Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Khodorkovsky Beats Russia in Strasbourg Court

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg entered a judgment in a Yukos-related case. The application under consideration was lodged by Mikhail Khodorkovsky back in 2004 and related to his unlawful arrest and unlawful detention both before and during his first trial. The Court has found grave violations of Khodorkovsky's fundamental rights. In particular, his arrest in 2003 was found “fundamentally unlawful,” and the prison conditions he was subjected to were found “degrading.” However, the Court noted that the statement about a political motive behind the prosecution of Khodorkovsky has not been supported by irrefutable evidence. The Court awarded €10,000 in damages and the whole of the legal expenses to the applicant. Another of Khodorkovsky’s applications, which concerns violations during the first trial and the decision to send him to eastern Siberia to serve his sentence, has already passed the communication stage, and an Admissibility Decision on it is likely later this year.

http://youtu.be/x_y8Y1lxCTQ (video)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Russia to Lift Grain Export Ban

Russia is lifting its ban on grain exports, effective July 1, amid expectations for a good harvest, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated. Russia introduced the ban last August in response to a severe drought that destroyed crops. First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, responsible for the country's agriculture, told Mr. Putin that this year farmers have sown 10% more acres of grain and stockpiled more than six million metric tons. "Considering that we really do have grain now and the state of winter grain crops is good...I think that we can lift the export restrictions on July 1," Mr. Zubkov told Mr. Putin, who ordered the ban lifted. Notably, Ukraine similarly announced plans to abolish a quota on grain exports, also introduced in 2010.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=339203 (video)

US Complains over Violent End to Russian Gay Rally

The United States voiced "concern" over the violent end to a gay rights rally in Moscow, and called on Russian authorities to better safeguard "fundamental freedoms" of assembly. "We note with concern... that a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counter-protesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. Moscow police on Saturday detained three global gay rights leaders, including renowned US gay rights activists Dan Choi and Andy Thayer, and dozens of Russians in a violent end to a rally that activists tried to stage near the Kremlin.

http://grani-tv.ru/entries/1787/ (video)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Constitutional Court Confirms Arbitrability of Real Property Disputes

Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that if a private arbitral award in a contractual dispute over real property requires a transfer of the property, with an accompanying change in the state real property register, such action of the registration bodies should not be considered a matter of administrative and public law and thus beyond the permitted competence of private arbitration. Rather, the essence of such a case involves contractual and civil law relations, which are arbitrable. The ruling was issued in response to an inquiry by the Supreme Arbitrazh (Economic) Court in which that court disputed the authority of private arbitrators to decide real property disputes.


Obama Asks Medvedev to Talk to Gaddafi Regime

Russia's G8 partners would like it to play a mediating role in the search for a settlement in Libya, President Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalia Timakova stated. "In every bilateral meeting such a request was heard," Timakova told journalists after Medvedev had bilateral talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, France. Western officials said Moscow had not been formally requested to mediate, but a White House spokesman confirmed that Obama and Medvedev had discussed maintaining contacts with Tripoli.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=339012 (video; see at 4:15)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Opposition Meeting Dispersed in Georgia

Two people died when riot police acted to end five days of opposition protests, which were aimed at ousting Western-backed President Mikheil Saakashvili. A policeman and a former officer were hit and killed by a car allegedly carrying a protest organiser that sped away after police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to stop the rally, the interior ministry said. Riot squads moved in just after midnight to disperse around 300 activists armed with sticks who had vowed to thwart a showpiece military parade to mark Georgia's Independence Day. "In total, 37 people were hospitalized, 28 protesters and nine policemen," interior ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili stated. Rights groups accused the police of using excessive force.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=338830 (video)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Belarus Denies Entry to 400,000 Foreigners

Belarus State Border Committee Chairman Igor Rachkovsky announced that 400,000 foreign citizens have been blacklisted for purposes of entry into Belarus. “We have a database of 400,000 persons, 200,000 of which were supplied by Russia. It is hard to tell who is on the list and who is not. I have not analyzed that,” stated Rachkovsky. In responding to the question of why some foreigners are denied entry without a stated reason, Rachkovsky explained, “This is the right of each state – to protect its interests.”


Khodorkovsky Declared Prisoner of Conscience

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International declared jailed Russian tycoons Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev "prisoners of conscience" after a second prison sentence against them was upheld. "For several years now these two men have been trapped in a judicial vortex that answers to political not legal considerations," Amnesty Europe and Central Asia director, Nicola Duckworth, said. "Today's verdict makes it clear that Russia's lower courts are unable, or unwilling, to deliver justice in their cases."

http://youtu.be/kJTkKeoadV4 (video, Khodorkovsy's speach)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Appeals Court Upholds Khodorkovsky Conviction

A Moscow appeals court has upheld the second conviction of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky but reduced his prison sentence by one year. The decision means that Khodorkovsky will remain in prison until 2016, a total of 13 years. He was convicted in December of stealing oil from his own company and laundering the proceeds, a ruling that drew strong international condemnation. Before the decision was entered, Khodorkovsky, who has always insisted that the charges against him are absurd and politically motivated, told the court that rejecting the appeal would amount to a crime. "You have to either stop this shame or join the criminals that spit on the law," he said. The court remained unpersuaded.

http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1646824 (video)

Belarus Devalues Currency

Belarus devalued its ruble by 55 percent against the dollar (at the official rate) and reintroduced limits on over-the-counter exchange rates. A currency exchange crisis has been developing in Belarus since the beginning of this year. Byelorussians were rushing to buy dollars and euros while the government was introducing special-purpose currency exchange restrictions designed to maintain the ruble exchange rate. The devaluation seems to mean that the attempt failed. Now Byelorussians are rushing to spend the rubles on goods as fast as possible.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=338515 (video)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Opposition: Revolution Has Started in Georgia

Following the thousands-strong protests this weekend, Georgian opposition leader Nino Burdzhanadze has claimed that a revolution provoked by the government has started in the country. Around 2,000 people protested near the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s offices in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday. They were demanding the current government’s resignation in order to conduct early parliamentary and presidential elections. “We had a lot of problems during the pre-rally period. The government resorted to terrorist methods, terrorizing our supporters. They were kidnapping people. They have arrested hundreds of people; tens of people have been injured and beaten,” former speaker of the parliament and leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia Party, Nino Burdzhanadze stated. Reportedly, demonstrators used stones and heavy sticks against the police forces; dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

http://rt.com/news/revolution-start-georgia-opposition/ (video)
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1645852 (video)

Russian Military Whistleblower Faces Criminal Charges

Russian Interior Forces Major Igor Matveev published a video address to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin unveiling a corruption network in the army and alleging that soldiers in his military unit in Vladivostok are fed with canned dog food. After the release of the video via internet, Major Matveev was sacked from the army. Moreover, as a regional army press officer announced, criminal proceedings were instituted against Matveev on assault and battery charges. Meanwhile, local prosecutors stated that their investigation showed that dog food had indeed been substituted for canned stewed meat to conceal a theft (although according to prosecutors there is no evidence the dog food had been used to feed solders).

http://youtu.be/NXDKeJPpuUU (video)
http://youtu.be/syzgPosDS8U (video)

French Cathedral Declared Russian Property

A court in Nice, France, ruled that one of the country's largest cathedral's is actually the property of Russia as it was paid for by Tsar Nicolas II. Alexander II purchased the land in 1865 to build a memorial to his oldest son and heir, Nicholas Alexandrovitch, who died there at aged 21 of meningitis. The cathedral was completed in 1912. The church's parish council argued that Nicolas II paid for the building work with his own money and that they were the legitimate heirs to the building. The Russian state contended that he used imperial funds belonging to the mother country and laid claim to the cathedral after a 99-year lease expired in 2007. The Nice court ruled the parishioners did not have the right to buy the property after the lease expired, and it should revert to Moscow. The association immediately said it would appeal the ruling. "I cannot see how an association that has occupied the cathedral for 80 years in a peaceful and continuous fashion cannot be considered its owner," said the group's lawyer Antoine Chatain. The parishioners' group had said that by claiming ownership, the Russian state hoped to bring the cathedral under the control of the Patriarchate of Moscow and thus under the influence of the Kremlin. The parish council has since 1931 been affiliated to the rival Patriarchate of Constantinople.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Russian Police Chief, Deputy, Party Leader Are Convicted of Assassinating Prosecutor

A court in Irkutsk sentenced the murderers of Bratsk First Deputy Prosecutor, Alexander Sinitsyn, to prison terms ranging from 18 to 25 years. The guilty verdict was entered against eight residents in the region, including the former deputy of the Bratsk legislature, Vadim Molyakov, a regional coordinator of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Viktor Zagorodnikov, and the former Bratsk chief police officer Vladimir Utvenko. Prosecutor Sinitsyn investigated high-profile criminal cases and was gunned down in 1999. The murder investigation stalled in 2001 but was resumed in 2008 after reports surfaced regarding people involved in the murder. The officers of the Investigation Committee, the Irkutsk Region police and the Federal Security Service detained the suspects. The detectives believe that they have found all of the participants in the crime, including those who ordered and organized the murder (the above-named police chief, deputy, and party leader) as well as the actual killers.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=337977 (video)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Russia Expels Israeli Diplomat over Alleged Spying

Russia expelled the Israeli military attaché in Moscow on suspicion of spying. "The military attaché and defence ministry representative in Russia, Colonel Vadim Leiderman, was surprisingly detained last week for questioning by the Russian authorities on claims of espionage. Following questioning he was given 48 hours to leave Russia," the Israeli defence ministry said in a statement. The ministry added that an Israeli investigation had found no basis for the Russian suspicions.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moscow Airport Owner Disclosed

The holding company of Moscow airport Domodedovo, an Isle of Man company named DML Ltd, disclosed its sole beneficial owner in the process of the preparation of company’s IPO in London. The owner is Dmitry Kamenshchik, Domodedovo’s board chairman. Notably, in February 2011 President Dmitry Medvedev demanded to find out who the real owners of the airport are. The General Prosecutor's Office and the Audit Chamber launched an investigation. However, recently Deputy General Prosecutor Alexander Buksman admitted that the investigation had failed: “We have not found the very last Matryoshka doll, which would help us to track down the owner of the Domodedovo airport. Of course, it is an object of special importance, but today everything is arranged so as to operate the airport from offshore,” the prosecutor complained.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=334664 (video)

Russian Senate Speaker Dismissed for Criticizing Ruling Party

Sergei Mironov, the Chairman of the Federation Council (Russia’s upper parliamentary chamber), lost his office. City legislators in St. Petersburg, which Mironov represents in the Council, revoked his mandate; this revocation apparently results in an automatic dismissal from the Chairman’s office. The dismissal was initiated by the ruling United Russia party, which was unhappy that Mironov, the leader of the competing Just Russia party, had criticized St. Petersburg management (belonging to United Russia).

http://www.1tv.ru/news/polit/176814 (video)
http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=337869 (video)

Russian Minister's Driver Fired over Threat to Shoot Motorist

A driver for Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, who threatened to shoot a motorist in the head on the Moscow Ring Road, has been fired for his misconduct, ministry's spokesperson announced. A video posted on YouTube shows Shoigu’s black Mercedes using a flashing blue light to move through a traffic jam on the Moscow beltway. The ministry says Shoigu was not in the car at the time. The Mercedes was trying to pass a car driven by a member of the Blue Buckets organization, a grass roots protest group which campaigns against the improper use of flashing lights by officials. When the motorist refused to clear the way for Shoigu's car, the driver snarled through a loud speaker: "You moron, do you want me to shoot you in the head?" There has been mounting concern over Russian officials' abuse of flashing blue lights, known as migalki, following a number of high-profile road accidents involving VIP vehicles.

http://youtu.be/N6amc0F0IFU (video)

Georgian Lawyers Go on Hunger Strike

A group of twenty to thirty Georgian attorneys began a hunger strike outside the parliamentary building in Tbilisi demanding the release of political prisoners and the investigation of several suspicious deaths of political and business figures. The lawyers are also requesting that criminal cases be opened against some high-profile officials allegedly involved in corruption. In an attempt to stop the strike, the police confiscated the lawyers’ blankets.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Khodorkovsky Demands Trial Judge Be Prosecuted

Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev submitted a request to Russia’s Investigation Committee asking it to institute criminal proceedings against Judge Viktor Danilkin on the charges of “entering a knowingly wrongful sentence.” In December 2010, Danilkin found Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty and sentenced each to 13.5 years of imprisonment on corporate theft and money laundering charges. The defense has always insisted that the charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are absurd and politically motivated. In February 2011, Danilkin’s assistant, Natalia Vasilieva (who later resigned), stated in an interview that the sentence had been written by somebody outside the court and imposed on Danilkin against his will.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Russia Threatens to Quit START Treaty

Russia may withdraw from the recently ratified Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty if the U.S. continues with its plans to deploy missile defense systems near Russian borders, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. "The new START Treaty may become hostage to the U.S. approach," the official said. "The qualitative and quantitative buildup of the U.S. missile defense systems, which will jeopardize Russia's strategic nuclear capability, can be regarded as an exceptional event under Article 14 of the Treaty whereby Russia has the right to withdraw from this agreement," Ryabkov said.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Russian Parliament to Consider Bill on Remote Trials

Several prominent members of the Russian Parliament (Duma) submitted a bill for consideration that will legalize remote trials in Russia. If the bill is passed, Russian judges will be allowed to try civil and criminal cases that originate in regions beyond the jurisdiction of those judges' courts. One of the primary purposes of the bill is to promote fair trials in the Caucasus region in southern Russia where local criminal and religious clans often impact judicial impartiality. Prominent Russian lawyer Igor Trunov and other experts have expressed support for the bill.


Ex-Presidential Candidate Sentenced to Five-Year Imprisonment in Belarus

Ex-presidential candidate, Andrey Sannikov, was sentenced today to five-years imprisonment in Minsk, Belarus, for “organization of riots” on December 19, 2010 when the latest Presidential election took place in Belarus. Experts believe that Sannikov’s trial was staged and directed by the Belarusian authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko. Many other members of the Belarus political opposition were also sentenced today in Belarus as a result of similar trials.
http://www.1tv.ru/news/world/176552 (video)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Political Opposition on Trial in Belarus as EU Calls for New Sanctions against Lukashenko

A number of prominent Belarusian political opposition leaders are being prosecuted in courthouses throughout the Belarus capital, Minsk. The Belarusian Prosecutor’s Office is basing charges on events that occurred in Minsk on December 19, 2010, when the Presidential elections took place. The European Union has declared the election undemocratic and is now calling for new sanctions against the Belarusian Government for prosecuting the political opposition. Specifically, the European Parliament has demanded that the venue of the Ice Hockey World Cup be changed; Belarus is scheduled to host the event in 2014.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Russian Supreme Court Holds Tatarstan President Oath Illegal

Russia’s Supreme Court upheld a decision of the Supreme Court of Tatarstan (a Russian constituency), which found illegal certain provisions of the Tatarstan Presidential inauguration law, including the text of President’s oath. The oath reads that the President swears to “serve the people of Tatarstan”, and not the people of the Russian Federation. In addition, the oath does not oblige the president of Tatarstan to abide by the federal Russian legislation and only provides for observing the Constitution of Russia and local laws.


Russian Anti-Corruption Activist Faces Criminal Investigation

Prosecutors in Moscow opened a criminal investigation into the activities of anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny. The investigative committee said that the activist was suspected of "inflicting material damage by means of deceit" when, as an adviser to a regional governor, he urged the head of a timber company called Kirovles to close a deal which allegedly lost the business 1.3m roubles ($40,000). While there is no suggestion that Navalny benefited financially, if convicted he could face up to five years in jail. Navalny said that the accusation was a fabrication by the security services to punish him for allegations that $4bn has been siphoned off from oil firm Transneft and of murky dealings at state bank VTB. "We'll see what happens," Navalny commented in his blog. "Even the most Basmanny court in the world could hardly bring a verdict on such rubbish, clumsily made up by policemen." Basmanny is the court which began the prosecution of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, jailed for nine years in 2005.

http://navalny.livejournal.com/583560.html (Navalny's blog + video)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Russian Tycoons among UK’s Richest People

Russian tycoons Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich living in Britain have been ranked among the U.K.’s top three rich people. According to The Sunday Times Rich List 2011, which includes persons born or based in the U.K., Indian-born steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has kept his position as the U.K.’s richest man, with the wealth of ₤17 billion ($27.9 billion). Russian mining magnate Usmanov, a major shareholder in London’s Arsenal Football Club, has climbed to the 2nd place in the Rich List, after more than doubling his wealth to ₤12.4 billion (over $20 billion). His fellow countryman, Chelsea Football Club owner Abramovich, has dropped from the 2nd place last year to the third spot in the Rich List 2011, with his wealth estimated at ₤10 billion ($16 billion).

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=336064 (video)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Medvedev signs Russian "Bribery Act"

As reported by the Wall Street Journal blog, President Medvedev has signed into law a Russian anti-corruption law, which prohibits foreign bribery and imposes criminal and (for the first time) economic sanctions for corrupt actions. It provides for liability of the person giving the bribe, the official receiving it, and any intermediary who may participate in the scheme. The step was welcomed by the OECD in a press release, but did not receive widespread coverage in Russia, which was in the midst of early May holidays.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Fugitive Russian Prosecutors Wanted

A Moscow court sanctioned the arrest of Dmitry Urumov, until recently a senior prosecution officer in the Moscow Region. Urumov, together with other Moscow Region prosecutors, is charged with bribery and protection of illegal gambling business. Urumov was taken into custody. Also arrested was former Chief Prosecutor of Noginsk Vladimir Glebov. Two of their colleagues, including former Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Moscow Region Alexander Ignatenko, are now wanted. According to some reports, the fugitive prosecutors have fled to Spain.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=335720 (video)

Russian Court Sentences Markelov Murderer to Life

A Moscow court sentenced ultranationalist Nikita Tikhonov to life in jail for the murder of human-rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in 2009. The court also sentenced Tikhonov's accomplice and civil partner Yevgeniya Khasis to 18 years in prison. Markelov and Baburova were gunned down in broad daylight in downtown Moscow in January 2009. Investigators said Baburova was killed because she was a witness to the murder of Markelov, and Markelov was killed because he belonged to the anti-fascist movement. A jury found Tikhonov and Khasis guilty of the murders. Both are linked to the outlawed ultranationalist group Russky Obraz. During the trial, Khasis pleaded not guilty while Tikhonov admitted to a separate arms trading charge but denied involvement in the murder.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=335693 (video)

Russian Senate Speaker Faces Dismissal for Criticizing St Petersburg Mayor

Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council (Russia’s upper parliamentary chamber), may be removed from the Council after demanding the resignation of St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko. City legislators in St. Petersburg, which Mironov represents in the Council, are apparently outraged that he has questioned the city’s management, and they plan to seek the revocation of his mandate to represent the city. Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Duma (the lower parliamentary chamber) and a member of the ruling United Russia party, expressed his supported for the dismissal of Mironov, who is the leader of the competing Just Russia party.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=335667 (video)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Arrests Ordered of Fugitive Russian Bankers

A Moscow court sanctioned the arrest of Andrey Borodin and Dmitry Akulinin, until recently the president and the vice president of the Bank of Moscow. Both had fled abroad. The Bank of Moscow was created by former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and grew to become the fifth largest in the country. The police probe is centered on a $400 million loan to a small company allegedly linked to an inflated purchase of land from Luzhkov’s billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=335350 (video)

Russian Court Orders Arrest of Magnitsky Colleague

A Moscow court ordered the arrest of Ivan Cherkasov, a partner in the London-based Hermitage Capital investment fund, on charges of tax fraud worth 2 billion rubles ($73 million). Cherkasov absented himself from Russia before the order. By making the decision, the court sided with Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko, who has been implicated by Hermitage in the death of its tax advisor Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009. Hermitage founder William Browder denounced Russia's judiciary as working hand in hand with criminals.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Belarus Prohibits State-Controlled Media from Saying “Crisis”

Belarusian authorities prohibited state-controlled media from covering the economic crisis in the country. As Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported, the presidential administration instructed editors-in-chief to refrain from publishing materials about Belarus's foreign currency shortages, rising prices, and unemployment. The move followed the publication in state-controlled media of a statement by Belarus National Statistical Committee head Vladimir Zinovsky that 600,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the crisis.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Russian Spies Want Stuff Back

Several of the ten Russian spies deported from the United States in 2010 have demanded that some of the property they were forced to leave behind be returned to them. The claim was lodged by the legal counsel for Vladimir and Lidia Guryev, better known as Richard and Cynthia Murphy. The couple is asking for the return of computers, digital photo and video cameras, or at least copies of data recorded on them, such as family photos. They have no "material value," but are "dear to the Guryevs," according to the claim. A similar claim was filed by Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova (aka Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley).


"American Spy" Beats Russia in European Court

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay €20,000 to Igor Sutyagin, who had been sentenced in Russia to 15 years in prison for high treason. The Court found that Russia had violated Sutyagin’s right to a fair trial and to liberty and security. Sutyagin was arrested in 1999 and ultimately convicted of high treason in 2004. The case was tried by a jury, which found Sutyagin guilty. The Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Sutyagin of receiving over $25,000 from the U.S. and British intelligence for secret information concerning submarines, fighters, and nuclear weapons. Sutyagin insisted that he obtained the data from open sources. Sutyagin was among the prisoners exchanged in July 2010 for ten Russian spies captured in the U.S. Currently Sutyagin lives in the UK.


Fugitive Traitor Indicted in Russia

Alexander Poteyev, a former Russian intelligence officer who last summer allegedly helped the U.S. authorities uncover a Russian spy ring (including Anna Chapman, who has become a media star since her deportation to Russia), has been charged with high treason and desertion. "The FSB investigation department has completed an investigation into the case to charge a Russian national Alexander Poteyev with committing high treason by divulging state secrets," the FSB said in a statement. Poteyev fled to the United States with his family shortly before the arrest of the sleeper agents was made public. His case will be heard in absentia.


Russia’s FSB Summons Information on Anti-Corruption Activists

Russia's top internet portal Yandex said it has been forced to divulge financial details about the country's top anti-corruption activist to the Federal Security Service (FSB). Yandex said it was approached by the FSB about financial contributions made through its Yandex Dengi (Yandex Money) service to Alexei Navalny, a popular blogger who operates the RosPil whistleblowing website. RosPil and Navalny have used Yandex Dengi to raise about 6.2 million rubles ($225,000 dollars) for private efforts to expose corruption at senior levels of the Russian government. Navalny wrote on his blog last week that some of his contributors reported receiving threatening phone calls from unnamed people -- several of them posing as reporters -- who demanded to know why they gave money to the campaign. The news came just days after Yandex announced plans to list on New York's NASDAQ stock exchange. Yandex warned in its prospectus that its public offering was accompanied by political risks associated with efforts by the state to control Russian media companies.


Kremlin Praises Bin Laden Killing

The press service of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that the Kremlin praises “the serious success of the U.S.A. in the fight against international terror,” apparently referring to the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was not mentioned by name. "Russia was among the first countries to face the dangers inherent in global terrorism, and unfortunately knows what Al Qaeda is not from hearsay," the Kremlin said. "Retribution will inevitably reach all terrorists." Russia said it is ready to help step up efforts to combat terror, saying only joint efforts can produce results.

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=334880 (video)