On August 20, a helicopter with Mikhail Abramov on board crashed near the Greek island of Poros. Abramov, the founder of the Museum of the Russian Icon, was “a true patron of the arts in the line of the Tretyakovs and the Shchukins,” leading ancient history scholar Alexei Lidov wrote following the crash. We asked another of Abramov’s colleagues, Svetlana Lipatova, to recount the curator and collector’s contributions to the rise of modern-day Russian museums and to the preservation of Orthodox Christian religious art. Lipatova is the assistant director of the The Central Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art.
Russian scholars working in a range of countries around the world, Russia included, have published a statement demanding that charges of mass rioting against Moscow election protesters be dropped. The scientific and scholarly news portal Troitsky Variant posted the statement on August 22.
Meduza: When answering journalists’ questions in France and Finland, President Putin said he’s receiving reports about the explosion in the White Sea and in these reports he’s been told that everything is under control. Meanwhile, doctors in Arkhangelsk tell Meduza and other news outlets that they weren’t notified that they were treating people exposed to doses of radiation. Then all documentary evidence and medical records were seized, and now the doctors can’t even prove anything. Is this also reflected in the president’s briefings? Does the Kremlin consider this to be a normal response to a radiation disaster? Will there be any inquiry into these reports?
Moscow’s subway system has filed a lawsuit against several opposition leaders who are already defendants in other civil cases brought by other public transport companies because of service disruptions allegedly caused by protests on July 27. “Agora” human rights group head Pavel Chikov first reported the case record on the Koptevsky District Court’s website.
On August 8, at a launch site in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region, a rocket engine exploded. Two days later, state officials acknowledged that the accident resulted in a radiation leak. The victims in the explosion were taken to a hospital in Arkhangelsk, where the radioactive nuclide cesium-137 was later detected in the body of one of the doctors. Sources have confirmed to Meduza that none of the responding rescue workers or physicians were warned that they were treating irradiated patients. Hospital staff were informed about the risk of radiation only several hours after doctors started operating on the victims, and decontamination efforts didn’t begin until the next day. Most of the health workers involved in this incident have been sworn to state secrecy, but Meduza managed to speak to an employee at a rescue service whose staff administered first aid to the victims before they were hospitalized, and we reached a doctor at one of the hospitals where some victims were treated. In the text below, Meduza has changed both individuals’ names to protect their identity.
Investigators have determined that 21-year-old Moscow student Egor Zhukov was misidentified in a video taken during the city’s July 27 election protest, his attorney Ilya Novikov told the radio station Ekho Moskvy.
The wire service Interfax has reported based on conversations with an anonymous source that the Russian government is preparing to return five Ukrainian citizens who are currently held in Russian jails to their home country. The source indicated that the prisoners in question are housed in Moscow’s Lefortovo Pretrial Detention Center (SIZO).
Mikhail Klinov, the acting chief of Russia’s federal forestry agency, has estimated the short-term economic damage from this year’s wildfires in Siberia at 7 billion rubles ($106 million). The estimate did not appear to include additional damage to Russian and global ecology or to the health of Russian residents. Klinov noted that the Siberian wildfires have remained stable in the last few days. They currently span 1.12 million hectares (about 2.8 million acres). Environmental activists have amplified their concerns about the Siberian fires in recent days as record-breaking wildfires in the Amazon rainforest have plunged cities into darkness and appeared on satellite images. Experts have tied fires in both areas to the climate crisis, noting that Siberian forests and the Amazon are vital sources of carbon absorption.
After French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech following a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s website posted an official transcript that excluded every phrase in which Macron mentioned the word “elections.”
This September’s elections for the Moscow City Duma have already gained renown for inspiring regular mass protests, but they are also remarkable for another reason: In three of the Russian capital’s districts, voters will be able to use an online system to select their new representatives. Moscow’s Information Technology Department held intrusion tests on GitHub in late July to verify the integrity of the system: Officials gave programmers several opportunities to attempt to decrypt mock voting data, and each round of data was subsequently published so that it could be compared to the results of those hacking attempts. On August 16, Meduza reported on French cryptographer Pierrick Gaudry’s successful attempt to break through the system’s encryption. To confirm that the encryption keys used in the system are too weak, we also implemented Gaudry’s program ourselves. City Hall officials responded to the successful hackings by refusing to post its private keys and data, thereby preventing outsiders from confirming that the system had indeed been hacked. Instead, Ekho Moskvy Editor-in-Chief Alexey Venediktov, who is also leading the citizens’ board responsible for the elections, accused Meduza of abusing the testing process. Here’s why he’s wrong.