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Moscow builds new expressway through Soviet-era radioactive repository
The radiation sensor of FGUP Radon (a division of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Power, Rosatom structure), installed at the construction site of the South-Eastern Expressway in Moscow, has recorded a 60-fold increase in the radiation background for the seventh time in three days. The sensor displays 18 microsievert per hour, while the maximum permissible radiation level is  0.3 μSv/h. Spokespeople for the Russian EMERCOM announced that the information about a spike in radiation levels in Moscow was not true to fact. FGUP Radon specialists did not register any excess in radiation background in Moscow. According to experts, the highest radiation level was recorded in the Mytishchi area near Moscow - 0.19 μSv/h. Moscow admits radioative danger exists Earlier, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin admitted the presence of radioactive waste on the route of the South-Eastern Expressway Chord. "The construction of a highway inside a city never goes smoothly. However, in case of the South-Eastern Expressway, we have come across a no ordinary problem - radioactive wastes that the Moscow Polymetal Factory was storing up in its backyard during the 1950s and the 1960s," Sobyanin said.
(Tue, 11 Feb 2020 23:15:00 +0300)

Who is the richest and who is the poorest in Russia’s new government?
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, Minister for Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and the head of the Ministry for Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev are the wealthiest members of the new government chaired by the new Prime Minister. The information is based on their income statements for 2019. Trutnev's revenues amounted to 538.4 million rubles, Manturov's - 434 million, Patrushev's - 183.8 million. Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the government, earned only 19 million rubles, but his wife is 2.5 times richer. Her income for 2018 amounted to 48 million rubles. Interesting, Mishustin's wife, Vladlena Mishustin, does not own any company, but she makes a lot more money than her husband. The revenues of deputy prime ministers are listed as follows: Yuri Borisov earned 17.3 million rubles Tatyana Golikova - 14.2 million Victoria Abramchenko - 10.6 million  Marat Khusnullin - 8.8 million Dmitry Grigorenko - 8.7 million First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov - about 7.68 million rubles. Other ministers in the new Russian government lag far behind Manturov and:
(Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:52:00 +0300)

Russians to decide the fate of their Constitution on Cosmonautics Day
The national vote on constitutional amendments may take place  in Russia on Sunday, April 12. The date has not been set, but April 12 is considered to be the most likely date for the vote, which is currently discussed in the Kremlin.Reportedly, the Kremlin considers another date, April 26, but this date is less likely. April 19, is not convenient to vote, because it coincides with Orthodox Easter. The all-Russian voting will take place after the State Duma and the Federation Council pass amendments to the Constitution, but before the federal constitutional law enters into force. At least two-thirds of legislative assemblies of Russian regions will have to support the adoption of amendments to the Constitution. The Kremlin expects the process to pass as quickly as possible. President Vladimir Putin, in his Address to the Federal Assembly, said that the final decision on amending the Constitution would depend on the decision of the people. The dates and procedures for voting will be specified separately, in a special decree. The procedural deadlines for the decisions, on which the date of the all-Russian vote will depend, have not been determined yet.It is worthy of note that on April 12, Russia marks the Cosmonautics Day. Interestingly, the new Constitution of the RSFSR was adopted on the same day in 1978. Article 5 of the Constitution of the RSFSR said that most important issues of politics shall be submitted for public discussion and national vote (referendum).
(Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:19:00 +0300)

Dmitry Medvedev says his resignation heralds major changes in Russia
Former Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev does not see the resignation of his government as something special. According to him, such changes are natural for any country.In addition, Medvedev noted that a change of the government heralds other changes in a country - "constitutional or some other changes."The former prime minister expressed a hope that after the formation of the new government everything will happen "in the proper way."Dmitry Medvedev and Russia's new Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, talked to each other tete-a-tete on January 17 for more than an hour. Afterwards, they held a meeting with members of the government. All ministers were invited to the meeting. Medvedev wished the new prime minister and the government success.On January 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Dmitry Medvedev's government. Putin picked the head of the Federal Tax Service (FTS), Mikhail Mishustin, to be the new prime minister. The members of the resigned government will continue working until the new cabinet if formed.
(Fri, 17 Jan 2020 15:48:00 +0300)

Putin takes measures to rule Russia after he retires
Draft laws on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed during his 16th Address to the Federal Assembly are likely to be submitted to the State Duma in February-March 2020.The nationwide vote on these amendments is planned to be held before May 1, a source in the Federation Council said. According to the source, the all-Russian voluntary vote about the draft laws pertaining to the amendments to the Constitution will take place before May 1.In his Address to the Federal Assembly, Putin noted that in order to amend the Constitution (the amendments will give him an opportunity to rule Russia even after he leaves office as president), one needs to hold a nationwide discussion. "Given that the proposed innovations envisage significant changes of the political system, the work of the executive, legislative, judicial powers, I consider it necessary to hold a national vote about  the entire package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation," Putin said in his speech on January 15, 2020. The authorities are currently developing a procedure for holding such a vote, which is not going to be a referendum from the technical point of view. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that a referendum on the subject was out of the question. Therefore, to amend the Constitution, it would be enough to obtain a simple majority of votes at any turnout. It will be a package voting, in which there will be one point offered to vote for all the proposed amendments at once. It is worthy of note that the amendments, which Putin proposed, are going to be revised, supplemented and clarified by the Federal Assembly and the "working group."During a meeting with members of the working group, Putin ordered to develop a format for an all-Russian vote to amend the Constitution of the country. Noteworthy, there are 74 people in the group, of whom only eleven are legal scholars.
(Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:50:00 +0300)

Russia gives birth to two more dollar billionaires
Forbes magazine has included two new names on the list of Russian billionaires. They are Ratmir Timashev and Andrey Baronov - the founders of Veeam Software IT company. The magazine evaluated the fortune of each of company founders at $1.2 billion dollars.Veeam Software develops products for backup, recovery and data protection, as well as for security and cloud storage. It was also reported that a US-based fund was going to buy the company of the two Russians for $5 billion. The deal has not been closed yet. No details about the deal have been exposed, nothing is known about the current structure of Veeam's board of directors either. After the sale of the company, it will be headquartered in the United States. Timashev and Baronov will leave the board of directors by the middle of 2021, but will continue consulting the new management.Timashev and Baronov entered the list of 200 richest Russians since 2017. In 2018, the fortune of each of the businessmen was evaluated at $950 million.
(Tue, 14 Jan 2020 12:21:00 +0300)

Putin back-pedals on Russian mercenaries in Libya
Russian President Vladimir Putin personally commented on the participation of Russian mercenaries in hostilities in Libya. While answering a question at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following their talks in Moscow, Putin stated that if there are Russians in Libya, they "do not represent the interests of the Russian state" nor do they receive money from him.Turkish President Recep Erdogan earlier said that Russian mercenaries from private military company Wagner, which is supposedly funded by Putin's chef Yevgeny Prigozhin, fight on the side of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. It is worthy of note that Turkey's Erdogan signed a military cooperation agreement with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord chaired by Fayez Sarraj, which Khaftar opposes.Erdogan said that Russia had sent PMC Wagner to Libya, therefore, he concluded, Turkey could also send its units to the African country to support the Government of National Accord. Erdogan said in late 2019 that there were about 2,000 PMC fighters in Libya.Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Erdogan's statements, said that Libya had become a haven for mercenaries and terrorists from a large number of countries after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi. He also noted that "citizens of different countries work as mercenaries in different parts of the planet," and their movement cannot be controlled.US officials also expressed their concerns about the growing number of Russian mercenaries in Libya. An unnamed official from US State Department said that such state of affairs was changing and exacerbating the general course of the conflict, although it was not changing the balance of power in Haftar's favor.
(Mon, 13 Jan 2020 19:13:00 +0300)

Russia to keep counter-sanctions against the West for good
Russia will not be the first to abolish restrictive measures that were imposed in response to the sanctions against Moscow's current policy, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a news conference following his talks with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne."If we discuss first steps on the part of Russia, the abolition of some of our restrictive measures, retaliatory restrictive measures, then the answer is obvious: of course, we are not going to cancel anything," Medvedev said, answering the question of whether Russia could be first to lift counter-sanctions.The Russian prime minister said that the "sanctions do not please anyone," nor do many find Russia's retaliatory measures pleasing either. However, according to Medvedev, there are Russian companies that support keeping Russia'a retaliatory measures in effect for good.The prime minister emphasized that Russia could preserve counter-sanctions for a long time, but the Russian Federation could still develop relations with European countries. "We'll wait and see: if Ukraine can move forward in resolving the internal conflict, then maybe our relations with the EU, which made this inter-dependent, will become better. Well, if they fail to move forward, then these sanctions will remain for a long time, and our counter-sanctions will also remain in effect for a long time, but even in these conditions we can live and develop," Medvedev said.The West started introducing international sanctions against Russia in 2014, after the Crimea referendum and the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbass. In response, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the introduction of counter-sanctions, which banned imports of agricultural products, raw materials and food products from the countries that introduced anti-Russian sanctions: the USA, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway. Russian sanctions still ban imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, cheeses, milk, other dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and some other products from the above-mentioned countries. On August 13, 2015, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, which joined the anti-Russian sanctions, were included on the list of countries from which it was forbidden to import food products. Russia put Ukraine on the same list from January 1, 2016.In June 2019, Putin extended the food embargo against the countries that adopted anti-Russian sanctions in 2014 in response to Russia's reunification with Crimea and actions of the Russian Federation in the Donbass.The presidential administration and the government believed that the food embargo would help  revive domestic agricultural production. Five years later, one can speak about the success of import substitution only in relation to tomatoes, pork and poultry. The profit from sale of these food products totalled 75 billion rubles per year. Most of the items on the list of sanctioned goods can hardly be substituted or can not be substituted at all.
(Mon, 25 Nov 2019 19:59:00 +0300)

Putin gives Saudi King bird of prey
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Saudi Arabia. Putin brought a special present to King Salman bin Abdel Aziz - an Arctic falcon that can be found in Kamchatka, in the Far East of Russia. The bird's name is Alpha. This is a Red Book bird species. There are only a few thousands of them left in Russia.As presidential aide Yuri Ushakov earlier said, Putin paid a visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation in the Middle East and in North Africa. He will hold meetings with the Saudi King and a Crown Prince of the kingdom to discuss issues of military and technical cooperation.This is Putin's second visit to Saudi Arabia. Earlier, the Russian president visited the kingdom in February 2007.
(Mon, 14 Oct 2019 15:34:00 +0300)

Russia to give record-high loans to Turkey, India and Iran
Russia will give a record volume of loans to foreign countries, the Izvestia newspaper reports with reference to materials for the draft budget for 2020-2022.In three years, governments and organizations from other countries will receive more than a trillion rubles in loans from Russia. This amount is larger than in the previous five years.According to materials of the Ministry of Finance, foreign borrowers borrow money from Moscow for the purchase of Russian products, as well as for the completion of joint projects. The ministry did not disclose the list of loan recipients.Experts suggest that the lion's share of the loans will be used for the construction of nuclear power plants in Turkey and India, as well as for the development of nuclear infrastructure in Iran. All projects will be implemented with the participation of Russia.In September, Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak said that foreign countries owe Russia about $35 billion (2.28 trillion rubles). From 2020 to 2022, Russia will have to receive about one-sixth of the total amount of the debt - about 370 billion rubles.The Ministry of Finance refused to name the debtor countries. However, as one may conclude from open sources, Belarus is the largest debtor with approximately $7.5 billion of debt. Venezuela comes next with $3.5 billion.
(Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:44:00 +0300)

Putin fires five generals and chief of Federal Penitentiary Service
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to dismiss five generals. The document was published on the official website of legal information.According to the document, Major General Andrei Vinogradov was dismissed from the post of the head of the Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) in the Vladimir region. In addition, the head of the Central Directorate of the Ministry of Defense for Issues of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Management in the Republic of Komi,  Major General Alexander Knyazev, was dismissed from his position as well. Putin also dismissed the head of the investigative department of the Investigative Committee of Russia in the Kaliningrad region, Lieutenant General Viktor Ledenev, deputy head of the Central Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Novosibirsk Region, Major General Andrei Neupokoev. The chief inspector of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Police Major Eduard Sobol was dismissed fromhis post as well. In addition, prosecutors of the Tomsk and Voronezh regions, Viktor Romanenko and Nikolai Shishkin, were dismissed according to Putin's decree too. The decree also dismissed Colonel General Gennady Kornienko from the post of the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). On September 30, Kornienko turned 65 years old - this is the age limit for staying in service.In early September, the Russian president dismissed nearly 30 senior law enforcement officials
(Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:32:00 +0300)

All forest fires in Russia have been extinguished
Not a single forest fire has been recorded in Russia as of September 30, representatives of the Federal Forestry Agency (Avialesohrana) said. Over the past 24 hours, firefighters eliminated seven forest fires on the area of 94 hectares. As many as 100 people, 24 units of equipment and 13 aircraft were involved in the operations to extinguish the fires. There is no region in Russia where a state of emergency would still be in effect. In the summer of 2019, forest fires were raging in Siberia, Yakutia and Buryatia. The fires affected three million hectares of forest, although spokespeople for Greencepeace Russia said that the affected area was much larger  - 5.4 million hectares. Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministry of Defense to join the operations to extinguish the fires. The Federal Forestry Agency evaluated the fire damage at seven billion rubles.
(Mon, 30 Sep 2019 12:03:00 +0300)

Smoking on balconies is now regarded as criminal offence in Russia
Dmitry Peskov, the official spokesman for President Putin, commented on the introduction of new fire safety relations, which include a ban on smoking on balconies. The new regulations are to come into force from October 1, 2019. "The Kremlin shares a positive attitude to any decisions that can help save lives. We know how many fires occur, many of them have very tragic consequences and spark public outcry. Therefore, any saved life justifies such decisions," Peskov said, adding that he thought of the ban primarily as a fire prevention measure, rather than a way to protect non-smoking individuals from their smoking neighbors. The Russian government has approved a set of changes to the rules of fire safety arrangements this week. The new editing includes a ban on the use of open fire on balconies of apartment buildings, hotels and dormitories. At first, many were divided on whether the new restrictions were going to affect smokers. Later, however, representatives of the Russian EMERCOM confirmed that Russian citizens would not be allowed to smoke on their balconies starting from October 1, 2019. Officials said that up to 60 percent of fires in apartment buildings occur because of carelessness when smoking. In addition, representatives of the ministry said that a fire caused by discarded cigarette butts may lead to an administrative punishment of a smoker.Penalties include warnings and fines for individuals in the amount of up to 3,000 rubles ($50) or up to 5,000 rubles ($90) in the event violation of the rules leads to a fire. Criminal responsibility may follow in case of a fire that causes damage to other people's apartments.
(Fri, 27 Sep 2019 18:50:00 +0300)

USA triggers another diplomatic scandal with Russia
Dmitry Peskov, an official spokesman for Russian President Putin, said that the situation, in which the USA refused to issue visas to members of the Russian delegation for their participation at the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York was "unacceptable and alarming." Both the UN and Moscow are supposed to show a tough reaction to such a development, he added."Washington is violating its international obligations. This is a direct violation of international obligations by Washington, because this is not just a bilateral visit. It goes about a visit of the Russian delegation to the UN General Assembly," Peskov said. All that the United States can do is to restrict the stay of Russian diplomats in one city, New York, where the international organization is headquartered. "The USA has no right to introduce any other restriction for those who go to the General Assembly," the spokesman for the Russian president concluded.Earlier, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs, said that the US Embassy in Moscow did not issue visas to ten members of the Russian delegation, who were supposed to accompany Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York. The US Embassy denied visas to Kosachev himself, to  chairman of the State Duma's committee on international affairs Leonid Slutsky, and to officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry. There was no formal refusal of visas per se, but the delegates failed to timely receive their passports from the US Embassy.US officials later said that the Russian diplomats allegedly submitted their documents in an untimely manner. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied such an explanation and said that all the documents had been submitted within the deadlines indicated by American diplomats. The incident will be the central topic for discussion during the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in New York, Zakharova noted.
(Tue, 24 Sep 2019 14:44:00 +0300)

Russia admits nuclear war is possible
The state of affairs in the field of strategic stability in the world continues to deteriorate. There is a potential risk for a nuclear war to break out, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Ryabkov said. According to Ryabkov, the risk for a nuclear war to break out prevails even if parties have no intention to unleash a nuclear conflict. The negative dynamics has been manifesting itself strongly during the recent year, as "actions of our colleagues in the West become more emotional, and very aggressive at times," the diplomat emphasized. "They (Western countries - ed.) avoid substantive discussion of pressing issues, they block the work of channels of dialogue, and continue to undermine the architecture of arms control," the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
(Thu, 12 Sep 2019 14:47:00 +0300)

Putin: Russia and Ukraine will hold large-scale exchange of prisoners
The talks between Russia and Ukraine about the mutual exchange of captivated individuals are entering the final stage, said Russian President Vladimir Putin."Based on considerations of humanity, we are approaching the finalization of the negotiations that we have been conducting, without limitation, with official authorities. I think this will become known in the near future," Putin said, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum and answering a question about the possible timing for the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine. According to the president, it will be a large-scale exchange that will play a positive role in bilateral relations."I think that from a historical perspective this will inevitably happen. In my opinion, the relations will normalise completely, because we are two parts of the same people, as I have said many times before," Putin said, emphasizing that the development of the situation in the near future largely depends on the Ukrainian leadership.Earlier, Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who takes part in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on the issue of exchange of prisoners, said that he would like to meet with Russian President Putin on Thursday. Medvedchuk arrived in Vladivostok for the purpose. "I think that Mr. Medvedchuk is going to torment me on this issue. I know that he is specifically concerned about several people held in places of imprisonment in the Russian Federation, and it was rather difficult for us to make decisions regarding those specific people," Putin said.
(Thu, 05 Sep 2019 14:00:00 +0300)

Russia to sell arms to India totalling $14.5 billion
India signed a contract with Russia for the supply of arms and military equipment. The contract is evaluated at $14.5 billion, Dmitry Shugaev, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said. Russia and India currently continue negotiations for the supply and licensed production of the Igla-S portable air defense system. In addition, the parties signed an agreement on the production of spare parts for Russian military equipment and weapons in India.Last year, despite pressure from the United States, India ordered from Russia S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, frigates 11356, as well as a large batch of ammunition for the Air Force, Naval and Ground Forces. Earlier, Russian President Putin said that after the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, they agreed on a solid package of bilateral documents in trade, investment and military-technical spheres, as well as in the field of industry, education and culture.In addition, Modi and Putin discussed the fight against international terrorism, the situation in the Middle East and in North Africa, the state of affairs in Afghanistan, and around the Iranian nuclear program.The Fifth Eastern Economic Forum takes place in Vladivostok on September 4-6.
(Wed, 04 Sep 2019 14:47:00 +0300)

Putin is not going to Beslan
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to visit Beslan on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on School No. 1, Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. On September 3, Russia marks the Day of Solidarity in the fight against terrorism. "This is a memorial day, and it is on this day that we remember all victims who fell at the hands of terrorists as a result of horrendous terrorist acts," Peskov added.Vladimir Putin visited Beslan on September 4, 2004, immediately after the terrorist attack at school. He visited the wounded at a local hospital and held a meeting with the leadership of North Ossetia.On September 1, 2004, a group of militants seized School No.1 and held more than 1,200 students and teachers hostage for three days. Some of the hostages were shot, some others were killed during explosions and during the storm of the building. A total of 333 people, including 186 children, were killed. Shamil Basayev, the leader of Chechen terrorists, claimed responsibility for the hostage-taking terrorist attack.
(Wed, 28 Aug 2019 14:54:00 +0300)

Russia ready to build another super bridge
A bridge across the Volga River in the Samara region bypassing the city of Togliatti, will cost Russia 120.8 billion rubles, an updated version of the construction agreement says.The bridge will be the first project of the international transport corridor Europe - Western China. In total, 95.98 kilometers of motorway and 3.75 kilometers of the bridge itself across the Volga river are to be built. Should this project be implemented, the travel time from Moscow to Samara will be reduced from 16 to 8 hours.Originally, the project was evaluated at 130-140 billion rubles, but now the cost has dropped to 120.8 billion. The regional budget is to allocate 67 billion rubles for the construction as a capital grant, whereas the rest of the financing is to be raised by the concessionaire.The concession company, Bypassing Togliatti, was established. The construction is to start already in 2019 and to finish in 2024.
(Mon, 26 Aug 2019 15:46:00 +0300)

USA's only goal was to cast INF Treaty aside - Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin made an important statement after the meeting with members of Russia's Security Council. The meeting was dedicated to USA's recent missile tests. According to Putin, having exited the INF Treaty, the United States "has gotten a free hand to deploy prohibited missiles in various regions of the world." "The only goal of the USA was to cover up the works that were conducted in violation of the INF Treaty and their initial intention was to pull out from it," Putin said.According to the president, the United States launched a propaganda campaign about Russia's alleged non-compliance with the treaty, but Moscow was aware of America's works to develop the weapons that were prohibited by the INF Treaty (Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles). READ FULL TRANSCRIPT OF PUTIN'S STATEMENT
(Fri, 23 Aug 2019 13:24:00 +0300)