The Russian state oil company Rosneft says a recent report by the news agency Reuters contains “patently false” information that President Nicolas Maduro is funneling money from Venezuelan oil sales through Rosneft to evade U.S. sanctions.
The Moscow region’s Odintsovsky District is holding local elections on April 21. To drum up support among a younger demographic, candidates from United Russia, the country’s ruling political party, recently released three music videos. The website Odintsovo.info was the first to write about the rap mashups.
Georgy Borisenko, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, says Robert Mueller’s report contains no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “There’s nothing there that would attract attention. It actually confirms the absence of any argument that Russia supposedly meddled in the American elections. There’s not a shred of evidence there. In fact, the report’s authors concede that they have no evidence,” Borisenko says.
In the last seven years, the Russian government has drastically tightened its regulation of the Internet, and it has shown no signs of slowing down: on April 16, 2019, the State Duma passed a new law enabling the isolation of the Russian segment of the Internet from the World Wide Web. Opposition to the government’s onslaught of new laws has come primarily from small organizations and individual activists, and Roskomsvoboda has emerged as the most prominent group among them. The small-scale project, which was founded in 2012 by activists from the Pirate Party of Russia, has transformed itself alongside the growth of Russian censorship into a full-blown advocacy group. Now, Roskomsvoboda fights to unblock websites, soften the language of new bills, and beat back criminal cases against Web users. Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin took a look at how Roskomsvoboda is structured and asked whether the organization has a chance against the Russian government in the struggle for a free Internet.
Police officers raided the Moscow newsroom of the media outlet Rosbalt on Thursday, seizing three computer processing units that contain information about the “Young Shakro” case, Rosbalt Moscow editor Nikolai Ulyanov told the news agency Interfax.
According to a report by the BBC Russian Service, federal officials recently met with leaders of Russia’s mass media. Representatives of the federal censor, Roskomnadzor, reportedly said that they consider the two phrases listed above to constitute illegal offensive speech. The agency’s spokesperson clarified, however, that each instance of either phrase appearing in the media will be considered in context, and the Attorney General’s Office will be responsible for this evaluation. The government-media meeting took place after Roskomnadzor blocked two news websites in Yaroslavl after they published photographs of graffiti reading, “Putin is a faggot.” The Russian authorities determined that this phrase constitutes an illegal insult directed at a state official.
The writer and journalist Dmitry Bykov, who was hospitalized in Ufa, Russia, on April 16, will be transported to Moscow for further treatment. Dmitry Muratov, the former editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, told Interfax about the upcoming move.
The state-owned corporation Rostec has fired Alexey Adaev, the CEO of the “Turbine” Special Design Bureau, following a raid by federal agents on the enterprise’s offices in Chelyabinsk. Rostec did not directly tie Adaev’s termination to the FSB searches, which are part of a criminal investigation into the alleged theft of more than 300 million rubles ($4.7 million) allocated to defense contracts. A nonprofit organization owned by “Turbina,” however, previously reported the theft of more than 200 million rubles ($3.1 million).
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly accepted an invitation from Vladimir Putin to visit Russia. According to the Kremlin’s official website, Kim and Putin will meet in late April. It’s still unclear where the two leaders will meet, though the North Korean media has suggested it could happen in Vladivostok, near Russia’s border with China and North Korea.
In Ukraine’s current presidential elections, the first round of voting left actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy on top. In a sense, Zelenskiy has already held the Ukrainian government’s leading role — at least in Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People), a television series produced by his company, Studio Kvartal 95. Shortly before the election took place, Meduza correspondent Ilya Zhegulev visited Ukraine to find out how the enormously popular comedian decided to transfer his presidential image from a sitcom into the real world — and what Zelenskiy the politician has to offer besides his already evident skills in showmanship.