RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – October 29, 2018

TODAY: Detentions at New Greatness protests. Independent magazine receives crippling fine. Navalny lawyer fined for YouTube broadcast whilst outside of Russia. Poll finds political parties not representing public interests. Calls for cease-fire at Syria summit. Russia preparing INF Treaty response for US. HRW publishes bleak report on domestic violence.

At least 68 protesters were detained in Moscow and St Petersburg this weekend for taking part in unauthorised protests in defence of New Greatness, an online chat group comprised largely of teenagers, whose members have faced charges of extremism. Independent magazine The New Times has been slapped with a $335,000 fine for missing a funding report deadline (the equivalent of its yearly operating costs). Editor Evgeniya Albats says charges were only pursued after she hosted opposition activist Alexei Navalny on her radio show. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) weighed in against the “unprecedented” and “exceptionally high” fine. Navalny’s lawyer Ivan Zhdanov was fined $3,800 for appearing on YouTube to call for political protests in Russia on September 9, despite the fact that he was not in the country at the time.

A university poll found 42% of Russians saying that no political party represents their interests. 23% said that the ruling United Russia party represents their interests, and 72% used “negative words” to describe their overall attitude towards the current system.

At a summit to discuss the war in Syria, leaders from Russia, Turkey, Germany, and France re-iterated their calls for a UN-backed political process to end the violence. The UN says it needs help from Russia in overcoming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s opposition to its efforts. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow is working on its responses to the US’ questions and accusations regarding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. New rules for shipping fuels, to come into force in 2020, are likely to hit hard on an unprepared Russia. 

A Human Rights Watch report on the official response to domestic violence found that women have few legal resources and no protection regarding complaints of spousal abuse, despite the issue being thought to affect 1 in 5 Russian women.

PHOTO: The leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey meet in Istanbul to discuss a ceasefire in Syria, October 27, 2018. (Mikhail Metzel / TASS)