|IN THE NEWS
Kirill Serebrennikov, a prominent Russian director whose arrest on fraud charges has raised fears of a clampdown on cultural figures critical of the government faces a court hearing today.
Russia says it will retaliate after the United States imposed new economic sanctions on 16 mostly Chinese and Russian companies and individuals, accusing them of aiding the North Korean government and its missile and nuclear programs.
The Vatican’s secretary of state is set to hold talks with Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on the third day of his official visit to Russia.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on Russia and the Vatican to help fend off a U.S. “military threat,” and said he will soon go to Moscow to visit with Putin.
The Moscow-based human rights group Memorial has recognized Dmitry Borisov, an activist who is charged with attacking a police officer during an antigovernment protest in March as a political prisoner.
The last Russian activist imprisoned following clashes at a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to his current term has been placed in solitary confinement days before his scheduled release, a lawyer says.
The United States has sent its first shipment of anthracite coal to Ukraine from the U.S. port of Baltimore under a deal designed to increase Ukraine’s energy security.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council has rejected reports that Kyiv supplied missile technology to North Korea, saying that such claims amounted to Russian disinformation.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine starting on August 23 at the beginning of the school year and got unanimous support from Russia, Germany, France, and the United States.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry has invited observers from several countries to the Zapad-2017 joint Belarusian-Russian military exercise that takes place September 14-20 in Belarus, but NATO has said such efforts “fall short.”
WHAT I’M READING
Report: Politburo 2.0
Minchenko Consulting has released the latest installment of its report series Politburo 2.0 , which looks at the structure of Russia’s power elite.
The BBC’s Russian Service and the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia have weighed in with write-ups about the report.
The Eyes And Ears Of The State
The Kazan-based human rights group Agora has a new report out on surveillance in Russia.
And one of the report’s authors, Damir Gainutdinov, summarized the main findings for Republic.ru, arguing that “Russians’ lives are becoming completely transparent for the authorities”
The Other Russian World
Sociologist Igor Eidman has started a Facebook group aimed at countering pro-Kremlin propaganda in Germany.
Kashin On Serebrennikov’s Arrest
In his column for Republic.ru, Oleg Kashin calls the detention of Kirill Serebrennikov “the start of Putin’s election campaign.”
Hearts And Minds In Moscow
Also in Republic.ru, Grigori Yudin looks at why Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has struggled to win the hearts and minds of the capital’s residents.
Putin’s Achilles Heel
In a piece for Project Syndicate, Anders Aslund argues that Russia’s patron-client system could turn out to be “the Achilles heel of the Putin regime.”
Robert Legvold has a piece in The National Interest on “getting America and Russia back to normal.”
In a piece for Medium, Enis Hulli asks, “Is Ukraine the next start-up nation?”