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St. Petersburg bans ‘homosexual propaganda’

By Miriam Elder Twenty years after homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia, anti-gay legislation is making a rapid comeback, with St Petersburg becoming the latest city to ban “homosexual propaganda”. The law, signed by St Petersburg’s governor last week, came amid increasing calls by leading Russian politicians and Orthodox Church officials…

Russia opposes ‘unbalanced’ new UN draft on Syria

Russia said Friday it opposed an “unbalanced” UN draft resolution on the Syria crisis because it did not contain a call for a simultaneous halt in violence by the government and rebels. “We cannot agree with the draft resolution in the form it is being presented in today. The text…

Russian TV takes off gloves in election battle

Denouncing opposition figures as agents of the West and portraying Russia as a country under siege, pro-Kremlin television has had no scruples about wading into the Russian election campaign. The NTV channel, a bastion of private broadcasting in the 1990s but now owned by state-controlled Russian gas giant Gazprom, on…

Racy Putin videos woo ‘first time’ Russia voters

Under the racy slogan “the first time is just for love”, Vladimir Putin supporters have posted a series of videos aimed at young voters in an increasingly intense presidential election campaign battle. The professional-quality videos initially seem to show young women worrying about losing their virginity before it turns out…

Tens of thousands back Putin at Russia rallies

Tens of thousands of Vladimir Putin’s supporters backed his bid for the presidency in rallies across Russia on Saturday, trying to outdo mass nationwide protests staged by his opponents. At least 50,000 people attended rallies in European Russia, Siberia and the Far East supporting Putin’s candidacy for a historic third…

Putin vows to boost Russian population

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to reverse Russia’s demographic decline and boost its population to 154 million, as he ramped up his re-election campaign in the face of protests. In a new campaign article addressing his core constituency including employees of state companies and blue-collar workers, Putin also…

Russia alarmed over teen suicide rate

Top Russian psychiatrists on Friday called for urgent measures to battle the soaring teenage suicide rate, one of the world’s highest. The number of 15 to 19-year-olds taking their own lives is almost three times higher than the world average at 19 to 20 per 100,000, the health ministry’s chief…

Chinese, Russian arms fuel Darfur abuse: Amnesty

KHARTOUM — Chinese-made bullets and aircraft bought from Russia are used to commit rights violations in Sudan’s Darfur under an ineffective UN arms embargo, Amnesty International said on Thursday. The London-based rights watchdog aired similar concerns five years ago but its latest report comes after “a new wave of fighting”…

Scientists cautious over Russia’s Antarctic lake drilling

PARIS — Experts on Monday raised questions over the scientific benefit and environmental impact of Russia’s feat in drilling into a virgin lake under Antarctica’s icesheet. Kerosene, which the Russians used as antifreeze to prevent the borehole from closing up in the extremely cold depths of the icesheet, was a…

Shaken by rallies, Putin says Russian society maturing

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, facing an outburst of protest against his rule, called Monday for an update of Russia’s political system in response to what he said was a maturing civil society. “We need to create a political system where people can and must speak the truth,” Putin said in…

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