New report claims to describe inception of private military company allegedly controlled by ‘Putin’s chef’

The Bell has released an extensive report that aims to document the rise of the private military company (PMC) “Wagner,” in which the caterer and restauranteur Evgeny Prigozhin reportedly plays a leading role. Prigozhin’s ties with the Russian president have earned him the nickname “Putin’s Chef,” and multiple journalists have confirmed that the Wagner PMC has been involved in conflicts from southeast Ukraine to Syria.

New Russian TV channel set to focus exclusively on World War II

This spring, a new channel is scheduled to be added to Russian cable and satellite television packages. The “Pobeda” (“Victory”) channel will be distributed by the international branch of the state-owned Pervy Kanal (Channel One). Its purpose will be to display films and television shows related to the Second World War. That war is known in Russia by a term that translates roughly as “the Great Patriotic War”; simply saying “the war” in Russian without additional context refers to World War II as well.

Fact check: Is Russia’s Justice Ministry really legalizing bribes as long as bureaucrats find them ‘unavoidable’? Spoiler: No.

This is how Russian- and English-language headlines have been covering a new proposal from the Russian Justice Ministry that would regulate when citizens would be held responsible for corruption-related violations. News reports have paid particular attention to a line in the bill that says it may be impossible to avoid certain instances of corruption “due to circumstances of insurmountable force.”

Russian geological company executive loses job after ‘Twitch’ footage shows him bragging about sex with subordinates

Ruslan Gorring is no longer a deputy director at the Russian state geological company Rosgeo, following the publication of scandalous online footage. Earlier this week, the Telegram channel Mediakiller shared a montage of Gorring’s outbursts on the live streaming video platform Twitch, where he threatened real-world violence against fellow PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds players. In another clip, Gorring speaks to a young woman who apparently works at Rosgeo whom he once fired for ordering him business-class — not first-class — plane tickets.

‘Putin’s chef’ is reportedly trying to take control of St. Petersburg’s coming gubernatorial election

Russia’s most mysterious businessman — the tycoon with empires in catering, media, and mercenary work — is back in the headlines, thanks to a new investigative report for the independent television network Dozhd by journalist Olga Churakova, who says political strategists tied to Evgeny Prigozhin are vying for control of acting St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov’s fall election campaign.

Construction supervisor who helped build Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome reportedly found dead with self-inflicted gunshot wound

One of the key figures involved in supervising the construction of Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome spaceport has shot and killed himself, according to the news agency RIA Novosti. Dmitry Savin, the former head of the state company “Dalspetsstroy,” was reportedly discovered at his home in Moscow’s Vykhino-Zhulebino District late on January 27 with a self-inflicted head wound from a handgun registered in his name, according to the news agency Moskva.

Russian venture capitalists want lawmakers to legalize market for ‘depersonalized data’

The Internet Initiatives Development Fund is lobbying Russian lawmakers to adopt new regulations that would allow citizens to sell their own “depersonalized data” on the open market. The venture capital fund says individuals could earn as much as 60,000 rubles ($900) a year by providing this information to different companies. The organization argues that the draft legislation would help reduce Russia’s existing black market trade of individuals’ personal data.