Russia this week: 4 November

What made headlines this week

We bring you a weekly news digest that rounds up news on Russia in English every Friday. Here are stories you might have missed for the week of 29 October to 4 November. This week’s stories are curated by Fann Sim and Francesca Visser



  1. Political prisoner Ildar Dadin tortured in jail A letter from prison to his wife reveals repeated cases of abuse and threat inside the penitentiary where he is serving two and a half year sentence for street protests meduza, Guardian
  2. 1 in 50 has HIV in Yekaterinburg Russia’s fourth largest city is facing an HIV outbreak possibly due to its proximity to the drug trafficking routes between Europe and Central Asia NYT. However, health authorities deny the epidemic TASS
  3. Ukraine Literature librarian on trial The chief librarian of Ukrainian Literature at the Moscow State Library has been charged for inciting ethnic hate and embezzlement BBC

  4. More military presence on Western borders Russia says it is beefing up its military presence in Western borders in light of the US and other NATO members doing the same rferl

  5. Duma gets to work on defining Russia as a nation The State Duma is working on a bill that will establish Russia as a state with different cultures and traditions which “stands united as one country” and a “single political nation” meduza

  6. No links between Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank Despite allegations of Trump’s servers communicating with the Russian banks, a cyber security firm has failed to find any links between the two Guardian

  7. Amnesty International’s Moscow office sealed off Earlier this week, the Moscow branch of Amnesty International had its locks changed and power cut off BBC, Guardian

St Petersburg:

  1. St Petersburg based art group Rodina (Motherland) holds a rally in the city  On 1 November, the activist group stood by cemeteries and along the railway holding banners expressing their dissatisfaction with Russia’s current situation meduza (in Russian), Prospekt
  2. Who do Russians in St Petersburg want to win? Trump or Hillary? Hear what the Russians in St Petersburg think of the two US election candidates. One says, “he’s the man!” Prospekt
  3. Human Library faces administrative restrictions The non-profit initiative was started to promote understanding between people, or “books”, of different lifestyles. However, the Library was told to remove certain “books” or lose their event location Prospekt

Lighter reads:

  1. Acid attacker back at the Bolshoi where his victim continues to work In a bizarre twist of events, the Bolshoi dancer who was convicted and jailed for an acid attack on his boss is back at Russia’s national ballet company NYT
  2. Cultural figures stand up for artistic freedom Prominent figures from Russia’s art world are accusing the state of reintroducing censorship following a series of high-profile scandals in which conservative groups have forced the closure of exhibitions and performances russia beyond the headlines
  3. Geek-A-Boo! Prospekt Magazine’s Piter People takes a look at the Russian Comic-Con culture Prospekt
  4. “Sunshine clown” Oleg Popov dies at 86 from heart attack Popov, who was known as the Sunshine clown, has died at Rostov-on-Don where he was visiting for a show rferl, BBC
  5. Hollywood actor Steven Seagal given Russian citizenship President Vladimir Putin has given the actor citizenship meduza

Long(er) stories on Russia this week:

  1. Why is M15 making such a fuss about Russia? Earlier this week, Russia and the UK went into a spat after an M15 head made claims that Russia is a growing threat Guardian
  2. Guardian opinion: Russia is neither a partner nor an enemy Russia’s behaviour on the international stage is unsettling. But the western response should be neither aggressive nor complacent – and it should be based on transatlantic unity Guardian
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