Russia is throwing out suspicious gubernatorial election results in Primorsky Krai

Russia’s Central Election Commission is urging regional election officials in the Primorsky Krai to invalidate the results of last Sunday’s runoff gubernatorial election. Commissioner Ella Pamfilova justified the recommendation on the grounds that it is impossible to determine the race’s outcome reliably because of significant violations at multiple polling stations. In fact, the commission’s “recommendation” is more like a direct order, given that federal officials also say they will invalidate Primorye’s results themselves, if regional officials refuse to do so. Officials in Primorye have promised to reach a decision by Thursday, September 20.

The Real Russia. Today. Russia loses another warplane in Syria and Israel is caught in the crossfire, Primorye’s race weighs on Putinism’s solvency, and gays aren’t a social group in Sverdlovsk

Moscow has blamed Israel for the destruction of an Ilyushin Il-20 Russian military surveillance plane by Syrian air defense and the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen aboard the aircraft. According to Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, four Israeli F-16s bombed the city of Lattakia on the evening of September 17, without warning Moscow, “creating a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area.” The Israeli jets allegedly used the Ilyushin Il-20 as cover against Syrian air defense, resulting in a Syrian S-200 missile striking and destroying the Russian plane. Wreckage of the Ilyushin Il-20 was discovered roughly 17 miles west of Lattakia.

A military expert explains what could have led Syria to shoot down a Russian warplane

Before dawn on September 18, Syrian air-defense forces shot down an Ilyushin Il-20 Russian military surveillance plane over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all five servicemen aboard. Russia’s Defense Ministry later blamed the incident on the Israeli Air Force, which earlier that night carried out airstrikes against multiple targets on the Syrian coast. According to Moscow, the Syrians were aiming for an Israeli F-16 jet and accidentally hit the Russian aircraft. Israel, meanwhile, says its planes were already back in Israeli airspace when the Ilyushin Il-20 was shot down. At Meduza’s request, Gazeta.ru military analyst, air-defense specialist, and former Joint Staff employee Mikhail Khodarenko explains how the Syrians could have destroyed an allied warplane.

Russian police say gay people aren’t protected against hate speech because they’re ‘not a social group’

Anti-extremism police officers in the Sverdlovsk region say gay people aren’t a social group and therefore aren’t protected against homophobic hate speech. That was the response to Anna Plyusnina, a lawyer for the LGBT Resource Center, who alerted the authorities to comments posted by Internet users on local news websites that insult gay people, advocate “conversion therapy,” and threaten gay people with physical violence.

Three top managers quit two popular tabloid media outlets with famously close ties to the Russian police

On Monday, September 18, two news projects launched by Aram Gabrelyanov lost top managers: chief editor Alexey Potapov and CEO Anatoly Suleimanov quit the tabloid Life.ru, and Nikita Mogutin left the popular Telegram channel Mash. Suleimanov spent less than a month as CEO, taking the job in August, when Gabrelyanov himself stepped down. Gabrelyanov maintains his 25-percent stake in National Media Group, which reportedly owns Life.ru, and Mogutin says he recently sold off his 51 percent in Mash.

Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov was reportedly expecting an investigative report about the murder of three Russian documentary filmmakers on the day he was apparently poisoned

The day he suddenly fell ill with symptoms suggesting he was poisoned, Mediazona publisher and Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov was supposed to receive the final report on an investigation into the deaths of three Russian documentary filmmakers in the Central African Republic, two sources told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Verzilov nearly joined the expedition to collective evidence of Russian mercenaries’ activities in the country; he apparently had booked his plane tickets, but decided at the last minute to participate in a protest during the final game of the FIFA World Cup that landed him in jail for 15 days.

Moscow blames Israel for the Russian military plane shot down by Syrian air defense

Moscow has blamed Israel for the destruction of an Ilyushin Il-20 Russian military surveillance plane by Syrian air defense and the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen aboard the aircraft. According to Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, four Israeli F-16s bombed the city of Lattakia on the evening of September 17, without warning Moscow, “creating a dangerous situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area.” The Israeli jets allegedly used the Ilyushin Il-20 as cover against Syrian air defense, resulting in a Syrian S-200 missile striking and destroying the Russian plane.