Earlier this week, the television station Grozny aired a 27-minute segment about a Chechen woman named Zaira Sugaipova, whom human rights advocates say was brought to Chechnya against her will by her parents after fleeing to a crisis center to escape a forced marriage. In the video, the woman answers questions from officials in Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s administration and says human rights advocates lied about her situation.
On July 17, reports emerged that Russia’s Investigative Committee had opened a criminal negligence case against social workers employed by the Social Welfare Department of Moscow’s Maryino neighborhood. Investigators argued that the social workers had allowed two children to live with their same-sex adopted fathers to the detriment of the children’s well-being.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulation and censorship agency, has issued a 700,000-ruble ($11,100) fine to Google in an ongoing back-and-forth concerning how the tech giant handles search results.
A group of deputies representing United Russia, the dominant party in Russian politics, has proposed a bill in the State Duma that would prevent former FSB employees from leaving Russia for a limited time after they leave their positions. The bill, which would be implemented by the FSB itself, suggests prohibiting former agents from traveling outside the country until up to five years after they have left their jobs.
At least 65 people have experienced severe food poisoning after making purchases from Healthy Food brand vending machines in Moscow, according to regulators in the city’s branch of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare. Moscow residents who ate food from the vending machines have been diagnosed with acute intestinal infections, including salmonella.
At the Kalininskaya Nuclear Power Plant in the north of Russia’s Tver region, three power units went offline on the morning of July 18. Representatives of the plant told the wire agency TASS that “background radiation levels are all in order” in the area and that “no damage has been done to the equipment” at the plant.
This September’s City Duma elections in Moscow were shaping up to be an interesting showdown between independent candidates and “unaffiliated” representatives of the authorities. Instead, election officials have closed the door on the opposition, refusing to register dozens of challengers. Supporters of the would-be candidates have protested the decision, but City Hall isn’t budging. In a report published by Mediazona, journalists David Frenkel and Maxim Litavrin summarize the excuses election officials in Moscow and St. Petersburg have offered for rejecting candidacy applications ahead of the upcoming elections.
On July 1, thirty leading Russian and international news outlets simultaneously published the report Ivan Golunov was working on just before his arrest. Journalists from seven Russian media sources had already begun working to complete the report before Golunov’s release. By July 16, about 2.5 million people had read Golunov’s exposé, which shed light on corruption and FSB ties in the Moscow funeral industry. 700,000 of those readers accessed the report on Meduza. Russian Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in early July that Kremlin officials had seen the article. He added that Russian intelligence services also “had the opportunity to familiarize themselves” with the report, which includes allegations of misconduct committed by intelligence operatives. Peskov said any further investigation of those claims is now “the prerogative of those agencies.” There have not yet been any other official responses to the report. However, shortly before it was published, Russia’s federal property registration agency altered its record of a luxury property belonging to Alexey Dorofeyev, the head of the FSB branch for Moscow and the Moscow region. Dorofeyev featured prominently in Golunov’s investigation. The deed for his property now lists “The Russian Federation” as its owner.
The investigative media outlet Proekt has published an exposé describing how candidates supportive of the Putin regime are using bots, or hired online commenters, to boost their chances in the September 2019 elections.
Members of the State Duma’s committee on natural resources has requested that federal prosecutors investigate the mass death of bees within the Russian Federation, RIA Novosti reported. The deputies plan to ask prosecutors to determine whether excessive, uncontrolled pesticide use was responsible for the pollinators’ deaths.