People living in Chelyabinsk have declared a boycott against the state television network Rossiya 1, following a recent broadcast of the debate show “60 Minutes,” where the hosts denied evidence of a protest against the city’s smog. According to a local environmentalist community on Vkontakte, Chelyabinsk residents are complaining on social media that the channel reports lies, vowing not to tuned in any longer.
Lawmakers in Russia’s State Duma have passed the second reading of legislation that will make it illegal to involve minors in unpermitted public assemblies. First-time offenders convicted under this law will face between 20 and 100 hours of community service, fines as high as 50,000 rubles ($750), or up to 15 days in jail. Repeat offenders will face community service, fines as high as 300,000 rubles ($4,520), or up to 30 days in jail.
Columnist Oleg Kashin and anti-corruption activist and politician Alexey Navalny are at each other’s throats this week, following Kashin’s latest op-ed in Republic, where he speculates that Russia’s Federal Security Service leaked data from its investigation into corruption at the National Guard to Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Kashin says Navalny might have received this information anonymously, meaning that even he might be unaware about its origins, and the data could have come from anyone in the government: from a frustrated secretary at the Federal Antimonopoly Service to the very head of the FSB, perhaps wishing to “fight in silence.”
For only the third time in Putin’s presidency, more than half the country currently holds him responsible for Russia’s problems and the rising cost of living, according to a new poll by the Levada Center. Late last month, 55 percent of the country said Putin is to blame for these trends. (Sociologists recorded previous spikes in August 2012, at 51 percent, and in August 2014, at 65 percent.)
The Russian state news network Rossiya 24 has retracted a report about “one of the most advanced robots in the world” featured at the “Proektoriya” youth forum. The channel’s original story included footage of “Boris the Robot” and narration claiming that some of the students in the audience “might commit themselves to robotics.” In the segment, the narrator also noted that the robot had “already learned how to dance” and he “wasn’t half bad.”
Moscow has unveiled a new statue dedicated to the Russian novelist and Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn on what would have been his 100th birthday. Designed by sculptor Andrey Kovalchuk, the monument was installed in Moscow’s Tagansky District on the street that bears Solzhenitsyn’s name. President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insists that she violated no laws or ethics codes when the NTV reality television show “Dachniy Otvet” built a luxurious veranda at her parents’ country home for an episode earlier this month. Zakharova told The Insider that the Foreign Ministry approved her participation on the TV program, arguing that she appeared on the show “as a daughter,” and not as a state official. She says her family contacted the network, asking to be on the show, after acquiring the real estate outside Moscow.
As promised, Russia’s federal media censor has fined Google for failing to comply with a law that requires online search engines to purge any hyperlinks to materials that are banned in Russia. Google has also refused to connect to the federal information system where these websites are listed. For violating Russia’s Internet censorship rules, Google has been fined 500,000 rubles ($7,520) — less than the maximum fine of 700,000 rubles (about $10,530).
Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s National Guard, has filed a defamation lawsuit against anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, seeking a cool 1 million rubles (about $15,000). According to Shota Gorgadze, the lawyer representing Zolotov, the lawsuit relates in part to Navalny’s corruption allegations against the National Guard’s leadership involving property holdings. Zolotov says he will donate the money to an orphanage.
Russia’s Interior Ministry (MVD) has tried but failed to purge from Wikipedia reports that Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev possibly broke the law over the weekend by attending United Russia’s annual congress.