The Interpreter combines translations of Russian-language news articles, translated interviews of important players in current events, and analysis from Russian experts on topics ranging from government corruption and human rights issues to economics and Geo-political policy; and everything in between. As such, each Monday we’ll be publishing a wrap-up of the most important news stories from the previous week, as well as some updates as stories have continued to develop.
- WTO Membership Nets Few Benefits for Russia | Russia has been a member of the World Trade Organization for one year now, but this keystone of the Obama’s administration’s “reset” has failed to bring benefits – and may have actually hurt sectors of Russia’s economy.
- Latest on Snowden: He May Be in Moscow For a While | Edward Snowden’s press conference last week proved that he is hesitant to leave Moscow’s airport in an attempt to escape to Latin America out of fear that his plane will be intercepted. Meanwhile, statements from Russian officials may have opened the door for Snowden to stay in Russia and continue to leak. Today, Russia still says it hasn’t received a formal asylum request.
- Examining Russia’s Allegation of Syrian Rebel Sarin Gas Use | Last week, Russian officials told the United Nations that a specific group of Syrian rebels had used a homemade missile to launch a sarin gas attack back in March. However, technological and logistical aspects of the claim raise doubt as to whether the rebels would have been capable of launching the attack as described in the report.
- How Azerbaijan Is Like ‘The Godfather’ | A mafia-like ruling family, a rapidly-growing Russian bank, and a culture of corruption exposed.
- “I Wanted to Be a Witness” – An interview with Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova | The Interpreter translates an interview with a member of Pussy Riot, still a prisoner of IK-14.
- Russia, Where You Can Prosecute a Ghost | Sergei Magnitsky was convicted of a crime that he helped expose. However, Magnistky was killed a day before he was supposed to be released from prison, and his work has lead to repercussions felt across the Globe.
- Alexey Navalny Overcomes the Municipal Filter | An opposition leader, who may still be facing a prison sentence, has cleared a hurdle in his attempt to become Mayor of Moscow.
Conflict in the Caucasus
- Assassination of a Journalist in Dagestan | With ethnic and religious tensions on the rise in Dagestan and much of the Caucusus, the conflict appears to be heating up. This week, an Islamist leader called on militants to attack the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, his body guard was then killed, and a journalist who has been critical of the Russian government was assassinated. Things have only gotten worse in Dagestan in recent days. On Sunday four policemen were killed in Dagestan by gunmen who opened fire on their car.
- “Dry Law” Passed in Protesting Pugachev | With protests on the rise after the death of a 20-year old, the government in the city of Pugachev has banned alcohol in the hopes of quieting the crowds. Since then, 13 Chechens in the town have been arrested by police, and a relative of the accused has been shot, allegedly after trying to attack police with a pitchfork.
- Arrested Ex-Mayor May be Involved in Murder of well-known Dagestan Athlete | An ex-mayor in Dagestan is facing a murder charge after a famous athlete was gunned down. The dead martial-arts fighter may have been killed to hide the secrets he and his trainees knew about the Mayor’s activities.
Politics and Corruption
- Five Moscow Mayoral Candidates and Their Money | There’s a mayoral race in Moscow, and the first campaign finance reports have been released. While some candidates have raised millions of rubles, one candidate hasn’t reported raising a single one.
- Deputies Accused of Living Beyond Their Means | Questions have been raised over the personal expenditures of some politicians, as a new study suggests that many are spending far more than they are being paid each year.
- Viktor Zolotov Appointed Deputy Commander of Interior Forces | One of Putin’s allies has received a major promotion and is on track to even more career growth.
- Ministry of Communications takes away Operators’ Frequencies to Build an LTE Network | The Russia government just nationalized a huge group of frequency bands, and the top four telecom companies are furious.
- Help Wanted: Former Judo Partner of Putin Required | Putin’s grip over Russia’s security apparatus is only getting tighter.