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Jan. 22 2018 - 09:01

News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Osman Orsal / Reuters

Troop move

The Russian Defense Ministry reportedly moved troops out of the way of a Turkish air strike on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria on Saturday.

President Bashar al-Assad said the Turkish strike, which killed a Syrian citizen, was proof that Ankara "supported terrorists.” 

Kurdish fighters said civilians had been killed in the air strike.

Mayor arrest 

Musa Musayev, the mayor of Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, was jailed for 10 days on Sunday on charges of real estate fraud. 

A court in Makhachkala ruled that Musayev would be investigated for "exceeding the powers of his office" in a sale of government land.

Yarovaya roll-back 

The Kremlin has reportedly decided to lighten the notorious “Yarovaya Packet” of security and anti-terrorist legislation, sources told the Kommersant business daily. 

The ministry conceded that internet providers should be assessed based on their actual traffic, not on their capacity, when calculating the requirement to store users' data for 30 days. The law’s implementation may be postponed from July to October.

Group block 

Three internet groups listing information about how to commit suicide on the popular VKontakte Russian social media network were blocked after a teenager attacked a school in Ulan-Ude last week. 

Russia’s Ministry of Communications declined to provide the names of the groups or details about their content.

Teacher's story

Irina Ramenskaya, a teacher assaulted by an axe-wielding 9th grader in Ulan-Ude, said the student may have been unhappy over a poor mark. 

"I would never have thought that [the student] could do such a thing. A quiet, normal-looking boy. He could have fixed that D mark," she said.

Activist attack 

An activist who gave his name as Ilya S. told the OVD-Info police-monitoring group that he was assaulted during an anti-fascist march in Moscow in memory of lawyer Stanislav Merkulov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, murdered by Russian fascists in 2009. 

Police detained four people for wearing masks at the event.

Stifling peacekeepers 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday that deploying UN peacekeepers in the Donbass would "stifle" the unrecognized "Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics." 

Ukraine must implement the Minsk agreement before deploying international peacekeepers, Lavrov said.

Bitcoin asylum

Alexander Vinnik, a Russian accused in the U.S. of laundering billions of dollars on the cryptocurrency market, is requesting political asylum in Greece. 

Prison conditions in the U.S. do not meet European standards and his client faces a well-founded fear of torture, his lawyer said. 

Campaigners detained 

A regional campaigner for Alexei Navalny says that eight of the opposition leader's supporters were detained in Omsk for several hours on Saturday at a rally that was reportedly authorized. 

In Astrakhan, three campaigners were detained for distributing leaflets in a park. They were released several hours later after signing statements.

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