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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – July 23, 2020

Today in Russia: Russian news crew attacked by US federal forces in Portland; Gulag historian sentenced to prison; Turkey and Russia strike Libya deal; Russia’s strategic plan with Iran; First Arctic oil delivered to China; PM Mishustin reports to State Duma

A Russian news crew was attacked by unidentified US federal forces in the city of Portland, where protesters are being met with mysterious federal law enforcement officials. “Russia’s Channel One broadcaster said it believes federal agents ripped off its journalist’s helmet and knocked down its cameraman with a baton, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported [in Russian] Wednesday.”

In a turning of tables from US criticism of Russia’s treatment of journalists and civil society activists, Russia’s Ambassador in Washington Anatoly Antonov submitted a note of protest over the attack on Channel One journalists in which he strenuously protested the incident in particular, while also highlighting that such attacks on US and foreign press during the recent protests have become commonplace, writing that “the number of incidents with the press has already surpassed 500This year, the United States will evidently top the world ratings in this nomination.”

Yury Dmitriyev, a historian of Stalin’s gulags has been sentenced to 3.5 in prison over claims that he sexually assaulted his adopted daughter. Despite protests and flimsy evidence – and an impassioned defense by Dmitriyev in court over both the allegations and his life’s work documenting those that perished in Stalin’s prison camps – the court found him guilty of the charges. Moscow Times wrote,

Dmitriyev is the head of the leading rights group Memorial’s branch in the republic of Karelia in northwestern Russia. He is known for helping open the Sandarmokh memorial in a pine forest in Karelia in memory of thousands of victims — including many foreigners — murdered in 1937 and 1938…

In an appeal to the Council of Europe this year, prominent writers including Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich and Jonathan Littell called the historian “a bone in the authorities’ throat.

Russia and Turkey have reportedly struck a deal in Libya to enforce a long-term and sustainable cease-fire, both Russia’s Foreign Ministry and Turkish state media announced. The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that the two countries agreed to facilitate the “advancement of the intra-Libyan political dialogue” in line with the 2020 Berlin Conference on Libya and in coordination with the UN.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif finished up his trip to Moscow this week “where he delivered a ‘special message’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Al-Monitor wrote,

Zarif did not release further details on his one-hour conversation with Putin that was held over the phone due to the Russian president’s special “coronavirus-related protocols.” In recent weeks, the Islamic Republic has been in close dialogue with its key nuclear deal partners Russia and China, urging them to resist US pressure on extending an Iran arms embargo that will expire under the nuclear accord and UN Resolution 2231 in October. It was not immediately clear if Rouhani’s “important message” had to do with the embargo issue, but the expiry is expected to turn Iran into a lucrative weapons market for the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Iran’s domestic politics has become engulfed in a debate about a potential Chinese partnership which many in Iran view as a form of neo-colonialism.

Russia delivered its first Arctic oil to China. OilPrice.com wrote, “Last week saw Russia’s Gazprom Neft, the country’s third biggest oil company by output and the oil arm of state gas giant Gazprom, ship its first cargo of oil produced in the Arctic to China via the Northern Sea Route (NSR). This shipment East adds to its existing Western exports via the NSR to Europe. According to Gazprom Neft, it took 47 days to deliver a full cargo of 144,000 tonnes of sweet, light Novy Port oil from the Yamal peninsula developments to the Chinese port of Yantai on the Bohai Sea, from Russia’s north-western city of Murmansk.”

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to the State Duma on the year 2019. Kommersant wrote [in Russian], “The main idea of ​​the report is the transition from a paternalistic model of the state to a service one, the government demonstrated this by the example of its work in the context of the coronavirus epidemic and made it clear that within the framework of the ‘national development goals’ it essentially intends to adhere to the same strategy as the economic foundation created by the predecessor government [under Putin and Medvedev].”

PHOTO: Mikhail Mishustin arrives to deliver a report to the State Duma (Dmitry Dukhanin/Kommersant).