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Russia Mourns Beloved 'Red Army Choir'

Alexandrov Ensemble decimated in Christmas Day plane crash

(Newser) - The Russian military choir that lost most of its singers in a plane crash Sunday is often described as the Kremlin's "singing weapon." The Alexandrov Ensemble, sometimes referred to as the Red Army choir, was founded in the 1920s, reports the AP . It won global fame with...

Russian Plane Crash Kills Military Choir, All 92 Aboard

Military plane bound for Syria goes down in Sochi minutes after takeoff

(Newser) - A Russian plane headed to an air base in Syria with 92 people aboard crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday minutes after taking off from the resort city of Sochi. There was no indication anyone survived the crash of the Tu-154, which belonged to the Defense Ministry and was...

US Olympian Runs Into Wolf— in Sochi Dorm
 That Olympic Wolf? 
 A Kimmel Stunt 

That Olympic Wolf? A Kimmel Stunt

Kate Hansen was in on viral video prank

(Newser) - It seemed like the ultimate Sochi fail, but it was actually a Jimmy Kimmel prank: American luger Kate Hansen claimed to have filmed a wolf roaming the halls of Olympic Village Wednesday, tweeting out the video link, posted to YouTube, along with this caption: "Wolf in my hall?!?...

2 Pussy Rioters Briefly Detained Over Sochi Theft

Police say the women were released 3 hours later

(Newser) - Not long after their release from prison, two members of the Russian band Pussy Riot have again been detained, NBC News reports. This time, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were accused of theft, tweeted Tolokonnikova: "On the 16th we were detained for 7 hours, on 17th we spent 10...

With Billionaire's Help, Sochi Strays Escaping Death

Shelter has saved 80 dogs so far

(Newser) - Hundreds of stray dogs have been killed ahead of tomorrow's opening ceremony in Sochi, but some may escape that fate thanks to a shelter funded by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Volnoe Deloe—or Good Will, roughly—has been grabbing up as many stray dogs as it can around Sochi...

The Disaster That Is My Sochi Hotel

Stacy St. Clair had quite the morning in Sochi

(Newser) - American journalists are turning to Twitter to moan about their Sochi hotel accommodations, and the complaints go well beyond there being no mints on the pillow. A sampling of the issues, per the Washington Post : no hotel lobby floor built yet; only one of 11 rooms booked five months ago...

Sochi Poisons 'Threatening' Stray Dogs

Man hired to cull dogs calls them 'biological trash'

(Newser) - Visitors to the winter Olympics in Sochi won't have to worry about stray dogs pestering them—because the city is killing them off with poison, Business Insider reports. Homeless dogs are a common feature throughout Russia, but now dog bodies are lying around Sochi and "don't appear...

Sochi Mayor: There Are No Gays Here

At least, 'I don't bloody know them'

(Newser) - There aren't any gay people in Sochi—or so its mayor claims ahead of the Winter Olympics. Anatoly Pakhomov told the BBC that being gay is "not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city." Questioned further, he acknowledged...

Militants: We Have a 'Present' for Olympic Visitors

Threat sparks Sochi security fears

(Newser) - A chilling threat for visitors to next month's Sochi Olympics: Islamic militants say they have a "present" ready for those attending the Games in southern Russia. The threat was made in a video that surfaced yesterday, sparking serious security fears with the event less than three weeks away,...

Crazy Restricted Zone Goes Up Around Sochi Today

Vladimir Putin's measures may be most extreme of any Olympics

(Newser) - An ominous new report on Vocativ says the Sochi Olympics may be the most extreme, security-wise, in the history of the Games—the site describes "a gulag-style restricted area" instituted by Vladimir Putin. The Christian Science Monitor calls the restricted zone the "ring of steel," an area...

German President to Boycott Sochi Olympics

Joachim Gauck cites Russia's human rights abuses

(Newser) - German President Joachim Gauck has become the highest-profile political figure to say "nyet" to next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The former pastor, whose position is largely ceremonial, says he plans to stay away because of the Putin regime's human rights abuses and harassment of the...

Russia Will Use 'Prism on Steroids' to Monitor Olympics

Will track all Internet and phone communication at Sochi

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin promised the 2014 Olympics will celebrate the values of "openness and friendship" as he struggled to light the Olympic flame today, but documents obtained by the Guardian suggest that's all just hot air. Russian investigative journalists have found that the country's FSB security service has...

Sochi's Olympic Flame Lit —With the Sun

Torch begins 40K-mile trek to Russia's Winter Olympics

(Newser) - The sun's rays were harnessed today to spark the flame that will travel some 40,000 miles to kick off Sochi's 2014 Olympic Games, reports the BBC , in a ceremony held in Olympus, Greece. The flame first passed to Russian hockey sensation Aleksandr Ovechkin, who carried the torch...

Crime War Brews in City Hosting Winter Olympics

Sochi remains tense after mob assassinations

(Newser) - A city with subtropical weather and palm trees already seemed an odd choice for the Winter Olympics. Now fears of an all-out mafia war are rising in Sochi, Russia's host city for the 2014 games, the Guardian reports. The assassination of top mobster Aslan Usoyan in January left a...

Russia Rolls Out Red Carpet for Depardieu

What 75% tax? Russia offers tax-dodger a free apartment

(Newser) - Things are looking up for Gerard Depardieu: Not only is the French actor a newly minted Russian , he's already broken bread with Vladimir Putin, gotten a hero's welcome, and scored a free apartment. Depardieu grabbed his shiny new Russia passport from Pooty-Poot last night over dinner in Sochi,...

Olympic Eye Now on Sochi ... and Its Potential Woes

Russia preps for 2014 amid concerns about snow, terrorist attacks

(Newser) - The London Olympics are over, which means it's time to start looking toward the next Games: Winter 2014 in Russia. Preparations are ongoing in Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea complete with palm trees. Yep, palm trees. Whether it will get cold enough to produce a sufficient...

Olympic Torch Passes to Sochi
 Olympic Torch Passes to Sochi 
vancouver olympics

Olympic Torch Passes to Sochi

Canada celebrates Olympics at closing ceremony; Russia up next, in 2014

(Newser) - An Olympics that began with the death of a luger ended tonight with an exuberant celebration of Canada, reflecting a determined comeback by the host country's organizers and athletes. A festive crowd of 60,000 jammed into BC Place Stadium for the closing ceremony, many of them Canadians abuzz over...

Litvinenko Murder Suspect Halts Mayor Bid

Party says he lacked enough backers for Olympic city race

(Newser) - The UK's top suspect in the killing of Alexander Litvinenko has quit the mayoral race in the Russian city set to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics, Reuters reports. “The leadership of the party took a final decision that my candidacy would not be put forward,” Andrei Lugovoy said,...

Litvinenko Murder Suspect to Run for Mayor of Olympic City

Lugovoy doesn't care if Brits skip 2014 Games

(Newser) - Russia fought hard to win the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, reports the Los Angeles Times, and now a second battle is heating up: the race for mayor of the Black Sea resort town, which is beginning billions' worth of construction. Among the contenders are a media magnate with a...

'Independent' South Ossetia Dreams Big

Locals want to make province into a tax haven, ski resort

(Newser) - When the Russian government recognized South Ossetia as an independent state last week, the international reaction was not only anger but incredulity. The breakaway Georgian province has only 70,000 citizens, and they have suffered both wretched poverty and years of fighting. But citizens insist that theirs is a viable...

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