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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Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Feb 23, 2021 - Sports

Russian politics hit the NHL

Photo: David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is stepping away from the team after his former KHL (Russia) coach, Andrei Nazarov, told a Russian tabloid that he beat up an 18-year-old girl in Latvia in 2011.

Why it matters: Nazarov is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Panarin has shown support for opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was recently sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

Scoop: Allies worried Biden shaky on Putin's pipeline

Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Russia's adversaries in central and Eastern Europe are worried President Biden isn't willing to fight hard to stop the Russia-Germany gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 — one of Vladimir Putin's core priorities.

Why it matters: The fight is the first significant test of whether Biden's tough rhetoric against the Russian leader will be matched by action. Russian opponents fear Biden doesn't want to antagonize Angela Merkel and won't inflict serious costs on the Germans.

Updated Feb 20, 2021 - World

Russian judge orders Navalny to pay fine for defamation after rejecting appeal

Alexei Navalny. Photo: Moscow City Court\TASS via Getty Images

A Moscow court on Saturday ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to pay a fine in a defamation case, hours after another court rejected his appeal against his 2.5-year prison sentence.

The state of play: The court ordered Navalny to pay approximately $11,500 after he called a 94-year-old World War II veteran and others featured in a pro-government video "corrupt stooges," "people without conscience" and "traitors," AP reports.

Feb 18, 2021 - World

Russia brokers unusual prisoner exchange between Israel and Syria

Netanyahu (L) and Putin in Moscow in January 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has brokered an unusual prisoner swap that saw Syria release an Israeli woman who crossed into the country on Thursday, Israeli officials say.

The big picture: The two weeks leading up to the deal involved a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the capture of two Syrian shepherds by Israel as bargaining chips, and the refusal of a Syrian prisoner to leave prison as part of the deal.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Feb 3, 2021 - World

U.S.-born investor fights for his freedom in Russia's legal system

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Russia's legal system made global headlines yesterday, after a Moscow court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a multi-year prison term for parole violations.

In a different Moscow court this week, U.S.-born investor Mike Calvey began fighting for his own freedom against very long odds.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Feb 2, 2021 - World

Alexei Navalny sentenced to prison

Navalny is escorted to prison by police. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to about 2.5 years in prison, officially for violating parole while he recovered in Germany from an assassination attempt.

Driving the news: A 3.5-year suspended sentence dating from 2014 — stemming from charges that were widely seen as politically motivated — was turned into a prison term, minus the 10 months Navalny previously spent under house arrest. His arrest last month upon his return to Russia sparked widespread protests over the past two weekends.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Feb 2, 2021 - World

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is highly effective, study finds

Receiving the vaccine, in Sochi. Photo: Dmitry Feoktistov\TASS via Getty Images

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine demonstrated nearly 92% efficacy against symptomatic cases of COVID-19 and provided complete protection against severe cases, according to a peer-reviewed analysis of a large clinical trial published in the medical journal the Lancet. The vaccine also appears to be safe.

Why it matters: This is the strongest evidence to date that the Russian vaccine is one of several highly-effective options in the global mix. Russia is almost entirely dependent on Sputnik V to vaccinate its own population, and over a dozen other countries have purchased doses.

Feb 1, 2021 - World

Secretary of State Tony Blinken “deeply disturbed" by crackdown on Russian protesters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department, Washington, DC, on January 27, 2021. Photo: Carlos Barria/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the weekend protests and arrests in Russia are about "the frustration that the Russian people have with corruption, with autocracy," in an interview that aired Monday on NBC.

What he's saying: “We are deeply disturbed by this violent crackdown against people exercising their rights to protest peacefully against their government, rights that are guaranteed to them in the Russian constitution."

Updated Feb 1, 2021 - World

In photos: Over 5,000 arrested during Navalny protests in Russia

Police detain protesters during an unauthorized protest rally against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow Sunday. Yulia Navalny, the activist's wife, was among over 1,500 people detained in the city, per AP. She was released after a few hours. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Over 5,000 demonstrators were detained in major Russian cities Sunday, as authorities cracked down on people who defied orders and protested against the detention of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, monitoring groups said.

Why it matters: Navalny's detention has united Russians from a variety of backgrounds, including those who are against his politics, to protest the authoritarian leadership of President Vladimir Putin, per the New York Times.

  • Russian prosecutors have demanded that social media platforms censor calls to join protests, AP notes.
Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 27, 2021 - World

At Davos, Putin points to U.S. to warn Big Tech is driving social divisions

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”

The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”

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