World Russia fines Facebook and Twitter over banned content
Parliamentary election unlikely to change Russia's politics
MOSCOW (AP) — After a few weeks of desultory campaigning but months of relentless official moves to shut down significant opposition, Russia is holding three days of voting this weekend in a parliamentary election that is unlikely to change the country’s political complexion. There’s no expectation that United Russia, the party devoted to President Vladimir Putin, will lose its dominance of the State Duma, the elected lower house of parliament. The main questions to be answered are whether the party will retain its current two-thirds majority that allows it to amend the constitution; whether anemic turnout will dull the party’s prestige; and whether imprisoned oppositi
Russia fined Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday for not deleting banned content, adding to a slew of penalties the government has imposed on foreign tech giants.
Russia has recently been tightening controls over US-based tech companies and last week accused them of interfering in parliamentary polls this weekend.
Navalny app removed from online stores as Russian polls open
MOSCOW (AP) — An app created by allies of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny disappeared from Apple and Google stores on Friday as polls opened across Russia for three days of voting in a parliamentary election. It comes as Russian authorities seek to suppress the use of Smart Voting, a project designed by Navalny to promote candidates that are most likely to defeat those backed by the Kremlin. This weekend's election is widelyIt comes as Russian authorities seek to suppress the use of Smart Voting, a project designed by Navalny to promote candidates that are most likely to defeat those backed by the Kremlin.
A court in Moscow slapped Facebook with five fines on Tuesday totalling 21 million rubles ($288,000), according to an official Telegram channel. The same court fined Twitter five million rubles.
Russia regularly takes legal action against internet platforms for not removing content it labels illegal, such as pornographic material or posts condoning drugs and suicide.
Facebook has so far been fined 90 million rubles in Russia and Twitter 45 million, the state-run TASS news agency reported.
Judicial authorities have also fined Google citing the same offences and also for failing to store the data of Russian users on domestic services.
As part of broad efforts to reel foreign tech under its control, Russia also banned six major VPN providers this month including Nord VPN and Express VPN.
Russian feminist runs for Duma to take on domestic violence
MOSCOW (AP) — Alyona Popova’s campaign rhetoric is blunt: Unless she is elected to parliament, there won’t be much hope for a law against domestic violence in Russia. One of the country’s most ardent feminists, Popova has fought for years to lobby members of the State Duma to adopt legislation to protect women — without success. So she decided to run herself in the election in which voting begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Popova believesOne of the country’s most ardent feminists, Popova has fought for years to lobby members of the State Duma to adopt legislation to protect women — without success. So she decided to run herself in the election in which voting begins Friday and runs through Sunday.
In January, Russia demanded that social networks take down posts calling on Russians to join protests in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, under the guise of preventing minors from attending.
Video: Putin meets Lukashenko in Kremlin (Reuters)
President Vladimir Putin complained that month of the growing influence of large technology companies, which he said were competing with sovereign states.
- Election 'interference' -
Russia's foreign ministry said last week it had summoned the US ambassador in Moscow to present proof of US tech giants' "interference" in the forthcoming polls.
Nearly all Kremlin critics -- including allies of Navalny -- have been barred from running in parliamentary elections on 17-19 September.
Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked dozens of websites linked to Navalny, including a site that instructs Russians on how to vote out politicians of the ruling United Russia party.
How Putin is embracing authoritarianism as state elections loom
If you were to ask the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny is currently an involuntary resident of Corrective Colony No. 2 in Vladimir Oblast because he violated the terms of his parole stemming from a 2014 conviction for fraud and money laundering. © Provided by Washington Examiner Laughably missing from this explanation is the fact that when Navalny failed to attend court-ordered bi-monthly meetings with Russian officials from Sept. to Dec. 2021, the staunch Putin critic and anti-corruption activist was hospitalized in Berlin. He was recovering from a Kremlin assassination attempt that involved the deadly nerve agent Novichok.
The regulator has also urged Google and Apple to remove an app dedicated to Navalny's "Smart Voting" campaign from their stores.
Navalny, 45, who is behind bars on old fraud charges, has this year seen his political network and anti-corruption group banned. His top aides have fled the country.
A Russian diplomatic source said Navalny's app was "obviously" linked to US secret services through its developer Roman Rubanov, the former head of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).
The source said Rubanov is now employed by the California-based space infrastructure company Momentus Inc, which has former Pentagon officials among its leadership.
The "Smart Voting" tactic led the increasingly unpopular United Russia party to lose a number of seats in local elections in 2019.
However, there is little doubt that Putin's party will retain its majority in parliament.
Court Orders Russia to Pay Over $143,000 in Fines to Widow of Poisoned Ex-KGB Agent .
The European Court of Human Rights told Russia to pay Marina Litvinenko $117,000 in damages and $26,400 in costs, for a total of $143,400. Alexander Litvinenko had served as an agent for the KGB, the Soviet Union's top security agency, and its successor, the FSB. He defected in 2000 from Russia and traveled to London, where he worked on revealing corruption and connections to organized crime in Russia's intelligence service, the AP said.