Meduza

The Real Russia. Today. An American neo-Nazi website finds no safe haven in Russia; RFE/RL finds there’s no glory for Russia’s returning Ukrainian war vets; and Moscow signals its next step in “digital sovereignty”

Story of the day

So much for this Alt Right website’s Russian safe space. The American neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer lasted less than a day on its new .ru domain. Hours after the website went online, the Russian registrar Ru-Center unregistered the domain after receiving a “recommendation” from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censor. Relocated to the .ru domain, The Daily Stormer was only accessible for a few hours. A representative for the media holding company RBC, which owns Ru-Center, told the website TJournal that the registrar received a letter from Roskomnadzor on the evening of August 16, where regulators asked the company to unregister The Daily Stormer’s .ru domain, effectively blocking access to the website at this URL. Story in English

Health and safety

A nightmare vacation for hundreds of Russian tourists. In the past week, more than 800 Russian tourists in Turkey have reported cases of Coxsackievirus to a hotline set up by Russia’s Health and Consumer Rights Agency. It’s unclear how many of these reported cases have been verified, but 77 percent of the infections have apparently afflicted children. Most cases have been reported at the resort towns of Side, Alanya, Kemer, and Belek. Story in Russian

Hurried health and safety. Transparency International Russia has learned that a perinatal center in Bryansk forced to shut down on June 9, after 11 children died in just three months, was technically permitted to open its doors to patients before it received its health and disease control certification and medical operating license. The certificate was also issued unusually fast in just 24 hours. The center opened on March 7, just in time for President Putin’s visit the next day. Story in English

Russia and the world

Gore, but no glory for Russia's Ukraine war “vets.” RFE/RL’s Christopher Miller interviewed more than a dozen Russian men who have fought in eastern Ukraine. All of them are proud of their service, including the killing, and say they expected to be welcomed as heroes once back in Russia. Instead, they told Miller that they feel rejected. Their motivations for fighting were different. Some say they went for patriotism, others talked about restoring a Greater Russia, some wanted to stop NATO enlargement, and others just craved some combat experience. They spent their life savings on gear and reaching Ukraine. Crossing the border was the easiest part. Story by RFE/RL

Russia’s latest move to shore up its “digital sovereignty.” Russia’s Communications Ministry has published draft amendments that would introduce new restrictions on the ownership of Russia’s Internet exchange points, prohibiting domestic ISPs from connecting to exchange points that belong to other states, foreign citizens, or foreign companies and organizations, the news website TJournal reported on Wednesday. The law would also limit foreign ownership in any company that owns an exchange point to 20 percent. Reducing the number of Internet exchange points in Russia would degrade Internet connection quality and increase network delays. Story in English

Also in the news

  • Winter has come to Russia this summer. George R. R. Martin, the American writer responsible for the epic fantasy novels that inspired the television show “Game of Thrones,” has arrived in Russia for Petersburg Fantasy Assembly, which kicks off on August 18. In his first few days in Russia, the celebrated fantasy author has managed to visit the Vyborg Castle and attend a press conference, where he revealed that his life was simpler before “Game of Thrones.” He also told reporters that he kills off central characters because he doesn’t like predictable books. Meduza reviews what Mr. Martin managed to do in his first two days in Russia. Story in English
  • The Alexey Ulyukayev show. Roughly half of Russians believe the bribery case against former Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev amounts to a show trial, according to a new survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, VTsIOM. Just 35 percent of respondents said they view Ulyukayev’s trial as part of Russia’s real battle against government corruption. At the same time, 57 percent of Russians say they believe Ulyukayev is guilty of soliciting a multimillion-dollar bribe. More than half of these people say they expect the former minister to avoid serving any prison time. Alexey Ulyukayev was detained on November 15, 2016, on suspicion of soliciting $2 million in bribes from Rosneft in exchange for facilitating its purchase of shares in Bashneft. He has been under house arrest since last year, denies all charges. Story in Russian

Yours, Meduza

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