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The Real Russia. Today. Russia’s legendary Sound Recording State House, the Kremlin and NATO are finally donezo, and Moscow sends 30ish soldiers to Africa

Source: Meduza

Monday, April 15, 2019

This day in history: 125 years ago, on April 15, 1894, Nikita Khrushchev was born in the village of Kalinovka. He would go on to lead the USSR after the death of Joseph Stalin, instituting “de-Stalinization,” backing the early Soviet space program, and introducing limited domestic reforms. Khrushchev died in 1971 at the age of 77.
  • How Russia’s legendary Sound Recording State House changed hands, and became linked to a presidential agency and Dmitry Medvedev’s sneakers
  • Russia and NATO have cut off all active collaboration, Russian deputy internal affairs minister says
  • Russian court orders new inspection in case against top theater directors, adding to recent gains for the defendants
  • Boston symposium to celebrate first U.S. publication of emblematic refusenik novel
  • Russia to send up to 30 troops to Central African Republic to support UN missions

“Musicians remain silent and afraid” 🎼

Since last summer, two state enterprises have been exchanging property in Moscow: the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and the “Izvestia” publishing house (which no longer has any connection to the newspaper or website that bears the same name). The main asset being transferred from VGTRK to Izvestia is the Broadcasting and Sound Recording State House (GDRZ), which was traded for the building that houses the studio for a national TV talk show hosted by Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov. Since last August, Russia’s musical public has been petitioning the country’s leaders, warning that GDRZ’s new owners plan to liquidate the unique studios that recorded generations of classical musicians, closing down a space where two national orchestras rehearsed until recently. The head of the Izvestia publishing house is 38-year-old Ekaterina Smirenskaya, whose father is business partners with Vladimir Dyachenko. According to an investigative report released two years ago by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sometimes uses Dyachenko's name when placing orders through foreign online stores.

Read Meduza's full report here: “How Russia’s legendary Sound Recording State House changed hands, and became linked to a presidential agency and Dmitry Medvedev’s sneakers”

News briefs

  • 🕊️ In an interview with RIA Novosti, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Alexander Grushko said that all military and civilian collaboration between his government and the NATO alliance have ground to a halt. “NATO itself has refused to adopt a positive agenda for its relationship with Russia. It just doesn’t exist. And so far, there’s no sign that anyone in NATO knows how to get out of this impasse,” Grushko argued. Read the story here.
  • ⚖️ Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court ordered a comprehensive financial inspection in the case against several employees of “Seventh Studio,” a high-profile Russian theater organization led by the award-winning director Kirill Serebrennikov. The defendants are accused of embezzling 133 million rubles (over $2 million) in state-allocated funds, but the case against them contains a number of inconsistencies. Numerous high-profile figures in the Russian arts have argued that the case against Seventh Studio is politically motivated. Read the story here.
  • 🏆 Doctor Levitin, a 1980 novel by David Shrayer-Petrov, is a literary tribute to the experiences of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews who were denied permission to emigrate from the USSR and simultaneously faced years of persecution for their desire to leave. Unpublishable in Russia until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the novel has since been released in three separate Russian editions. It is now being published in English translation for the first time thanks to Maxim D. Shrayer and his co-translators, Arna B. Bronstein and Aleksandra Fleszar. Read the story here.
  • 🌍 Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order allowing for “up to 30 military service-members” to be deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR) for the purpose of supporting UN peacekeeping missions. The document states that communications officers, staff specialists, and military observers could be among those deployed. Putin also ordered five Russian soldiers to be deployed to peacekeeping missions in Cyprus. Read the story here.

Yours, Meduza