Russia

19 February 2019
Russian Business Rocked by Arrest of U.S. Investor

Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey, his French partner, and four others held on embezzlement charges.

 
15 February 2019
Moscow Region Is Election Fraud Hotspot, Observers Say
Independent poll watchers uncover evidence of ballot stuffing, multiple voting, and inflated turnout figures in last year’s gubernatorial votes.
 
14 February 2019
Anonymous Russian Facial ID Makers Face Lawsuit

Russia’s biggest social network says the tool mined huge numbers of profiles without consent of their owners.

 
13 February 2019
Russian Space Program Marred by Insufficient Funding, Technical Setbacks

Prime minister asked space officials to stop promising the moon, and instead deliver on their commitments.

 
12 February 2019
Moscow Looks to Build Internet Wall

Russia may temporarily disconnect the country from the internet.

 
8 February 2019
More Claims About ‘Third Man’ in Skripal Poisoning

Bellingcat say a Russian military intelligence agent may have helped plan poison attacks in the UK and Bulgaria.

 
7 February 2019
Russian Real Incomes Mired in Negative Figures

Putin’s promise of big raises for public workers is very slow to materialize.

 
5 February 2019
Bishkek Hints at Beefed Up Russian Military Presence

America’s imminent exit from Afghanistan could give impetus for a second Russian base in Kyrgyzstan.

 
4 February 2019
New Year, New Round of Hoax Bomb Scares Across Russia Premium

The authorities’ inability to tell ‘telephone terrorism’ apart from real threats has led to mass evacuations.

While initially swept under the rug, telephone bomb threats are receiving wider coverage after targeting St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, according to The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor (EDM).

After forcing the evacuation of schools, hospitals, and public places in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, similar instances of “telephone terrorism,” as Russians have dubbed them, targeted St. Petersburg at the end of January.  

In the last few weeks, those evacuated might be as high as half a million people, reports EDM.

The trend itself goes as far back as 2017, when more than 150,000 people were evacuated from schools, hospitals, airports, and public spaces within six days in a series of bomb threats in cities across the country. Back then, the false alarms had been blamed on Ukrainian terrorists, ISIS, ultra-Orthodox fanatics, and even Russian security officers supposedly trying to scare the population about online encryption devices and virtual public networks (VPNs, which are used to visit sites anonymously and out of the reach of the authorities).

A new wave followed last summer, when bars and restaurants across World Cup host city Rostov-on-Don had to be evacuated. The practice continued into November, when 15 shopping centers and a railway station in Moscow also had to be cleared, with security services cited by Russian state-owned news agency TASS saying that the string of phone calls behind the hoaxes had been traced to a phone number registered in Ukraine.

Shortly after, at the beginning of December, a source from Moscow’s emergency services told Kremlin-controlled news agency Sputnik that similar calls made to all of the capital’s nine railway stations had also come from abroad. Despite the threats, the railway stations were not evacuated.  

The most recent round of bomb threats, however, were sent to Siberian authorities by email, according to RFE.

 

·         The impact of these threats goes beyond the disruptions in the lives of those affected, Paul Goble writes for The Jamestown Foundation. The authorities’ powerlessness in the face of the hoaxes might encourage those behind them, or even actual terrorists. Additionally, this could be detrimental to public trust in the security services. 

 
1 February 2019
Russia Ordered to Compensate Georgians for Deportations Premium

Georgia wins its case at ECHR over Russia’s expulsion of more than 4,000 Georgian nationals in 2006.

 

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