- Russian President Vladimir Putin stripped down to his trunks and dunked himself in freezing water in an Orthodox Christian ritual to mark the feast of Epiphany.
- The temperature was -6 C or -21 F.
- Putin is up for reelection in March, and widely expected to beat out the communist party.
The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.
FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.
It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.
It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.
- Billionaire George Soros hit back against nationalist critics in an interview with the Financial Times.
- Soros said criticism and smear campaigns would not stop his organisation the Open Society Foundation’s work promoting a liberal agenda.
- He said he believed Putin was behind many of the attacks against him.
LONDON – Billionaire investor George Soros said he would continue to fight the spread of nationalism, which has become the world’s “dominant ideology,” in an interview with the Financial Times.
Soros spoke about the recent attacks made against himself and his organisation the Open Society Foundation (OSF) by those he considers enemies to his liberal agenda, but said he has no plans to relax his efforts.
A Swedish comedy and rap duo has been acquitted of building a makeshift gay bar in 2015 on a plot of land in Finland owned by Russian president Vladimir Putin to protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws.
The court on Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast rejected Thursday a Russian charge against Frej Larsson and Simon Gardenfors, the local Nya Aaland daily said. The Russian charge said the two unlawfully constructed on the grounds of Putin’s summer residence and demanded a fine.
The local government in Washington, D.C., has approved a measure to rename the street in front of Russia’s embassy after slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
In separate votes on January 9, the District of Columbia Council passed the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act in its first reading and unanimously approved the renaming “on an emergency basis” pending final adoption of the permanent legislation.
The city initiative renames the block of Wisconsin Avenue that is home to the Russian Embassy in honor of Nemtsov, a reformist politician and fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin in 2015.
Former Olympic gymnastics champion to quit as MP in Russian president’s party to take control of National Media Group
Alina Kabayeva, a former Olympic gymnastics champion long rumoured to be Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend, has been appointed to run a major pro-Kremlin media group.
Kabayeva spent more than six years as an MP, one of many high-achievers in the sports and entertainment fields to represent Putin’s United Russia party, before announcing on Monday she was stepping down from parliament to take up control of the media holding.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian historian whose exposure of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s crimes angered state officials is due to begin enforced psychiatric testing this week amid fears he will be falsely declared insane, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Yuri Dmitriev, 61, is on trial in northwest Russia on charges brought by state prosecutors of involving his adopted daughter, then 11, in child pornography, of illegally possessing “the main elements of” a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor.
Some of Russia’s leading cultural figures say Dmitriev was framed because his focus on Stalin’s crimes – he found a mass grave with up to 9,000 bodies dating from the Soviet dictator’s Great Terror in the 1930s – jars with the latter-day Kremlin narrative that Russia must not be ashamed of its past.