Alleged accomplice in Baring Vostok case confesses guilt, testifies against other defendants

As the American investor Michael Calvey was transferred today from jail to house arrest, news broke that another defendant in the case against Calvey has confessed to the charges against him. Alexey Kordichev, the former head of Vostochny Bank, also gave testimony against those charged with him in the Baring Vostok case, RIA Novosti reported. Kordichev’s admission of guilt came to light when he petitioned to be transferred to house arrest. Moscow’s Basmanny Court approved his petition.

Moscow court releases American investor Michael Calvey from detention center to house arrest

Moscow’s Basmanny Court has approved a petition for Michael Calvey, the founder of the investment firm Baring Vostok, to be placed under house arrest after spending almost two months in a pretrial detention center. Calvey has been charged with embezzling 2.5 billion rubles (almost $38,775,000). Interfax reported that Calvey was released from the control of his guards on the spot in the courtroom.

What color was Winnie-the-Pooh’s balloon? A quiz for hardcore Soviet cartoon fans

In Russia, Animation Day is celebrated annually on April 8. Russia’s first cartoon, “The Beautiful Leukanida,” debuted on that day in 1912: it featured a group of black-and-white beetles. In the 107 years since, things have gotten much more colorful. Meduza presents a chance for you to test how attentively you’ve watched the best-known Soviet and Russian full-color cartoons.

Russia’s censorship agency has threatened to block OpenVPN. At worst, that move could intefere with systems from banking to cell service.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censorship agency, wrote to the owners of 10 VPN services in late March to request compliance with the agency’s blacklist of websites that are blocked on Russian territory. Roskomnadzor threatened to block services that refused within the second half of May, and most of the VPN companies involved have already said they will not work with the agency. One of the companies on Roskomnadzor’s list is OpenVPN Inc., which has both its own paid VPN service and a VPN protocol that companies all over the world use to enable encrypted connections among devices. Meduza has learned that blocking that protocol might lead to broader disruptions in third-party services, somewhat like the agency’s efforts to block the messaging service Telegram in 2018. If Russian censors enforce their VPN blockage plan to the letter, areas from the banking system to the cellular service industry could experience unexpected technical issues.

Defendants need people who give a damn. How ‘public advocates’ are disrupting Russia’s justice system

Since 2001, Russia has operated a system of “public advocates,” allowing individuals without a law degree (often defendants’ friends or relatives) to help defense attorneys build cases, including in felony trials. Recently, civic activists have started serving as public advocates, offering assistance not only to friends, but also to total strangers. Unlike appointed attorneys, these advocates can choose their own cases, and they’re free from certain restrictions on lawyers: for example, they can declare in court that they consider a trial to be politically motivated. Meduza asked three public advocates to explain what they do, why they’ve taken up this work, and how someone without a law degree but a direct interest in a case can help a professional defense attorney.

Last suspect in Russian treason case gets six years in prison, concluding FSB’s worst scandal in recent memory

Russia’s Moscow District Military Court has convicted former Federal Security Service (FSB) agent Dmitry Dokuchaev of treason and sentenced him to six years in prison, also stripping him of his rank as major. After agreeing to a plea bargain and testifying against his former boss, Dokuchaev received a lighter sentence than the other suspects in the case: former FSB officer Sergey Mikhailov got 22 years in prison, former Kaspersky Lab expert Ruslan Stoyanov was sentenced to 14 years, and entrepreneur Georgy Fomchenkov (who also reportedly cooperated with prosecutors) got seven years behind bars.

Russian investigators now want American investor Michael Calvey moved to house arrest

Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee has asked a Moscow court to transfer American investor Michael Calvey and former Vostochny Bank chairman Alexey Kordichev from pretrial detention to house arrest, a spokesperson for the Basmanny District Court told the news agency Interfax. The two men have been jailed since mid-February on charges of fraudulent debt repayment. Another four suspects in the investigation are also being jailed.

A republic unites. ‘Meduza’ reports from the ground on Ingushetia’s remarkable months-long protest movement

Since the fall of 2018, residents of Ingushetia have held ongoing protests against a newly proposed border with Chechnya. On paper, there has been no formal border since the Chechen-Ingush ASSR split into two Russian federal subjects in 1991. On an objective level, a legal demarcation is necessary, but the border bill that the governments of both republics approved in the fall gave Chechnya more than seven percent of Ingushetia’s territory. As Ingush citizens protested, first against the deal itself and then against the government’s attempt to eliminate the need for a popular vote on it, both the region’s intelligentsia and Islamic fundamentalists took part. By April, that struggle against municipal, regional, and federal government forces had become a war of entrenchment: law enforcement agencies began searching and arresting opposition activists en masse. Meduza asked journalist Vladimir Sevrinovsky to speak with members of the Ingush protest movement in Magas and Nazran.