Following mass flooding in the Irkutsk region that displaced tens of thousands of people in late June and early July, yet another flood has hit six districts in the area. According to the local branch of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, 357 homes are now underwater, and 1,076 people have been forced to evacuate.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case accusing a civilian of using violence against a National Guard officer during Saturday’s rally for fair elections in Moscow, TASS reported.
The Russian private military company “Shchit” (Shield) suffered its first losses last month in Syria. According to a new report by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, three Shield mercenaries were killed on June 15. Journalists have identified two of the men as 32-year-old Alexey L. from Perm and 42-year-old Pyotr Sh. from Khakassia.
Konstantin Noskov, Russia’s minister of digital development and mass communications, says he opposes draft legislation that would limit how much foreigners can own in “significant information resources.” He told the news agency Interfax that he only knows of the draft law from media reports, but he “categorically doesn’t support” it, arguing that the initiative is directed against Yandex and Mail.ru Group, which he says are “Russia’s national treasures.”
Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has relaxed draft legislation that would require smart-phone, tablet, and computer manufacturers to preinstall Russian software on their devices, the agency’s deputy director told Kommersant.
Russia’s 235th Garrison Military Court has convicted FSB Colonel and former Kremlin official Mikhail Gorbatov of large-scale fraud, and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison, according to the newspaper Kommersant. Gorbatov was also fined 250,000 rubles (almost $4,000) and prohibited from holding state office for two years.
In late June 2019, Venezuela averted another coup. The government also nearly fell in the spring, on April 30, when opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country’s lawful president and tried to overthrow the acting head of state, Nicolás Maduro. Protesters clashed with police in the streets, hoping for the army’s support, but the soldiers ultimately remained loyal to Maduro. In those days, when the U.S. recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s sole legitimate president, Moscow sent military advisers to Caracas. To learn more about the exact nature of “Russia’s support for the Maduro regime” (which attracted a great deal of attention abroad), Meduza sought out Russian army and intelligence agency veterans who previously served in Venezuela, and discovered that they mainly guarded Russian business interests, not the local authorities.
At two in the afternoon on Saturday, July 27, several thousand activists staged a mass demonstration in support of Moscow’s independent City Duma candidates, whom election officials have refused to allow onto September’s ballot. The authorities resorted to sometimes brutal tactics to disperse the crowds, blocking several paths to City Hall, where protesters wanted to assemble. After police seized control of Tverskaya Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, demonstrators dispersed across the center of Moscow: some headed for Trubnaya Square and Chistye Prudy, while others set out for Staryi and Novyi Arbat. While officials were clearing Tverskaya Street, some of the demonstrators were driven to Stoleshnikov Lane, near the Yuriy Dolgoruky monument, and they took refuge inside the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Shubino. The priests admitted the demonstrators into the church, where they prayed together for peace. Meduza recorded a short statement by one of these clergymen, hieromonk John.
On July 24, a few days before opposition demonstrators staged a mass unpermitted rally in central Moscow, the city’s Simonovsky District Court sentenced Alexey Navalny to 30 days in jail for illegal protest advocacy. (This was already Navalny’s second “administrative arrest” in July: he previously served 10 days behind bars for joining a march on June 12 in support of journalist Ivan Golunov.) On the evening of July 28, Anti-Corruption Press Secretary Kira Yarmysh revealed on Twitter that Navalny had been moved that morning from his detention facility to a city hospital, where he was supposedly diagnosed with an “acute allergic reaction.”
Moscow police resorted to naked force when dispersing the July 27 “unauthorized” demonstration in support of free elections, beating protesters, journalists, and even random passersby with clubs and fists. Even some plainclothes officers, mistaken for more demonstrators, were attacked. Several dozen activists were injured so severely that they needed to be hospitalized. Meduza looks at some of the reported cases.