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Articles by Anna Smolchenko for AFP
Russia's Anti-War Lobby Goes Online
Russia's anti-war movement moved online as police arrested hundreds at street protests attended by several thousand Russians.
Memorial: NGO That Fought for Victims of Russian Repression
Memorial battled to preserve the memory of Communist repressions and campaigned against modern rights abuses before its closure.
back to earth
Russian Film Crew Says Shooting in Space a 'Huge Challenge'
If the project stays on track, the Russian crew will beat a Hollywood project involving Tom Cruise with NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX.
15 Years On, Editors Warn Time Up for Justice in Politkovskaya Murder
Novaya Gazeta said the authorities have no real interest in further pursuing the investigation into the murder for political reasons.
'we cannot relax'
Belarus Leader Eyes $1Bln Russian Arms Deal
Lukashenko's announcement came as he oversaw massive Moscow-led military drills that rattled some EU countries.
Russian Law Takes Fizz Out of French Champagne Supplies
Russian elites could soon find themselves without their favorite French bubbles if Moet Hennessy makes good on a threat to halt champagne supplies following...
Kremlin Critic Dmitry Gudkov Flees to Ukraine
Gudkov was detained over unpaid rent from 2015 and faced up to five years in prison.
Russian Opposition Activist Released Without Charges: Lawyer
Dmitry Gudkov's release marks a rare about-face.
Russia Widens Opposition Crackdown With Bill, Jailing of Critic
Russia's opposition says authorities are stepping up a campaign of intimidation against dissenters ahead of a parliamentary vote.
Putin Praises Closer Ties With Belarus in Lukashenko Talks
Putin hosted strongman Alexander Lukashenko for emergency talks in Sochi amid a global outcry following the forced diversion of a European plane.
Kremlin Critic Navalny Could 'Die Any Minute': Doctors
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny risks cardiac arrest "any minute" as his health has rapidly deteriorated, doctors warned Saturday.
Russians Celebrate 60 Years Since Historic Gagarin Spaceflight
"Gagarin's feat ... bonds all Russians together."
Rights Groups Urge Russians to Wake Up to Syria Abuses
The report is the first into the Syrian conflict by Russian campaigners and seeks to shed light on victims of Russia's military actions.
on the brink
Kremlin Says Biden Does Not Want to Improve Ties With Russia
"It is clear that he does not want to get the relationship with our country back on track," Putin's spokesman told reporters.
tightening the screws
Dozens Arrested at Russian Opposition Forum
The mass arrests of municipal deputies at a conference in Moscow were unprecedented.
Russian Prisons Chief Confirms Navalny in Penal Colony
"I guarantee that there exists no threat to his life and health," the head of the Federal Prison Service noted.
war of words
Russia Brands Navalny Team 'Traitors' for EU Sanctions Push
Navalny and his allies have called on the EU to sanction members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle over his poisoning.
Navalny Brother, Aides Under House Arrest Ahead of New Russia Protests
The pressure on Navalny's family and associates grew after tens of thousands of Russians rallied last weekend in his support.
Kremlin Accuses U.S. of Meddling After 3,500 Protesters Detained
Ahead of the rallies, the U.S. embassy issued a safety warning to Americans based in Russia.
Russia Police Violence in Spotlight After 3,500 Protesters Detained
It was the largest number of detentions at opposition rallies in the history of modern Russia.
'A DOMESTIC AFFAIR'
Kremlin Dismisses Calls to Free Navalny, Warns Against Protests
Alexei Navalny's arrest drew widespread condemnation, with the U.S. and the EU, all calling for his release.
To Jail or Not to Jail: Kremlin in Bind Over Navalny Return
Should Putin allow his most outspoken critic to return to Russia freely and risk looking weak, or jail him and make him a cause celebre?
search and rescue
17 Fishermen Feared Dead After Trawler Sinks in Arctic Russia
However a source familiar with the details of the search efforts said that there was little hope of finding survivors.
Russia Probes Navalny Ally for 'Threatening Suspected Poisoner'
"You call a killer's doorbell — they break down your door and take you in for questioning," Navalny wrote of Sobol's detention.
Kremlin Sounds Alarm Over 'Doomsday Plane' Robbery
The robbed plane is a highly-classified flying command center built to evacuate the Russian president in case of a nuclear explosion.
3 Dead in Axe and Gun Attack at Russian Military Base
Activists said the suspect behind the attack was a victim of hazing, which they claim is still common in the army.
CRISIS IN TIES
Russia Defies West as NATO Urges Cooperation Over Navalny
NATO called for an international probe into Navalny's poisoning and demanded Moscow reveal details of its Novichok nerve agent programme.
Over 140 Detained After Anti-Putin Protest in Moscow
A large group of activists marched along central Moscow streets before many were roughly detained.
Freedom of Speech
Russia Seeks 6 Years Jail for Journalist in 'Terror Case'
Svetlana Prokopyeva's case has drawn outrage from supporters and rights groups.
standing in solidarity
Crusading Ex-Cop's Arrest Sparks Police Pushback in Russia
The rare public outcry among Russia's 750,000-strong police force could eventually spell trouble for the Kremlin.
Top Russian Newspaper Editors Quit, Denouncing Pro-Kremlin Censorship
Kremlin critics said the exodus likely sounded the death knell for Vedomosti in its current incarnation.
Putin Says 'Majority' Back Plan to Change Russian Constitution
The president spoke at a ceremony to mark Russia's national holiday in his first public appearance after weeks of lockdown.
Moscow Bemused at U.S. Space 'Hysteria' as Musk Taunts Russia
SpaceX's historic launch was seen as ending Russia's long-held monopoly on space travel.
Moscow Eases Lockdown Despite High Virus Caseload
Critics quipped that life in Moscow was beginning to imitate dystopian fiction.
Moscow Begins Lockdown During Tougher Push to Curb Virus
"I ask you to take these forced but absolutely necessary measures... very seriously and completely responsibly," Putin told Muscovites.