Real Russia Today is a weekly digest of the most important news from Russia. March 6, 2017

Jul 6, 2017

RUSSIA IN THE WORLD

Ukraine asks U.N. judges to order Russia to stop aiding rebels

Ukraine asked the United Nations' highest court on Monday to order Russia to stop funding and equipping pro-Russian separatists, at the start of a hearing where it hopes to prove Moscow is breaking international law. Russia denies sending troops or military equipment to eastern Ukraine and is expected to challenge the basis of the case Ukraine has launched at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Russia and U.S. clash over Syria in Security Council vote

Russia and the Trump administration clashed in a vote at the United Nations Security Council […] as the Kremlin vetoed a measure backed by the United States and its Western allies to punish Syria for using chemical weapons … Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the Council, blocked the measure. It was the Kremlin’s seventh Security Council veto in defense of President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia asks world powers to pay for Syria reconstruction

Russia is pressing world powers to provide Syria with billions of dollars for reconstruction to bolster its faltering efforts to resolve the Arab state’s six-year conflict. But European and Gulf states, angered by Russia’s military intervention that tilted the war in favour of President Bashar al-Assad, will only contribute if Moscow secures a peace settlement that sets the terms for an eventual political transition, western diplomats say.

Belarus and Russia: this time it's different

With Minsk and Moscow at odds over gas prices, oil deliveries, food exports, Belarus granting visa-free travel to Westerners, Russia imposing border controls, and the Kremlin's push for a new air base, this time it all feels much more dangerous … The landscape began to shift back in 2014, as Lukashenka was marking two decades in power. Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas that year raised fears in Minsk that Belarus could someday become a target of Moscow's imperial expansion.

Blogger fined for saying the USSR invaded Poland in 1939 takes Russia to Court in Strasbourg

Russian blogger Vladimir Luzgin has asked the European Court of Human Rights to defend his right to state quite correctly that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. He was left no alternative after Russia’s Supreme Court agreed that this unpalatable truth constituted ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’. Luzgin is the first person in Russia to have been convicted under a controversial law, which was, from the outset, condemned as an attack on historical debate.

Moscow says the NYT reported fake news about Russia's war on fake news

On Feb. 22, Russia’s Foreign Ministry unveiled a new website dedicated to “busting fake news,” vowing to put an end to what the Kremlin says is hostile, inaccurate foreign reporting. The ministry’s spokesperson said the need for such a service “is obvious.” When it launched, however, the website’s usefulness was anything but obvious. Visitors found only screenshots of news stories from English-language media outlets with a large official-looking seal reading “FAKE” stamped over the headlines, along with a line of text that said, “This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality.”

INSIDE RUSSIA

There's no separating wealth and power in Russia

There's nothing sensational about high-level corruption in Russia these days, and it's unlikely that Alexei Navalny's investigation into the luxurious lifestyle of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will improve the anti-corruption activist's chances of being elected Russian president in 2018. The exceptional piece of journalistic work, however, does make an important contribution to our understanding of how graft works at the pinnacle of the Russian state hierarchy — and what these arrangements say about the Putin team's long-term plans and geopolitical outlook.

The 'unpatriotic' post on Facebook that meant I finally had to flee Russia

After all these wars and deaths, I felt only one thing when I heard that the representatives of Russia’s military had died: indifference. But for some, expressing this on Facebook was not patriotic enough. And so it began.

Russia rejects rights court's recommendations for combatting police torture

Russia has declined to fulfill recommendations of the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) to combat torture during police detention … According to Shmeleva and Sharapov's complaint to the ECHR, there have been two other cases in which Russia acknowledged torture in police custody and paid compensation to the complainants, but declined to take systemic measures against torture.

LGBT activists detained at entrance to Svetogorsk. Mayor declares city gay-free zone

The activists planned to take a walk around the city and to try to meet with the city’s mayor, who declared Svetogorsk a "gay-free" zone.

ANALYSIS / OPINIONS

Samantha Power: My friend, the Russian Ambassador

If we are to get our countries’ relationship back on track — an indispensable foundation for tackling global threats — it will not be because Americans cave on our principles. It will be because we stand firm, while also never losing sight of the humanity of those with whom we fervently disagree.

The Samantha syndrome’ – a new name for an old threat Putin is exploiting

Yakovenko says he proposes to call this phenomenon “the Samantha syndrome” because Samantha Powers’ essay about Churkin is a clear example of the nature of the problem and also why so many in the West are taken in. Of course, as Powers writes, Churkin like every individual has a rich internal life. But as a representative of the Putin regime, that is irrelevant. Instead, it is a trap that Western leaders routinely fall for.

*We do not fact check every claim, but we do analyze each article for balance, credibility, and proper use of sources.

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