Russia

Russians suspicious over Putin’s 2014 Olympic mascot pick

 
An Internet outcry followed the announcement of the 2014 Winter Olympic mascots in Sochi, Russia, after a selection process that has left the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin mired in allegations of political meddling. Many in Russia’s blogosphere question the legitimacy of the results after Putin’s unpopular pick won first place. Read more...
 
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Activists’ banner at Kremlin says Putin, not Khodorkovsky, should be in jail

 
A banner draped by Russian activists directly in front of Moscow’s Red Square, called on Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin to swap places with jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The stunt, which took place several weeks ago, captured the imagination of Russia’s blogosphere in a country where freedom of expression is severely restricted. Read more...

Amateur footage of the Moscow airport bombing

 
An explosion ripped through the international arrivals hall at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, killing 35 people and wounding more than 100 others. Russian authorities say the blast was caused by a terrorist attack. Once again, social media proved the fastest source of photos and images from the immediate aftermath of the blast.  Warning: Disturbing content...
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Saint-Petersburg's killer icicles

 
As Europe’s northernmost city, you would think Saint Petersburg would be prepared to face the hazards of winter. But for the past two years, residents have been left to deal with dangerous giant icicles practically on their own. Read more and see the videos…  
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Rope jumping: even better than Russian roulette

Young Russians have found a new way to add a little spice to their life: rope jumping. This unauthorised extreme sport is not unlike bungee jumping, except for two significant details: you don’t jump in an open, natural space, but off a city rooftop. And you don’t use an elastic cord, but a mountain climbing rope. Read more and watch the videos...

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What’s it like living in the coldest city in the world?

 For the people in Yakutsk, Siberia, where the temperature last week week fell to -47°C, icy floors and frost bite are just a part of daily life. But the rigors of winter don't stop the city from functionning: shops are open, buses run, even children play in the park.  Read our Observer's account and see the photos...
 

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Russia’s ‘one-man Wikileaks’ uncovers massive gas company fraud

 
In Russia, the findings of a young whistleblower lawyer concerning the rampant corruption of major state-affiliated companies have made much bigger waves than the recent tsunami of Wikileaks revelations. Read more…

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One step too far for Russia’s police-bashing radical artists

 They got away with releasing cockroaches into a courtroom and painting a massive penis on a city-centre drawbridge, but on 15 November three members of radical art collective Voina (War) were finally called to order after turning over a Saint Petersburg police car. One of their fellow radicals explains…

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Russian outcry over Muslim animal sacrifice

On November 16, millions of Muslims all over Russia celebrated the religious holiday of Qurban Bayram (the Turkik name of Eid al-Adha), which closes with the ritual sacrifice of a sheep. The killings, sometimes carried out in public spaces shock and anger some non-Muslim Russians. Read more...

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Video guide: how to avoid election fraud in Russia

Allegations of electoral fraud are widespread in Russia, where Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, repeatedly wins elections by a suspiciously large margin. But footage shot by an electoral observer at recent local elections show how he and others are doing their utmost to combat electoral fraud. Read more...

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