Yevgeny Urlashov, the mayor of the central Russian city of Yaroslavl, who was once a member of the ruling United Russia but then joined an opposition party, was detained on suspicion of extortion on Wednesday. Urlashov and the opposition claim his detention is a political vendetta.
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden remains in territorial and legal limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and has apparently abandoned any attempt to stay in Russia. His opportunities for seeking asylum have significantly narrowed, given the obstacles in his path. Snowden's fate is now in the hands of a few countries that can afford the political risk and offer him official legal status, while Russia could continue to support him behind the scenes.
(The Moscow Times)
Meanwhile, former Russian spy Anna Chapman, once herself at the center of an espionage scandal, has offered her hand in marriage to Snowden, on her Twitter blog.
Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and acting Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov asked municipal deputies of their regions to provide their signatures in support of opposition figures Alexei Navalny and Gennady Gudkov in order for them to overcome “the municipal filter” to take part in forthcoming mayoral elections. The opposition has dismissed the move was a trick to boost turnout and give the elections legitimacy.
(Kommersant, Moskovsky Komsomolets, Vedomosti)
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
Russia may be forced to dip into its reserve funds as soon as later this year, due to falling privatization revenues and VAT rebates, the Finance Ministry says.
Kyrgyzstan has agreed to sell its shares in Dastan, a factory that produces torpedoes, with Russia emerging as the most likely buyer.
(Kommersant, the Moscow Times)
Owners of smartphones spend 50 percent more money on communications services than those having ordinary cellphones, allowing operators are able to keep the average bill high.
The Egyptian armed forces have ousted President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the country’s constitution a year after Morsi was elected. His entourage accused the army of a coup d’etat and warned the situation was fraught with a new bloodshed.
(Kommersant, Moskovsky Komsomolets, RBC Daily)
French actor Gerard Depardieu faces up to four years prison in Georgia for his trip to the breakaway republic of Abkhazia earlier this year, if he enters the country again. Tbilisi insists visiting the breakaway republic is only legal from Georgian territory.
Migrants entering Russia from former Soviet states, including those looking for work, will be given temporary residence permits, the Federal Migration Service said at a meeting with Russian and foreign businesses.
Tree-cutting in formally protected forest areas has increased dramatically as timber companies look for new sources of the diminishing natural resource and more frequently take advantage of ever-more vaguely worded logging rules. Ecologists are warning that further exploitation of the forests could lead to climatic shifts and the destruction of vulnerable ecosystems in Russia.
(The Moscow Times)
President Vladimir Putin has ruled out postponing reforms to the Russian Academy of Sciences that are fiercely opposed by many researchers, but instead proposed a compromise of sorts that would grant additional powers to the academy's newly elected head.
(The Moscow Times)
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Edward Snowden is not an isolated case but part of an independent community which is increasingly resolute in asserting itself and rejecting “raison d’Etat” and behind-the-scenes manipulation. The direct results of Snowden’s disclosures are most clearly evident in the context of Russian-American relations. The Snowden case has humiliated Europe, which Putin took the opportunity to remind them of.