Articles by Christopher Brennan



Moscow Plays Host to a Diverse Array of Nationalist, LGBT Rallies

Muscovites wishing to voice their discontent with a range of government policies held a trio of protests on Saturday, though organizers seemed more focused the symbolic victory of not being detained than of generating political momentum.

Navalny's Popularity Takes a Dive, Poll Says

Once the darling of Russia's opposition movement, Alexei Navalny has seen his reputation fall in recent months as he has made more headlines for the criminal cases launched against him than for his political activities.

Yandex Offices Searched During Investigation into Navalny Backers

Investigators have searched the office of Yandex and the properties of opposition members suspected of pocketing funds designated for opposition leader Alexei Navalny's 2013 mayoral campaign.

Russia Bites Back at Prince Charles' Rumored Hitler Comparison

Following reports that Prince Charles had likened President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Russia has demanded an explanation.

Moscow Grants Rare Approval to Freedom-of-Assembly Protest

In an unexpected move, Moscow authorities have reportedly approved a request by controversial political party The Other Russia to hold a freedom-of-assembly rally in the city center this month.

Russians Prefer Direct Mayoral Elections, Poll Says

As the State Duma mulls alternative methods of selecting Russia's mayors, a new poll reveals that a substantial majority prefer the option of direct elections.

Poroshenko Could Win Ukraine Election in First Round, Poll Says

If Ukraine's presidential election had gone ahead two weeks earlier than planned, candy company owner Petro Poroshenko would have won in the first round, a recent poll shows.

Gay Rights Event to Be Held Despite Authorities Advising Against It

Khabarovsk gay rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin said a sanctioned action for the International Day Against Homophobia on Saturday will go on despite local authorities urging him not to hold the event.

Death of Spartak Fan Inspires Fear of Repercussion

Following the beating to death of a young Russian football fan on the outskirts of Moscow, a troubling slew of social-media activity has given rise to concern of impending violence.

Methadone Looms as Obstacle in Russia's Fight Against HIV/AIDS

As Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova trumpeted Russia's progress in the fight against HIV, critics insist that the government policy prohibiting methadone substitution hampers efforts to slow the spread of the disease.

Licenses of 77 Russian Universities Stripped Since January

Since January, 77 universities have become casualties to ramped-up scrutiny of Russia's higher-education sector, according to the Federal Inspection Service for Education and Science.

Approved Gay Event in Russia's Far East Set to Test Tolerance

Gay rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin said Thursday that local authorities had approved his request to hold a public event against LGBT discrimination on May 17, a move that may see Russia's controversial anti-gay propaganda law tested.

Russia's Eurovision Hopes Dimmed by Ukraine, Gay Propaganda Law

Resounding jeers unleashed Tuesday night against the photogenic young twins chosen to represent Russia in Eurovision 2014 may have been motivated more by Russia's souring international reputation than by the sisters' singing skills.

Prosecutor Drops Probe into Ex-Defense Minister's Pardon

Russia's chief military prosecutor has accepted the legitimacy of a pardon granted to former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, a news report said Tuesday.

Putin Awards Journalists for 'Objective' Crimea Coverage

News broke Monday that President Vladimir Putin issued a decree in April honoring more than 300 journalists for their objective coverage of the events that have unfolded in Crimea.

Senator Suggests Naming Russian Internet After Cartoon Creature

A Russian senator has proposed the creation of a Russia-only Internet that would be shut off from the U.S. and EU and said that the service could be named after the popular children's cartoon character Cheburashka.

Putin Says Russia Could Survive Suspension of Ukrainian Defense Imports

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia can cope with the potential loss of defense imports from Ukraine, adding that it would take up to 2 1/2 years to fill the gap with domestic products.

Putin Says CIA Created the Internet, Cites Foreign Influence at Yandex

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the Internet was a CIA project and that Russia's most popular search engine Yandex had been subject to Western influence when it started out.

Ethics Committee Advises Zhirinovsky to Apologize Publicly for 'Rape' Tirade

The State Duma ethics committee has recommended that hothead politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky make a public apology to the journalists he insulted last week, and distribute information about his ethics violations to the media.

Tightening of Kremlin Control Seen in Governor Dismissals

President Vladimir Putin's dismissal of republic of Sakha head Yegor Borisov on Tuesday marked the 13th governor to be dismissed since the start of this year, a trend analysts say means the Kremlin is effectively rolling back its 2012 reintroduction of gubernatorial elections.

Snowden Defends Question to Putin in Op-Ed

U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden defended his question to President Vladimir Putin in The Guardian on Friday, a day after he asked the Russian president about government surveillance in Russia.

Duma Bill Ending Mayoral Elections Passes First Reading

The State Duma has approved in a first reading a bill that would put an end to direct mayoral elections in some of Russia's largest cities in what critics said was an attempt to ensure the appointment of mayors loyal to the Kremlin.

Federation Council Approves Bill Requiring Russian Language for Residency

Russia's Federation Council on Wednesday gave its blessing to legal changes that would require foreign citizens to prove their ability to speak Russian.

Criminal Case for Separatism Opened Against Ukrainian Presidential Candidate Severely Beaten in Kiev

A pro-Russian candidate for the Ukrainian presidency was beaten on Tuesday morning by a crowd in Kiev and remains in critical condition, the politician's press service said.

Lavrov Rebukes Ukraine for Obstructing Russian Journalists

Ukraine's refusal to let several Russian reporters into the country has earned the condemnation of journalists and Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

Pro-Russian Protesters Seize City Council in Coastal Ukrainian City

Pro-Russian separatists have taken control of the city council in Mariupol amid rising tensions in eastern Ukraine, news reports said Sunday.

Former Ukrainian President Calls Loss of Crimea a 'Tragedy'

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych gave an interview to the Associated Press and Russian television channel NTV on Wednesday in which he said that Russia's annexation of Crimea was a "tragedy."

Website Creates List of Top 20 'Anti-Russian' News Sources

<p>Media outlets Ekho Moskvy, Dozhd and Novaya Gazeta are the most "anti-Russian" news sources, according to a computer algorithm developed by a pro-Kremlin website.</p>

West Meets Russia in the Form of Monster Trucks (video)

The most common auto-related image in Moscow is of traffic; waves of cars flowing, and not flowing, through endless tiers of congestion and honking horns at swerving Ladas.

Duma Deputy Wants Check of Google Maps Crimea Policy

A State Duma deputy wants authorities to check the activities of Google for labeling Crimea as part of Ukraine and not Russia, a report said Wednesday.