LIVE UPDATES: The Kremlin announced that Putin will not attend the UN General Assembly this year in September.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
Recent Analysis and Translations:
– What Has Ramzan Kadyrov Been Up To? Quietly Cultivating Regional and Kremlin Officials, Now He Meets with Putin
– RBC Publishes Report Sourced in FSB and Military on Wagner Private Military Contractor with 2,500 Fighters in Syria
– Russian Parliamentary Elections Round-Up: Open Russiaâs Baronova Registered; Shevchenko Disqualified
– The Kremlin is Working Hard to Make Donald Trump President
Sure enough, when they returned home, officials set about inspecting them.
About 30 FSB agents came to Nikolai Borodin’s farm in Kazanskaya, and combed his property thoroughly. The tax inspectors searched the property of relatives of Aleksei Volchenko, the farmer who had led the march who himself is missing. The prosecutor’s office summoned some of the other farmers for questioning. Sergei Gerasimenko, father of three young children, was put in jail for three days. Others got summonses regarding administrative violations.
“It’s not known what they are looking for at people’s homes. And what they will accuse of them of later. The pressure does not cease.”
The farmers are hoping to hold a press conference in Moscow and get more attention to their cause. Ivan Starikov, a former member of the Federation Council, said that the farmers’ problems had to be solved systemically. He said there were about 300,000 farmers in Russia who had the same story of illegal land seizure.
While Russia is the largest country in the world with enormous amounts of farmland that can’t even be given away for free in some cases (as with a recent campaign in the Far East), the reality is that with poor roads and insufficient infrastructure and support for business, farming can be difficult. Some land is more desirable if very fertile or near roads and local officials have their eyes on it to build shopping malls or office parks or their own country residences. A kind of “eminent domain” can be invoked but without due process or proper compensation. Officials can claim arbitrarily that a farmer owes taxes or loan payments — often the case — and seize the land accordingly.
As one Novaya Gazeta reader, Georgy K. put it, “an enormous territory, where there is no land for farmers. Russia is a country of contrasts.”
Another read, Vladimir Vyun, said that the authorities couldn’t satisfy the demands of one set of petitioners, or else in a year, 3/4 of the population would march on Moscow with various petitions.
The governor replied:
“Well, this is what I want to say. If you’re going to speak in that sort of tone, never! Never! Those who instigated you, ask them.”
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The ruble is trading at 65.13 to the dollar and 72.73 to the euro. Brent crude is selling for $49.16 per barrel.
The following headlines were taken from 7:40 na Perrone, RBC, Gazeta, Moscow Times, and Novaya Gazeta
– Court Extends Arrest of Bolotnoye Demonstrators Dmitry Buchenkov Until December 2 and Maksim Panfilov Until January 7 ; Investigation for All Cases Extended Until March 2017
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick