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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Russians laid flowers at the site where opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated. Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

In remembrance

Several thousand Russians as well as Western diplomats paid tribute at a Moscow bridge on Saturday where opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead six years ago.

The opposition usually marks the anniversary by marching through central Moscow, but with restrictions on mass gatherings still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic they chose to rally this year at the makeshift memorial, which is regularly dismantled by the authorities.

Doing time

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a penal colony in the Vladimir region east of Moscow to serve a term for violating parole, a public commission that monitors detainees' rights said Sunday. 

In conversations with The Moscow Times, former inmates of the jail where Navalny will serve his time spoke of psychological isolation and harsh conditions.

Sputnik Light

Trials of the one-dose version of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine nicknamed “Sputnik Light” started in Moscow, the Mayor’s Office said.

Volunteers in the trial will only receive the first of Sputnik V’s two doses. The Russian Direct Investment Fund that financed the vaccine has said Sputnik Light could be an "effective temporary solution" for countries facing high caseloads, placing its effectiveness around 85% versus the two-dose vaccine’s 92% effectiveness.

Gunship down

A Russian Mi-35 helicopter crash-landed while on patrol in northeastern Syria for what the military called technical reasons.

The Defense Ministry said the crew was evacuated and there was “no threat to their lives.” Syrian state television reported without further details that one crew member was killed, while a Britain-based war monitor said one crew member was critically wounded.

Arctic watch

A Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday carrying Russia's first satellite for monitoring the Arctic's climate, the Roscosmos space agency said. 


The “Arktika” hydrometeorological and climate monitoring space system will need at least two satellites to operate properly, it said. The launch of the second Arktika-M satellite is planned for 2023, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

No guns needed

Poachers filmed themselves strangling a pregnant moose to death after chasing it down on snowmobiles in the Tver region northeast of Moscow.

Authorities told state media they have identified the hunters, who could reportedly face up to 5 years in jail on charges of illegal hunting.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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