The Real Russia. Today. Death toll from Siberia coal mine accident exceeds 50

Friday, November 26, 2021

Death toll reaches 52 in Russia’s largest mine accident since 2010. One rescue worker presumed dead makes it out alive.Graphic designer shows support for Meduza by turning headlines into colorful works of artVeteran Communist Party lawmaker Valery Rashkin was stripped of parliamentary immunity. What happens now?International news: Trilateral talks in Sochi, Zelensky cries coup, and Lukashenko meets with migrantsLaw and order: charges laid in prison torture case, Ekho Moskvy fined again, a new “foreign agent,” and 14 years for “kompromat”The pandemic: recovery certificates get a longer shelf life and a new covid strain prompts entry restrictions


🕯️Coal mine accident: 52 deaths and a surprise survivor (6-minute read)

Maxim Kiselev / TASS

The reported death toll from the November 25 blast at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Belovo, a town in Siberia’s Kemerovo region, has reached 52 people, making it the largest mine accident in Russia since 2010. According to officials, the blast that filled a section of the mine with toxic smoke was likely caused by a methane explosion. Search-and-rescue efforts have been suspended since Thursday evening due to the threat of another gas explosion. However, one survivor — a rescue worker who was presumed dead — emerged from the mine and was taken to hospital on Friday. The Russian investigative committee has opened a second criminal case in connection with the accident, arresting two inspectors from Rostekhnadzor’s local branch on suspicion of negligence. The mine’s parent company, one of Russia’s largest coal mining enterprises, SDS Ugol, has promised to pay compensation to the families of the victims.

👨‍🎨 Art for Meduza: #1day1news1picture (2-minute read)

For the past four months, Moscow-based graphic designer Alexander Vasin has expressed support for Meduza in his own special way — by taking on a “one day — one news story — one picture” challenge of his own invention. Vasin has been turning the headlines from Meduza articles into striking illustrations, published on his Instagram account under the hashtag #1day1news1picture. The very first illustration in the series, published on July 29, was based on the headline of a Meduza story about ladybugs swarming a beach in Russia’s southern Krasnodar Krai. Since then, Vasin has published more than 100 illustrations as part of the challenge.


🖊️Putin holds trilateral talks with Armenia’s Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s Aliyev in Sochi (After three hours of negotiations, the three leaders signed a joint statement promising to form a bilateral commission to delimit and demarcate the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia)🚨Ukraine’s Zelensky warns of planned coup involving Russia (Speaking to hand-picked audience at a press conference on Friday, Volodymyr Zelensky alleged that Russian “representatives” plan to attempt a government coup in Ukraine on December 1. Zelensky also claimed to have audio recordings of these “representatives” discussing the potential involvement of Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded by saying that Russia “never does such things” and has no plans of getting involved)🎥 Lukashenko meets with asylum seekers stranded on Belarus-Poland border (The Belarusian dictator visited a warehouse near the border that’s being used to temporarily house hundreds of migrants. While there, he gave a speech, telling migrants Belarus wouldn’t “politicize” their fate and calling on Germany to take in 2,000 people).

Law and order

⚖️ Meduza explains: Rashkin lost his immunity. What now? (3-minute read)

On November 25, the Russian State Duma stripped veteran Communist Party (KPRF) lawmaker Valery Rashkin of his parliamentary immunity. Lawmakers voted to uphold a request from the Attorney General’s Office to pursue criminal charges against Rashkin for illegal hunting, and authorized administrative charges against him, as well.

Prosecutors requested that the State Duma remove Rashkin’s immunity in order to pursue a criminal case opened in October, after Saratov police stopped Rashkin for drunk driving and found a butchered elk in his car. The officers arrested Rashkin and also drew up administrative charges against him after he refused to take a breathalyzer test. So what happens now that he’s lost parliamentary immunity? We’re glad you asked.

Questions asked and answered: What happened? What punishment could Valery Rashkin face? Why did he have to be stripped of immunity? Does this mean Rashkin might be jailed pending trial? Can he really be sent to prison? Did anyone from the KPRF vote to strip Rashkin of immunity? Is Valery Rashkin still a lawmaker?

More law and order news

👩‍⚖️ Former head of Saratov prison hospital jailed pending trial for inmate abuse (Pavel Gatsenko was charged with organizing the sexual abuse of inmates at the penitentiary service’s Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1 — a facility in the Saratov region that was the subject of an explosive torture video leak. The ex-head of the hospital’s security department is facing charges, too)💸 Ekho Moskvy fined eight more times for failing to tag ‘foreign agents’ (The radio station and its chief online editor were collectively fined more than $2,000 for failing to note the “foreign agent” status of organizations and media outlets mentioned in articles. Ekho Moskvy was handed 24 fines in October for the same offense)🕵️ Justice Ministry designates Sota editor-in-chief a ‘foreign agent’ (Journalist Oleg Yelanchik is the latest addition to Russia’s “foreign-agent media” registry, which now includes 99 individuals and organizations)⚖️ Moscow court sentences political strategist to 14 years in max-security prison for ‘kompromat’ scheme (Alexander Ustinov was convicted of fraud, extortion, and the illegal production and distribution of pornography online. The case included high-profile plaintiffs like VTB Bank and State Duma lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein. Ustinov pleaded innocent, calling the proceedings politically motivated).

The pandemic

🤒 Proof of recovery from COVID-19 to remain valid for one year (Russia’s health minister announced on Friday that QR-code certificates confirming a coronavirus diagnosis in the past year will be automatically renewed, making them valid for 12 months instead of the current six-month period)🙅‍♂️ Russia to restrict entry for travellers from Hong Kong and countries in southern Africa due to new coronavirus strain (From November 28, entry restrictions will apply to anyone coming from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Eswatini, and Tanzania, as well as from Hong Kong. The new covid variant, omicron (B.1.1.529), has yet to be detected in Russia).

We won’t give up Because you’re with us

I’m with you, Meduza

Yours, Meduza


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