Russia’s top scientific institution, the Academy of Sciences, has elected a new head following the departure of Vladimir Fortov, who had served in the post since 2013. The process of selecting a new RAS chief had been plagued by scandal and intrigue since March, when an attempt to hold elections for president was suddenly halted as Fortov and two other candidates pulled out of the race: rumor had it that the Kremlin wanted to replace Fortov with their own hand-picked candidate, Vladislav Panchenko.
However, ultimately Panchenko was unable to sway the vote in his favor, and the academics elected 62-year-old Alexander Sergeyev, who heads the Institute of Applied Physics in Nizhny Novgorod. Sergeyev had vehemently criticized the government’s forced reform of the Academy and was a member of the dissident club of scientists called the “July 1st Club.”
Russia was ordered to pay damages to relatives of victims and survivors of the 2004 Beslan School siege after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that authorities did not do enough to prevent the attack on the school and that subsequent use of heavy weapons against the attackers contributed to massive casualties.
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