Russia

The big picture

As countries line up for Russia's vaccine, not everyone is buying it

It's 92% effective, according to unconfirmed data.

Nov 12, 2020 - World
Alexei Navalny in first interview: Putin was behind Novichok poisoning

"I have no other explanation for what happened."

Oct 1, 2020 - World
The tangled web of Russia's Taliban support

Suspected Russian support of the Taliban goes all the way back to the Obama administration.

Jul 8, 2020 - World
Russians back reforms that could let Putin rule through 2036, officials say

It's the most significant reform package since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Jul 1, 2020 - World
20 Years of Putin: Tracing his rise from KGB to Kremlin

Part 1 of an Axios special report focuses on his rise, his early years and his escalating antagonism with the West.

Updated Dec 31, 2019 - World

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Sep 20, 2021 - World

U.S. condemns Russia's election crackdown as Putin's party wins big majority

Putin speaks to the head of Russia's electoral commission via video link. Photo: Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department condemned the Russian government's crackdown on opposition groups during this weekend's parliamentary elections, saying in a statement Monday that the vote "took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings."

Why it matters: President Vladimir Putin's ruling party retained its supermajority through a vote marred by widespread irregularities, reports of ballot-stuffing and restrictions on the Russian strongman's most vocal critics.

Sep 20, 2021 - World

Shooting at Russian university leaves at least 6 dead, 28 injured

Women react as students evacuate a building of the Perm State University campus in Russia on Sept. 20, 2021, following the shooting. Photo: OLGA YUSHKOVA/AFP via Getty Images

At least six people were killed and 28 were wounded after a gunman opened fire at Russia's Perm State University on Monday, investigators said.

Driving the news: The Investigative Committee of Russia identified the shooter as a student but has not released a name. The committee said the suspect was injured while resisting arrest and was taken to a "medical institution."

Sep 17, 2021 - World

Apple, Google delete Navalny app as Russians go to polls

Alexei Navalny's Smart Voting app is seen on a phone in Moscow. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP

Apple and Google have deleted jailed Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny's tactical voting app from their app stores, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The tech companies removed the opposition-led Smart Voting app on the same day Russians head to the polls to elect a new parliament amid the largest crackdown of Kremlin critics in years.

Sep 10, 2021 - World

Russia's Gazprom says Nord Stream 2 pipeline is complete

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Construction was officially completed Friday on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine in delivering natural gas directly to the heart of Europe, according to Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Why it matters: The $11 billion pipeline has been condemned as a "Kremlin geopolitical project" by the Biden administration and is vigorously opposed by Ukraine, which considers it to be a grave threat to national security.

Sep 2, 2021 - World

Russia threatens to fine Apple, Google over Alexei Navalny app

Alexei Navalny appears on a screen during a court hearing in Petushki, Russia, in May 2021. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatened to fine Apple and Google on Thursday if the companies did not remove an app associated with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to AP.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of Russia's crackdown on major tech companies that have been spaces for freedom of expression in the country and comes just weeks before the Sept. 19 parliamentary elections.

Alexei Navalny describes "psychological violence" in first interview from jail

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in downtown Moscow on Feb. 29, 2020. Photo: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Opposition figure Alexei Navalny likened his experience as a political prisoner in Russia to a "Chinese labor camp," in his first interview since his January arrest with the New York Times.

Why it matters: Though Navalny, 45, has written occasional social media posts through his lawyers, "the written exchange of questions and answers covering 54 handwritten pages is by far his most comprehensive and wide-ranging account," since his incarceration, the Times writes.

Aug 20, 2021 - World

U.S. and U.K. sanction more Russians on anniversary of Navalny poisoning

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, likely for the final time. Photo: Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images

The U.S. and the U.K. imposed fresh sanctions on Russian officials and entities on Friday in response to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which was carried out by Russian intelligence agents one year ago.

Why it matters: The West is seeking to maintain pressure on the Kremlin over its persecution of Navalny, who is serving out a three-year prison sentence for violating his parole while he recovered from the poisoning in Germany last year.

Aug 14, 2021 - World

Russian plane sent to fight Turkey's wildfires crashes, 8 dead

Photo: Turkish Ministry of Agriculture And Forestry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian plane that was sent to Turkey to fight the wildfires crashed Saturday, killing all eight people on board, state news agency TASS reports.

What they're saying: "Five Russian military crew members and three citizens of the Republic of Turkey who were on board the Russian Be-200 plane crashed in the Republic of Turkey," the Russian defense ministry said, per TASS.

Aug 10, 2021 - World

Russia accuses Navalny allies of funding extremist groups

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Russian authorities on Tuesday announced a new criminal case against the two closest allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, AP reports.

State of play: The Investigative Committee of Russia is accusing Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, both of whom have left the country, of funding extremist groups. In June, a Russian court ruled that organizations founded by Navalny were extremist groups because they had plans to overthrow the government.

Scoop: Biden taps Russia hawk for key energy post

Then-Vice President Biden with Hochstein at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in 2015. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden has appointed close former adviser Amos Hochstein as a State Department energy envoy charged with implementing a U.S.-Germany deal allowing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be completed, sources familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: Hochstein has been a leading voice against Nord Stream 2, a strategic and financial priority for the Kremlin that will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine and deliver gas directly to the heart of Europe.

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