Ready to propose? In Russia, you can hire a special ops team to give you a hand and set up a fake drug bust for your beloved.

Fabricated drug busts are so common in Russia that the law used to prosecute Russians for alleged drug use is known as “the people’s statute.” In June 2019, when police “found” multiple bags of narcotics on Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, that law united journalists and activists in an unprecedented solidarity campaign. As it turns out, though, that’s far from the only way Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Codex can bring people together.

Suspicious sniffers. Programmer discovers thousands of phone numbers, addresses, and geolocations apparently leaked by Russia’s ‘SORM’ surveillance tech

On August 25, Russian programmer Leonid Evdokimov delivered a presentation at the “Chaos Constructions” IT conference in St. Petersburg, where he presented a paper titled “SORM Defects” about the public availability of Russian Internet users’ personal data. Meduza summarizes his findings and reexamines the industry that might be responsible for this leak.

Tatarstan legislators recommend rejecting bill that would make 1480 end of Tatar-Mongol yoke a national Russian holiday

The State Council of Tatarstan will send a negative review to Russia’s federal State Duma regarding a newly proposed national holiday. The holiday would be scheduled for November 11 to mark the end of the Great Stand on the Ugra River, a 1480 standoff between the Muscovite prince Ivan III and Akhmat Khan. Russian historians consider Ivan’s victory in the Great Stand to have signaled the end of Tatar-Mongol rule in Muscovy, a regime commonly known as the Tatar-Mongol yoke.

‘We’re not the goal — fear is the goal’. We talked to the father whose parental rights are being threatened after he went to an election protest with his family

Moscow prosecutors have asked a court to deprive Pyotr and Yelena Khomsky of the custody of their children after the couple was spotted attending a protest for fair elections along with their three daughters on August 3. Following the protest, the state-owned television channel Rossiya-1 aired a segment calling Pyotr Khomsky “the bodyguard of a well-known oppositionist” and accusing him of habitually staging “provocations” during mass demonstrations. The prosecutors attempting to strip the Khomskys of their parental rights have claimed that the couple knowingly allowed their daughters to be in the proximity of a crowd of “aggressive protesters” so that the parents themselves would not be arrested. Meduza spoke to Pyotr Khomsky about the government lawsuit against him and his wife.

Key FSB officer in Meduza’s Moscow funeral industry investigation is reportedly reassigned

Moscow FSB Lieutenant Colonel Marat Medoev has been reassigned to Gazprom’s security service, two insider sources told the BBC Russian Service. Sources close to the Federal Security Service previously told the website RBC that Medoev was fired roughly a month ago, but the BBC’s sources say he’s still an officer with the capital’s FSB office, and is now posted as a field agent at Gazprom. 

Pro-government candidate expresses (limited) willingness to debate protest movement figurehead Lyubov Sobol

Lyubov Sobol, one of the independent Moscow City Duma candidates whose exclusion from Russia’s September elections has sparked mass protests since early July, challenged pro-government candidate Valeria Kasamara to a debate in a recorded video message. Kasamara initially told the independent television station Dozhd that she would be willing to debate Sobol on the Ekho Moskvy radio station. However, Kasamara later wrote on her Telegram channel that if she does decide to debate Sobol, she will only do so after the September 8 elections, “when political passions have died down.”