News of the Day: 26 August 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday reported 19,630 new coronavirus cases and 820 deaths, a new record fatality count since the start of the pandemic.

The Guardian: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has compared Russian prison to a Chinese labour camp and says he is forced to watch eight hours of state television a day. Navalny, who built his political career on exposing corruption in Russia, is being held in a maximum security prison colony in Pokrov, 100km east of Moscow.

RFE/RL: In his first media interview from the penal colony where he is being held, Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny discussed his life as a political prisoner, saying he was being forced to watch Russian state television and selected propaganda movies for more than eight hours a day.

RFE/RL: A Moscow court has sentenced another supporter of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny to one year of so-called “restricted freedom,” a parole-like sentence, for allegedly violating restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

RFE/RL: The Russian LGBT Network says Daghestan native Ibragim Selimkhanov was abducted earlier this year in Moscow and forcibly brought to the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, where authorities pressed him for information on gay people in the region.

The Moscow Times: A court in Moscow has fined two activists for picketing the Afghan Embassy to demand that women’s rights be protected in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. On August 25, the Presnensky district court ordered members of the SotsFem Alernativa group, Anna Pavlova and Ksenia Bezdenezhnykh, to each pay a fine of 200,000 rubles ($2,700).

Human Rights in Ukraine: Russia’s latest ‘trial’ of three Ukrainian Muslims from occupied Crimea has had to be adjourned, with the material sent back to the prosecutor for it to be translated into Braille.  The Russian court accepted that it was a violation of Oleksandr Sizikov’s rights if he could not read the indictment, etc.. It remains to be seen whether Russian judges will find the courage to reject the ‘evidence’ against Sizikov, namely the ‘prohibited Islamic literature’ which are not in Braille, yet which the FSB claimed to have found during the armed search of Sizikov’s home. The Russian prosecution is asserting that books which Sizikov could not see ‘prove’ charges that could carry a sentence of 20 years or more. 

The Moscow Times: The Russian government’s public services portal should avoid showing non-Slavic people and excessive fun in its advertising materials, its branding book that resurfaced on social media this week recommends. Russia’s Communications Ministry admitted Thursday that the 2015 brand book was “inappropriate” and plans to issue a new set of guidelines.

RFE/RL: Russian President Vladimir Putin was in a generous and agreeable mood when he attended a congress of the ruling but reeling United Russia party just weeks ahead of nationwide legislative elections. After he and party leaders considered a range of proposals on ways the pro-Kremlin party could move forward, Putin gave his stamp of approval to some new programs and sweetened others with federal funds.

The Moscow Times: Russia has fined Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp for failing to store the data of Russian users on local servers, the country’s internet watchdog said Thursday, as authorities clamp down on foreign internet companies.

Leave a Reply