News of the Day: 22 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday confirmed 25,264 Covid-19 infections and 1,020 deaths.

RFE/RL: The editor in chief of Russia’s Novaya gazeta, who shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has denounced the Russian government’s so-called “foreign agents” law as “a filthy stigma that the authorities try to hang on all of their opponents.”

RFE/RL: Dutch prosecutors have requested life sentences for three Russians and a Ukrainian on trial in absentia on charges of playing a role in downing a passenger jet over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people.

RFE/RL: The segment, which aired on December 20, marked an escalation in the already hyperbolic tone adopted by anchors and commentators on Russian talk shows. In recent days and weeks, as the Kremlin has warned of a “military response” in Ukraine if the West does not agree to its demands, the narrative on TV has reached fever pitch.

The Moscow Times: Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has reached a settlement with journalist Catherine Belton in a defamation lawsuit brought against her and her publisher over claims in her 2020 book “Putin’s People.” In a statement issued Wednesday, publishers HarperCollins said they had “settled their dispute with Roman Abramovich over certain passages in Putin’s People,” acknowledged that the book contains “some inaccurate information,” and agreed to amend sections in a new and updated edition. Some 1,700 words will be deleted or added to the new version of the book.

Human Rights Watch: United Nations member countries currently haggling over the organization’s 2022 budget should stand firm against Russia and China-led efforts to slash funding for UN human rights work.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum [Anikó Bakonyi, Nikola Mokrović, Co-Chairs of the Board, EU-Russia Civil Society Forum]: We dubbed last year as „A Year Like No Other“. The spirit of that statement contained an implicit expectation that we would overcome at least the political and social problems caused by the pandemic. The pandemic created an open-ended situation where huge social and political changes and interventions became an everyday phenomenon, but often with no foreseeable outcomes. Uncertainty is the new habit, which we all had to get used to. Our experience of this year has shown us that in many respects the situation can become even worse and more uncertain, or at least, more complex.

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