Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine More Expensive for Africa Than Western Jabs – FT

Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will cost up to three times as much as western counterparts for African nations, The Financial Times reported Thursday, citing individuals familiar with the procurement process.

The African Union said last week it has secured 300 million Sputnik V doses over one-year period starting this May as Russia promotes it globally as a cheaper, easier-to-transport alternative to western-developed jabs.

The AU will pay $9.75 per dose for Sputnik V, according to the FT, meaning the two-dose jab will cost $19.50 per person in total.

That reportedly compares to $3 per dose for the 100 million AstraZeneca vaccines that the AU previously said it had secured. FT added that AU has also agreed on the purchase of the Indian-made Novavax vaccine for the same price tag.

“Our international price of just under $10 per dose is the same for all markets,” said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V abroad and funded its development. The AU declined to comment on the pricing.

Continue reading
  5 Hits
5 Hits

Russian Domestic Violence Victim’s Death Blamed on ‘Negligent’ Cops

Russian activists have placed the blame for a young domestic violence victim’s death in Siberia on the police, alleging that they failed to respond as she was being beaten to death in a case that has sparked national attention this week.

Women’s rights activist Alyona Popova claimed that police in the city of Kemerovo ignored repeated calls from concerned neighbors as 23-year-old student Vera Pekhteleva’s ex-boyfriend beat her for 3.5 hours at his apartment last month. The neighbors eventually managed to break down the apartment door themselves only to find that Pekhteleva had already died. 

Two male police officers have been charged with criminal negligence for not responding to the calls, which Popova said means they could get off with just a warning and a fine. 

“Our state currently defends the interests of the killer and the police. This attitude towards domestic violence has already become the norm in Russia,” Popova wrote on Facebook, attaching alleged call transcripts showing that police operators were more concerned with the neighbors’ rude tone rather than their cries for help. 

On Friday, a district court in Kemerovo returned the case to prosecutors to requalify the officers' negligence charges to more serious ones. 

Continue reading
  5 Hits
5 Hits

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Feb. 26

Russia has confirmed 4,223,186 cases of coronavirus and 85,304 deaths.

Feb. 26: What you need to know today

Russia on Friday confirmed 11,086 new coronavirus cases and 428 deaths.Around 4 million Russians have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far, state-run TASS news agency reported Friday citing Russia's Health Ministery representative. Guatemala became the latest country to authorize Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the jab's developer announced Thursday. The Egyptian Drug Authority gave emergency authorization to Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the jab's developers confirmed Wednesday. Georgia will be open to Russian tourists from March 1, Russia's TASS news agency reported Wednesday citing Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. All tourists arriving in Georgia will be required to present a negative coronavirus test result or vaccination certificate. 

Feb. 23

— Kyrgyzstan has also registered Sputnik V, the country's health ministry said Tuesday.

Feb. 22

— Syria has authorized the use of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its embassy in Moscow said Monday.

Continue reading
  5 Hits
5 Hits

Boeing 777 With Engine Trouble Makes Emergency Landing in Moscow

A Boeing 777 airliner on Friday made an emergency landing in Moscow with engine problems, the operating airline said, days after another model rained down engine debris over the United States.

State-owned Rossiya airline said the crew had registered the "incorrect operation of the engine control sensor" on a cargo flight from Hong Kong to Madrid and that they "decided to make an emergency landing in Moscow."

Online flight trackers confirmed the flight was carried out with a Boeing 777.

The airline said the unscheduled landing went ahead without incident and that no one was injured.

The aircraft will continue its onward journey to Madrid after a delay of several hours, it added.

Continue reading
  3 Hits
3 Hits

Russian Diplomats Push Railway Handcar Home from North Korea

Russian diplomats and their family members returning from North Korea were forced to push a handcar with their belongings over the border as the reclusive country remained closed due to the coronavirus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

North Korea has not reported any Covid-19 cases more than a year into the global pandemic that has infected 113 million and killed 2.5 million people. Foreign diplomatic missions closed last spring and most employees, including 13 from Russia’s Embassy in Pyongyang, were flown out of the country.

Eight Russian Embassy employees and their families made their way home Thursday with the help of a railroad handcar loaded with luggage and children.

Their journey began with a 32-hour train ride out of Pyongyang, followed by a 2-hour bus ride to the Russian border, where Russia’s Foreign Ministry said a crucial last leg awaited them.

“The most important part of the route was a pedestrian crossing to the Russian side. They needed to prepare a cart in advance, put it on rails, place the luggage, seat the children and set off,” the ministry said.

Continue reading
  5 Hits
5 Hits

‘The police are coming. There’s no need to swear!’. Outrage spreads after Russians learn about the police ignoring a grisly domestic dispute that ended in a woman’s brutal murder. The negligent police officers could get off with a fine.

‘The police are coming. There’s no need to swear!’. Outrage spreads after Russians learn about the police ignoring a grisly domestic dispute that ended in a woman’s brutal murder. The negligent police officers could get off with a fine.

Details about a grisly murder committed a year ago in Kemerovo have found an audience on social media in the past week, following activist Alena Popova’s Facebook posts about the killing of 23-year-old Vera Pekhteleva at the hands of a jealous ex-boyfriend. Her death is particularly disturbing and shocking because neighbors pleaded with the local police for assistance for hours while listening to the woman scream in agony. By the time the neighbors finally kicked in the apartment door, Pekhteleva was dead. The public’s attention now turns to the trials against the killer and the officers whose negligence likely cost a woman her life.

Russians know the story of Vera Pekhteleva, a 23-year-old student at Kuzbass State Technical University who was murdered in January 2020, thanks to Alena Popova, the co-founder of “You Are Not Alone,” an organization for victims of domestic violence. On February 20, Popova shared the following message on Facebook:

Her former boyfriend murdered 23-year-old Vera over a period of three and a half hours. For several hours, the neighbors called the police, begging them to come, but the police didn’t come. Finally, the neighbors themselves broke down the metal door, but it was too late. By then [the former boyfriend] Vladislav Kanyus had inflicted no fewer than 56 injuries on Vera: bruises, cuts, a broken nose, and cranial trauma. He didn’t leave a single place on the girl’s body untouched. In the end, he strangled Vera with the cord from an iron.

Popova, who obtained the case file from Pechteleva’s sister, said Vera had decided to break up with Kanyus. On the day of the murder, she went to his apartment to collect her things, but he wouldn’t let her leave. She tried to break free, but he pulled her away from the door and continued to beat her. Neighbors heard her screaming and called the police at least seven times, but no one responded. By the time the neighbors ultimately broke down Kanyus’s apartment door themselves, Pekhteleva was already dead.

Kanyus has been charged with murder and faces six to 15 years in prison. Popova noted that he is charged simply with murder, not aggravated homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Pekhteleva’s relatives had petitioned for the more serious charge, but prosecutors ignored these requests. The indictment does not state that Kanyus “tortured her to death” over a period of hours, Popova said, which could allow him to get a relatively short sentence with the chance of parole.

Continue reading
  1 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

1 Hits

Thousands Rally in Armenia After PM Warns of 'Coup Attempt'

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan defied calls to resign and accused the military of an attempted coup on Thursday, as divisions over his handling of last year's war with Azerbaijan brought thousands to the streets.

Hours after the general staff of Armenia's military made a shock call for the government to step down, Pashinyan rallied some 20,000 supporters in the center of the capital Yerevan against what he said was an attempt to oust him.

The opposition gathered some 10,000 of its own supporters not far away, then began putting up tents and building barricades outside parliament as it vowed to hold round-the-clock demonstrations.

There were no signs of any military action against Pashinyan, who ordered the armed forces to stand behind the government.

"I am ordering all generals, officers and soldiers: do your job of protecting the country's borders and territorial integrity," he said during the rally.

Continue reading
  2 Hits
2 Hits

Navalny is moved from remand prison and likely transferred to a penitentiary

Navalny is moved from remand prison and likely transferred to a penitentiary

The Russian authorities have moved Alexey Navalny from the remand prison in the capital where he’s been jailed since returning to Moscow last month. The opposition politician’s lawyer told the news agency Interfax that he arrived at Matrosskaya Tishina for a meeting with Navalny on Thursday, only to be told that his client is no longer being held there. “He’s probably been transferred to a penitentiary, but it’s also possible they took him somewhere else,” said Vadim Kobzev.

Navalny’s 2.5-year prison sentence entered force on February 20, after an appellate court upheld his conviction for supposedly violating parole requirements in a previous felony sentence that international groups have condemned as an unfair, politicized trial.

  3 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

3 Hits

Russian Pranksters Trick Amnesty Heads in Navalny 'Prisoner of Conscience' Call

A pair of notorious Russian pranksters duped top Amnesty International directors into saying their widely panned move to revoke jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's “prisoner of conscience” status caused damage.

Amnesty was hit with widespread backlash for the decision Wednesday, with critics saying the group had caved in to a “targeted campaign” to discredit Navalny by figures linked to pro-Kremlin media. The organization cited Navalny’s past nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric in its decision to remove the label but said it would continue to push for his release.

In the call, three Amnesty officials discuss the fallout from the day's events with the pranksters known as Vovan and Lexus, who pose as top Navalny aide Leonid Volkov.

“We are conscious that what happened has done a lot of damage,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty's vice president of Europe and Central Asia, says on the 15-minute Zoom call published to Vovan and Lexus’ YouTube channel Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Amnesty International Russia told The Moscow Times that the video of the call posted on YouTube is authentic but declined to comment further.

Continue reading
  3 Hits
3 Hits

Moscow City Hall Develops App to ‘Replace’ Skype, Slack – RBC

Moscow authorities have developed an internal messaging app intended as a “full replacement” for workplace communication platforms like Slack, Skype and Telegram, the RBC news website reported Thursday. 

The app’s appearance comes as Russia slams what it calls censorship and discrimination of government-affiliated accounts by western social media platforms. Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin raised fines for protesters and “foreign agents,” as well as on social media giants accused of “discriminating” against Russian media.

The TDM Messenger app first appeared on Google Play in July 2020 but disappeared from the store after RBC sent a request for comment to Moscow’s IT department. A subsidiary of Moscow’s IT department had been listed as one of the app’s developers, RBC reported.

According to RBC, the app operates like a typical messaging app, with the ability to send photos and video as well as make personal and group voice calls. The Moscow IT department subsidiary’s website touted the app as having "an unprecedented level of security, resiliency and scalability for user collaboration in government agencies," adding that it allows for encrypted messaging and voice calls.

A representative for Moscow City Hall declined to comment on the app’s development to RBC, saying only that the city’s IT department "systematically tests new solutions."

Continue reading
  0 Hits
0 Hits

Armenia’s prime minister says the military is trying to overthrow him, following resignation demands from top generals

Armenia’s prime minister says the military is trying to overthrow him, following resignation demands from top generals

Armenia’s prime minister and military leadership are squaring off in what the former is calling an attempted coup, following the Armed Forces General Staff’s calls for the immediate resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and his government cabinet, reports News.am

The General Staff released its demands in a letter signed by 40 senior military officers. The letter says Pashinyan’s decision to remove Lieutenant General Tiran Khachatryan as first deputy chief of the General Staff was made for “short-sighted and unfounded reasons.”

Armenia’s prime minister responded to the demands in a Facebook post, saying he considers the General Staff’s announcement to be “an attempted military coup.” “I invite all our supporters now to Republic Square [in Yerevan]. Very soon, I’ll be making a public address in a live broadcast,” wrote Pashinyan, who later announced that he’s removed Colonel-General Onik Gasparyan as chief of Armenia’s General Staff. Gasparyan then also signed the military’s letter to Pashinyan and his cabinet. 

According to the Russian news agency Interfax, some of Pashinyan’s opponents soon assembled near the Defense Ministry’s building, chanting slogans like “Pashinyan is a traitor!” and “Nikol, go away!” Neil Hauer, a Canadian journalist who lives in Yerevan, noted on Twitter that there is no evidence yet of a military coup in action. “No military vehicles on the street, no sign police are disloyal, [and] no statement of intent by [the] military to take power,” he wrote.

At the time of this writing, Armenia’s Defense Ministry had not commented on the General Staff’s demands.

Continue reading
  3 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

3 Hits

Anti-Putin Shaman Charged With Sword Attack on Police

A Siberian shaman who was re-committed to a mental hospital ahead of his planned journey to expel President Vladimir Putin from power has been charged over a sword attack on a police officer, authorities announced Thursday. 

Investigators in the Far East republic of Sakha said a 51-year-old resident resisted detention on Jan. 27 after the mental hospital treating him complained that he had failed to appear for his monthly check-up.

“The man used an 84-centimeter handmade cold weapon and inflicted a stab wound on the police officer,” the regional Investigative Committee said without identifying Alexander Gabyshev by name.

The officer received medical treatment for his injury, it added in an online statement.

Interfax identified the weapon as a traditional Yakut long sword called a batas.

Continue reading
  0 Hits
0 Hits

German Man Charged for Spying at Bundestag for Russians — Prosecutors

German prosecutors said Thursday they have filed spying charges against a German man suspected of passing on data from parliament to Russian secret services.

The suspect, named only as Jens F., worked for a company that was contracted by the Bundestag to carry out regular checks on electric equipment in parliament.

"Against this background, the defendant had access to PDF files with the floor plans of" parliamentary properties, said federal prosecutors.

The suspect is believed to have decided sometime in the summer of 2017 to pass on the information to Russian secret services.

"For that, he prepared a data carrier with the corresponding PDF files and sent it to an employee in the Russian embassy in Berlin, who mainly works for the Russian military secret service GRU," said prosecutors.

Continue reading
  0 Hits
0 Hits

‘Anything to further my Communist agenda’. Another day’s developments in Navalny’s loss of ‘prisoner of conscience’ status at Amnesty International

‘Anything to further my Communist agenda’. Another day’s developments in Navalny’s loss of ‘prisoner of conscience’ status at Amnesty International

Some new details emerged on Wednesday about the human rights organization Amnesty International’s decision to rescind Alexey Navalny’s “prisoner of conscience” status. As reported yesterday, the group has determined that Navalny’s past advocacy of anti-migrant positions constitutes hate speech. Today, more of the organization’s staff in Russia confirmed Navalny’s new designation. Also, several new encounters online fueled additional anger and ridicule. 

Amnesty’s policies state that a prisoner of conscience cannot be someone who has “used or advocated violence.” The sudden concern about Navalny’s ethnic nationalism apparently revolves around statements and videos he released in the mid-2000s when he compared Muslim extremists to cockroaches and endorsed mass deportations of undocumented laborers. Navalny has never renounced these positions.

Wednesday also brought further confirmation that Amnesty International based its decision to rescind Navalny’s prisoner-of-conscience status at least in part on a Twitter thread by a Russia Today freelance columnist. Natalia Zvyagina, the head of Amnesty International's Moscow office, told the news outlet Znak.com that multiple complaints to the organization cited a series of tweets written by Katya Kazbek (real name: Ekaterina Dubovitskaya), a self-described Communist activist who calls Navalny “an avowed nationalist and racist.”

On Twitter, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan mocked the journalists and activists who have criticized Amnesty International’s decision, and she defended the work of “RT’s columnist,” only to provoke Kazbek into responding: “You’re as racist as Navalny is, so go fuck yourself.” Asked why she would write for a Russian state propaganda outlet, Kazbek said on Twitter (before locking her account to subscribers): “I will take any platform I can control to further my Communist agenda.”

Oleg Kozlovsky, an opposition activist and a researcher at Amnesty International in Russia, told the independent television network Dozhd that Navalny’s loss of status is only a “technicality” and said the organization’s London office made the final decision after deliberations with the Moscow bureau. Both Kozlovsky and Zvyagina said their organization continues to believe that Navalny is being imprisoned for challenging Vladimir Putin politically. The group still demands Navalny’s immediate release. 

Continue reading
  0 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

0 Hits

Russia’s opposition will mark the sixth anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination with a memorial event, not a march, due to pandemic restrictions

Russia’s opposition will mark the sixth anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination with a memorial event, not a march, due to pandemic restrictions

A coalition of opposition activists and politicians is calling on supporters of Boris Nemtsov to mark the sixth anniversary of his assassination by leaving flowers at the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow, where the former deputy prime minister was shot and killed on February 27, 2015.

According to Moscow municipal deputy Ilya Yashin, Saturday’s gathering will be a “memorial event, but not a rally or march,” which are currently prohibited in Moscow due to public safety measures against the coronavirus. Organizers are asking participants not to bring posters or any signs. “Don’t give the police any excuse to make arrests,” Yashin wrote on Facebook, urging everyone to observe social distancing and wear masks and gloves.

Days after Boris Nemtsov’s murder and every year since, the late politician’s supporters have marched to commemorate his life and condemn his killing. Yashin told journalists at Open Media that Moscow city officials don’t object to this year’s memorial event, so long as participants observe the capital’s pandemic safety requirements.

Case closed Putin says that the murders of Boris Nemtsov and Galina Starovoitova have been solved. Is that true?
Case closed Putin says that the murders of Boris Nemtsov and Galina Starovoitova have been solved. Is that true?
  0 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

0 Hits

In a new interview, Putin’s alleged illegitimate daughter says ‘a lot of people’ look like the president

In a new interview, Putin’s alleged illegitimate daughter says ‘a lot of people’ look like the president

In November 2020, the investigative news outlet Proekt reported that a woman named Svetlana Krivonogikh owns a minority share in Rossiya Bank, which she apparently owes to an intimate relationship with Vladimir Putin. Journalists also discovered that Krivonogikh’s daughter, Luiza Rozova, bears a striking resemblance to Russia’s president, leading to speculation that Rozova is Putin’s illegitimate child, though the Kremlin has dismissed these rumors as “tabloid” speculation. 

After publicly engaging one of the journalists last week who outed her supposed lineage, Rozova granted an interview to GQ Russia that appeared on February 24, and posed for several photos but hid her face. The only question GQ’s Vadim Smyslov asked Rozova about Russia’s president was if she thinks she looks like him. Her response? “There are a lot of people who look like Mr. Putin.” Rozova also complained about “embittered people” trolling her online after Proekt’s report, but she insists that she’s adapted to the pressure and no longer cares.

  1 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

1 Hits

‘The judge hears all of it’. How Russian police officers use compromised witnesses to frame innocent people — and keep getting away with it

‘The judge hears all of it’. How Russian police officers use compromised witnesses to frame innocent people — and keep getting away with it

Reporters from iStories and Meduza examined Moscow court documents and found more than 140 “professional witnesses” — people who regularly testify in court cases related to drug charges. The practice is blatantly illegal, but judges send people to prison for years based on these witnesses’ testimonies.

In May 2018, thirty-five-year-old Natalya Goloborodko reached out to Moscow police in an effort to “expose a dealer of illicit substances.” The officers decided to conduct a “test purchase” — Goloborodko would buy drugs from the dealer under officer supervision. The police found two witnesses, and together they all went to the home of Nikolai Grigoryev, the alleged drug dealer. As soon as the deal was made, the officers arrested Grigoryev. Back at the station, they confiscated the money Grigoryev had allegedly gotten from Goloborodko for the drugs, and — in the presence of witnesses — they found MDMA, amphetamines, and hash in his apartment. The authorities charged Grigoryev with two counts of selling drugs and one count of attempting to sell (they discovered information about future drug deals on his phone). He confessed to everything upon interrogation.

In court, however, Grigoryev maintained his innocence, saying that the police forced his confession and that Natalya Goloborodko framed him. He admitted to knowing Goloborodka, but insisted that he never sold her amphetamines. The police planted the money on him, he said. Nikolai’s mother and sister said in court that they had “never suspected him of dealing drugs.” The crime’s only witnesses were the police officers, Goloborodko, and the two official witnesses.

Grigoryev happened to meet one of them in a police car before his sentencing hearing. Thirty-eight-year-old Mikhail Rakhmankin, whose responsibility as an official witness was to act as an independent observer during the search, had already been tried twice for dealing drugs himself. He was in the police car with Grigoryev because he was simultaneously under investigation, and the two men were being kept in the same pretrial detention facility.

Nonetheless, the judge ruled that “the defense’s opinion that the search involved witnesses who were dependent on police officers is unsubstantiated.” On August 1, 2019, the Kuntsevsky District Court convicted Nikolai Grigoryev and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.

Continue reading
  2 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

2 Hits

Putin signs law that raises penalties for disobeying law enforcement and makes it harder to finance demonstrations

Putin signs law that raises penalties for disobeying law enforcement and makes it harder to finance demonstrations

Protesting in Russia just got a bit riskier. On Wednesday, President Putin signed legislation that raises the penalties for disobeying police officers, including at public assemblies, and for violating new rules on financing mass demonstrations. 

The new law hikes the maximum fine for insubordination to 4,000 rubles ($55) and introduces up to 120 hours of community service. Perpetrators also face up to 15 days in jail, while repeat offenders can be locked up for 30 days and fined as much as 20,000 rubles ($275) or sentenced to 100-200 hours of community service.

With the president’s signature, it’s now illegal to donate money anonymously to support the organization of mass demonstrations, and any funds submitted this way must be surrendered to the state. Failure to comply with these new requirements can result in fines as high as 20,000 rubles or 40 hours of community service. Legal entities that violate the new law face fines 10 times as high. Individuals who “lack the right” to donate money for the organization of public assemblies but do so anyway face fines as high as 15,000 rubles ($200). A legal entity that does the same could be fined up to 100,000 rubles ($1,360).

  2 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

2 Hits

Amnesty International rescinds Alexey Navalny’s ‘prisoner of conscience’ status because of past ‘hate speech,’ following rumored ‘campaign’ by individuals tied to Russia Today

Amnesty International rescinds Alexey Navalny’s ‘prisoner of conscience’ status because of past ‘hate speech,’ following rumored ‘campaign’ by individuals tied to Russia Today

The human rights organization Amnesty International has rescinded its decision to grant “prisoner of conscience” status to Alexey Navalny, arguing that the jailed Russian opposition politician’s past statements about migrants from Central Asia and the North Caucasus constitute hate speech. Alexander Artemyev, the group’s Russia and Eurasia media manager, confirmed the determination to Mediazona on Tuesday, after American journalist Aaron Maté first reported the news from Amnesty’s UK division. 

“Yes, we will no longer use the phrase ‘prisoner of conscience’ when referring to [Navalny], insofar as our legal and political department studied Navalny’s statements from the mid-2000s and determined that they qualify as hate speech,” Artemyev told Mediazona. “Nevertheless, our calls for his immediate release remain in force, as he is being persecuted for purely political reasons.”

Artemyev also noted that human rights activists “got the impression that the requests to review Navalny’s statements were part of a coordinated campaign abroad to discredit him,” adding that Amnesty International is still collecting signatures for a petition demanding Navalny’s freedom.

Requesting anonymity, another source at Amnesty International told Mediazona that “people in different countries at Russia Today” might have been involved in the campaign to revoke Navalny’s “prisoner of conscience” status, saying the authors of at least two complaints addressed to the organization cited a widely-shared Twitter thread by RT freelance columnist Katya Kazbek (real name: Ekaterina Dubovitskaya), where she called Navalny an “avowed nationalist and racist.”

On January 17, Amnesty International recognized Navalny as a prisoner of conscience, immediately after police officers arrested him at a Moscow airport. “Alexey Navalny has been deprived of his liberty for his peaceful political activism and exercising free speech. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release,” the organization said in a press release.

  1 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

1 Hits

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation director downplays the EU’s refusal to sanction Russian oligarchs

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation director downplays the EU’s refusal to sanction Russian oligarchs

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (which Russia’s Justice Ministry has designated as a “foreign agent”), is trying to put a positive spin on the European Union’s decision not to sanction prominent businessmen Navalny’s associates say are partly responsible for the opposition politician’s imprisonment. Though his team advocates these sanctions, Zhdanov told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that targeting Russian oligarchs is largely impractical because their immense personal resources and access to elite lawyers enable them to challenge and reverse such measures.

“So things here are getting harder, of course, but I don’t see this as some major failure because the main thing is that those who violate the rights of Russian citizens — whatever judges, prosecutors, [Investigative Committee head Alexander] Bastrykin, and [Attorney General Igor] Krasnov are certainly included on this list. Also, this is just the first step,” said Zhdanov, referring to reports on February 22 that European Union foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials (Bastrykin, Krasnov, Federal Penitentiary Service Director Alexander Kalashnikov, and National Guard Director Viktor Zolotov) in response to Navalny’s imprisonment.

Also on Monday, EU Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell confirmed that Europe is not prepared to levy sanctions against Russian oligarchs (who happen to be a frequent target of Navalny’s anti-corruption investigations). “Maybe we don't like the oligarchs [...] but if there isn't a link we can prove in a court of law, we cannot use [sanctions],” Borrell told reporters.

After Russian police arrested Alexey Navalny in Moscow in mid-January 2021, the opposition politician’s longtime associate Vladimir Ashurkov named eight individuals Navalny himself wants to see sanctioned in the West. The list included the billionaires Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich, as well as the bankers Igor Shuvalov and Andrey Kostin. 

In early February, in response to Ashurkov’s proposed sanctions list, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin urged his colleagues to adopt amendments that would make it a felony to advocate foreign sanctions against Russian citizens. Lawmakers passed the first reading of this legislation in May 2018, but the draft law has since languished in consultations with Russia’s business community.

The next wave The West is preparing a new round of sanctions against Russia, but who really pays, and what’s the point, in the end?
The next wave The West is preparing a new round of sanctions against Russia, but who really pays, and what’s the point, in the end?
  2 Hits

Copyright

© The Meduza

2 Hits