RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Oct 2, 2017

TODAY: Authorities ignoring violence against opposition activists; Navalny detained ahead of rally; 20 detained in YouTube protest; Central Bank says new bailout system will safeguard banks; Schröder appointed chairman of Rosneft; VIM-Avia head charged with embezzlement; Russia ramps up gas deliveries to Turkey.

The death of opposition activist, Ivan Skripnichenko, who was attacked on political grounds, has not been investigated; most do not believe the Kremlin could have been involved, but the authorities’ failure to open a criminal case “shows that they are at best turning a blind eye, and at worst tacitly condoning the violence”, and an ongoing state rhetoric which brands oppositionists as “the enemy within” is likely encouraging violence against protesters, Reuters reports. Opposition leader and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny was detained outside his home before he could get to a rally in Nizhny Novgorod, which authorities had refused to authorise. His detention was apparently based on his repeated calls for people to attend illegal gatherings. More than 20 people were detained in Moscow protest against YouTube censorship.

Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina says a new bailout system has successfully put an end to the massive client outflows that caused the recent collapses of Otkritie and B&N Bank. Russia’s antitrust watchdog says Schlumberger’s bid to take control of Eurasia Drilling Company is “a risk to the country”. State media watchdog Roskomnadzor has summoned representatives from CNN International over alleged violations of media law (an overdue deadline); but this may be part of the Foreign Ministry’s promise last week to retaliate against the US’ demand for Kremlin-backed channels RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents. The head and chief accountant of embattled airline VIM-Avia have been charged with embezzlement, after it was found that the company sold tickets to passengers despite having no money for fuel or aircraft maintenance.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has been appointed chairman of Rosneft, despite his long-term relationship with the energy industry. Marking a broader rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, the former’s gas deliveries to Turkey have risen sharply over the past month, with Gazprom due to set a record for natural gas deliveries to Turkey this year (already 48% higher this September than last). Vygaudas Ušackas, the outgoing EU ambassador to Russia, writes in the Guardian about his pessimistic view of the future of EU-Russia relations and urging Europe to be wary of Russia’s efforts to use its business interests to weaken the EU. “The differences between us are vast and hinge on principles of European security.

PHOTO: Russian opposition activist Ivan Skripnichenko is seen at the site of the assassination of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow, Russia June 22, 2017. Courtesy nemtsov-most.org/Handout via REUTERS