Russian police arrest two more human rights activists on suspicious drug charges

A year after the suspicious arrest of Chechen human rights advocate Oyub Titiev, two activists connected to Alexey Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky have been arrested in the city of Pskov, MBK Media reports. Leah Milushkina and her husband, Artyom Milushkin, have been charged with selling drugs in large quantities, their attorney Tatyana Martynova told MBK. Mediazona reports that Milushkina is the local coordinator of Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia movement in Pskov while Milushkin works in Navalny’s local headquarters.

The Real Russia. Today. A constitutional ruling on foreign involvement in Russia’s media, a most curious mobster’s funeral, and Sputnik’s ‘inauthentic’ Facebook ploy

Russia’s Constitutional Court issued a decision today regarding Article 19.1, a law that governs mass media. The law prohibits foreigners from founding or controlling media outlets in Russia, but the Court ruled that it requires correction. The new ruling indicates that the prohibition itself is just “because that sort of influence might threaten the security of state information,” but the Court also decided to clarify what rights foreigners do have if they own shares in Russian media companies.

Sex trainers Nastya Rybka and Alex Leslie allegedly arrested in Moscow airport

The Bell reports that Anastasia Vashukevich, a model and sex trainer who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, and her colleague Alexander Kirillov, better known as Alex Leslie, have been arrested in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. They and their travel companions had been deported to Russia from Thailand. While other sources have not yet confirmed The Bell’s report, the outlet has been in contact with the pair’s friends and relatives.

Two Russian films to compete in Tromsø International Film Festival

Two award-winning Russian-language dramas will be featured in the competition program of the Tromsø International Film Festival in Tromsø, Norway. Natalya Meshchaninova’s Core of the World (Serdtse mira) is scheduled to run tomorrow at 8:00 PM local time and Saturday at 11:00 AM. The Man Who Surprised Everyone (Chelovek, kotory udivil vsekh), directed by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, will air at 8:30 PM tomorrow.

Blogger outside Khabarovsk is arrested after sharing video that allegedly shows cops attending a mobster’s funeral

On January 8, reputed mobster Yuri Zarubin was laid to rest in the town of Amursk, about 150 miles outside Khabarovsk. That same day, Twitter user Mikhail Svetlov shared footage of the funeral procession, recorded by a local woman. Svetlov claims the ceremony blocked road traffic (though the woman who filmed the procession says this isn’t true). A few minutes after this content went up on Twitter, a user named VictorKvert2008 wrote that Zarubin’s pallbearers allegedly included the city’s district attorney and the chief of police. According to the news agency Rosbalt, another Amursk resident wrote online about the funeral and planned to share his own footage of police officers participating in the procession, but he decided not to publish the video, after threats from the authorities.

Russia’s Constitutional Court decides to ease limits on foreign involvement in the media — a bit

Russia’s Constitutional Court issued a decision today regarding Article 19.1, a law that governs mass media. The law prohibits foreigners from founding or controlling media outlets in Russia, but the Court ruled that it requires correction. The new ruling indicates that the prohibition itself is just “because that sort of influence might threaten the security of state information,” but the Court also decided to clarify what rights foreigners do have if they own shares in Russian media companies.

Facebook deletes hundreds of fake groups created by staff at Kremlin media outlet

On January 17, the head of Facebook’s Cybersecurity Policy announced the removal of 364 pages and accounts that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe. According to Facebook, the administrators and account owners represented themselves as independent news pages and general-interest pages, but were really “linked to employees” of the Russian media agency Sputnik, frequently posting about topics like “anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and corruption.”

Key prosecution witness testifies in Seventh Studio case

Employees of the Russian art house “Seventh Studio” were accused in 2017 of siphoning 133 million rubles, or approximately 2 million dollars, from government funds provided for a theater project. Numerous prominent figures in the media and the arts have since argued that the case is politically motivated. The studio’s founder, Kirill Serebrennikov, as well as all but one of its employees have denied the allegations against them. Nina Maslyaeva, the organization’s former chief accountant, is the only exception. A trial in the Seventh Studio case is ongoing in Moscow’s Meshchansky Court, and Valery Pedchenko, a key witness for the prosecution, began testifying today. Here, Meduza summarizes Pedchenko’s claims.