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.
The Russian LGBT Network has requested that Russia’s federal Investigative Committee look into reports of renewed arrests, torture, and killings of those suspected of being LGBTQ in Chechnya, Mediazona reports. The Network has led efforts to help victims of anti-LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya escape the region for multiple years.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
On January 8, a photograph of a carton with nine eggs was published on the Russian social portal Pikabu. Russian eggs are usually sold in groups of 10; selling nine eggs at a time would be like selling a carton of 11 in the United States. The photo’s title deadpanned, “A nine of eggs, please.”
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.
In a new video published on Alexey Navalny’s YouTube channel, an office manager for the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) named Olga Bulaeva recalls how the Russian police recently tried to recruit her to work against Navalny, offering to help pay for her mother’s cancer treatment.
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.