Real Russia Today is a news digest with the most important human rights news from Russia. March 20, 2017

Jul 6, 2017

RUSSIA IN THE WORLD

British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money

Britain’s high street banks processed nearly $740m from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian can reveal. HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK, or with branches here, that are facing questions over what they knew about the international scheme and why they did not turn away suspicious money transfers … The Guardian contacted all these banks. None of them challenged the authenticity of the data, but they all insisted they had strict anti-money-laundering policies … The Guardian showed details of the transfers to L Burke Files, an international financial investigator. He said compliance checks at many western banks were desultory, and often little more than “box ticking”.

Open letter of European security experts to Federica Mogherini:

Please start taking the Russian disinformation threat seriously!

“Despite the seriousness of this threat, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has spent the last two years trying to avoid naming Russia as the main creator of hostile disinformation. We as European security experts have seen her constantly appease the Russian aggression.”

Beware the false temptations of the Russia story

Some of the smartest veteran observers of the strange, dark American relationship with Russia — Miriam Elder, Masha Gessen, and Matt Taibbi — have written recently to suggest that Trump’s critics cool it. Elder wrote that the paranoid search for anyone who has spoken to the Russian ambassador recalls Russia’s own toxic internal politics.

Belarus and the ghosts of 2014

As Belarus witnesses its largest antigovernment protests in years and as President Alyaksandr Lukashenka tries to weather the worst political crisis of his 23-year rule, nightmare visions of revolution, coups, annexations, and Kremlin-sponsored hybrid war are increasingly being invoked. Fears of a Minsk Maidan. Fears that Lukashenka will use lethal force on demonstrators. Fears that Lukashenka will be forced from power like former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Fears that Russia will use the chaos to seize Belarus.

British troops arrive in Estonia as German spy chief warns of Russian troop build up

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato Secretary General, said the alliance sees "no imminent danger" of a conventional military assault in the Baltic Sea region. Mr Stoltenberg said the 28-country alliance "is worried" about Russia's actions and possible intentions, but added that "it is important that we do not dramatize the situation."

INSIDE RUSSIA

Russian activist convicted for repost…about repost he was convicted for

It's no secret that social media reposts can land you in hot water in Russia, where numerous people have been fined or imprisoned in recent years for sharing content deemed "extremist" by authorities. But what if you repost news about your punishment for reposting banned content?

Russian historian of the Terror jailed after Soviet-style denunciation faces new charges

We see, on the one hand Putin’s choice for education minister, Olga Vasilyeva, questioning the scale of Stalin’s crimes and Putin himself having issued a decree keeping huge amounts of documents about Soviet repression secret for another 30 years. Memorial and historians like Dmitriev, on the other hand, are continuing their work in disclosing not just the victims of the Terror, but those directly involved in implementing it.

Death of a rocketman: who was Vladimir Evdokimov?

Evdokimov was arrested in December on charges of embezzlement. He is by no means the only space industry official to have been locked up for fraud, and in fact, over the past several years, the Russian space program as a whole has been hit by scandal after scandal: Rockets have been doomed by shoddy work and efforts to build a new launch site in the Far East have been plagued by corruption. The difference now is that before Evdokimov, no one caught up in the industry’s rampant corruption problem has died.

Russia dismisses sweeping corruption allegations against Medvedev

Alexei Navalny, who has said he will run for president in 2018, released last week a report and a 50-minute video detailing allegations that Medvedev has funneled more than $1 billion in bribes through companies and charities run by his associates to acquire vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions. The Russian government quickly dismissed the accusations as an attention-grabbing stunt by a self-proclaimed presidential candidate with no chance of winning.

Green man: Russian opposition leader Navalny splashed with dye

Mr. Navalny said the assailant shook his hand, then splashed him with the dye before escaping in a car that drove off to the local government offices in the Siberian city of Barnaul. Several opposition activists have been attacked in similar circumstances while attempting to run for office or organize protests against Mr. Putin.

ANALYSIS / OPINIONS

The Kremlin’s so-called “partners"

Before Crimea, for those who cooperated with the “Russians”, these activities looked like “supporting Russia’s interests”. Now these people are beginning to figure out what this really meant. “What have we got ourselves involved in?” they asked themselves — people who’d performed one-off services or participated in “Petersburg Dialogue” (a German-Russian public form), the Valdai Club, the “Dialogue of Civilisations” (another public forum) and the dozens of other programmes where Russian money was involved … Everything that’s happening before our eyes regarding the US State Department and pro-Russian politicians in Europe reveals a complex problem — the borders between lobbying, partnership, espionage, propaganda influence and corruption are being washed out. Thus a situation arises whereby it is impossible to distinguish between real partnership from participation in a campaign to distort “the borders of the permissible”.

*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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