On March 16, Meduza published a lengthy report in Russian about young girl named Tasya Perchikova who wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin about her family’s difficult living conditions in the village of Tomsino. When the 12-year-old and her family began receiving national attention and small donations along with it, they found themselves facing harassment from their own neighbors. The Perchikovs’ fellow villagers threatened Tasya and her mother, tricked the girl into handing over a nude photo, and posted the picture in local social media groups.
The neo-Nazi Dmitry Bobrov has been set free due to the Russian government’s partial decriminalization of Article 282, a law that now penalizes some cases of “enciting hate and enmity” against particular groups with fees and administrative penalties alone. Bobrov, who has led the recognized extremist groups Schultz-88 and National Socialist Initiative, went into hiding in September 2017 when he was sentenced to two years in prison. He was captured in January 2019.
More than 20 universities in Russia have chosen to reward their applicants for participating in Yunarmia (“Youth Army”), an explicitly patriotic youth movement sponsored by the country’s Defense Ministry. According to the Ministry, about half a million young people will be involved in the movement by early May.
On March 29, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in a live interview on the social media platform VKontakte as part of the network’s #VKLive program. While Medvedev spoke positively of social media as a platform for two-way communication with the public, his own openness about current events was limited.
A live interview with Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev on the social network VKontakte proceeded with the broadcast’s comment function turned off. Comments were also blocked on social media pages belonging to the Russian executive branch and to the prime minister himself. At the beginning of Medvedev’s broadcast, which is part of VKontakte’s #VKLive program, the prime minister expressed interest in social media as a two-way communicative channel between the government and its constituents. “It’s always a slice of public opinion, but it’s a very fast and often extremely sincere one. There is a price to pay, but still,” he said. Medvedev also called on government officials to be prepared for public criticism online. A VKontakte representative told Vedomosti that the social network is merely a technological partner in the broadcast and that the interview’s organizers were government employees.
On March 29, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in a livestream called #VKLive on the social media platform VKontakte. During the livestream, Medvedev commented on the criminal case against his former aide Mikhail Abyzov, who stands accused of using his position at a Medvedev-initiated government ministry to form a criminal group and embezzle more than $62 million.
A police battalion in the Russian federal subject of Ingushetia was disbanded after its members collectively refused to force protestors to disband during a protest in the republic’s capital of Magas on March 26. Kaloy Akhilgov, the former press secretary to Ingushetia’s head of government, told reporters about the dismissal, saying 19 police officers were fired in total.
When the musician and entrepreneur Emin Agalarov first read about the conclusions of the so-called Mueller probe, he was pleasantly unsurprised. “We were very glad, of course,” Agalarov told the Russian-language investigative outlet The Bell. But, he added, “we always knew that would be the result. I mean, I was the one who organized that fantastical meeting [with attorney Natalya Veselnitskaya], and I know what it was all really like.”
Roskomnadzor, the agency responsible for communications regulation and censorship in Russia, announced today that it contacted a number of VPN services to request that they subscribe to the agency’s registry of websites that are banned from distribution on Russian territory. Though Roskomnadzor has blocked VPN services before and asked Internet service providers to comply with its registry of blocked sites, this is the first time it has made the same demands of VPN providers.
Aisen Nikolaev, the governor of Yakutia, has banned migrant workers from being employed in a range of 33 different industries in the course of 2019. Nikolaev signed the executive order after a Kyrgyz citizen was charged in a recent rape case, sparking a series of anti-migrant protests in the republic’s capital city of Yakutsk.