Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insists that she violated no laws or ethics codes when the NTV reality television show “Dachniy Otvet” built a luxurious veranda at her parents’ country home for an episode earlier this month. Zakharova told The Insider that the Foreign Ministry approved her participation on the TV program, arguing that she appeared on the show “as a daughter,” and not as a state official. She says her family contacted the network, asking to be on the show, after acquiring the real estate outside Moscow.
As promised, Russia’s federal media censor has fined Google for failing to comply with a law that requires online search engines to purge any hyperlinks to materials that are banned in Russia. Google has also refused to connect to the federal information system where these websites are listed. For violating Russia’s Internet censorship rules, Google has been fined 500,000 rubles ($7,520) — less than the maximum fine of 700,000 rubles (about $10,530).
Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s National Guard, has filed a defamation lawsuit against anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, seeking a cool 1 million rubles (about $15,000). According to Shota Gorgadze, the lawyer representing Zolotov, the lawsuit relates in part to Navalny’s corruption allegations against the National Guard’s leadership involving property holdings. Zolotov says he will donate the money to an orphanage.
Russia’s Interior Ministry (MVD) has tried but failed to purge from Wikipedia reports that Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev possibly broke the law over the weekend by attending United Russia’s annual congress.
Last month, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) launched an investigation into food purchases at inflated prices by the National Guard, sources tell the magazine RBC. The Federal Security Service (FSB) apparently told FAS about the possible violations this May, recommending an audit of the company “Friendship of the Peoples,” the National Guard’s sole supplier of food products.
On orders from Russia’s federal censor, Internet service providers across the country started blocking Alexey Navalny’s “Smart Vote” project on Friday, three days after Moscow’s Tagansky District Court ruled that the site’s domain name registrar, the French company “Gandi SAS,” violates privacy protection laws.
Multiple hacker groups are currently active in Russia, gathering intelligence about Russian citizens to justify new sanctions by the United States and other countries, Ilya Sachkov, the head of the information security company Group-IB, announced at this year’s “AntiFraud Russia” international forum. “Their assignment is to replenish American sanctions lists, not to steal money from banks. It’s a completely different target of attack,” Sachkov said on December 7, without citing specific examples.
The “CARtON_83 Studio” Vkontakte community is the creation of sixth graders at the Vologda Multi-Disciplinary Lyceum, a school for gifted children from across Russia, according to the institution’s website. “Carton 83” got its start in March 2018 as a closed group, but the students later opened it up to the public, and membership peaked at about 80 people.
On September 28, Ingush leader Yunus-bek Yevkurov and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov signed an agreement formally establishing the boundaries between their two republics. Technically, the boundary between Ingushetia and Chechnya had been in limbo since 1992, when Chechnya tried to secede from the Russian Federation. On October 4, the parliaments of Ingushetia and Chechnya adopted special laws approving the deal.
Promoting their new book, “Authoritarianism and Democracy,” Higher School of Economics professors Elena Lukyanova and Ilya Shablinsky spoke to Novaya Gazeta this week. In the interview, the two legal scholars argue that Russia’s current Constitution represents a “narrow democratic portal for the future transit to democracy.”