A Russian court has sentenced a Ukrainian teen to six years in prison for ‘abetting terrorism.’ The suspect says FSB agents abducted him in Belarus.

On March 22, the North Caucasian District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced 19-year-old Pavel Grib to six years in prison for abetting terrorist activity. According to prosecutors, Grib tried to convince a young woman in Sochi named Tatyana E. to stage a terrorist attack at her high-school graduation ceremony. Officials also accused him of supporting the “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense,” which is banned in Russia as an extremist organization.

Tatiana Stanovaya explains why Putin won’t go like Nazarbayev

In an article for the Carnegie Moscow Center, political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya says Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s resignation won’t likely affect Vladimir Putin’s transition-of-power calculus in the way that many observers have speculated. She argues that Kazakhstan’s unique political traditions, elite structure, and society, not to mention the country’s fundamentally different geopolitical conditions, mean that Nazarbayev’s exit doesn’t work as a model for Putin, though the Kremlin will pay close attention to the response from local elites. Meduza summarizes Stanovaya’s text below.

The Real Russia. Today. Grudinin’s woes continue, Chikov on the future of Russia’s free speech crackdown, and how lawmakers justify Internet isolation

On March 18, 2018, Pavel Grudnin took part in Russia’s presidential election. He lost the race, obviously, but he took second place with 11.77 percent of the vote. During the campaign, the public learned that Grudinin had failed to close his Swiss bank accounts before submitting his candidacy registration documents on December 28, 2017, as required by the law.

Despite his Swiss bank accounts, Pavel Grudinin was allowed to participate in Vladimir Putin’s reelection last year, but now he’s being kept from the parliament. Here’s why.

On March 18, 2018, Pavel Grudnin took part in Russia’s presidential election. He lost the race, obviously, but he took second place with 11.77 percent of the vote. During the campaign, the public learned that Grudinin had failed to close his Swiss bank accounts before submitting his candidacy registration documents on December 28, 2017, as required by the law.

Next month, Russia’s parliament will vote again on sweeping ‘Internet isolation’ legislation. Here’s how one lawmaker justifies the initiative.

Next month, the State Duma will likely vote on a second reading of legislation drafted by Senator Andrey Klishas that would guard against and simultaneously facilitate the isolation of the Russian Internet. In mid-February, the bill’s first reading passed with support from 334 of the Duma’s 450 deputies; 69 lawmakers didn’t vote at all, and just 47 voted against the legislation. Meduza recently attended a town hall meeting with Nikolai Gonchar, one of the deputies who voted for the bill. When we asked him about Internet isolation, Gonchar offered several questionable justifications for the legislation. Here’s how they hold up against fact checking.

Better than March Madness: 10 miracles from the history of Russian sports

In the next 10 days, many of Meduza’s American readers will be embroiled in a world of brackets and three-pointers as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament reaches its peak. To compliment — or distract from — those March Madness festivities, Meduza presents 10 gripping stories from the history of Soviet and Russian sports as selected and retold by sports journalist Ivan Kalashnikov.

‘Online is three times as dangerous as offline’. A human rights advocate explains Russia’s new limits on free speech

On March 18, Vladimir Putin signed two new laws penalizing Internet users who publish fake news or posts that show disrespect to the Russian government. Users who violate the new regulations would not face a criminal sentence, but they would be made to pay administrative fines. The two laws were approved two and a half months after the partial decriminalization of Article 282 of Russia’s Criminal Code. Certain parts of that law, which penalizes “inciting hate and enmity,” were shifted from their original, criminal status to become administrative regulations after a series of criminal charges were brought against social media users in response to provocative posts. Pavel Chikov, who leads the international human rights group Agora, told Meduza about the consequences of Article 282’s partial decriminalization and discussed the laws the Russian government may now use to limit freedom of speech.

‘A naked man is always more submissive than one wearing clothes’. Journal entries from life in the USSR’s drunk tanks

Russian senators are entertaining the idea of resurrecting the country’s vytrezviteli (sobering-up centers, or drunk tanks) and empowering the police to lock up people caught intoxicated in public. Under the new proposal, those who spend a night in the tank would be forced to pay for their stay, though lawmakers have yet to draft a mechanism for extracting these payments. Russia’s first “haven for the inebriated” appeared in 1902, but drunk tanks weren’t common until the Soviet era, when the standard procedure involved a medical exam, a cold shower, and a few hours of sleep in a shared room, for which residents were charged a fee. Police guards often allowed violence, and anti-government demonstrators were sometimes locked up here during the USSR’s “Era of Stagnation,” from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. As the Federation Council moves forward with its initiative, Meduza translates journal entries published by the project Prozhito, written by people who had brushes with the drunk tanks of the Soviet Union.

Police are reportedly investigating several news websites that criticized Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin

Police in Moscow have reportedly opened a criminal investigation in response to defamation charges filed by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, against Internet publications that have criticized his job performance. Sources in law enforcement told the newspaper Kommersant that Rogozin singled out the websites Rospres.org and Kompromatural.ru.

Why is the Kremlin replacing multiple regional governors right before Russia’s fall elections?

On March 19 and 20, three Russian regional leaders all handed in their resignations. Even more regional government heads are expected to join their colleagues from Chelyabinsk Oblast, Kalmykia, and the Altai Republic and resign in the coming weeks. Russian political experts argue that this series of resignations stems from high disapproval ratings among certain regional governors and conflicts in the Russian provinces that may cause difficulties for the Kremlin in September’s nationwide elections.