Leader of Russia’s notorious Tambov gang sentenced to 24 years total for murder and organizing a criminal group

A St. Petersburg court has sentenced Vladimir Barsukov, born Vladimir Kumarin, to 12 years in a high-security prison for founding a criminal society. Barsukov is known as a leader of the so-called Tambov gang, which rose to be one of the most notorious criminal organizations in Russia beginning in the late 1990s. The gang leader had previously been sentenced to 23 years for murder and will spend a total of 24 years behind bars. His accomplice Vyacheslav Drokov received an identical sentence for founding a criminal society and will spend 21 years in a prison colony overall. The sentences come amid an effort on the part of the Putin administration and the State Duma to make holding leadership positions in criminal groups a crime in its own right even for non-founders.

‘Russia Today’ staff face 5-million-ruble penalties if they criticize the network on social media

The autonomous nonprofit organization “TV-Novosti,” which technically owns the Russia Today television network, reportedly requires staff to sign strict non-disclosure agreements that prohibit reporters, camera operators, and other employees from discussing anything happening at RT with outsiders or criticizing the network in interviews or on social media. According to documents obtained by the website Znak.com, these NDAs remain in force not only while staff are employed at RT, but also for 20 years afterwards. Offenders can be forced to pay RT five million rubles (more than $77,670) in compensation. The agreements bear the signature of TV-Novosti CEO Alexey Nikolov.

After three decades, Nazarbayev is quitting Kazakhstan’s presidency, but the ‘national leader’ will retain enormous influence

On March 19, Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed the nation of Kazakhstan and announced that he is stepping down as president — a title he’s held since 1990. “As the founder of the independent Kazakhstani state, I see my future task as ensuring that a new generation comes to power that will continue the country’s ongoing transformation,” Nazarbayev said.

The World Figure Skating Championships start today. Catch up here on the biggest stars in Russian women’s singles.

The 2019 World Figure Skating Championships begin today in Saitama, Japan, and will continue until March 24. While Russian and Soviet athletes have a long tradition of dominance in the sport, the current field of skaters in the ladies’ singles event is particularly strong. Their success stems in some part from the efforts of a single team of coaches: Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov, and Daniil Gleikhengauz have brought a large group of young powerhouses to the world stage. Their protégés, however, face formidable competitors from both inside and outside the Russian national team.