News of the Day: 23 August 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported 19,454 new coronavirus cases and 776 pandemic deaths.

RFE/RL: Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office has deemed four evangelical groups from Latvia and Ukraine as “undesirable,” saying they pose a threat to constitutional order and the country’s security.”Following the examination of materials filed in the Prosecutor-General’s Office, a decision was made to deem undesirable the following nongovernmental organizations: the New Generation International Christian Movement (Latvia), the New Generation Evangelical Christian Church (Latvia), the New Generation Spiritual Directorate of the Evangelist Christians (Ukraine), and the New Generation International Biblical College spiritual educational facility (Ukraine),” the office said in a statement on August 23.

The Moscow Times: The Kremlin was not behind Russia’s labeling of two leading independent media outlets as “foreign agents,” its spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.  On Friday, the Justice Ministry added the Dozhd broadcaster and investigative site Important Stories (iStories), as well as six journalists from iStories, to its registry of “foreign agents.” Kremlin critics say the designations are part of an ongoing crackdown aimed at silencing critical voices ahead of September’s parliamentary elections.

RFE/RL: Russian authorities have detained a Ukrainian citizen on suspicion of espionage in the city of Tula, some 200 kilometers south of Moscow. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said on August 23 that the man, whose identity was not revealed, is suspected of collecting classified data related to Russia’s latest firearms technologies for Ukraine’s secret services.

The Moscow Times: A Russian man swam 20 kilometers from the disputed Kuril Islands to Japan to ask for political asylum, state media reported Sunday following Japanese media reports that the man had been detained in Hokkaido. Authorities in the Yuzhno-Kurilsk municipal administration said the refugee was an Urals native who had received free land on the Kuril island of Kunashir as part of Russia’s program to rejuvenate its Far East regions.

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