Court in Moscow approved an almost two billion turnover fine for Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) for not removing content banned in Russia – more than half of this content is associated with last year’s actions in support of Navalny. But that’s not all about Navalny:
- In the assembly hall of the Pokrovskaya colony No. 2, a new trial of Alexei Navalny began. Lawyers work without laptops, the prosecutor received state protection.
- The Russian State Duma adopted an appeal to Putin demanding to recognize the so-called “LPR” and “DPR”.
- Putin held talks with the German Chancellor; The US President issued a new address on Ukraine and again warned Russia about sanctions.
- Belarusian philosopher Vladimir Matskevich went on a dry hunger strike in a pre-trial detention center.
The Lefortovo Court of Moscow held in the Pokrovskaya IK No. 2 the first visiting session on new criminal case against Alexei Navalny. Text translation process was conducted by “Mediazona”, a brief report on the first day of the meeting can be read here.
The court sat in the assembly hall of the colony, where Navalny’s lawyers were also present (one of them, Vladimir Voronin, was not allowed to the process), Navalny himself and his wife Yulia. Journalists were also invited to the assembly hall, but without equipment at all (only with a pen and a notepad) – it makes no sense to work in such conditions, so they watched the court from a video broadcast from a special room, the sound was very quiet and with a strong echo. Lawyers were forbidden to take laptops, phones, and even voice recorders with them to the assembly hall, which greatly shocked them, because in this way they were deprived of access to the case materials.
The court rejected the motions of the defense to transfer the process to normal conditions and to return the case to the prosecutor’s office. After that, the prosecutor (for the duration of the process granted state protection) told how Navalny and his associates established the FBK in order to “carry out extremist activities under the pretext of fighting corruption,” and then abused the trust of citizens by collecting donations for Navalny’s presidential campaign, although they knew perfectly well that he would not be registered as a candidate. Navalny, according to investigators, spent the collected money on a “beautiful life”, namely on “bars, fitness centers, beauty salons and hairdressers.”
In conclusion, Navalny himself outlined his position (full text): according to him, he rejoiced when he learned from the case file that out of 300,000 FBK donors, only four had written statements against him – despite the shock work of hundreds of investigators who had interrogated thousands of people. The general idea of his speech is as follows: there will be many more criminal cases against him, because the goal is that he always sits, but there are things more important than “the specific fate of a person”, so the prospect of eternal sitting does not scare him: “You need to be afraid of that that we will spend our whole lives in poverty, in degradation, in the absence of prospects, and we will leave this all as a legacy to our children: servility, servility and the same dreary expectation of a better life, which will never come as long as a gang of thieves is in power.
Here, political scientists explain why it was necessary to arrange a trial of Navalny in a colony, here Navalny’s associates talk about the exotic nature of the process.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 21, because today Navalny begins a three-day “long meeting” with his wife.
On Tuesday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the return of part of the troops “after the exercises” to the points of deployment, but which part and from where remained unclear. Independent observers from the Conflict Intelligence Team did not notice this return – on the contrary, according to their data, the columns that were on the way both moved towards the Ukrainian border and continue to move there. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and representatives of European countries also did not see the withdrawal of troops, and in the evening, US President Joe Biden repeated in a televised address that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was still possible and again warned Moscow of dire consequences. The State Department recommended that the Americans leave not only Ukraine, but also the territory of Belarus and Transnistria. Today the situation around Ukraine will be discussed in Brussels at a meeting of NATO defense ministers.
The news agencies also saw Russia’s peaceful intentions in the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a press conference in Moscow with his Polish counterpart, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Zbigniew Rau, nodded several times in response to a Polish journalist’s question, “So there will be no invasion of Ukraine? “. Nevertheless, in the evening, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a telephone conversation with Lavrov insisted again on the need for “real de-escalation”.
Putin’s talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took place all at the same meme table: Scholz explained to Putin that Europe does not think of security “against Russia”, but only “together with it”, and Putin, of course, agreed with this thesis. During their joint press conference, German journalists asked Putin if there would be a war in Europe, and he replied told to them, how NATO bombed Belgrade without the sanction of the UN Security Council, how Russia has been promised non-expansion of NATO to the east for 30 years, and how no one wants to listen to Russian “concerns”.
Russian concerns, meanwhile, are growing: former Putin aide Vladislav Surkov, one of the “architects” of the separatist formations in eastern Ukraine, published an article “The foggy future of a bawdy world”, in which he argues that modern Russia “cannot be” within the boundaries established in 1918, after the Bolsheviks signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany: for it is “cramped” within these borders.
The State Duma, for its part, accepted an appeal to Putin with a demand to recognize the so-called “DNR” and “LNR” (moreover, the option proposed by the communists, which does not involve circulation of the document through ministries and departments, passed). The discussion was held in an upbeat, theatrical spirit (it’s worth watching the video), and in the voting “participated“Including hospitalized deputies. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine called on the international community not to recognize Russia’s decisions on the “DNR” and “LNR”, and Putin at a press conference with Scholz explained this step of the Russian parliamentarians is not a desire to withdraw from the Minsk agreements, but because they “subtly feel” the aspirations of their voters, who are very sympathetic to the disadvantaged residents of Donbass. Here, Russian and Ukrainian political scientists predict that the process of recognizing separatist formations will be put on the brakes, but will remain in the repertoire of possible levers of pressure on Ukraine.
Ukrainian banks reported DDoS attacks on their websites, and the website of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine also stopped working. State Service of Ukraine for Emergency Situations invited assistance from NATO in case of “major emergencies” that may affect civilians. Against this background, the civilian population takes territorial defense courses and sets up walkie-talkies.
Russian and near-Russian
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia has reduced the period of “undesirable stay” in the country of Belarusian citizen comedian Idrak Mirzalizade from life to 14 years. The comedian became undesirable after an ironic story about xenophobia he had to face in Russia.
- In the annexed Crimea, the prosecutor’s office requested 11 years in prison for Radio Liberty journalist Vladislav Esipenko. Esipenko was detained nearly a year ago while filming a video for Radio Liberty Krym.Realii’s project in Crimea, but the prosecution believes he was collecting information for Ukrainian intelligence agencies.
- The former head of the “DPR” Dmitry Trapeznikov was promoted from the city manager of Elista to the vice-premier of Kalmykia.
- In Turkey completed investigating the case of the assassination attempt on Chechen oppositionists; prosecutors have requested 22 to 30 years in prison for the group members detained in Istanbul last October. The investigation believes that they were supposed to “eliminate” the Chechen dissidents living in Turkey on the order of the State Duma deputy from United Russia Adam Delimkhanov.
- Here is an interesting conversation with the head of the Moscow community center for LGBT+ initiatives, Tatyana Vinnichenko – among other things, she talks about how the flow of gay refugees from Chechnya forced the center to significantly expand its activities.
- According to Chainalysis74% of all money stolen in 2021 as a result of ransomware attacks went to hackers associated with Russia, and from a third to a half of all funds entering the accounts of cryptocurrency companies located in Moscow City are of illegal origin.
- In St. Petersburg, four policemen were detained for torture with a stun gun on the occasion of Police Day. The victim’s name is Khachik Jorgntsyan.
- FSB demands to be arrested a resident of the village of Plesetsk in the Arkhangelsk region Ramiz Namazov in the case of treason. What is the betrayal – a secret and a mystery, the existence of the case became known from the materials on the website of the Lefortovsky Court of Moscow.
Around the world
- The Central Election Commission of Belarus classified the names of the members of precinct commissions in order to “ensure their safety.” 65-year-old Belarusian political prisoner and philosopher Vladimir Matskevich, who has been in SIZO-1 since August last year, went on a dry hunger strike (he stopped eating on February 4) – he demands to be released on bail and complete the investigation into the case of “gross violation order.”
- Poland is investigating a criminal case on the participation of Belarusian officials in organizing the illegal crossing of the Polish border by migrants. It is based on the testimony of Syrians who managed to cross the Belarusian-Polish border in September last year.
- The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine introduced criminal liability for “manifestations of anti-Semitism.”
- In the western Kazakh city of Zhanaozen, where massive protests began in January, oil workers announced a new strike, presenting social and political demands to the authorities.
- Switzerland and Uzbekistan have agreed to establish a UN Multilateral Trust Fund to return assets confiscated in the criminal case against the country’s ex-president’s daughter Gulnara Karimova. Tashkent undertakes to use these assets exclusively for good purposes.
- The former political prisoner and former Minister for Horses Geldy Kyarizov decided to run for the presidency of Turkmenistan. This does not mean that it will be registered.
- Queen Elizabeth II’s son Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre have settled their sexual assault lawsuit out of court. How much it cost Prince Andrew is not disclosed.
- 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva explained that the illegal drug trimetazidine got into her body by the fact that her grandfather took the medicine containing trimetazidine. The New York Times is true writesthat she had three illegal drugs in her sample at once, which help with cardiovascular diseases and at the same time increase endurance.
Chronicles of a pandemic
In Russia declining daily incidence of COVID-19: 166,631 new cases and 704 deaths were reported on Tuesday morning. Hospitalizations have doubled. Petersburg authorities announced on achieving 100% herd immunity to COVID-19.
- GULAG. Story about how the program of “protection” of motherhood and childhood was carried out in the Soviet camps – with comments by a historian and excerpts from memoirs. Or memories residents of Oymyakon about the construction of the Kolyma highway (aka “road of bones”) – translated from Yakut into Russian and with comments by the historian Vladislav Staf, who is engaged in the memory of the Gulag.
- History of science. Evgeny Gelfer talks about the creation of the Russian physics school: pre-revolutionary period and student unrest post-revolutionary period and the Bolshevik reforms of education and science.
- History of the future. Two excerpts from the book of the historian Martin van Creveld “Seeing the Future” (published by “UFO”): about astrological methods future predictions and creation of mathematical models (they are older than you might think).