LIVE UPDATES: Russian Finance Minister Siluanov says there isn’t enough money left in the budget to support the anti-crisis plan, and proposes reducing it.
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.
–The Non-Hybrid War
–Kashin Explains His âLetter to Leadersâ on âFontanka Officeâ
–TV Rain Interviews Volunteer Fighter Back from Donbass
–âI Was on Active Dutyâ: Interview with Captured GRU Officer Aleksandrov
Translation: Television Channel Rain, Ltd. has transferred 100,000 rubles to the account of the Presenensky Court Bailiffs
Parfenchikov is the director of the Federal System of Court Bailiffs.
In 2014, TV Rain aired a poll, also disseminated on social networks asking viewers if they believed that the people of Leningrad should have yielded their city to the Nazis for the sake of saving people’s lives; by resisting them and suffering the siege, 800,000 residents, nearly a third of the city’s population, died from starvation.
The posing of the question, which likely was meant to evoke a debate about how much modern people should cooperate with the Kremlin, angered people who had survived the blockade as well as patriotic supporters of the Putin regime.
The issue was again raised this week on February 23, Fatherland Defense Day, when several sites, including PolitRussia, claimed that TV Rain did not plan to compensate veterans of the blockade for “moral damage.” Ruposters said that TV Rain had been given notice on February 3 to pay within 5 working days, but had not done so.
In August 2014, responding to a complaint about the January 2014 broadcast before the 70th anniversary of the end of the blockade, Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow levied the fine of 100,000 rubles which was to be paid to Boris Ivchenko, the chair of the St. Petersburg chapter of the Union of Pensioners, and his colleague Yury Antonov. The two senior citizens had demanded 51 million rubles ($670,960) from TV Rain, but got only partial compensation.
Responding to the public scandal, in 2014, a number of cable operators dropped TV Rain, costing it nearly 90% of its reach and a large portion of its advertising revenue; some commentators believed the incident had been exploited to squeeze the last independent TV station in Russia out of business. Ultimately, TV Rain was forced to move to a paid subscription model. It also lost its studio in a separate development and was forced to broadcast for a time out of an apartment.
Tax inspectors arrived in December soon after it became known that TV Rain had assisted opposition leader Alexei Navalny in his video expose of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and his two sons.
While 100,000 rubles is a large sum for Russians, the fine is not as large as what some NGOs designated as “foreign agents” have had to pay for refusal to register as such agents — 300,000 rubles.
It’s not clear if this will be the end of the story, however, as the pensioners plan to appeal the court decision and seek more damages.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
As a medical student, I admit that I have committed an offense. I beg to be understood. But I did not have the intent to sow religious enmity, I am not justifying terrorism and urge that I be released from custody.
Investigators have sent the case to the prosecutor to confirm the indictment; the trial is March 3. She faces 2 to 5 years in prison.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Siluanov reminded Medvedev that the government could spend up to 342.2 billion rubles ($4.4 billion) from the presidential reserve fund, but for this it would have to prove to President Vladimir Putin that the anti-crisis plan was a priority over other plans. He suggested reducing expenditures under the plan down to 120 billion rubles, related to the financing of machine-building, health care and support of exports via the VEB, Roseksimbank and the Russian Export Center, and then asking the president for the remaining 130 billion ($1.7 billion). Items in the list that would not be reduced were 17.1 billion rubles ($220 million) “related to Crimea and Ukraine,” said Kommersant.
Kommersant did not say why the funds were not available, but it was likely due to the devaluation of the ruble.
Here’s a look at this morning’s headlines in Russia from RBC.ru, Novaya Gazeta, TASS, 7:40 na Perrone, and Kommersant:
– Ministry of Finance Warns of Lack of Funds for Implementing Anti-Crisis Plan; Proposes Reducing Support for Economy to $1.67 Billion; Half of Funds Budgeted Unavailable
– TransBaikal Government Dismissed
– Kadyrov Says He is ‘Not Hanging on to His Seat’ and Wants to ‘Fight Russia’s Enemies”
Translation: They want to return the sale of alcohol near schools and hospitals in Russia. Why not inside immediately?
– Mars Will Not Recall Candy Bars in Russia
– Fire at Sretensky Monastery Extinguished
– NGO Discovers United Russia Candidates Got Secret State Funding
– Russia Begins Surreal Ersatz Trial of Ukrainian Hostage After Torture Goes Wrong
– Investigative Committee Head Bastrykin Promoted to General
– Interview with Pussy Riot’s Mariya Alekhina
– More than 80 Cases of H1N1 Flu in Primorsky Territory
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick