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Putin orders Russian military to boost presence in Arctic after Canada signalled intention to claim the North Pole

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military on Tuesday to step up its presence in the Arctic after Canada signalled its intention to claim the North Pole and surrounding waters. The tough and quick response to Canada’s announcement reflected Russia’s desire to protect its oil and natural gas interests in the…

Pussy Riot documentary makes early list of Oscar contenders

A film about jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot and a documentary about a British war photographer killed in Libya made it onto an Oscar candidate long list published Tuesday. “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer” and “Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim…

Russia charges five Greenpeace activists with piracy

Russian investigators on Wednesday charged five Greenpeace campaigners with piracy over an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling, the environmental group said, calling the move an “outrage”. The charge against the activists — a Briton, a Finn, a Brazilian, a Russian and a dual US-Swedish citizen — dimmed hopes that…

Kremlin laughs off rumors that Putin married former Olympic gymnast

The Kremlin on Wednesday rubbished rumours that President Vladimir Putin had got remarried in a monastery to a former Olympic rhythmic gymnastics gold medallist, saying the talk had “nothing in common with reality”. The Russian strongman’s private life has been the subject of intense speculation since he and his wife…

McCain tells Russia Putin ‘doesn’t believe in you’

US Senator John McCain penned a blistering column for Russian media, telling the Russian people that their President Vladimir Putin is a dissent-quashing tyrant who “doesn’t believe in you.” The senior US lawmaker, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, accosted Putin and his associates for rigging elections, imprisoning and murdering opponents,…

New York Times fends off criticism after publishing Putin op-ed

President Vladimir Putin won’t be getting a check from The New York Times as a “freelance journalist” but his controversial article on Syria was accepted for its newsworthy viewpoint. The newspaper’s public editor Margaret Sullivan said Thursday that the Russian leader’s editorial, submitted via a US public relations firm, created…

Putin ally Sobyanin wins tight Moscow election, challenger Navalny cries foul

Moscow’s pro-Kremlin mayor was set to win tight elections Sunday in the Russian capital, just escaping a second-round run-off after a strong challenge from protest leader Alexei Navalny, who denounced the results as falsified. Initial results showed that Sergei Sobyanin, a leading ally of President Vladimir Putin, would narrowly win…

Syria says it will never give up ‘even if there is World War III’

Syria said Wednesday it had taken “every measure” to retaliate if hit by a feared US-led military strike and would never give in, even if a third world war erupts. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad also insisted that Russia had not wavered in its…

‘Putin in women’s underwear’ painting seized by Russian police

Russian police said Wednesday they had raided an exhibition and confiscated a painting that portrayed President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev lounging together in women’s lingerie. Police said they confiscated four paintings by artist Konstantin Altunin and closed down the exhibition of his work in Russia’s second city…

Russian runners astonished by ‘gay kiss’ claims

Two Russian female gold medal winners at the Moscow World Athletics Championships expressed bewilderment Tuesday over media claims that their passionate podium kiss was a symbol of gay defiance against a new Russian law banning homosexual “propaganda”. Kseniya Ryzhova and Yulia Gushchina, who kissed each other on the lips after…

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