Nobody is sure who writes one of Russia’s most popular political Telegram channels, but police may have just raided his family’s home in Dagestan

With more than 300,000 subscribers and each post averaging an audience of 184,000 views, StalinGulag is one of Telegram’s most popular politics channels in Russia. The author responsible for the content, which is often highly critical of the state authorities, remains a mystery. In July 2018, the magazine RBC reported that the channel belongs to Makhachkala native Alexander Gorbunov. (StalinGulag denied this claim.) There have been other theories about who runs the channel, as well. For instance, Vasily Prozorov, a former official in Ukraine’s National Security Service, said in March 2019 that Ukrainian intelligence officers are the ones behind StalinGulag.

Russia’s FSB reportedly purges dozens of officers following arrest of top colonel for bribery

Following the arrest of FSB Colonel Kirill Cherkalin, who faces up to 15 years in prison on major bribery charges, Russia’s Federal Security Service has fired 27 officers who worked with him, a source in law enforcement told the website “So far, they’ve established that all together they were pulling down about a billion rubles [$15.5 million] every month. These guys just didn’t know when to stop,” the source said.

How does Russia actually enforce its ban on ‘fake news’? An activist in Arkhangelsk faces double jeopardy over a post on social media

On April 25, 2019, police in Arkhangelsk charged an activist with illegally disseminating “fake news,” after she reposted information about a local demonstration against the construction of a new landfill site. Officials say Elena Kalinina spread false information about the rally, knowing that organizers didn’t have the city’s permission to march along the demonstration’s planned route. The authorities had already fined Kalinina for the same post on the grounds that it incited public participation in an unpermitted protest. Russian law prohibits double jeopardy, and though the rally Kalinina promoted did take place, she nevertheless faces another misdemeanor conviction.

Russia opens first passport center to process fast-tracked citizenship for residents of eastern Ukraine

The first passport center in Russia set up to bestow fast-tracked citizenship to residents of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic is now online in the city of Novoshakhtinsk, in Russia’s Rostov region, federal officials told the news agency Interfax. The office is reportedly running according to “test mode,” as the Russian government evaluates the demand from LNR residents and decides how many other passport centers to open.

The Cheburashka Collective: New poetry of the post-Soviet diaspora

The Cheburashka Collective is a group of women and non-binary writers whose identity has been shaped by immigration from the Soviet Union to the United States. On April 27, 2019, six members of the group, which is named for a beloved Soviet cartoon character, gathered in Philadelphia’s Penn Book Center for a poetry reading. Meduza in English News Editor Hilah Kohen sat down with five of those poets before the event. They discussed what shared immigrant experiences can do for collectives, what collectivity can do for poetry, and what poetry can do for our world today. The “Cheburashki” also shared seven of their recent poems, which are reprinted below this interview with the kind permission of their publishers.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service will review complaints about the delayed release of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

“Avengers: Endgame,” one of the most anticipated and profitable motion pictures of all time, is premiering in Russia only today, four days after its global release. According to unverified reports, the movie came late to Russia because the Culture Ministry wanted to protect a domestic film, “Billion,” from competing with the Hollywood blockbuster, enraging theater-owners across the country. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) now confirms that a formal complaint against the delayed premiere of “Endgame” was filed on April 26. The agency is required to respond within 30 days.