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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Maxim Shipenkov / EPA / TASS

Record week

Russia counted its highest number of new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic in the first week of November, 281,305, as the country reached the end of a nationwide paid holiday introduced to curb the spread of infections.

Saturday's official tally registered 41,335 new cases — the highest number of new infections since the outbreak — and 1,188 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours. Russia on Sunday confirmed 39,165 Covid-19 infections and 1,179 deaths.

National question

Four Azeri-born Russian nationals have been charged with attempted murder over a high-profile assault on a father and his 4-year-old son in the Moscow suburb of Vatutinki, authorities said late Friday after the incident caught on camera gained widespread media attention.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov railed against media outlets, singling out the chief editor of the state-run RT broadcaster, for only reporting on people from the Caucasus in a negative light — and what he described as “headline-grabbing divisions into two categories of citizens: those from the [North] Caucasus and those without a nationality” — when covering crime stories in the country.

Shaman detained

A self-described shaman from Siberia who documented his treks “against pedophiles and satanists” on YouTube has been detained in Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg, media reported Sunday.

										 					Nikolai Dylykov /
Nikolai Dylykov /

Nikolai Dylykov, 51, was said to have introduced himself to police as Alexander Gabyshev, another Siberian shaman who was placed in a psychiatric ward this year following several failed attempts to trek to Moscow and “exorcise” President Vladimir Putin.

Dylykov was reportedly on a police watchlist in his native Chita region as a mentally ill person, while Yekaterinburg police found a note from a psychiatric hospital when they detained him.

Change of heart

An “overwhelming majority” of the two dozen ambulance workers opposing vaccine mandates in Far East Russia’s Jewish autonomous region have rescinded their resignation letters, a regional government spokesperson told Interfax.

Their change of heart follows reports that federal health watchdog Roszdravnadzor planned to pursue anti-vaccine medical professionals for criminal prosecution, punishing the spread of false information about Covid-19 with up to five years in prison. 

AFP contributed reporting.

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