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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

Online sovereignty

As many as 30 people were detained in Moscow during protests against a draft bill to isolate Russia’s internet. At least three were minors, including one who had to be taken to the hospital.

According to White Counter, an NGO that counts participants at rallies using metal detector frames, 15,300 people came to the rally. Interior Ministry estimates put the number of participants at 6,500.

Silence on violence

Around 200 women’s rights and gender rights activists marked Women’s Day with a “Feminism For All” rally in St. Petersburg, observing a “minute of screaming” instead of a minute of silence for victims of domestic violence.

Throughout the rest of Russia, the public holiday is generally seen more as a day to celebrate femininity, beauty and the oncoming spring season rather than a day for women’s and minority rights.

Suspect luggage

Russia accused an unnamed employee of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow of attempting to bring a mortar shell with a fuse in his luggage to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The mortar shell contained no explosives.

The embassy staffer was later allowed to board a flight to New York after authorities had seized the shell.

Deadly crash

Three Russian nationals and 19 UN staff members were among 157 people killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines and China's aviation regulator grounded nearly 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets amid concerns of the plane’s airworthiness.

Sagging trust

A poll has found that public trust in President Vladimir Putin has fallen to a 13-year low of 32 percent, its lowest level since 2006.

Putin’s trust ratings dropped from 33.4 percent in January, according to the state-run pollster VTsIOM.

Streaming leak

Authorities detained Ruslan Gorring, a former official at a state mining corporation, at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow. He has been charged with large-scale embezzlement.

The former deputy head of Rosgeologia was fired after he boasted about his sexual exploits with junior employees during a Twitch livestream earlier this year. Investigators believe Gorring had changed his name and has been hiding from the investigation since 2011.

Pancake revolution

A giant wooden tower was torched at a folk festival celebration in Russia's western Kaluga region as part of Maslenitsa, an originally pagan ritual absorbed into Russian Orthodox Christian tradition that is also known as Pancake Week.

The theme this year was the French Revolution and the wooden tower was inspired by the Bastille, the former fortress and symbol of the Bourbon monarchy that was stormed in 1789.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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