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.
In late July and early August, India began taking extraordinary steps to integrate the predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir into the country’s central government. In a move that instantly escalated tensions with Pakistan, which has historically aligned itself with the region’s Muslims, India repealed an article of its constitution that gives Kashmir broad political autonomy. It also revoked the region’s status as a state, brought the area under its direct control, arrested thousands of people, and practically cut Kashmir off from the outside world by turning off all of the region’s remote connections.
On August 16, the state-owned bus company Mosgortrans filed a 1.2-million-ruble ($18,050) lawsuit against several prominent opposition activists, in connection with service disruptions allegedly caused by protests on July 27. Mosgortrans is suing Georgy Alburov, Yulia Galyamina, Ivan Zhdanov, Vladimir Milov, Alexey Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, Alexander Solovyov, Oleg Stepanov, and Ilya Yashin. The municipal enterprise “Auto-Roads” has also filed a separate lawsuit for 11.5 million rubles ($172,960).
In the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk, young engineers participating in the Mashuk Youth Forum displayed a robot wearing traditional Northern Caucasian dress, including a miniature papakha hat, while performing a lezginka. The robot served as a mascot for the forum’s Fab Lab team, which reportedly purchased its parts in the United States but assembled and programmed their creation in Russia. Diana Kadzayeva, a Fab Lab member, said she and her teammates bestowed their creation with the ancient Ossetian name Khazhbi.