News of the Day: 31 May 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia has confirmed 5,063,442 cases of coronavirus and 121,162 deaths, according to the national coronavirus information center. Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is above 460,000.

The Moscow Times: The Russian online media outlet NEWSru has announced its closure, blaming the country’s current “political situation,” which has made it economically impossible to function, as advertisers shun independent sources of information. NEWSru, which has functioned primarily as a news aggregator in recent years, said in a statement on May 31 that regulations requiring media in Russia to label anyone the state regards as “extremists” or “foreign agents” when referencing them in their articles was increasingly impacting its bottom line.

RFE/RL: Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny asked a court on May 31 to halt the hourly nighttime checks he has been subjected to in his penal colony, saying the measure amounts to “torture.” Speaking to the court in a video link from prison, Navalny said that he has done nothing that would warrant the authorities’ decision to designate him as a flight risk that has resulted in the checks. “I just want them to stop coming to me and waking me up at night,” he told the Petushinsky District Court in the Vladimir region. “What did I do? Did I climb the fence? Did I dig up an underpass? Or was I wringing a pistol from someone? Just explain why they named me a flight risk!”

Human Rights in Ukraine: Russian prison authorities are preventing Ukrainian political prisoner Oleksandr Marchenko from regularly receiving thyroid hormone medication, needed to compensate for a removed thyroid and to prevent the cancer he once survived from returning. Team29, whose lawyer Yevgeny Smirnov is representing Marchenko, reports that the situation has become extremely serious.  If he is prevented from regularly taking thyroid hormones, Marchenko’s legs give out, and he cannot stand.  Instead of understanding this, and preventing the recent month-long period without any medication, the Krasnodar prison colony staff have placed him in a SHIZO or punishment cell.  His ‘transgression’ was that, after being deprived of medication and gravely weakened, he lay down during the day in his cell.

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