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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Sergei Bobylev / TASS

‘Let them go’

More than 20,000 Russians took to the streets of Moscow on Sunday to demand the release of protesters jailed over the summer in what Kremlin critics say is a campaign to stifle dissent. Fourteen people are facing up to eight years behind bars over this summer’s wave of rallies for fair elections.

The protests do not pose a threat to President Vladimir Putin, who won re-election by a landslide last year. But they come as his ratings have slipped following years of falling real incomes and an unpopular move to hike the retirement age. 

Iconic loss

Renowned theater and film director Mark Zakharov, who had led Moscow’s Lenkom Theater since 1973, has died of pneumonia at age 85.

Mark Zakharov Igor Ivanko / Moskva News Agency

In a letter of condolence, Putin called Zakharov “a truly iconic figure and a man of immense talent, inner freedom and dignity.”

Stage disruption

Moscow police disrupted an immersive Teatr.doc theater production on drug use and fabricated drug cases Saturday night. The production’s curator, Katrin Nenasheva, said police accused participants of drug trafficking.

F1 champ

Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix in a surprise Mercedes one-two on Sunday after Ferrari tripped over team orders and were undone by a virtual safety car they triggered.

Mercedes's victory was their sixth in a row in Sochi, the team having won every Russian Grand Prix since the first in 2014.

Orange day

Thousands of Russians marched down the central streets of the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Sunday to mark Tiger Day, an annual parade to raise awareness of the plight of the Amur tiger, which is on the brink of extinction. 

Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, mainly live in Russia's Far East, northeast China and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula. It is one of the world's most endangered species, with fewer than 500 believed to remain in the wild.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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