News of the Day: 18 August 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday reported 20,914 new coronavirus cases and 799 pandemic deaths.

RFE/RL: On the 30th anniversary of a coup that failed to stop democratic reforms in the Soviet Union and expedited its collapse, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said Russian society must stand against “usurping power,” the phrase often used by critics of Russia’s current President Vladimir Putin.

The Moscow Times: Thirty years ago today, an attempted coup shook Moscow and signaled the impending end of the Soviet Union. Unhappy with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika and glasnost reforms, a group of hard-line military and civilian leaders that called themselves the State Committee on the State of Emergency (GKChP) seized control of Moscow — and of Gorbachev himself, placing him under house arrest at his dacha in Crimea. Many Russians today still remember the television switching to a continuous loop of “Swan Lake” as tanks rolled into Moscow.

RFE/RL: Moscow police are using leaked online personal data from projects linked to jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to investigate people who have supported the Kremlin critic.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The Russian occupiers changed their tactics this week and did not prevent Crimean Tatars from travelling to Russia for the passing on 16 August of appalling sentences against four political prisoners.  Instead, they staged new armed raids early the following morning, with Rustem Murasov,, one of the Crimean Tatars who travelled to Rostov to show his support, arrested on grotesque ‘terrorism’ charges within hours of his return.  The message could not be clearer: demonstrate solidarity with political prisoners and you could be next. The five Crimean Tatars now imprisoned: Zavur Abdullayev; Dzhebbar Bekirov; Rayif Fevziyev; Rustem Murasov and Rustem Tayirov have all been active in attending politically motivated court hearings; have taken part in flash-mobs, single-person pickets, etc and in helping the families of political prisoners. 

The Moscow Times: Over two-thirds of women killed in Russia in the past decade were murdered by their partners or relatives, according to a study by the Russian Consortium of Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations.

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