Real Russia Today – Real Russia Today is a news digest with the most important news from Russia.

Jul 11, 2017

Real Russia Today is a news digest with the most important news from Russia.

RUSSIA IN THE WORLD

Syria chemical 'attack': Russia faces fury at UN Security Council

BBC

Moscow's suggestions that civilians were poisoned by rebel weapons on the ground have been widely rejected. The UK's foreign secretary, a rebel commander and a weapons expert all said evidence pointed to an attack by the Syrian government, Russia's ally … Russia and China have blocked attempts to impose sanctions on Syria.

How Eurovision became the Kremlin’s mousetrap (Anton Shekhovtsov)

Since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukrainian law requires artists wishing to visit the peninsula to first apply for special permission from the Ukrainian authorities … [Kremlin] chose a disabled person as Russia’s Eurovision entrant in the full knowledge that Ukraine would be compelled to ban her and, thus, sully its own international reputation. Because in the fullness of time, the international audience will look back and remember the fact that Ukraine banned a disabled person, rather than Ukraine’s legitimate reason for doing so.

In Ukraine, Russia weaponizes fake news to fight a real war (Nolan Peterson)

Propaganda ultimately played a key role in Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine; it became an effective recruitment tool. Within the separatist territories, Russian propaganda spurred tens of thousands of Ukrainians to take up arms against their countrymen. An enlistment office for the separatist republics was opened in Moscow for Russian citizens who wanted to join the war … Russian cyberattacks and propaganda are nonlethal weapons of war, complicating the debate on what exactly comprises a proportional response to such methods.

Every day a new Russian revelation. That’s not as bizarre as it sounds. (Anne Applebaum)

Take a step back and look around the world: Russian interference in democratic elections is neither new nor unusual. On the contrary, it’s ubiquitous, it plays a role in just about every Western democracy, it often follows the same patterns as it did in the United States, and it often leads to the same disarray.

INSIDE RUSSIA

The Chechen government is reportedly kidnapping and murdering gay men

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov operates Chechnya devoid of much constraint from the federal government provided he keeps the region, which attempted to gain its independence in the 1990s, loyal to Moscow … While the federal government is apparently not behind the arrests, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made opposition to gay rights a staple of his domestic and foreign policies.

Russia bans 'extremist' picture of Vladimir Putin as a gay clown

Russia's justice ministry added the image, which depicts the Russian president in lipstick and mascara, to its list of banned extremist material last week. The Vladimir-Putin-as-a-gay-clown meme appeared after Russia introduced a controversial "gay propaganda" law in 2013.

St. Petersburg bomber said to be man from Kyrgyzstan; death toll rises

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, or any information linking the suicide bomber to Islamist extremists.

New explosion heard in St Petersburg, no one hurt

An explosion is heard near a residential building in St Petersburg where an explosive device was found earlier Thursday … The discovery raising the possibility that a string of bomb attacks was being planned in the city involving a group of plotters.

How Russians got used to terrorism (Julia Ioffee)

It is most likely that the Russian state will continue its bloody fight against terrorism with continued mixed success. Most likely, Putin will continue to press the line that Russia and the West need to join forces to fight terror, and that for that, Russia needs to be at the big boys’ table. Most likely, the Russian government will crack down further on dissent—not because of the St. Petersburg bombing but because of Navalny’s anti-corruption protests.

Muslim man falsely accused of Russian subway bombing loses his job, too

On Monday, Russia’s mass media circulated his photograph, reporting (falsely, it turns out) that he was the primary suspect in the bombing that killed 14 people in the St. Petersburg subway. When he heard the news, Nikitin rushed to the nearest police station and explained his innocence … The latest blow came on Wednesday, when Nikitin lost his job … his boss in Nizhnevartovsk told him that he’d been let go, at the request of local state investigators.

Russia’s protests show that a new generation is finding its voice (Yevgenia Albats)

And suddenly it became clear that Putin does not have 86 percent support, as the court pollsters would have us believe … What we are seeing now is that young people born after the end of the Soviet Union have reached an age when they want to influence politics in the country. They’re less concerned about prices than they are about the fact that in Russia there is a total absence of any opportunity for social mobility. If you don’t belong to the clan that has developed out of the KGB, then you have only the slimmest of chances of making a career for yourself or running your own business. It’s not just incredibly difficult, it’s also dangerous. The prisons and penal camps are packed with tens of thousands of businesspeople who have ended up behind bars simply because their businesses were successful and caught the eye of the secret police or some other state organization.

Arrests, fines, interrogations, and threats: what happened to protest participants in the week following the rallies

The protests that swept street across several dozen Russian cities on March 26 have proved to be the most impressive in recent years and have resulted in large-scale consequences for participants. Numerous detainees were accused of administrative offenses. Criminal investigations have been initiated on accusations of attacking policemen and hooliganism. Pupils and students were chastised at schools and universities. Meduza briefly relates happened in the week after the rallies.

Here we go again (Brian Whitmore)

In the aftermath of this week's attack in St. Petersburg, Yury Shvytkin, the deputy chair of the State Duma's Defense Committee, has proposed placing a "moratorium" on public protests … But it is far from clear that the Kremlin will continue to be able to exploit the aftermath of terrorist attacks to advance its political goals. They've been doing it for years. And as a result, power has been consolidated, dissent has been suppressed — and terrorism has continued.

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

You can subscribe to the digest by sending an email with the word "Subscribe" to katia@hrf.org