Last week, Meduza summarized a column by Pavel Felgenhauer that appeared in Novaya Gazeta on February 21 where the defense analyst accused Moscow of sabotaging a shipment to China of 40N6 very-long-range missiles for the S-400 air-defense system. (Felgenhauer believes the weapons aren’t ready yet.) That text has since disappeared without explanation from the newspaper, though it’s been republished at several other websites. (You can still read it here, for example, but the original hyperlink leads to a “404 Not Found” error, and Novaya Gazeta’s most recent published article by Felgenhauer is currently from February 9.)
On February 21, several Moscow doctors publicly announced a set of frightening accusations made against one of their colleagues, the pediatrician Yevgeny Likunov. The parents of Likunov’s former patients accused him of fraud: they said the pediatrician forged their children’s test results and gave them fake vaccines either by merely pretending to perform injections or by using an insulin syringe to inject saline solution instead of an actual vaccine. Meduza spoke with Likunov’s colleagues and patients and discovered that he has been deceiving patients for several years, all while hosting talk shows about health and appearing in the news media as a medical expert.
An 18-year-old in Syktyvkar, the capital city of Russia’s Komi Republic, has been charged with trespassing and theft after stealing 92 kilograms (202 pounds) of potatoes. The young man was identified after an imprint from his car’s license plate was found in a snowbank. As the thief attempted to escape the scene of the crime in his Volga GAZ-31029, he crashed into the snow and failed to notice that the car’s license plate number remained clearly legible when he drove away.
Russia’s Investigative Committee will investigate reports that members of the religious group Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is officially banned in Russia, were tortured in the Siberian city of Surgut.
The news agency Zakon (The Law) reported that the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, asserted that Russia would be unable to use an electronic voting system like Estonia’s due to the large number of time zones in the country. Meduza was unable to find a record of Pamfilova’s exact words. However, while reporting on an official hearing in St. Petersburg where Pamfilova gave a public address, Zakon paraphrased her statement as follows:
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered three executive agencies to evaluate a proposed ban on enclosures for defendants in Russian court hearings by April 1. Keeping defendants in metal cages or transparent enclosures known as aquariums during their hearings is a common practice in Russia.
Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs requested that the British newspaper The Times explain why one of its journalists, Janice Turner, entered Russia using a tourist visa. Turner published a column that criticized the culture of Russia’s capital on February 14.
A handful of powerful families control virtually all the resources allocated to Russia’s Karachay-Cherkess Republic, according to a report from Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). The organization’s new research focuses on the Kaitov family, who Navalny says wield the same level of influence as the Arashukovs. (In late January, Senator Rauf Arashukov was arrested for his alleged role in two homicides. His father and nephew — top executives at Gazprom Mezhregiongaz — were later charged with large-scale fraud.)
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused the blogger Alibek Mirzekhanov of participating in terrorism after Mirzekhanov was arrested following an enormous fight in the Moscow café Neolit. The FSB claims Mirzekhanov recruited fighters for the ongoing war in Syria. He was charged under two different statutes: one that regulates participation in terrorist organizations and can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years along with a statute that penalizes the recruitment of terrorists and carries a sentence of up to 15 years.
In the spring of 2004, school teacher Tatyana Bakalchuk and her husband Vyacheslav, a radiophysicist, realized they weren’t earning enough money to provide for their infant son. So they decided to launch an online clothing store. In the beginning, they ordered and resold Otto and Quelle catalog products from the German retailer Otto Group. A few years prior, the German company had tried and failed to enter the Russian market, finding that the country simply lacked an online purchasing culture. Russia’s postal service also lagged far behind Western systems.