News of the Day: 18 October 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported a new record high number of coronavirus cases — 34,325 over the last 24 hours, taking the total toll since the start of the pandemic above 8 million. Officials also reported another 998 Covid-19 deaths.

The Guardian: Russia topped the symbolic figure of 1,000 daily deaths on Saturday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and hit a new record in infection numbers on Monday with 34,325 cases reported. Officials say the country is quickly running out of hospital beds and Russia’s chief doctor, Denis Protsenko, described the situation on Friday as “near critical”, with vaccinations at a standstill.

RFE/RL: Some personal belongings of a missing opposition activist in Bashkortostan have been found in a forest near the Russian republic’s capital, Ufa.

The Moscow Times: A former inmate who leaked videos depicting alleged torture inside Russian prisons is seeking asylum in France, a prominent NGO that tracks abuses in Russia’s prison system said over the weekend.

The Moscow Times: Russia’s government on Friday declared two more popular media outlets “foreign agents,” pressing ahead with a crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression. The justice ministry added Rosbalt and Republic to its list of “foreign agents.”

RFE/RL: A court in Russia will hold a hearing next month into an appeal by Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who is serving a lengthy prison term in Russia on espionage charges he calls trumped up, over his possible transfer home.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Hearings have taken place at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the seizure by Russia of three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 crew members on 25 November 2018.  As in all the international court proceedings brought by Ukraine against Russia since 2014, the Russian Federation first tries to deny the specific court’s jurisdiction, and the oral hearings scheduled from 11-16 October 2021 focused solely on Russia’s attempt to get the case thrown out.

The Moscow Times: Russian liberal party Yabloko announced Monday it will cut ties with members who had backed jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s anti-Kremlin voting initiative, a move that underlines bitter divisions in the country’s fragmented opposition.

The Moscow Times: Russia has banned the “Male State,” an ultra-nationalist hate group that has carried out abuse campaigns against women and minorities, as “extremist,” the Mediazona news website reported Monday.

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