Topic: Russia/politics and law of Russia
A closed city or closed town is a settlement where travel or residency restrictions are applied so that specific authorization is required to visit or remain overnight. They may be sensitive military establishments or secret research installations that require much more space or freedom than is available in a conventional military base. There may also be a wider variety of permanent residents including close family members of workers or trusted traders who are not directly connected with its clandestine purposes.
Many closed cities existed in the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. After 1991, a number of them still existed in the CIS countries, especially Russia. In modern Russia, such places are officially known as "closed administrative-territorial formations" (закрытые административно-территориальные образования, zakrytye administrativno-territorial'nye obrazovaniya, or ЗАТО ZATO for short).
The dangers to journalists in Russia have been well known since the early 1990s but concern over the number of unsolved killings soared after Anna Politkovskaya's murder in Moscow on 7 October 2006. While international monitors mentioned a dozen deaths, some sources within Russia talked of over two hundred fatalities. The evidence has since been examined and documented in two reports, published in Russian and English, by international organizations. These revealed a basic confusion in terminology that explained the seemingly enormous numerical discrepancy: statistics of premature death among journalists (from work accidents, crossfire incidents, and purely criminal or domestic cases of manslaughter) were repeatedly equated with the much smaller number of targeted (contract) killings or work-related murders. The Remembrance Day of Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty in Russia is observed on 15 December every year.
Russian political jokes are a part of Russian humour and can be grouped into the major time periods: Imperial Russia, Soviet Union and finally post-Soviet Russia. Quite a few political themes can be found among other standard categories of Russian joke, most notably Rabinovich jokes and Radio Yerevan.
- "Russian political jokes" | 2016-09-11 | 10 Upvotes 1 Comments
The firehose of falsehood, or firehosing, is a propaganda technique in which a large number of messages are broadcast rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (such as news and social media) without regard for truth or consistency. Since 2014, when it was successfully used by Russia during its annexation of Crimea, this model has been adopted by other governments and political movements around the world.
The Battle of Snake Island took place on 24 February 2022 on Snake Island (Ukrainian: Острів Зміїний, romanized: Ostriv Zmiinyi) during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- "The Battle of Snake Island" | 2022-02-25 | 59 Upvotes 6 Comments
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian politician opposed to the government of Vladimir Putin, occurred in central Moscow on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge at 23:31 local time on 27 February 2015. An unknown assailant fired seven or eight shots from a Makarov pistol; four of them hit Boris Nemtsov in the head, heart, liver and stomach, killing him almost instantly. He died hours after appealing to the public to support a march against Russia's war in Ukraine. Nemtsov's Ukrainian partner Anna Duritskaya survived the attack as its sole eyewitness.
The assassination was met with worldwide condemnation and concern for the situation of the Russian opposition. Russian authorities also condemned the murder and vowed to conduct a thorough investigation.
On 8 March 2015, Russian authorities charged Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadaev, both originating from the Northern Caucasus, with involvement in the crime. According to Russian authorities, Dadaev confessed to involvement in the murder. However, he later retracted his statement, as extracted by torture. Three more suspects were arrested around the same time and, according to Russian media, another suspect blew himself up in Grozny when Russian police forces surrounded his apartment block.
- "Assassination of Boris Nemtsov" | 2022-03-05 | 110 Upvotes 27 Comments
The Russian apartment bombings were a series of explosions that hit four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in September 1999, killing more than 300, injuring more than 1000, and spreading a wave of fear across the country. The bombings, together with the Invasion of Dagestan, triggered the Second Chechen War. Then-prime minister Vladimir Putin's handling of the crisis boosted his popularity greatly and helped him attain the presidency within a few months. Russian courts ruled that the attacks were orchestrated by Chechen-linked militants, while some scholars, journalists, and politicians have argued that Russian security services likely organized the bombings.
The blasts hit Buynaksk on 4 September and in Moscow on 9 and 13 September. On 13 September, Russian Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznyov made an announcement in the Duma about receiving a report that another bombing had just happened in the city of Volgodonsk. A bombing did indeed happen in Volgodonsk, but only three days later, on 16 September. Chechen militants were blamed for the bombings, but denied responsibility, along with Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov.
A suspicious device resembling those used in the bombings was found and defused in an apartment block in the Russian city of Ryazan on 22 September. On 23 September, Vladimir Putin praised the vigilance of the inhabitants of Ryazan and ordered the air bombing of Grozny, which marked the beginning of the Second Chechen War. Three FSB agents who had planted the devices at Ryazan were arrested by the local police. On 24 September 1999, head of FSB Nikolay Patrushev announced that the incident in Ryazan had been an anti-terror drill and the device found there contained only sugar.
The official Russian investigation of the Buynaksk bombing was completed in 2000, while the investigation of Moscow and Volgodonsk bombings was completed in 2002. In 2000, seven people were convicted of perpetrating the Buinaksk attack. According to the court ruling on the Moscow and Volgodonsk bombings, which was announced in 2004, the attacks were organised and led by Achemez Gochiyaev, who remains at large. All bombings, the court ruled, were ordered by Islamist warlords Ibn Al-Khattab and Abu Omar al-Saif, who have been killed. Five other suspects have been killed and six have been convicted by Russian courts on terrorism-related charges.
Parliament member Yuri Shchekochikhin filed two motions for a parliamentary investigation of the events, but the motions were rejected by the Russian Duma in March 2000. An independent public commission to investigate the bombings was chaired by Duma deputy Sergei Kovalev. The commission was rendered ineffective because of government refusal to respond to its inquiries. Two key members of the Kovalev Commission, Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, have since died in apparent assassinations. The Commission’s lawyer and investigator Mikhail Trepashkin was arrested and served four years in prison for revealing state secrets. Former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who defected and blamed the FSB for the bombings, was poisoned and killed in London in 2006. A British inquiry later determined that Litvinenko's murder was "probably" carried out with the approval of Putin and Patrushev.
The 1999 attacks were officially attributed to Chechen terrorists. According to some historians and journalists, the bombings were coordinated by the Russian state security services to bring Putin into the presidency. Others disagree with such theories. Independent investigations have faced obstruction from Russian security services, raising further suspicions about their involvement in the attacks.
- "Russian Apartment Bombings" | 2022-03-05 | 16 Upvotes 1 Comments
Russian web brigades, also called Russian trolls, Russian bots, or more recently Kremlin Bots (after the Kremlin in Moscow) / Kremlins (a pejorative allusion to Gremlin) are state-sponsored anonymous Internet political commentators and trolls linked to the Government of Russia. Participants report that they are organized into teams and groups of commentators that participate in Russian and international political blogs and Internet forums using sockpuppets, social bots and large-scale orchestrated trolling and disinformation campaigns to promote pro-Putin and pro-Russian propaganda. Articles on the Russian Wikipedia concerning the MH17 crash and the 2014 Ukraine conflict were targeted by Russian internet propaganda outlets.
- "Russian Web Brigades" | 2022-03-12 | 11 Upvotes 1 Comments
The Karelian question or Karelian issue (Finnish: Karjala-kysymys, Swedish: Karelska frågan) is a dispute in Finnish politics over whether to try to regain control over eastern Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Despite the name "Karelian question", the term may refer also to the return of Petsamo, ceded parts of Salla and Kuusamo, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes the phrase "debate on the return of the ceded territories" (luovutettujen alueiden palautuskeskustelu, Swedish: debatten om tillbakalämningen av de avträdda territorierna) is used. The Karelian question remains a matter of public debate rather than a political issue.
- "Karelian Question" | 2022-09-21 | 13 Upvotes 8 Comments
Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya (Russian: Анна Степановна Политковская, IPA: [ˈanːə sʲtʲɪˈpanəvnə pəlʲɪtˈkofskəjə]; Ukrainian: Ганна Степанівна Політковська, IPA: [ˈɦɑnːɐ steˈpɑn⁽ʲ⁾iu̯nɐ pol⁽ʲ⁾itˈkɔu̯sʲkɐ]; née Mazepa, Мазепа, IPA: [mɐˈzɛpɐ]; 30 August 1958 – 7 October 2006) was a Russian journalist, and human rights activist, who reported on political events in Russia, in particular, the Second Chechen War (1999–2005).
It was her reporting from Chechnya that made Politkovskaya's national and international reputation. For seven years, she refused to give up reporting on the war despite numerous acts of intimidation and violence. Politkovskaya was arrested by Russian military forces in Chechnya and subjected to a mock execution. She was poisoned while flying from Moscow via Rostov-on-Don to help resolve the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, and had to turn back, requiring careful medical treatment in Moscow to restore her health.
Her post-1999 articles about conditions in Chechnya were turned into books several times; Russian readers' main access to her investigations and publications was through Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper that featured critical investigative coverage of Russian political and social affairs. From 2000 onwards, she received numerous international awards for her work. In 2004, she published Putin's Russia, a personal account of Russia for a Western readership.
On 7 October 2006, she was murdered in the elevator of her block of apartments, an assassination that attracted international attention. In June 2014, five men were sentenced to prison for the murder, but it is still unclear who ordered or paid for the contract killing.
- "Anna Politkovskaya" | 2022-10-08 | 38 Upvotes 1 Comments