TODAY IN RUSSIA: BBC under investigation by Roskomnazdor. Belarus warns Russia over oil price hikes. Central Bank switched up $101bn US last year. Norway prepared to get its share of Arctic wealth. On the near impossibility of protest authorisation. Investigative project links Prigozhin to CAR murders. Local police accused of attending gang boss funeral. Rogozin demands explanation from NASA for canceled meetings. Pavlensky sentenced but escapes French jail.
Roskomnadzor is investigating the BBC for publishing material that propagated terrorist ideology, following a report about Islamic State. “An investigation is underway into whether these materials are in compliance with the norms of Russian legislation.” The President of Belarus is warning Russia that it will lose “its only ally in the Western direction” if it does not offer compensation for higher oil prices that it had previously subsidised. The Central Bank has swapped out $101 billion in US dollar holdings for Euros and Yuan last year as part of its bid to reduce dollar dependency, according to a new report. Norway is preparing to claim its share of any oil and gas resources discovered by Russia in the Arctic Barents Sea, as agreed in 2010. Meduza has summarised a recent investigative report detailing the mechanisms used by authorities to thwart public protests, namely the near-impossibility of getting a protest request authorised.
An investigative project funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky has completed its research into the murder of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic last year, finding links between a key suspect and an employee of “Putin’s Chef” Evgeny Prigozhin. An investigation has been launched after civil employers attended the funeral of a local gang leader, and police officers allegedly carried his coffin. In a bid to reduce heavy traffic, Mikhail Isayev, the Mayor of Saratov, tried to persuade residents to use public transport instead of their cars by using the system himself, but ended up taking two hours to get to work. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, is demanding an explanation from NASA as to why his planned visit to the US was canceled.
Journalist Dmitry Kolezev explains why he believes that the Magnitogorsk apartment block collapse was part of a terrorist attack. Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky was given a one-year jail term by a French court for setting fire to the facade of a Paris branch of the Bank of France, but has been allowed to walk free due to time already served.
PHOTO: Putin walks past worshipers in Transfiguration Cathedral during the Christmas mass in St. Petersburg. (Alexander Demianchuk / TASS)