News of the Day: 6 August 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia has recorded more than half a million excess deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, official figures published Friday show. Nationwide fatalities surged during June — the latest month for which such data is available — as the Delta variant of the coronavirus tore across the capital Moscow and spread out into the regions, sending mortality rates back to levels not seen since winter.

The Moscow Times: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s brother and close ally have been sentenced over their roles in this winter’s mass protests calling for his release, his ally said Friday.

RFE/RL: The brother of imprisoned Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was given a one-year suspended prison sentence after a court in Moscow found him guilty on August 6 of publicly calling for the violation of anti-pandemic restrictions.

RFE/RL: A court in St. Petersburg has sentenced a man to 4 1/2 years in prison for what prosecutors say was an attack on two police officers during an unsanctioned rally in January to support jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

RFE/RL: A woman on trial in the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan for allegedly providing financial support to the mother of an opposition activist jailed for extremism has been added to a federal list of extremists despite no ruling yet in her case.

The Guardian: A Russian lesbian family who received death threats after they appeared in an advertisement for the food chain VkusVill say they feel safe in Barcelona and accepted for who they are. The family were targeted in a hate campaign on social media after they appeared in the ad. The company later apologised and replaced the photo with one of a heterosexual family.

The Moscow Times: American investor Michael Calvey has been handed a five-and-a-half year suspended sentence after being found guilty of embezzlement in a highly controversial case that has rocked Russia’s business world.  The star American investor was first detained in February 2019 on charges related to loans issued by a bank owned by his Baring Vostok fund in 2015. 

RFE/RL: A court in Austria has sentenced a Russian man to life in prison after he was convicted of murdering a 43-year-old Chechen in a Vienna suburb last year in a case that drew international attention amid claims the killing had been politically motivated.

RFE/RL: The wife of jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has completed a so-called “long visit” with her husband six months into his most recent imprisonment. Such visits can last up to three days at a special prison facility under the Russian penitentiary system and all inmates are eligible from six months into serving their sentence.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The Russian prison where Yevhen Karakashev is serving a 6-year sentence for civic activism and a social media post is trying to prevent Ukraine’s Consul from visiting the Ukrainian political prisoner from Crimea.  

The Moscow Times: When Olga Misik splashed red paint on the guard’s booth outside the federal prosecutor’s office in Moscow last summer, she didn’t think the minor political act would turn into a criminal offense.  “Two days before I acted I did my research and understood that this wouldn’t even be classified as an administrative offense,” Misik, who is now 19, told The Moscow Times in an interview. 

The Moscow Times: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is investigating two Russian state-run TV channels over talk shows that disparaged the lifestyles of a transgender and a gay athlete as “perversion” and “abomination,” the BBC has reported.

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