RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 30, 2017

TODAY: Five men found guilty in Nemtsov murder, family and associates disappointed; 1 in 10 cannot afford basic groceries; Medvedev proposes import ban extension as tit-for-tat; new RBC owner says will not interfere with editorial process; Deutsche Bank Russia case thrown out; Russia mocks new British military hardware.

Five men were found guilty of involvement in the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in 2015, with Zaur Dadayev found guilty of the shooting and the other four of assisting him. Nemstov’s family say they aren’t satisfied with the verdict given that the mastermind of the killing is still free, and a lawyer for Dadayev (who said his initial confession was given under torture) called the trial “an imitation of justice”. Lawyers for the group anticipate that the verdict will be canceled due to violations made during the jury’s decision process. President Vladimir Putin’s rule has been punctuated by quite a number of high-profile killings, notes RFE/RL. One in ten Russians and half of pensioners over the age of 65 do not have enough money to buy basic groceries, according to a new poll by state-backed organisation VTsIOM. Life expectancy in Russia has reached new highs, with women still outliving men by several years. The Finance Ministry is planning to borrow $3 billion a year on capital markets in 2018-2020. Russia’s budget deficit next year could end up being $25.4 billion, just half of its current amount, according to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev is proposing to extend the current ban on Western food imports for another 18 months in response to extended EU sanctions against Russia.

Despite initial fears when he took over that the company would water down its reporting, Grigory Berezkin, the new owner of RBC Media holding’s news website and television channel, says he will not interfere with the existing team’s editorial policy (which in the past two years has rankled the Kremlin significantly). The lawsuit that accused Deutsche Bank of concealing “mirror trades” to launder money out of Russia has been dismissed by a US judge. Billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov lost almost half of his fortune in just four months thanks to the lawsuits against his company Sistema. Fake news and election hacking are trendy buzzwords these days, but for Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, Russian disinformation and manipulation are nothing new, says Brian Whitmore. The Russian military mocked Britain’s new aircraft carrier, calling it “a large convenient target”, after the UK Defence Secretary suggested that Russia would be envious of it.

President Vladimir Putin received former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin yesterday; the content of their meeting was undisclosed. The BBC evaluates the current Russian threat. The massive global cyber attack that mainly hit Russia and Ukraine is thought to have been targeting Ukraine’s computer infrastructure.

PHOTO: People enjoy a sunny day at the sea front of Adler in Sochi, Russia, June 26, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)