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The Real Russia. Today. Yekaterinburg temporarily suspends cathedral construction, some weird delivery ads in Moscow, and satellite intel leaks

Source: Meduza

Thursday, May 16, 2019

This day in history: 61 years ago, on May 16, 1957, rock musician and DDT frontman Yuri Shevchuk was born in the USSR's Magadan region. Known for his gravelly voice and wry sense of humor, Shevchuk is one of the titans of Soviet and Russian rock.
  • Yekaterinburg: Mayor suspends construction of cathedral, pending local survey
  • What the city and its musicians are singing and saying about the fight against a new cathedral
  • Police arrest retired army major seven times in two weeks for protesting outside Russia's Presidential Administration Building
  • ‘Your order will be delivered by a literature teacher.’ Behold the latest, weirdest ad campaign to hit Moscow.
  • Structural flaws in Sukhoi Superjet 100 airplanes are reportedly under consideration in Sheremetyevo fire investigation
  • Confidential information about Russian satellites leaks online
  • Russia’s Pervyi Kanal cancels ‘The Voice Kids’ results after suspected cheating in favor of celebrity singer’s daughter
  • FSB colonel charged with taking $850,000 bribe

Yekaterinburg's cathedral face-off

🤯 A surprising, if temporary, victory for the protesters

Yekaterinburg Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky has suspended the construction of a cathedral in October Square Park, delivering a surprising, if temporary, victory for demonstrators who have protested the project for four consecutive days. Vysokinsky says construction work will not resume unless the project wins the approval of local residents in a sociological survey.

Earlier in the day on May 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly suggested that a survey be conducted in Yekaterinburg. “A cathedral is meant to unite people, not divide them,” Putin reasoned. “The minority should follow the majority. That’s the basic principle of democracy,” he added.

Read Meduza's report: “Yekaterinburg mayor suspends construction of cathedral, pending local survey”

🎵 Protest soundtrack

Sansara: “Clouds” / YouTube

Days of protests against the planned construction of St. Catherine’s Cathedral have not only put the social tensions of Yekaterinburg on display; they have served as a reminder that the city is one of the most musical places in Russia. Many of the locals protesting at the cathedral’s planned construction site have brought musical instruments along with them or blasted their favorite songs through Bluetooth speakers to get the crowd to sing along. Local musicians have also begun speaking out about plans to build the cathedral in place of a central square. Meduza collected the opinions of several of the city’s major artists alongside the songs they have dedicated to their hometown.

Read Meduza's report: “What Yekaterinburg and its musicians are singing and saying about the fight against a new cathedral”

Arrested seven times in two weeks 👮👮👮👮👮👮👮

Vladimir Skubak, a retired major who served in the Glukhov Rocket Division in Novosibirsk, has been arrested at least seven times outside Russia's Presidential Administration building for picketing with a sign that reads, “Putin cheated me. Hunger strike.” He says the military is withholding housing subsidies to which he's entitled as a veteran who served for 22 years. He's now awaiting two court hearings for misdemeanor charges related to his one-man demonstrations.

Read Meduza's report: “Police arrest retired army major seven times in two weeks for protesting outside Russia's Presidential Administration Building”

Your honored courier has arrived 📦

The posters begin with the phrase “your order will be delivered by,” followed by couriers’ various secondary professions. The list includes “literature teacher,” “reporter,” and so on. The phrase is already a meme online, where Russian Internet users are imagining different jobs for delivery people, often sharing their own professions as a form of self-deprecation, or offering up careers that aren’t as lucrative as they once were (like “cryptocurrency investor” and “new media director”).

Read Meduza's report: “‘Your order will be delivered by a literature teacher.’ Behold the latest, weirdest ad campaign to hit Moscow.”

News briefs

  • ✈️ A source close to the investigation of the May 5 airplane fire in Moscow told RIA Novosti that structural flaws in the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 airplane model are being considered a possible cause of the disaster. Read the story here.
  • 🛰️ Information about Russian satellites whose existence had not previously been public knowledge appeared on a public website in the .ru zone. RIA Novosti reported that a company called Saturn that produces satellite components contacted the press about the leak. Read the story here.
  • 📺 Russia’s state-owned Channel One has canceled the results of this season’s The Voice Kids final, RBC reported. The cybersecurity company Group-IB, which was hired to investigate anomalies in the final vote, reported that bots had submitted over 8,000 SMS votes in favor of a single candidate. Read the story here.
  • 💰 Federal Security Service colonel Kirill Cherkalin, who leads the second branch of the agency’s K division, has been charged with taking a bribe in the amount of $850,000. Read the story here.

Yours, Meduza