Articles by Yekaterina Kravtsova



New U.S. Sanctions Target Putin's Allies

The U.S. on Monday expanded its blacklist of Russian officials and companies to face sanctions over Moscow's illegitimate and unlawful actions in Ukraine, adding more members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle in a clear attempt to hit the Russian president where it hurts.

Separatists in Donetsk Give Khodorkovsky the Boot

Insurgents in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk occupying the local city hall on Sunday denied entry to former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, calling him a national traitor and urging him to watch Russia's state-run media for information on the crisis.

Vkontakte Founder Flees Russia, Claims Persecution

Pavel Durov, the founder of Russias largest social networking website, fled the country on Tuesday, a day after he said he was forced out as the companys CEO for refusing to share users personal data with Russian law enforcement agencies.

Putin Signs Law Easing Citizenship Procedure

President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday simplifying procedures for obtaining citizenship for Russian speakers living outside the country and those who already live in Russia but have either no Russian citizenship or no citizenship at all.

Fatal Shootout Torpedoes Geneva Deal

The killing of at least one man at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on Sunday has exacerbated doubts over the implementation of the recently reached Geneva agreement, with Moscow condemning Kiev for failing to restrain armed militants.

West and Russia Agree on Steps to Ease Ukraine Tensions

After seven hours of talks in Geneva on Thursday, Russia, the U.S., the European Union and Ukraine reached a deal on a joint plan to ease tensions in Ukraine.

Russia's Top Diplomatic School in Turmoil Over Crimea Annexation

Russia's top university for aspiring diplomats, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, makes a show of being a worldly place.

Crimea Annexation Spurs Some Russians to Emigrate

National polls appear to show widespread support among Russians for the government's seizure and annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month. But not everyone in the country views the move as positive — and some see it as the last straw.

Observers Say Russia Had Crimea Plan for Years

As fallout from Russia's annexation of Crimea continues to build with economic sanctions and diplomatic spats, speculation has grown over whether the Kremlin's decision to take the Ukrainian territory was really as spontaneous as it seemed. Observers say plans to return lost Russian territories, including Crimea, have been sitting on the shelf for years.

Putin's Crimea Move Cripples Opposition

During his triumphant speech on Crimea's annexation earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin stressed that his policy was supported by an "absolute majority of Russians," saying those who opposed it were "national traitors" acting on behalf of Western countries.

Russia Refuses to Budge Despite Warnings

Russia has blocked the United Nations Security Council from declaring invalid Sunday's referendum on the fate of Ukraine's pro-Russian region of Crimea, after talks between Russia and the United States on the Ukrainian crisis ended in a stalemate.

Lavrov and Kerry Fail to Reach Agreement on Ukraine

Two days before Crimea is set to vote on whether to split from Ukraine and join Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his U.S. and British counterparts in an attempt to de-escalate tensions over the referendum, but the two sides failed to reach any agreement.

Crimea Vote Galvanizes Separatists in Russia

For separatist groups in Dagestan, Tatarstan and other regions of Russia, the Kremlin's support of a referendum on independence in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula would seem to provide an opportunity for their own movements, which have long been repressed by Russian authorities.

Muscovites Rally For and Against Kremlin Actions in Ukraine

As temperatures in Moscow reached a record high on Monday, hundreds of people rushed to one of the city's central squares to express clashing opinions regarding the tense situation in Ukraine, where forces believed to be Russian have taken control of Crimea.

Avalanche Warnings and Red Tape Threaten Sochi's Legacy Ski Resorts

As the most expensive Winter Olympics in history fade into memory, the Kremlin hopes that the ski resorts of Krasnaya Polyana will live on as a lasting legacy.

Activists Say No Flood of Refugees Observed

The Federal Migration Service's recent announcement that an unprecedented number of Ukrainian citizens have rushed to Russia to seek asylum amid an escalating crisis back home has come under scrutiny from observers who say the number is no higher than in previous years.

Sochi Ready for Tourists After Games End

With the end of the Olympics, the number of volunteers and Russian sports fans in Sochi has fallen, but crowds of foreign visitors still flooded Sochi on Monday, making the city look like more of an international tourist destination than it was during the games.

Sochi Hailed as Success Despite Minor Blips

As President Vladimir Putin declared the 2014 Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee's president said the Sochi Games had "proven critics wrong" and praised the Russian president's handling of the event.

Sochi Notebook: Ticket Scalpers Given Free Rein Outside Olympic Park

Olympic Park admission tickets cost 200 rubles ($5.60), but with all tickets for the last three days already sold, scalpers have gained an opportunity to earn big bucks.

Sochi Notebook: Russian Fans Marvel at New Facilities

Even with the tens of thousands of sports fans who have come to Sochi for the Winter Games from around the world, Russian visitors predominate at the Olympics.

Former Anarchists Make Sochi Environment Their Cause

On a hill covered by blooming mimosa bushes in the small village of Verkhneye Vesyoloye, residents enjoy a splendid view of the Olympic Park and its modern facilities. But many of these villagers do not share the Olympic spirit.

Sochi Notebook: Medal-Flavored Champagne Anyone?

SOCHI — After the official medals ceremony each night, Russian athletes tend to celebrate their victories in a narrow circle — but in accordance with a truly Caucasian tradition.

Sochi Notebook: Medal-Flavored Champagne Anyone?

SOCHI — After the official medals ceremony each night, Russian athletes tend to celebrate their victories in a narrow circle — but in accordance with a truly Caucasian tradition.

Olympic Games Putting Strain on Sochi Museum

With the Winter Olympic Games under way in Sochi, sports have taken over the city completely, and even the Fine Arts Museum is hosting exhibitions dedicated to athletics.

Sochi Notebook: 'Tolerance House' Offers No Solace for Gays

Walking one day through central Sochi I saw a sign for "Tolerance House." My first thought was that it was a place for gay Olympic visitors. But gays are not welcome.

Sochi's 'Tolerance House' Offers no Solace for Gays

Walking one day through central Sochi I saw a sign for "Tolerance House." My first thought was that it was a place for gay Olympic visitors. But gays are not welcome.

Sochi Security Gets High Marks

Security concerns over terrorist attacks have declined since the Sochi Winter Olympics kicked off over the weekend, and visitors say they have not been inconvenienced by security measures despite the presence of thousands of law enforcement officers.

Sochi Notebook: Want to Ski? Only One Resort Is Open

If you are inspired by the Winter Games and want to try skiing or snowboarding yourself in Sochi, you have only one choice: the Mountain Carousel, or Gornaya Karusel, ski resort.

Want to Ski? Only One Resort Is Open

If you are inspired by the Winter Games and want to try skiing or snowboarding yourself in Sochi, you have only one choice: the Mountain Carousel, or Gornaya Karusel, ski resort.

Cheers and Jeers From Sochi Residents for Opening Ceremony

The Olympic opening ceremony marked a particularly special occasion for Sochi residents, who have spent the past 6 1/2 years experiencing the excitement and upheaval of preparations for the Games. But not everyone in the city was able to celebrate the evening as they had hoped.