Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts

June 13, 2020

A Russian LGBT Artist Has Been Arrested For Body Positive Drawing of a Vagina(Afraid?)

 Amnesty International has labeled Yulia Tsvetkova a prisoner of conscience. 

 Authorities in Far East Russia charged an LGBT rights activist with distributing pornography for posting drawings of vaginas on social media, the activist told Russian media Tuesday.
Yulia Tsvetkova, 27, had been under house arrest from November to March in the remote city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur before authorities lifted her house arrest. Tsvetkova faces up to six years in jail for posting the images on her page dedicated to body positivity that she said she maintains as a hobby. 
Tsvetkova told OVD-Info, a website that tracks detentions at political protests, that authorities pressed charges that carry a jail term of between two and six years against her. She declined to give further details, saying she has signed an agreement not to disclose information about a preliminary investigation. 
“I’m bombarded with ‘How are you?’ questions,” Tsvetkova wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
“I’m, as never before, ready to go all the way, to fight until the very last. I’ve never felt stronger,” she said.
Tsvetkova was previously fined for violating a controversial Russian law that prohibits gay propaganda toward minors.
As part of her activism, Tsvetkova hosted lectures for the LGBT community and held classes on sex education, which is prohibited at Russian schools.
Tsvetkova said she believes the authorities are using the pornography charge as a pretext for cracking down on LGBT activists because it is easy to pin on people and carries a long sentence.
She has also reported receiving death threats from a homophobic group that encourages people to “hunt down” sexual minorities.
Amnesty International has labeled Tsvetkova a prisoner of conscience and said the case against her was absurd. 
Dozens of Tsvetkova’s supporters have staged pickets across several Russian cities following the news.
Moscow Times

May 13, 2020

Russia on LOCK DOWN

Russian Police Break Up Anti-Lockdown Protest

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Russia hard, with over 10,000 new cases confirmed every day. At the time of publication, the Johns Hopkins University online mapindicated 221,000 confirmed cases in the country. Strict quarantine measures were announced on March 5 and have been extended several times since.
Following much speculation, on April 17 President Vladimir Putin did the unthinkable — and cancelled a large military parade for Victory Day, celebrated every May 9 to commemorate Nazi Germany's capitulation in 1945. Russia's latest military hardware and soldiers in period uniforms were to parade past the Russian leadership, Second World War veterans, and several foreign dignitaries.
Unable to lay wreaths and attend parades, Russians commemorated online instead.
How Russia is using facial recognition to police its coronavirus ...
This is how Russia keeps track of Russians obeying Coronavirus laws~~Face Recognition~~:(
     A day of fervour
That Putin appeared to delay for some time before postponing the parade and other public events is testament to the immense importance of Victory Day in modern Russia. On the other hand, the fact that even veterans’ organisations had asked him to call off the parade demonstrates the level of worry about the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the sociologist Mischa Gabowitsch noted in his recent essay for Eurozine:
In Russia, surveys document the increasing importance of Victory Day. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of those who named it as one of the three most important holidays went from 38% to 71%, overtaking New Year’s Day and religious festivals such as Easter or Christmas.
Cancelling Victory Day celebrations was a major disappointment, particularly as this year marked 75 years since the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. The traditional military parades and immortal regiment marches were cancelled across the country; instead, President Vladimir Putin laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow to an audience of government officials and reporters. The opening of an immense new Cathedral of the Armed Forces outside Moscow, which had been scheduled for Victory Day, was also postponed (the building achieved notoriety when it was discovered that one of its many mosaics featured depictions of Putin, Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu, and other security officials. According to some reports, the mosaics were later removed.)
Meanwhile, 75 military jets staged a flyover above the Russian capital, and the day concluded with a traditional fireworks display. “We are invincible when we are united,” declared the president.
Nevertheless, a handful of Russians broke ranks by attempting to hold public celebrations themselves. On the afternoon of May 9, several Communist Party (KPRF) deputies from the Moscow City Duma were detained by police when staging a Victory Day rally in the capital's Pushkinskaya Square. One participant protested to newspaper Novaya Gazeta that they intended to comply with social distancing regulations. The local governor claimed that 880 residents of Yekaterinburg, a major city in the Ural region, had been fined that same day for violating the quarantine regime. Several had attempted to hold Victory Day marches or attend commemorations.
May 9 is no less important in other post-Soviet states, which have cancelled planned parades and public events. The only exceptions were neighbouring Belarus, where President Aleksandr Lukashenka, who referred to COVID-19 as a “mass psychosis,” held a mass rally anyway where 4,000 troops marched in front of crowds of spectators. Turkmenistan also marked Victory Day with a parade; the country's opaque government continues to claim that there are no coronavirus cases.

May 8, 2020

Doctors Falling from Windows in Russia

Third Russian doctor falls from window after criticizing working ...

MOSCOW (AP) — Two Russian doctors have died and another was seriously injured in falls from hospital windows after they reportedly came under pressure over working conditions in the coronavirus pandemic.
The exact circumstances of the separate incidents in the last two weeks remain unclear and they are being investigated by police, but they underscore the enormous strains that Russian doctors and nurses have faced during the outbreak.
Reports said two of the doctors had protested their working conditions and the third was being blamed after her colleagues contracted the virus. 
Across Russia, doctors have decried shortages of protective equipment and questionable infection control procedures at dozens of hospitals, with many saying they have been threatened with dismissal or even prosecution for going public with their grievances. Hundreds of medical workers also have gotten infected. 
Dr. Alexander Shulepov, who works on an ambulance crew in the Voronezh region, 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Moscow, fell from a second-floor window May 2 at a hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19, breaking several ribs and fracturing his skull.
In a video posted earlier on social media by his colleague, Alexander Kosyakin, both complained about shortages of protective gear. In the video, the 37-year-old Shulepov said he was being forced to finish his shift despite being diagnosed with COVID-19. 
But later, local health officials shared another video of Shulepov on social media in which he retracted his earlier complaints, saying he was being emotional.
Kosyakin was accused of spreading false news about the shortages after posting the video and is under investigation. He refused to comment to The Associated Press. 
It is unclear what caused Shulepov’s fall. Some local media reports said he slipped while trying to climb from his window for a smoke outside, while others suggested it was due to the pressure for airing his complaints in public. 
A doctor died from injuries she sustained in an April 25 fall in the city of Krasnoyarsk in western Siberia. Dr. Yelena Nepomnyashchaya, acting head of a hospital, fell from her fifth-floor office window right after she had a conference call with regional health officials, local media reported, citing anonymous sources.
The reports said Nepomnyashchaya had argued against converting a ward in her hospital for coronavirus patients because of severe shortages of protective equipment and trained personnel, but she failed to sway the officials. Krasnoyarsk health officials denied such a call took place. 
Nepomnyashchaya died May 1 in intensive care. 
On April 24, Dr. Natalya Levedeva sustained fatal injuries after falling out of a window in a hospital in Moscow, where she was admitted with suspected COVID-19. She ran an ambulance station in Star City, Russia’s spaceflight training facility just outside Moscow, which reported several dozen coronavirus cases in April. 
Levedeva died immediately after the fall, which health officials said was an accident. Some media, reports however, suggested she was distraught after being accused of failing to protect her staff from getting infected and had killed herself because of it. 
Russia has reported 166,000 infections and 1,537 virus deaths, but health officials in the West have said the country was underreporting its infections and fatalities.
There is no official data on how many Russian health workers have died working on the front lines of the pandemic and Russia’s Health Ministry did not respond to AP’s numerous requests for comment.
Last week, a group of Russian doctors compiled an online Memory List of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who died during the outbreak. The list currently has 111 names.
Authorities have decided to reopen all industrial plants and construction sites in Moscow starting next week, citing a stable rate of new cases. President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday it will be up to officials in other regions to determine whether to ease lockdown measures that have been in place since the end of March.

April 30, 2020

Putin a Man of Action Takes a Page From Trump By Letting Others Deal with a Pandemic

 BCredit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

With his plans for a big military parade and a referendum extending his rule derailed by the pandemic, the Russian leader has struggled to find his stride.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia led a meeting with members of the country’s Security Council via a video link from his country residence outside Moscow this month.
MOSCOW — This was supposed to be a moment of triumph for President Vladimir V. Putin, a celebration of his grand successes in restoring the Russian state to a place of pride in the world and consolidating his grip on power, all topped off by a glorious military parade in Red Square on May 9, the 75th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.
But the coronavirus has changed all that.

Now, having bowed to the inevitable and canceled the parade, Mr. Putin seems less a can-do executive than a bored monarch cooped up in a palace, checking his watch during televised video conferences with his underlings about the pandemic as his popularity ratings dip.

For 20 years, Mr. Putin has made his mark as a man of action, a hyperactive leader ever ready to face down the Kremlin’s foes at home and abroad, and even wild tigers in remote Russian forests. Confronted with the coronavirus, however, a leader who was re-elected in 2018 with nearly 80 percent of the vote and who faces no serious threats to his power has been oddly passive.

“He is afraid — afraid for his ratings and for the system he has spent 20 years creating,” said Gleb O. Pavlovsky, a disenchanted former Kremlin adviser. Faced with a viral enemy that he cannot easily vanquish, “Putin understands that the best thing to do is stand to the side,” Mr. Pavlovsky added. 

Adding to Mr. Putin’s troubles, the collapse of oil prices removes a major stream of revenues for social programs, while Russia’s oil- and gas-dependent economy is expected to shrink by 6 percent this year.

But turmoil in the global oil market, unlike the health crisis, at least plays to Mr. Putin’s strong suits of geopolitics and high-stakes diplomacy. His joint efforts with President Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia have done little to lift the market, but they have showcased Mr. Putin doing what he likes most: demonstrating Russia’s indispensable voice in global affairs.

ImageA rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow in 2019. The military parade on May 9 was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow in 2019. The military parade on May 9 was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.Credit...Pool photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko
He loves military parades just like Trump. Like they bought the armaments themselves. Trump goes as far to call it "His army
" Adam

By contrast, the pandemic has only highlighted what has always been Mr. Putin’s biggest vulnerability: a pronounced lack of interest or success in tackling intractable domestic problems like dilapidated hospitals, pockets of entrenched poverty and years of falling real incomes.
Adding to the gloom, an April 22 referendum on constitutional amendments had to be canceled because of the virus. The amendments, already approved by Russia’s legislature, allow Mr. Putin to crash through term limits and stay in power until 2036. 

After lying low when the coronavirus first surfaced in Russia in late February and early March, Mr. Putin has this month appeared almost daily on television, holding teleconferences from his country residence outside Moscow. But his heart does not seem to be in it.
Latest Updates: Global Coronavirus Outbreak

“He gives an impression of being tired, even bored,” said Yekaterina Schulmann, a former member of the Kremlin’s advisory council for civil society and human rights.

Dressed in a black suit and dark tie, a somber Mr. Putin on Tuesday again appeared on television, this time to announce that a “nonworking period” first declared in March would be extended until May 11. “We cannot relax. The situation is still very difficult,” with the peak of the outbreak still ahead, he said.
Seeking to salvage something from the wreckage of his May 9 Victory Day extravaganza, Mr. Putin said that a military parade would still be held at some point and that, on the day itself, “modern warplanes and helicopters will take to the Russian skies to fly in formation in honor of our heroes.”

Yet, having staked so much of his popularity on the revival of Russia as a great power, Mr. Putin has fallen out of step with a public “that is fast losing interest in foreign policy” and that has stopped viewing the machinations of the West “as an excuse for everything that has gone wrong at home,” Ms. Schulmann said.

Mr. Putin’s approval rating, which stood at 69 percent in February, slipped to 63 percent in March, according to the Levada Center, a Moscow-based independent polling organization. Most leaders in Europe have seen their ratings soar during coronavirus lockdowns.

Russia’s “public mood is very volatile. People are scared of the virus and also for the economy,” Ms. Schulmann said. Mr. Putin “cannot find a tone that resonates” with the public, she added.
Also scrambled by the coronavirus, however, are the calculations of Mr. Putin’s opponents, including Aleksei A. Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, who has veered from denouncing the Kremlin for building a corrupt police state to demanding a state of emergency, something only Mr. Putin can declare.

Such a move would strengthen already intrusive security services, but would also force the government to pay compensation to businesses hit by lockdowns and free them from having to pay rent to landlords and interest to banks. Mr. Putin has so far offered only piecemeal assistance.

The last time Russia had a full state of emergency was in 1993 under President Boris N. Yeltsin. Mr. Putin has so far shown no interest in reviving that traumatic precedent. It would not only cost the state a lot of money but would puncture one of his proudest boasts — that Russia, thanks to his firm hand, has escaped the turmoil of the 1990s.

Cushioned by bulging financial reserves estimated at around $600 billion, Russia has more room  to maneuver than many countries. It also has reported relatively few coronavirus cases so far — a total of nearly 100,000 as of Wednesday, compared with about a million in the United States, and a low death toll of 972, compared with the American figure of more than 58,000. 

Unable to organize street protests because of stay-at-home orders, desperate businesspeople, workers who have lost their incomes and political activists habitually opposed to the Kremlin have fumed online and resorted to staging digital demonstrations, using navigation apps to “gather” outside government buildings.

There have also been a few scattered attempts at real protests, but these have all been quickly broken up by the riot police. The biggest of these was an anti-lockdown march on April 20 in Vladikavkaz, a city on the edge of the Caucasus Mountains.

For Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert and author of a book about Mr. Putin, the biggest virus-induced threat to the Kremlin is not popular unrest — “people are not going to rise up in revolt,” he said — but a “decay of legitimacy.”
Mr. Putin, in yellow, visiting a Moscow hospital in March.Credit...Pool photo by Alexei Druzhinin
Mr. Putin, he said, had created a “hyperpresidential system” in which all important decisions were ultimately taken in the Kremlin. But he “has himself become less and less presidential,” Mr. Galeotti noted, leaving others to announce restrictions on movement and other painful measures aimed at combating the virus.

By placing more and more responsibility on local officials without surrendering any of his own powers, Mr. Galeotti added, Mr. Putin has “violated a fundamental contract with governors and bureaucrats — the state’s middle management — who actually keep the system running.”
Faced in 2014 with a similarly grave threat to Russian interests created by the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin president, Mr. Putin seized the moment by grabbing Crimea. When, two years later, it looked as if Russia’s closest ally in the Middle East, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, might also fall, Mr. Putin jumped in to reverse the tide of Syria’s civil war by sending Russian warplanes and soldiers.

The coronavirus, however, has often left him looking flat-footed. In March, he tried to replay the action man stunts that have shaped his image in the past, like flying in a fighter jet, pursuing tigers in the Russian Far East and descending into the Baltic Sea in a bathysphere. 

But his display of machismo before the advancing pandemic did not work out quite as planned: He visited infected patients at a new Moscow hospital dressed in a canary yellow hazmat suit, only to find out a few days later that the head doctor who showed him around and gave him a long fleshy handshake had tested positive for the virus.

Since then, Mr. Putin has been sheltering at his country villa. It was from there, warmed by gentle flames from a fireplace in a cozy-looking living room, that he on April 19 delivered a what-me-worry Orthodox Easter message to the nation.
“The situation,” he said, “is under total control.” (These two men read from the same book)

Edited by Adam Gonzalez

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