News From Russia: What You Missed on the Weekend
Bomb scares over the weekend forced more than 22,000 Russians to evacuate malls and hotels in 13 cities across the country. Over 8,000 people in Moscow emptied buildings after 40 anonymous bomb scares, including Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Similar threats in St. Petersburg saw 200 flee several night clubs.
While some law-enforcement officials have said the “unprecedented” telephone threats are coming from abroad, the first detentions following a week of bomb threats the mass scares have been made but appear to be teenage copy-cats.
Opposition leader and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny drew large crowds over the weekend at rallies in the Russian provinces, with an estimated 1,400 rallying in Yekaterinburg.
Navalny Staffer Assault on Tape
The Mash Telegram channel published surveillance camera footage this weekend showing the attack on Nikolai Lyaskin, a staff member of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK). Lyaskin said he received a blow to the head near the FBK offices on Sept. 15.
Police in Hot Water
Six former and current police investigators have been detained in St. Petersburg on suspicion of having mistreated drug and gambling suspects in detention with electric shocks, cigarette burns and hot water.
Several dozen people gathered in Omsk to protest Matilda, a controversial film about Tsar Nicholas II’s affair with a Polish ballerina. Russia’s largest cinema chain has said they will not show the film after receiving threats from Orthodox activists and a spate of arson attacks across the country. Protesters in Omsk said they wanted to defend “traditional values.”
Anti-war activists calling themselves the “Clown State” occupied the museum ship Avrora in St. Petersburg in a parody of Russia’s Zapad military exercises in Belarus shouting, “We need enemies!”
Except for those coming from Ukraine, the flow of registered migrants to Russia is at its lowest since 2011, while more foreign laborers are leaving Russia.
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has tapped Kyle Freeny, an attorney working on the Justice Department’s highest-profile money-laundering case, to join his staff in the probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Some election-watchers noticed that the districts where opposition-minded voters elected 270 independent candidates out of 1,500 tend to have better-educated and more affluent residents with expensive boutiques and more bike paths.
In anticipation of Russia’s Gunsmith Day on Sept. 19, a nearly eight-meter high statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov holding an AK-47, has been installed near the Mayakovskaya metro station.