Internet freedom expert says Russia lacks the means to pull off an isolated Web like China’s

On February 12, 2019, the State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation that will allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russia to the global Internet. Ostensibly as a defensive measure, lawmakers want to build the technical infrastructure necessary to sustain the Russian segment of the Internet in isolation from the rest of the world.

Queerness from Prussia in 1812 to Kyrgyzstan in 2019. ‘Meduza’ summarizes the latest features on LGBTQ issues in and near Russia

The first month of 2019 was a busy and often frightening one for journalists who write about LGBTQ life in the Russian-speaking world. While escalating arrests, torture, and killings of suspected gay and lesbian citizens in Chechnya made headlines, a number of publications also stepped beyond the Caucasus to report on queer and trans history in a variety of times and places. Here, Hilah Kohen summarizes two recent Russian-language stories on LGBTQ life at length and briefly describes four English-language pieces.

What is Nord Stream 2? Why are Russia’s opponents in Europe and America dead set against it? Meduza explains the controversy surrounding a pipeline that could cut Ukraine out of Europe’s gas business

On February 12, European Union officials will discuss the status of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is currently being built from the Russian town of Ust-Luga to the German city of Greifswald along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The United States and many European countries oppose the project, but it seems Russia and her main ally in this undertaking — Germany — are nearly at the finish line, following a compromise reached late last week in the EU. Meduza takes a closer look at Nord Stream 2 and why it’s fueled so much international tension.

Anti-corruption activist is beaten to death outside Moscow

An anti-corruption activist has been beaten to death in a town outside Moscow. Late on February 11, masked assailants attacked Dmitry Gribov, the regional head of the Combatting Government Corruption Center, crushing his head with metal rods. The incident reportedly occurred in Vinogradovo, north of the capital.

Russian lawmakers pass first draft of Internet-isolation legislation

The State Duma has passed the first reading of legislation co-authored by Senator Andrey Klishas that would allow the federal authorities to take control over the connection points linking Russia to the global Internet. Ostensibly as a defensive measure, lawmakers want to build the technical infrastructure necessary to sustain the Russian segment of the Internet in isolation from the rest of the world.

Russian lawmakers just passed legislation designed to kick soldiers off social media

Lawmakers in the State Duma have passed the second reading of legislation banning soldiers from using any electronic recording devices and from talking online about their military service. In the bill’s explanatory note, the authors say the law is necessary because soldiers’ posts on social media have allowed investigative journalists to write about the actions of Russian troops in Syria. The legislation would also reduce the information available about fighting in eastern Ukraine, hazing in armed forces, and military training exercises. Read Meduza’s report on this legislation from September 2018.

Polar bears unable to reach the ocean have invaded two Russian villages

Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago north of the country’s mainland, has been in a state of emergency since February 9 due to a polar bear invasion. Fifty-two bears have been sighted near the village of Belushya Guba; some of them exhibited aggressive behavior and attempted to enter businesses or residential buildings. Local residents have observed that the bears are drawn to landfills and trash cans, where they search for food. Russia’s regulatory agency for natural resources, Rosprirodnadzor, has forbidden residents of Novaya Zemlya to shoot even “the most aggressive specimens.” Special patrols have been organized in the archipelago’s two villages to scare away bears using light and sound effects along with dogs and automobiles. Meduza asked Nadezhda Volf, a resident of Belushya Guba, to describe how her village has coped with the presence of their new neighbors in the past few months.

When grandma started saying ‘him’. Three years in the life and transition of a Russian trans man

Yan is a video producer from Berezniki, a mid-sized city in Russia’s Perm Krai (he asked that his surname be omitted from this piece). Although he was assigned female at birth and given the name Yana, Yan knew from the time he was a young child that he identified as male. As early as his high school years, Yan also realized that he wanted to pursue sex reassignment surgery. He began preparing for that process in 2015. That same year, the journalist Stanislav Dolzhnitsky began working with him: Dolzhnitsky wanted to depict the experience of sex transition in Russia along with the many obstacles and physical changes that can accompany that journey. Dolzhnitsky asked Yan to tell his story in this Meduza exclusive.