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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

Golunov effect

Thousands of protesters in several Russian cities took part in a rally to demand the freeing of political prisoners and those arrested on trumped-up charges.

Three people were detained in Moscow, where the rally had been authorized by the authorities, and three others in St. Petersburg, whose rally had not been authorized.

Organizers held the event, named “The Public Demands Justice,” in support of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained on drug charges for five days this month.

Tbilisi unrest

Russia will suspend passenger flights of Georgian airlines to Russia from July 8, its Transport Ministry said on the fourth day of unrest in Tbilisi, triggered by the visit of a Russian lawmaker.

Earlier, President Vladimir Putin had suspended passenger flights from Russia to Georgia starting July 8.

Kiev pride

Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching in a gay pride parade in Kiev, the biggest and most peaceful ever in the former Soviet country. The march was part of "Pride Month" celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

A thick cordon of police in helmets flanked the estimated 8,000 attendees, but there was no sign of violence despite the presence of a few hundred protesters.

Fake news

A network of social media accounts operating from Russia has attempted to seed false narratives across 30 different online platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, a study by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab has found.

It said the aim was to "divide, discredit and distract" Western countries by planting false information about topics ranging from alleged British meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections to Irish paramilitary involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England last year.

Scarlet Sails

The Scarlet Sails festivities marking high school graduation took place in St. Petersburg, where spectators crammed the embankments for watershows on the Neva River that included a brig with bright red sails.

Kremlin commemorates

On Saturday, Putin attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall to mark the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in 1941.

Polar retreat

A famished polar bear picked up this week after it wandered lost into a northern Russian city hundreds of kilometers from its Arctic habitat was taken to a zoo in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk for treatment.

Russian oil giant Rosneft said it had taken part in the operation to transport the bear from the nickel-producing city of Norilsk, where it became ill and almost died after scavenging for food on a rubbish heap, to Krasnoyarsk.

High-altitude vodka

A Russian artist was filmed at a table attached to the outside wall of an apartment building as part of a performance intended to represent the stereotypical Russian feast in the apartment block from an absurdist perspective.

An abandoned five-story panel house on the outskirts of Samara was chosen as the location for the stunt. Organizers went into one of the apartments and installed brackets, a fitted table and chair. Once secured, the main act came down from the roof on a rope, sat down at the table and knocked back vodka.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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