|A new Russian robot called FEDOR can shoot with both hands. Photo via @Rogozin|
- The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore.
Consequently, Windows on Eurasia presents a selection of 13 of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 78th such compilation. It is only suggestive and far from complete – indeed, once again, one could have put out such a listing every day -- but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.
1. . The post-Crimea consensus , and repression having ceased to intimidate and , Vladimir Putin has no choice but to promise massive change when he runs for re-election to keep himself in power and thus everything just the same, . This week, commentators laid particular stress on three problems facing the Kremlin leader: he is trying to act internationally as if Russia had 22 percent of the world’s GDP and , popular culture including new cartoon film is narrowing the distance between Putin and his boyars, thus undercutting the assumption that , and Putin’s talk about not allowing color revolutions in Russia and the former Soviet space has called attention to a risk that he
2. Maksim Shevchenko says that the only reason Donald Trump did not live up to Moscow’s expectations for better relations between the US and Russia was. But some Russians think the US president won’t be able to escape that fate: LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who hosted a champagne celebration on Trump’s election now says that he will Vladimir Putin has suggested relations with Washington have been but some analysts near the Kremlin say . Other Russians are just angry: and a group of Cossacks in St. Petersburg But perhaps who said that Trump’s reaction to the gas attack in Syria shows that he has a heart, an organ that he suggested Putin lacks.
3. Some commentators have pointed out that if the Yarovaya package of repressive measures is enforced,, an amount that . Meanwhile, the last week brought another harvest of bad economic news: , capital flight doubled , officials said that as a result of sanctions, Russia one commentator has offered advice on “, corruption has assumed a new form in Russia – it is so much a part of the system, losses , and experts say that the real level of poverty among Russians is now
4. Despite Dmitry Medvedev’s latest entry in the Marie Antoinette sweepstakes by saying that banning , the problems Russians face in their daily lives are increasing at a staggering rate. Among the bad news in this sector in the last week alone are the following stories: At present, and . As a result, But there is little likelihood that the medical situation will improve soon. According to the Moscow times, Russian doctors are . Moscow’s pro-natalist policies have exhausted themselves, experts say, and As for entertainment, Russians face a bleaker future: , and while , prices . One thing that Russian authorities are doing to promote domestic tourism: they are making Young Russians are increasingly unhappy about life in their country, and so theby creating . With the spread of gun ownership, mass poaching is now Because their pensions are so small, And at the same time, more Central Asian and Caucasian labor migrants are leaving Russia but Russians aren’t taking their jobs because
5. . Reports suggest that and and. In ordering Moscow to pay compensation to the victims of the Beslan disaster, the European Human Rights Court . Chechen officials and threatened them with physical reprisals, l and . In addition, a Duma committee rejected the idea of allowing federal subject courts to rule on extremism; . But there was one piece of good news: longtime and much-hated Mari El governor Leonid Markelov but has been
6. . , Russian citizens went in the street to protest all manner of things, from to living conditions in Yakutsk who . Under pressure from the Kremlin officials have used all manner of means to block or isolate these protests. In Dagestan, for example,
7. . Russian police arrested a student at the military academy in St. Petersburg on suspicion that he was That was not the only security news this week: aboutand corruption as continuing problems in the Russian armed services, Russian scientists have developed a robot and and one Moscow commentator pointed out that in any new cold war, Russia have not have any allies,
8. Two Moscow commentaries this week are truly scary: The first in reacting to calls for an investigation of the gas attacks in Syria, the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, implying that looking into the Syrian matter could have similar consequences. And the second suggested that for Russia, despite all the suffering it would experience, a nuclear war has certain “pluses,” the kind of talk t
9. . One commentator suggests that he would welcome a decision by the Russian government to hand back even more churches to the Moscow Patriarchate There are certainly enough churches left to do so, St. Isaac’s in St. Petersburg is slated to be . But the government may slow down this process the Russian Orthodox Church has asked the state to give it 13 billion rubles (US $200 million) to rebuild churches, but the authorities are only prepared to give 2.9 billion (US $50 million). Other news this week from the monuments front includes Polish charges that t by . Activists , Moscow is planning. Activists are collecting , Moscow says and
10. Officials say they have no funds to continue working on the modernization of the soccer stadium in Rostov Meanwhile, , Moscow officials . They also continued
11. Ever more commentators and media outletsas the force behind the Russian revolutions of 1917 and all of Russia’s misfortunes since then. That tsarist-era staple of those given to conspiracy thinking has been joined recently by talk about “a deep state” on the model some have suggested exists in the United States and opposes Donald Trump. In the Russian version,
12. Russian commentators argue that one of the reasons Western governments do a better job in addressing many issues is that they have the assistance of experts in think tanks who can speak more freely than government employees usually can. These commentatorsand urge that the government get involved in creating one. A recent meeting of the Higher School of Economics and Russian officials suggest that there is a possibility that Russia can move in that direction
13. The Russian government agency which regulates the Russian Internet , but a Duma deputy has called for banning access to Facebook in Russia, a clear
And six more from countries in Russia’s neighborhood:
1. . Minsk has still refused to allow Moscow to open a military airbase on Belarusian territory, but in an example of the Kremlin’s “creeping” advances, the Russian military under cover of its current operation, West-2017,
2. . of the wooden memorials at Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses. No foul play is suspected at that world heritage site near Siaulai where more than 400,000 crosses have been erected by Lithuanians and their supporters over the years.
3. The more than a million Ukrainians living in the Russian Federation , giving Moscow significant if often ignored leverage.
4. The Ukrainian authoritiesin Kyiv this year because she had violated Ukrainian law by visiting occupied Crimea and making pro-Moscow declarations about it. Efforts to find a workaround have failed, and Moscow has announced that it will not send anyone to participate in the competition this year or cover it on Russian television.
5. . International law prohibits an occupying power from compelling those living under its control to serve in the military. But Moscow, which has routinely ignored international law in recent years, has violated this provision as well by
6. . Saying that they want to prevent the spread of Islamist extremism, Bishkek has closed four of the madrasas on its territory declaring that their curricula are “incorrect.” At the same time, it