Russian Digest 5/8
Top daily stories I'm keeping an eye on
Ukraine’s Operational Command South reported on May 8 that the ships are combat-ready and equipped with over 50 cruise missiles. via Kyiv Independent
Russia sets the next fire…
Bibilov: a referendum on the accession of South Ossetia to Russia will be held
TSKHINVAL, May 9 - RIA Novosti. The referendum on the accession of South Ossetia to Russia will take place, the current president of the republic, Anatoly Bibilov, told RIA Novosti after he recognized the victory of his opponent Alan Gagloev in the second round of elections for the head of the republic.
"There will be a referendum," he said.
Bibilov noted that all the documents for the referendum had been collected and submitted to the Central Election Commission. via RIA Novosti
Another energy executive dies…
The former top manager of Lukoil died in Mytishchi from toad poison
A series of strange deaths in the gas industry has spread to the oil industry.
In Mytishchi, after a session with local shamans, the former top manager of the Lukoil oil company, Alexander Subbotin, died. He was a member of the board of OOO Trading House Lukoil.
Subbotin may have died after an anti-hangover session with the shaman Magua and his wife. They received clients in their private home and offered treatment with poisonous toads, according to the telegram channel Mash.
During the procedure, shamans incise the skin and instill toad venom into the wound - after vomiting, the patient supposedly should feel better. Even shamans called spirits, sacrificed animals, and bathed the lost in cock's blood.
Subbotin had known the Magua family for a long time and used their services regularly. But the last session didn't work. Getting rid of a hangover at the shamans, he felt unwell: his heart ached. Shaman Magua and his wife decided not to call an ambulance but tried to cure Subbotin with Corvalol. After treatment, the oilman was put to sleep in the basement, where he died. The shamans told the arriving police that they were just friends with the deceased.
Alexander Subbotin is the brother of Valery Subbotin, former Vice President for Oil Supply and Sales of Lukoil. He worked in the central office, and he was perceived as one of the successors to President Vagit Alekperov. via Moscow Times
4. Interview: Why The 'Failure' Of Russian Spies, Generals Is Leading To 'Apocalyptic' Thinking In The Kremlin
As frustration over its stalled war in Ukraine and curtailed goals on the ground has grown, it appears the Kremlin may have begun to look for enemies within.
Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist who has covered the country’s shadowy security services for decades, reported in April that Colonel General Sergei Beseda, the head of the foreign intelligence branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB), was detained and later sent to Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.
[The Russian military is] quite pro-war, actually -- aggressively pro-war, I’d say. They're just not happy with the way it has been conducted."
The reported move was seen as a sign of a deepening rift between the Russian military and the FSB over its alleged intelligence failures leading up to Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and of growing paranoia in Moscow that forces within the intelligence apparatus may even be working against the Kremlin. via RFERL
5. Russia’s ultimate political survivor faces a wartime reckoning
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a fixture of Russian political life since the Soviet Union’s fall, could be on the hook for military failures.
But in the 2½ months since the Kremlin launched a war against Ukraine, the facade that Shoigu meticulously presented over the past decade has disintegrated into an ugly reality, laying bare the incompetence and barbarity of one of the world’s biggest militaries.
Shoigu’s future is now on the line. Having retreated from its attack on Kyiv, the Russian military is facing immense pressure to save face and capture a larger swath of Ukraine’s east. Questions persist about how much blame Shoigu should bear for the Russian force’s failures — as opposed to Russia’s military leaders and intelligence chiefs, widely seen to have miscalculated how much Ukrainians would resist. via Washington Post
6. Dozens feared dead and injured after Russia bombs school in eastern Ukraine
A Russian airstrike on a Ukrainian school that was serving as a bomb shelter for civilians has left dozens of people feared injured and dead, a Ukrainian official and several survivors said Sunday.
The incident in the eastern village of Bilohorivka could rank among the deadliest attacks on civilians in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. It came as President Vladimir Putin’s forces intensified their push to consolidate territory here ahead of May 9, an annual holiday of pomp and circumstance in Russia known as Victory Day. via Washington Post
7. Hong Kong's next leader is a hardline former police officer who took on the city's protesters via CNN