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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: August 2, 2016

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Moscow Opposition Obtains Permit for Rally Against Yarovaya Anti-Terrorism Legislation; Last Protest Attacked

After being turned down for a location near Bolotnaya Square near the center of Moscow, the opposition has been granted a permit by the Moscow Mayor's Office to hold a rally against the Yarovaya anti-terrorism legislation in Sokolniki Park, Interfax reported.

Leonid Volkov, a staff member of the Anti-Corruption Foundation led by Alexey Navalny, had earlier reported that the request to hold the meeting closer to the center of Moscow was turned down on a technicality -- that not all three requisite signatures were placed on the application. Even after this was corrected and re-submitted, the Moscow Mayor's Office denied the request.

The draconian laws tightening already extensive surveillance of Russian citizens is so named for Irina Yarovaya, the conservative legislator who proposed it.

Following continued negotiations, the permit was finally issued -- but for a venue that is at least 10 kilometers away and will not be as visible nor attract as many participants.

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2016-08-02 20:27:15

In a statement for the press, Volkov said:

"We agreed to the offer from the mayor's office because our job is to hold the event and not create some sort of conflict situations. The rally will take place August 9 at 19:00 in Sokolniki Park. The number of participants in the application has not changed."

Volkov attempted to file a complaint against the mayor's office in court on the grounds that Articles 23 and 24 of the Russian Constitution concerning freedom of assembly had been violated, but the suit was turned down by Tverskoi Court. Volkov has appealed the decision.

So far, 2,700 said they planned to participate on the Facebook event page for the rally.

In a post today, Volkov attempted to get more people to turn out to the rally by proposing that representatives from groups of players of Pokemon Go could speak from the platform, and would be ordered by the number of pokemon characters they had caught.  Pokemon Go is not unrelated to the cause; Russian parliamentarians and government officials have made a number of statements that they may restrict the popular online game because it may retain Russian user data.

Last weekend, a group of activists from the Solidarity movement held an anti-war picket in downtown Moscow to protest Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

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Solidarity movement stages anti-war demonstration on July 30, 2016 in Moscow. Photo by Anna Naumcheva.
2016-08-02 20:36:44

They were quickly set upon by ultranationalist thugs from SERB [South-East Radical Bloc] and the National Liberation Movement, reported one participant, Anna Naumcheva, who posted a video on her Facebook page.

The video shows some young thugs grabbing the demonstrators and pushing some to the ground. Eventually police arrived on the scene and detained some of them.

In St. Petersburg, authorities also turned down an application by activists from the opposition group Vesna [Spring] who wanted to protest against the Yarovaya legislation, proposing a venue far from the center of town, RosBalt reported.

Vesna has staged actions with volunteers holding boxes with slits for paper marked "DONOS" , the Russian word for a report from a police informer, to satirize the ease with which the new law enables surveillance.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
8 Arrested in Attack on Health Spa in Buryatia Over Property Dispute
Eight of the armed men have been arrested and brought to the police precinct, Life News reported. Police confiscated a Saiga carbine and a Baikal air pistol. 

According to a report from Baikal-Daily, employees said that a van pulled up to the clinic around noon, and men in masks with guns and knives carrying bags jumped out. A bus with a police escort that had accompanied the van quickly left the area; later the driver of the bus refused to comment on the incident.

Later, say witnesses, regional officials arrived to try to settle the dispute, and then police came two hours afterward. Some of them melted away and some were arrested.

Police told the story differently, saying they had come with the armed men to try to settle the dispute.

The gunmen were members of a private security agency hired by the former deputy head of the regional administration, Aleksandr Bocheyev in a commercial operation involving the mineral waters. The conflict was over the fact that in late July, the management of the clinic turned off the pump that had delivered mineral water to new buildings which had been built during the time Bocheyev was in office. Law-enforcement is investigating the dispute. 

Bocheyev was appointed to his previous post despite having a serious incident in his record when he was an investigator in the military prosecutor's office in Ulan Ude and killed a youth in an automobile accident, the Baikal Daily reported. Although he was sentenced to 3 years of labor colony, in 2010 a court converted his term to a suspended sentence of 1 year, 11 months and released him. Violating parole, he moved from Ulan Ude to the village of Zhemchug in Tunkin District and was hired as head of the legal department for the local regional administration.

Sources told Baikal-Daily that the reason for the dispute appeared to related to a new building at the spa constructed by a company called Altan, Ltd. Both regional officials and private businessmen had founded the corporation. The clinic is said to bring in about 5 million rubles ($75,000) a month. On July 27, unknown persons cut the hose delivering the spring waters to the building, believed to have curative properties, and closed off the spring with cement. This action was believed to be the result of a party in the dispute not making good on a business deal whose details were not known.

Some media were prompted to speculate if the "wild 1990s" were coming back when mafias frequently settled scores with violence. The incident also shed light on the shadowy role of private security firms and their connection to public officials.

According to Lenta.ru, the spa was built by the Archbishop of Irkutsk and Nerchinsky Nil in the mid-19th century. The area is a popular wilderness travel destination.


-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
AM News: 90 Hospitalized in Anthrax Outbreak; 8 Arrested After Spa Raid

The Russian ruble is trading at 66.37 to the dollar and 74.32 to the euro. Brent crude is $42.91 per barrel. 

The following headlines are taken from The Daily Mail, The Interpreter, Interfax, Rosbalt, and Kommersant.

Kerry Calls on Russia, Assad to "Restrain" From Offensive Strikes

- Chechen Leader Kadyrov Calls ISIS Video 'Nonsense' Planted by Western Intelligence











What We're Reading







-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Eight Gunmen in Private Security Firm Arrested in Attack on Health Spa in Buryatia
Eight of the several dozen armed men who attacked a spa clinic this morning in Buryatia have been arrested and brought to the police precinct, LifeNews reported. Police confiscated a Saiga carbine and a Baikal air pistol. 

Employees of the Nilova Pustyn' spa said that a van pulled up to the main building around noon, and men in masks with guns and knives carrying bags jumped out. A bus with a police escort that had accompanied the van quickly left the area; later the driver of the bus refused to comment on the incident.

Then some time later, witnesses say, regional officials arrived to try to settle the dispute, and then police came two hours after them. Some of them melted away and some were arrested.

Police told the story differently, saying they had come with the armed men to try to settle the dispute.

The gunmen were members of a private security agency hired by the former deputy head of the regional administration, Aleksandr Bocheyev in a commercial operation involving the local mineral waters. The conflict was over the fact that in late July, the management of the clinic turned off the pump that had delivered mineral water to new buildings which had been built during the time Bocheyev was in office. Law-enforcement is investigating the dispute. 

According to Baikal-Daily, Bocheyev was appointed to his previous post despite having a serious incident in his record when he was an investigator in the military prosecutor's office in Ulan Ude and killed a youth in an automobile accident. Although he was sentenced to 3 years of labor colony, in 2010 a court converted his term to a suspended sentence of 1 year, 11 months and released him. In violation of parole, he then moved from Ulan Ude to the village of Zhemchug in Tunkin District and was hired as head of the legal department for the local regional administration.

Sources told Baikal Daily that the reason for the dispute appeared to related to a new building at the spa constructed by a company called Altan, Ltd. Both regional officials and private businessmen had founded the corporation. The clinic is said to bring in about 5 million rubles ($75,000) a month. On July 27, unknown persons cut the hose delivering the spring waters to the building, believed to have curative properties, and closed off the spring with cement. This action was believed to be the result of a party in the dispute not making good on a business deal whose details were not known.

Some media were prompted to speculate if the "wild 1990s" were coming back when mafias frequently settled scores with violence. The incident shed light on the shadowy world of private security firms with official involvement.

According to Lenta.ru, the spa was built by the Archbishop of Irkutsk and Nerchinsky Nil in the mid-19th century. The area is a popular wilderness travel destination.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Police Reportedly Restore Order at Health Spa in Buryatia Attacked by Gunmen
Interfax reports that the clinic seized by gunmen earlier today in Buryatia has resumed working and authorities have been able to take control of the conflict.


According to the press service of the Interior Ministry (police) in Buryatia, due to a conflict apparently about property ownership, gunmen took over one of the buildings of the Nilova Pustin' clinic and neither patients nor medical personnel were able to enter. About 10 citizens were said to be held in the building.

According to the Interior Ministry (translation by The Interpreter):


"As a result of explanatory work conducted by police, citizens left the building of the clinic. The treatment process has been restored. The situation is under control."

But authorities did not provide any information on the identity of the assailants or whether any arrests had been made.

Nilova Pustin' is a health spa where balneological therapy at local springs is available. 

 -- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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