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The Real Russia. Today. Russia's peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan and security demands in Europe

Source: Meduza

Friday, January 14, 2022 (Meduza’s newsletter will return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022)

  • New podcast episode: Featuring Peter Leonard and Fyodor Lukyanov on Russia’s CSTO mission in Kazakhstan and security demands in Europe
  • International: The Tokayev family’s ties to Russia, political scientist Igor Zevelev on this week’s security talks
  • In other news: FSB busts REvil ransomware group, and Navalny’s righthand men are added to Russia’s list of ‘terrorists and extremists’

International

🎧 The Naked Pravda: Russia’s peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan and security demands in Europe (45 minutes)

In the past two weeks, Russia has demonstrated its capacity to project military power at different corners of its periphery, sending troops to Kazakhstan for a small but symbolic peacekeeping operation and pressing sweeping security demands in Europe, where the West has accused the Kremlin of plotting a war of aggression against Ukraine. The Naked Pravda reviews three essays by political analysts in Russia about the nation’s evolving geopolitics and speaks to EurasiaNet Central Asia editor Peter Leonard about Kazakhstan’s recent unrest and the CSTO mission in the country, and foreign policy expert Fyodor Lukyanov answers questions about the Kremlin’s demands in Europe.

🏙️ Journalists trace real estate in Russia to Kazakhstani president’s ex-wife and son (4.5-min read)

Precious little is known about the immediate family of Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. But according to a recent investigation from RFE/RL’s Russian Service and Current Time TV, Tokayev’s ex-wife and son are both closely connected to Russia. Indeed, according to media reports, Tokayev’s ex-wife is a Russian citizen. And both she and her son have been linked to pricey real estate in and around Moscow. More recently, their ownership of two apartments in the Russian capital appears to have been covered up in Russia’s federal property database. Meduza summarizes the investigation’s findings here.

🕊️ Political scientist Igor Zevelev on Russia’s security talks with the U.S. and NATO (6-min read)

Russia’s week of security talks with the U.S., NATO, and the OSCE wrapped up on Thursday. The meetings took place amid ongoing international concern over Russia concentrating troops near its border with Ukraine. However, the talks didn’t result in any agreements, as each party refused to budge on key issues. Russia has demanded an array of security guarantees, including that NATO rule out membership for Ukraine and Georgia. But both the alliance and Washington insist that Moscow has no say in the matter. For Meduza, political scientist Igor Zevelev breaks down why this week’s talks failed to produce results and where there may be room for negotiations.

In other news

💻 Russian FSB busts ransomware group REvil at U.S. request (4-min read)

On Friday, the Russian FSB reported that it had carried out a special operation to shut down the ransomware group REvil in response to a request from the United States. According to the FSB, its operatives detained and charged the group’s members after conducting raids on 25 addresses in Russia. If convicted, the suspects could face up to seven years in prison. The FSB’s announcement coincided with Ukraine reporting a major cyberattack that shut down dozens of government websites overnight. As yet, there is no indication that the two events are related and the Ukrainian government has not confirmed who is behind the attack.

📝 Russia puts Navalny associates Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov on ‘terrorist and extremist’ list (This immediately freezes all their bank accounts. Both men fled Russia last year.)

Yours, Meduza