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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Yui Mok / TASS

Glory in defeat

Croatia ended Russia’s football World Cup dream with a 4-3 win on penalties. The hosts were eliminated after a dramatic quarterfinal game that stretched to 120 minutes.

Russia, the lowest-ranking side before the tournament kicked off last month, had already surpassed expectations by advancing past the group stage and ousting Spain, also on penalty kicks.

Novichok fatality

A British woman died after being poisoned by the same Soviet-era nerve agent that struck a former Russian spy in March. The poisoning of the former spy triggered a crisis in the relationship between Moscow and the West.

Police said the death of Dawn Sturgess, who fell ill from exposure to Novichok on June 30, would be investigated as a murder. Sturgess was poisoned only a few miles from the town where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were attacked with the same poison.

Stifled freedom

The U.S. State Department accused Moscow of stifling press freedom and media independence after a Russian court fined the U.S. government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for violating Russia's foreign agent law.

The Russian Embassy in Washington replied with an offer to remove RFE/RL from the blacklist if the U.S. “stops persecuting Russian media in the U.S.,” and removes its own foreign agent designation from Russian media channels. 

Victory tension

Croatian defender Domagoj Vida was criticized by Russian politicians, and warned by FIFA’s disciplinary committee, for recording a video calling for “glory to Ukraine” after the Croatian team's win over Russia.

Vida later said the video was not a political message but a “simple thank you” for his time spent playing for Ukrainian football club Dynamo Kiev.

Volleyball champions

The Russian men’s volleyball team claimed the inaugural Nations League title, beating host country France in three sets.

Russia won over France with scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-23 toward the gold medal after four straight losses to France, including in the preliminary round.

One too many

An organizer of the Communist Party protests against retirement age reform was detained in the Siberian town of Novy Urengoy because the protests exceeded the limit of demonstrators.

Alexander Shmal was reportedly arrested after 27 protesters came to the rally instead of the  20 people allowed by the local mayor’s office.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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