TODAY: Librarian given suspended sentence over Ukrainian texts; NSA documents show Russia hacked US voting systems; Usmanov-Navalny judgement completed, Navalny to appeal; Russia and Turkey urging dialogue with Qatar; Russia cuts PACE contributions; on the Republican fascination with Russia.
Natalia Sharina, the director of the Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature, has been charged with “inciting hatred” and given a four-year suspended sentence, for keep volumes in the library deemed “extremist”, including volumes of Ukrainian poetry. Her lawyer said the judge “behaved like an ostrich”, and the case is viewed as a byproduct of the state of current Ukrainian-Russian relations. Sharina, who said she was shocked by the charges, noted that even the state prosecutor admitted that the case was politically motivated. She plans to appeal. RFE/RL compiles some other seemingly normal activities that have led to prosecutions in Russia this year (painting Easter eggs, writing poetry, and “criticising things”). A leaked document from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US shows that Russian military intelligence hackers tried to break into US voting systems several times ahead of last year’s presidential elections.
Both sides of the Alisher Usmanov-Alexei Navalny defamation case have been given the full text of the judgement, which refers to Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation as having had “total lack of a reasonable and balanced approach to the facts”, and orders him to delete all publications which accuse Usmanov of bribery. Navalny says he will not comply, and plans to appeal in the Moscow City Court. Russia and Turkey are calling for dialogue and compromise with Qatar in the wake of claims that it has been funding Islamist groups. Russia has cut its contributions to the Council of Europe by one third. Russian airlines lost 10 billion rubles in 2016, due to significant losses on domestic flights and decreased profits on foreign flights.
Newsweek has some disturbing analysis about US Republicans’ fascination with Russia, arguing that it “is predicated on a racial fantasy”.
PHOTO: A Moscow court has just handed down a four-year sentence to Ukrainian librarian Natalya Sharina for “inciting ethnic hatred.” (Valery Sharifulin / TASS)