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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – November 3, 2020

Today in Russia: “The America we lost”; Nemtsov’s murder and unpursued leads; Lots more corona; Putin condemns Vienna attack, sends condolences to Austrian President and Chancellor; French teacher’s murder by Chechen student creates division among Russian politicians; Karabakh gets ever closer to Russia; Drug labelling system simplified; Ozon IPO to be in New York

Kommersant wrote [in Russian] about the “America we lost” on the day of the US presidential elections, writing that much has been written in Russia about which candidate is better for Russia, resulting in a “tug of war, in which the advantage was on the side of those who sympathize with the incumbent head of the White House.” However, Trump’s positive words towards Russia were not combined with good deeds: “The President of the United States, who during his tenure managed to destroy three pillars of Russian-American relations at once: the institution of summits, the legal framework for arms control and the mechanisms of diplomacy, Donald Trump, unlike Joe Biden, uttered many sweet words about Russia.”

More important, Kommersant writes that the debate over who is best for Russia is in practice less and less relevant, as there “are more and more grounds to come to the conclusion that we no longer need America, although we do not openly admit this,” one reason being that “America” serves as a “bogeyman, as an anti-example, as somethign that is used to frighten everyone on TV.”

Mediazona [in Russian] and the Scanner Project have uncovered witnesses and leads in the 2015 murder of Boris Nemtsov. Meduza wrote in summary, “Russian officials investigating the murder of former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov have identified but virtually ignored several important witnesses and possible accomplices to the crime…According to investigative journalists, several of these individuals are linked to influential Chechen politicians, including senator Suleiman Geremeyev and State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov.

Russia added [in Russian] over 18,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the fifth straight day. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that the country is suffering from a severe shortage [in Russian] of doctors, and stories of hospitals overflowing with patients has been all over Russian media, most recently of a patient admitted to sitting hospitalization in Tomsk due to a lack of hospital beds. Nevertheless, a return to lockdown – as is happening across Europe – has so far been ruled out [in Russian] by the authorities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences [in Russian] to Australian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to express his condolences for the attack that took place last night in Vienna.

The murder of a French teacher by an ethnic Chechen in France has led to division [in Russian] among the Russian political elite. Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov unsurprisingly has unleashed fury against France’s President Emmanuel Macron, calling him “the mastermind of terrorism.” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response “the heads of the republics [referring to Kadyrov] do not form foreign policy.” The lead of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky declared that “there should be no comments in support of terrorist actions.” However, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov appeared to be sympathetic to Kadyrov’s position, writing on his Telegram channel that “the topic of religion requires special caution, beacuse it affects the sensory nerves in the souls of hundreds of millions of people.”

The ongoing fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region is increasingly getting closer to Russia [in Russian], Kommersant wrote, as Armenia ramps up its calls for more overt Russian support. It puts Moscow in an extraordinarily difficult situation: “For the first time during the new Karabakh war, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan asked Russia to discuss its assistance in ensuring the security of his country. Yerevan is making it clear that during the consultations scheduled for the coming days, the issue of military assistance will be raised. Nikol Pashinyan’s appeal presented Moscow with an extremely difficult choice. A [direct] conflict with Baku with Turkey backing it is unacceptable, but Moscow cannot afford the defeat of its ally [Armenia], which will hit the prestige and interests of Russia in the post-Soviet space.”

Russia will simplify its drug labelling system in the face of sky high demand for medicines. RBC wrote [in Russian], “Pharmacies will be able to sell medicines without waiting for confirmation from the system that the receipt information has been successfully registered. The measure will allow to accelerate the movement of drugs against the background of increased demand and a pandemic, the Cabinet of Ministers indicates.”

Russian online retailer Ozon will list [in Russian] American Depository Receipts (ADR) on the NASDAQ exchange as part of its initial public offering. The Wall Street Journal has estimated that the company could be worth $3-5 billion. Ozon’s listing would be the first IPO by a Russian company since recruiting firm HeadHunter listed in 2019.

PHOTO: A new investigation into the ignored leads in the investigation following the murder of liberal politician Boris Nemtsov was published by Mediazona, raising new questions about the high-profile murder which took place five years ago (Alexander Zemlyanichenko / AP / Scanpix / LETA).