. Smart Voting Did Work in Some Places. Analysis of the recent election shows that smart voting did work, pushing communist candidates ahead of United Russia ones (tomsk.aif.ru/politic/didenko_iz_ldpr_oboshyol_edinorossa_leonteva_na_okruge_v_tomskoy_oblasti).
26. Muscovites Would Like Robots to Replace Immigrant Workers. Ever more residents of the Russian capital would like to see greater mechanization and even robotization at construction sites so as to reduce the need for more immigrant workers (apn.ru/index.php?newsid=40364).
27. Court Ban on Raising Chickens Seen Hurting Russian Diets. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government is within its rights to ban raising chickens in areas allotted for gardens. The result will be a significant deterioration in the diet of many Russians (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=61497D3FD5A7D).
28. Putin’s Cossacks Break into Museum in Search of Gays. A group of registered Cossacks broke into a museum in search of LGBT activists, yet another way in which the Putin regime is using such groups to carry out its dirty work (politsovet.ru/71650-v-ekaterinburge-kazaki-vorvalis-v-muzey-v-poiskah-lgbt.html).
29. IT will Know It When It Sees It: Moscow to use Info Technology to Fight Pornography and Extremism. Russian officials plan to use information technology to identify and then block extremism and pornography online (politsovet.ru/71652-roskomnadzor-budet-iskat-ekstremizm-i-pornografiyu-s-pomoschyu-iskusstvennogo-intellekta.html).
30. ROC MP Launches New Journal to Promote Its View of Orthodoxy. The Moscow Patriarchate has launched a new journal, Orthodoxy, to promote its view of that faith and give a boost to its vision of itself as the proper center of Eastern Christendom (religare.ru/2_121112.html).
31. Patriarch Kirill Says More Orthodox Churches Opening in Russia. According to the leader of the ROC MP, new openings in Russia bring the total of Orthodox churches to 36,878 (stoletie.ru/lenta/patriarkh_kirill_otmetil_uvelichenije_chisla_khramov_russkoj_pravoslavnoj_cerkvi_730.htm).
32. Lavrov and Shoygu Only Two of Winning Candidates who have Given Up Their Duma Seats to Others. Russia, a country where half of the seats in the legislature are filled by party list, is among those where those who win may never sit in parliament. Instead, they attract votes and then give up their seats to others who wouldn’t have made it in otherwise. Among those who has benefited from this practice this time around is the notorious Marina Butova (ura.news/news/1052506274).
33. Posters Satirizing Official Ones Featured on Apostrophe. The Internet provides the opportunity for those who want to satirize official posters to do so. The Apostrophe news agency has gathered some of the best of these from the Duma election campaign (apostrophe.ua/news/world/ex-ussr/2021-09-20/sidi-doma-poyavilis-metkie-fotojabyi-na-vyiboryi-v-rossii/244363).
Kadyrov Wins 99 Percent of the Vote in His Race. Demonstrating what managed democracy can attain, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov won over 99 percent of the vote in his race to remain republic leader. Other non-Russian republics, which Russians often refer to as “sultanates,” delivered almost as large majorities for Kremlin favorites (caucasustimes.com/ru/vybory-v-rossii-chempiony-po-javke-nacionalnye-respubliki/ and znak.com/2021-09-20/cik_ramzan_kadyrov_nabral_na_vyborah_99_7_golosov_eto_rekord
35. Russians have Another Reason to Favor Electronic Voting – Saving Forests. Many Russians now favor a shift to electronic voting and other former of computer-based record keeping because it will save the country’s forests (kp.ru/daily/28332.5/4477249/).
36. Aging Putin Leadership Seeks Younger People to Reach Out to Youth. Convinced that only younger people can speak to other younger people, the aging Putin government is promoting younger people to manage initiatives designed to attract support from those under 35 (russian.eurasianet.org/россия-станут-ли-«навигаторы-детства»-посредниками-между-зумерами-и-властью).
Duma Commission Says More than 20 Foreign NGOs Interfered in Russian Voting. The Duma commission on election interference has announced that more than 20 foreign NGOs interfered in Russian voting and that it is seeking to have these groups labelled as “undesirable” (ehorussia.com/new/node/24325
38. Russian Parents Divided on Internet Training in Schools. A new VTsIOM survey finds that Russian parents are divided on Internet training being provided in schools. Many support it but others fear it is leading their children to search for undesirable information (wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/rossiiskaja-shkola-sovremennye-vyzovy).
39. More Russians are Coming to Work on Time. Over the last 12 years, the percentage of Russians who come to work on time has risen significantly, an indication that the stress on discipline and order is having a real effect (superjob.ru/research/articles/113066/rossiyane-stali-rezhe-opazdyvat-na-rabotu/).