News of the Day: 7 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported 17,856 new coronavirus cases and 790 deaths.

The Moscow Times: A prominent Russian defense lawyer involved in high-profile cases and himself facing criminal charges said Tuesday he has fled the country amid an ongoing exodus of opposition-leaning figures ahead of this month’s elections.

RFE/RL: One of Russia’s top human rights lawyers, who is representing jailed journalist Ivan Safronov, has left the country after the authorities opened a case against him for allegedly disclosing classified information about his client’s case.

RFE/RL: A court in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has extended the pretrial detention of blogger Yury Khovansky, who is charged with terrorism over a song he wrote mocking government efforts to resolve the deadly 2002 hostage-taking incident at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater.

RFE/RL: An outspoken critic of Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya, says his relatives are being pressured in Russia because of his activities.

RFE/RL: Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), has accused five detained Crimean Tatar activists of sabotaging a gas pipeline one day after Ukraine dismissed the charges as fabricated.

Human Rights Watch: In today’s Crimea, to be a member of the Crimean Tatar community is to be a target for the authorities. In the early hours of September 4, Russia’s security services raided the house of Nariman Dzhelyal, a deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar representative body, Mejlis.

RFE/RL: Newly released, previously classified documents from the U.S. Justice Department shed further light on how FBI agents and U.S. government scientists rushed, and struggled, to pinpoint the cause of the two mysterious illnesses that nearly killed Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza.

RFE/RL: Navalny’s bid to scupper United Russia’s continued dominance has now received another blow: in the Krasnodar region in Russia’s south, a local company has launched a website for a political project with suspiciously similar branding and a very similar name: Rational Voting, which in Russian is close to identical (razumnoye golosovaniye instead of umnoye golosovaniye).

RFE/RL: Through an unrelenting campaign of intimidation and criminal prosecutions the authorities have purged the electoral field of all but a select few government critics, and much of the country’s beleaguered opposition movement has largely resigned itself to defeat. 

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