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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

Russia’s First Bitcoin Case

The FSB in Kostroma on Friday arrested three people for illegally cashing out bitcoins worth 500 million rubles ($8.7 million). The suspects are believed to have set up bank accounts for their relatives who made withdrawals from ATMs. It is the first bitcoin financial crime case in Russia.

Foreign Ministry Slams ‘Hostile’ Consulate Closure

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday published footage to their official Facebook page reportedly showing FBI officials searching its consulate in San Francisco.

The ministry on Sunday described Washington’s decision to close the consulate and trade missions in New York and Washington as a “hostile act, a gross violation of international law, including the Vienna Conventions.”

An-2 plane Crash Investigated

The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation into the crash on Saturday of an An-2 airplane that killed two people during an air show celebrating the plane’s 70th anniversary in Balashikha outside Moscow.

Spontaneous Myanmar Protest

Following an Instagram post by Ramzan Kadyrov condemning the “genocide of Muslims in Myanmar,” several hundred demonstrators gathered on Sunday outside the Myanmar Embassy in Moscow in an unsanctioned protest in solidarity with the Rohingya. A similar protest took place in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan in Russia’s North Caucasus.

Former Vladivostok Mayor Dies

Viktor Cherepkov, one of Russia’s most outspoken politicians in Russia's Far East since the collapse of the Soviet Union, died Saturday morning after a prolonged illness. Cherepkov was ousted by Boris Yeltsin following corruption allegations amid a protracted turf war with the region’s governor.

RT Twitter Suspended

At the request of the British government, Twitter suspended an RT account to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

RT was using the handle: @BritishEmb1917 and the official crest of Great Britain’s Foreign Office, calling it “the official Twitter account of the United Kingdom in the Russian Empire.”

Journalist’s Car Torched

The car of Radio Ekho Moskvy journalist Yulia Latynina caught fire on Sunday morning, in a suspected arson attack. If confirmed, this would be the second attack at her home in the past two months.

Gay Chechens Get Asylum in Canada

A Canadian NGO said on Friday it had helped 35 gay and bisexual men escape Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya after reports of extrajudicial killings of gay men there. 

Reaction to North Korea

Following reports of North Korea’s most recent nuclear weapons test on Sunday, Russia called “interested parties” on Friday “to stay calm and to restrain from any acts, which may lead to further escalation of tensions.”

"We urge all interested parties to promptly return to dialogue and negotiations, the only possible way for a comprehensive settlement of the Korean Peninsula problems, including the nuclear problem."

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