Staunton, Oct. 8 – 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. Only 12 World Leaders Greet Putin on His 69th Birthday. In another sign of Putin’s isolation, only 12 world leaders sent him greetings on his birthday this year. None at all came from the US or from EU countries (business-gazeta.ru/article/524870).
2. What Moscow Calls Redevelopment Actually Gentrification. The Russian government has promoted its rebuilding of housing in central cities as a way to improve the residences of people living there now, but in fact, experts say, it is a form of gentrification, a means of pushing out poorer residents and making room for wealthier ones (https://www.nakanune.ru/articles/117705/).
3. Putin’s Involvement Means Pandora Dossier Won’t have Much Impact in Russia. Precisely because Putin and his entourage are among those mentioned in the Pandora Dossier of foreign holdings by world leaders, the Kremlin will make sure that this expose does not lead to problems for Russians involved (meduza.io/episodes/2021/10/09/v-rossii-ochen-mnogo-voruyut-kak-izmenilas-korruptsiya-pri-putine-i-kak-ot-nee-izbavitsya-uzhe-seychas, newizv.ru/news/politics/08-10-2021/pochemu-v-rossii-v-otlichie-ot-zapada-ne-budet-gromkoy-reaktsii-na-dosie-pandory and ura.news/news/1052509983).
4. World Bank Lowers Russia’s Projected Growth Rate for Next Three Years. The World Bank has issued new lower and declining growth rate projections for Russia over the next three years (charter97.org/ru/news/2021/10/6/439575/).
5. Political Analysts Say Duma Divided among Nine Elite Clans More than by Party List. If one considers the links of key members of the Duma, Russian analysts say, it is obvious that the legislature is in fact dominated by nine different elite clans far more than it is by the party lists (ura.news/articles/1036283216).
6. Moscow Adds Nine More Journalists to Foreign Agents List. The Russian government has added nine journalists from Bellingcat and Kavkaz-Uzel to its list of foreign agents (rusmonitor.com/devyat-zhurnalistov-bellingcat-i-kavkazskij-uzel-popolnili-spisok-inoagentov-minyusta.html). The action come as others recall that 234 journalists have been killed or disappeared in Russia since 1993 (profile.ru/society/bez-sroka-davnosti-s-1993-goda-v-rossii-pogibli-ili-propali-bez-vesti-234-zhurnalista-938453/).
7. Mass Deaths from Alcohol Surrogates in Orenburg Attracts Widespread Attention. The Russian media have been filled with stories about the deaths of more than two dozen Orenburg residents from drinking alcohol surrogates, yet another indication that many know the regime’s claims about Russians’ drinking less are at best a distortion of the real situation (rusmonitor.com/tipichnaya-rossijskaya-beda-massovoe-otravlenie-poddelnym-spirtom-v-orenburgskoj-oblasti-26-pokojnikov.html).
8. West Reports Last 58 Attacks on Microsoft Originated in Russia. The recent hacking attacks on Microsoft came almost exclusively from Russia, with at least 58 of these attacks having been shown to be Russian in origin (rusmonitor.com/independent-rossiya-otvetstvenna-za-58-vzlomov-sovershennyh-pri-podderzhke-gosudarstva-microsoft.html).
9. ‘Fact Checking’ as Cover for Censorship. The Russian authorities are requiring media and Internet companies to sign commitments to fact checking, something that media freedom activists suggest will be a cover for government censorship of their content (rusmonitor.com/vedushhie-internet-platformy-i-smi-budut-czenzurirovat-runet-pod-vidom-faktchekinga.html).
10. Half of All Russians Prepared to Move from One Region to Another for Work. A new survey finds that Russians are increasingly prepared to move in order to get work, with half now ready to leave their home regions if necessary (newizv.ru/news/society/09-10-2021/polovina-grazhdan-gotovy-smenit-region-radi-raboty).
Moscow Gives Priority to Foreign Flights, Shuts Down Many to Domestic Destinations. Probably because foreign flights earn more money than do domestic ones, Moscow gives priority to the maintenance of the latter while shutting down flights and even whole airports inside the country, leaving many Russians without access to air travel (newizv.ru/news/society/09-10-2021/v-treh-regionah-priostanovili-polety-v-malye-aeroporty, newizv.ru/article/general/07-10-2021/zagranitsa-vazhnee-aeroflot-prekraschaet-polety-v-26-regionov-rossii sibreal.org/a/v-sibirskih-regionah-prekratilis-aviaperevozki-v-malye-aeroporty/31500721.html
12. Inflation in Russia Now Twice Government’s Projected Goal. Inflation in Russia officially rose from 6.7 percent in August to 7.4 percent in September, the latter a rate twice what the government earlier indicated was its goal (rosstat.gov.ru/storage/mediabank/181_06-10-2021.html).
13. Chinese Shippers Get Priority Treatment in Kaliningrad Leaving Residents without Supplies. Because Moscow wants to curry favor with Beijing, Chinese shippers are getting priority treatment in Kaliningrad ports. But the result is that supplies going to that Russian exclave are often delayed with all the problems that leads to (vz.ru/economy/2021/10/8/1122890.html).
14. 23 Russian Regions Protest Moscow’s Renting of Land to China. Twenty-three Russian regions have protested Moscow’s plans to rent up to one million acres of agricultural land in the Far East to China. Moscow says that there aren’t enough Russians to work the land, but people in the region see this as another example of creeping Chinese neo-colonialism (publizist.ru/blogs/115416/41006/-).
Nearly Two out of Three Russians Emigrating Say They Do So in Search of Security. According to a new Takiye dela poll, 64 percent of Russians now emigrating say they do so because they want to live in a secure environment, 54 percent say they are worried about the political situation in Russia, and 51 percent are concerned about the future of their children (svobodaradio.livejournal.com/5994286.html
16. One Russian in Four Certain Duma Elections were Dishonest. Twenty-four percent of Russians say they are certain the recent Duma elections were dishonest, and 23 percent more are inclined to that view, according to a new poll. Only 14 percent think the vote was honest (sovross.ru/articles/2182/53945).
17. Migrant Rights Activist Expelled from Russia Seeks Asylum in Ukraine. Valentina Chupik, a rights activist who has worked on behalf of Central Asian migrants in Russia and who was recently expelled from that country, is seeking political asylum in Ukraine (centrasia.org/newsA.php?st=1633499640).
Two-Thirds of Russians Say They’ve Never Heard of ‘Smart Voting;’ Only Nine Percent Support It. Commentaries on the recent Duma election have focused on smart voting as a major factor in the results. But 65 percent of Russians say they have never heard of it; and only nine percent say they back the idea (levada.ru/2021/10/08/umnoe-golosovanie/
19. Shoygu and Lavrov were Not the Only Stalking Horses in Recent Voting. When the defense and foreign ministers ran for Duma membership and then gave up their seats to others, that attracted a great deal of attention. But what has not is that this use of stalking horses to attract votes that allow those elected to give up their seats to unknowns is far larger than many may think. “More than 300” such cases occurred after the September vote (govoritmagadan.ru/bolee-300-parovozov-otkazalis-ot-mandatov-deputata-gosdumy-kto-oni/).
20. Deaths in Russia up 18.5 Percent First Eight Months of 2021 Compared to Year Earlier. 238,000 more Russians died during the first eight months of this year than last, accelerating that country’s demographic decline (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/smertnost-v-rossii-ustanovila-rekord-s-razvala-sssr-1030853567).
21. Only 38 Percent of Russians Say They Voted for United Russia, Not the 49 Plus Percent Moscow Claimed. A Levada Center poll finds that only 38 percent of Russians who voted in the Duma elections say they cast ballots for the ruling United Russia Party, far fewer than the more than 49 percent the regime claimed (https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/10/05/levada-38-rossiian-zaiavili-chto-golosovali-za-edinuiu-rossiiu-news).
22. Dissatisfaction among Russians with the Regime Rises after Duma Election. The Public Opinion Foundation reports that the share of Russians dissatisfied with the government rose after the Duma elections, with 47 percent saying they had encountered that among their families and friends (politsovet.ru/71802-v-rossii-posle-vyborov-vyroslo-nedovolstvo-vlastyami.html).
23. Over Last 15 Years, Russians have Become Less Hospitable and More Inclined to Violence. A new VTsIOM poll finds that over the last 15 years, Russians have become less hospitable to others and the share of those who sometimes feel they want to beat others has risen from 39 percent to 50 percent (politsovet.ru/71810-rossiyane-za-15-let-stali-menee-obschitelnymi-i-doverchivymi.html).
24. Moscow Patriarchate to Mark Deaths of All Orthodox Christians Killed by Soviet State. The ROC MP has announced that it will mark with special services the deaths of all Orthodox Christians who were killed by the machinations of the Soviet state. The special holiday will take place on October 30 (ng.ru/ng_religii/2021-10-05/9_516_repression.html).
25. Ukrainian Media Report Moscow Setting Up Seven Military Bases in Belarus. In an unconfirmed report, media in Kyiv are reporting that the Russian defense ministry is building seven new bases in Belarus (versia.ru/rossiya-skrytno-perebrosila-v-belorussiyu-voennyx-i-texniku).
26. Moscow Upset Uzbeks Being Told Not to Use Russian Words. Many Uzbeks mix Russian words with their Uzbek speech. Now some activists are pressing Uzbeks to stop that practice to the anger of Russian officials who see this as a profoundly anti-Russian move (politobzor.net/240539-russkij-jazyk-v-uzbekistane-objavili-nepravilnym.html).
27. Homeless Chelyabinsk Man Charged with Rehabilitating Nazism for Lighting Fire near War Memorial to Dry His Socks. The absurdity of charges in Russia today was highlighted by a case in which a homeless Chelyabinsk man was charged with rehabilitating Nazism for lighting a fire near a war memorial to dry his socks (bbc.com/russian/news-58772819).
28. Russia to Have a Father’s Day. Russia has had a mother’s day for some time, but it has not had a father’s day. That has now been remedied: Vladimir Putin has signed an order making October 17 Father’s Day in that country (stoletie.ru/lenta/v_rossii_budet_otmechatsa_den_otca_287.htm).
29. VTOTs Allowed to Hold Meeting on 1552 Anniversary. Kazan authorities have allowed embattled Tatar nationalist group VTOTs to hold a meeting to mark the anniversary of the sacking of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. The group will hold it not in the central square but nearby. Last year, the executive authorities sought to ban the meeting, but the courts overruled them (nazaccent.ru/content/36853-tatarskim-nacionalistam-razreshili-pomitingovat.html).
30. World Tatar Youth Forum Calls for Preservation of Republic Presidency. The Council of the World Forum of Tatar Youth has called for the preservation of the title of president for the head of the republic of Tatarstan (nazaccent.ru/content/36847-sovet-vsemirnogo-foruma-tatarskoj-molodezhi-prizval-sohranit-status-prezidenta-tatarstana.html).
31. Northern Peoples Begin to Register on Lists Giving Them Special Rights. The Russian government has begun to register members of numerically small peoples of the North and the Far East who still practice traditional ways of life on special lists that will give them benefits from the state. Many northern peoples believe that all their members should get such benefits even if they do not engage in traditional economic activities (nazaccent.ru/content/36845-dokumenty-na-vklyuchenie-v-spisok-korennyh-malochislennyh-narodov-nachali-prinimat-v-mfc.html).
32. European Commission on Racism and Intolerance Says Russia hasn’t Fulfilled Recommendations for Change. The European Commission says that Russia has not fulfilled either of the two priority recommendations the group made to improve the treatment of residents of the Russian Federation (sova-center.ru/misuse/discussions/2021/10/d45043/).
33. Russia will Remove Two Sunken Soviet Nuclear Subs but Only in 2030. The Russian government says it will recover and decommission two nuclear subs on the seabed of the Barents and Kara Seas but only nine years from now (interfax.ru/world/795033).
34. Prosecutors Seek to Label Male State an Extremist Organization. Now that the Male State group has begun interfering with businesses, the Russian government has announced that it will seek to have it labelled an extremist organization and then banned (znak.com/2021-10-05/prokuratura_potrebovala_priznat_muzhskoe_gosudarstvo_ekstremistskoy_organizaciey).
35. Kremlin Beginning to Take Steps Against Climate Change. The Russian authorities are beginning to accept that climate change is real and have announced that they are taking steps to counter its impact (ng.ru/economics/2021-10-05/4_8269_kremlin.html). The announcement comes as the Carbon Brief group announced that Russia currently ranks fourth in carbon emissions among the countries of the world (carbonbrief.org/analysis-which-countries-are-historically-responsible-for-climate-change).
36. Russian Harvest Down 10 Percent in August. Because of flooding in some parts of the country and droughts in others, the Russian harvest has fallen this year, down ten percent year on year in August (ehorussia.com/new/node/24438).
37. Kaliningrad Officials Cover Over Medieval German Ruins. Russian officials in Kaliningrad have announced that they are going to cover over medieval ruins in the center of the city ostensibly to protect them. But activists say that this is another move to reduce the German image of the city (severreal.org/a/v-kaliningrade-zakopayut-ruiny-korolevskogo-zamka/31490597.html).
One Russian in Six Suffered from Recent Problems with the Internet. Every sixth Russian experienced difficulties during the worldwide collapse of popular Internet services this month (superjob.ru/research/articles/113103/nepoladki-v-populyarnyh-socialnyh-setyah-i-messendzherah-skazalis-na-rabote-kazhdogo-shestogo-rossiyanina/
39. Thirty Percent of Parents Favor Banning Cellphones in Schools. Cellphones have become commonplace in Russian schools, and thirty percent of Russian parents say they favor banning them so that the phones don’t interfere with the educational process (https://www.superjob.ru/research/articles/113092/zapret-na-mobilnye-telefony-u-detej-v-shkole-podderzhivayut-3-iz-10-roditelej/).