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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Tens of thousands of Belarusian opposition supporters defied heavy security presence to march in Minsk. / AFP

Long road to recovery

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said he has difficulty performing everyday functions and that he faces a “long road” to recovery after his Novichok poisoning which left him in a coma.

The opposition leader’s health update came as one of three Soviet-era scientists involved in the secret program to create the Novichok nerve agent offered his “profound apologies” to Navalny for playing a role “in this criminal business.”

March of justice

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters defied heavy security presence to march in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday, the day after police officers detained hundreds of demonstrators at a women’s march.

More than 100 people were arrested on the sidelines of the “March of Justice” demonstration and similar protests in other major cities, the rights group Viasna said. The opposition movement has kept up a wave of mass demonstrations every Sunday since President Alexander Lukashenko won a disputed victory in Aug. 9 polls.

Dirty money

Several allies of President Vladimir Putin, including tycoons Arkady Rotenberg, Alisher Usmanov and Alexei Mordashov, were involved in moving massive sums of allegedly dirty money through some of the world’s largest banks for years, according to an international investigation.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) investigation, which was led by 108 media outlets from 88 different countries, is based on thousands of suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department's financial law enforcement agency, FinCEN, by banks from around the world.

Syria strikes

Russian jets conducted 30 raids on the outskirts of northwestern Syria’s rebel-held city of Idlib on Sunday in the biggest strikes since a Turkish-Russian ceasefire in March.

In eastern Syria, U.S. forces deployed six Bradley fighting vehicles, around 100 additional troops and radar systems and stepped up fighter jet patrols in a “clear signal” to Russia to avoid unsafe and provocative interactions.

Rain of crows

Residents of the central Russian town of Balakovo reported seeing dozens of dead crows strewn across a local highway, leading some to speculate about the origins of the mysterious sighting.

										 					Typical Balakovo / Vkontakte
Typical Balakovo / Vkontakte

Veterinary authorities in the Saratov region have launched an inquiry into the mass crow deaths.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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