Crimea, a peninsula of some 2 million people, resisted the authority of the leadership that came to power in Ukraine in February 2014. At a referendum which was held on March 16 voters overwhelmingly supported secession from Ukraine and joining Russia. President Vladimir Putin officialy signed the bills on accession of Crimean peninsula and Sevastopol with Russian Federation into laws on March 21. He asserted that the referendum was held in accordance with international law and UN Charter. The US and EU imposed sanctions on senior Russian officials, including visa bans and asset freezes, in protest of Russia's support of Crimea's actions.
In 2013, two broad amnesties extending to various categories of convicted criminals entered into effect in Russia. On July 2, a bill proposing an economic crime amnesty was approved by the State Duma, as a result of which about 1,300 prisoners convicted for economic crimes have been released from custody. On December 18, the State Duma unanimously adopted a draft bill on the presidential amnesty, which had been arranged to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. This sweeping amnesty applied to prisoners convicted of having committed non-violent crimes and allowed for their release, as well as stipulating that charges against detainees should be dropped.
Sulfuric acid was heaved in the face of Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin as he attempted to enter his home in January 2013. As a result of the assault, Filin suffered third degree burns to his face and eyes. In March the Interior Ministry announced the arrests of the alleged perpetrators of the attack. One of them was the leading Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko. The rivalry allegedly occured over a girl.
Russian real-estate mogul Sergei Polonsnky's links to Russia and Cambodia fell into a state of turmoil after both countries launched criminal cases against him. Polonsky was detained in Cambodia in November 2013 upon the request of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, which seeks the businessman’s extradition. Polonsky was charged in absentia in July 2013 as part of a criminal case involving the embezzlement of over $176 million from the participants in a residential construction project in central Moscow. In addition, Polonsky still faces kidnapping charges in Cambodia relating to an incident on board a boat carrying a group of Russians celebrating New Year. Initially at least, prosecutors maintained that Polonsky and others on-board the ship threatened the crew with knives, locked them in a hold, and then forced them to jump overboard. The men denied the charges, stating that they had an argument with the Cambodians over the amount of the New Year fireworks used. Polonsky initially made waves after having been punched in the face on national television by billionaire Alexander Lebedev, after Polonsky accused the latter of spreading rumors about a supposed crack in the Moscow City skyscraper that his firm was building.
Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner was detained in Minsk on August 26, 2013. According to the Belarusian authorities, the criminal case against him was launched as the result of a probe into abuse of power allegations that led to grave damage to the public interests of Belarus. The charges followed a decision by Uralkali to dissolve its international cartel with Belaruskali, sending potash prices spiraling down. Baumgetner was turned over to Russia after a Moscow court sanctioned his arrest in absentia.
On January 24, 2011, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in the international arrivals hall of Moscow's Domodedovo Airoport. The bomber was Magomed Yevloyev, a 20-year-old native of the Russian Republic of Ingushetia. Doku Umarov, Russia's most wanted terrorist at the time, claimed responsibility for the attack. Altogether, 28 militants connected with the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization were linked to the attack.
30-year-old Muscovite lawyer Dmitry Vinogradov stormed his office with two semi-automatic shotguns, killing six and injuring one. A text book misanthrope, Vinogradov declared in a rambling manifesto posted to his VKontakte social network account shortly before the rampage that he hates life and the only way to justify it is "to destroy as many particles of this human compost as possible".
The law, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed in June, bans the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, making it an offense punishable with hefty fines. The law has been widely criticized in Russia and abroad as a clampdown on the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The vast majority of Russians appear to back the so-called gay propaganda law, with consistently over three-quarters of people polled over the spring and summer expressing a negative attitude to the issue of LGBT rights.
Whistleblowing blogger turned opposition leader Alexei Navalny is charged with the theft of over 10,000 cubic meters of timber, which was allegedly stolen from Kirovles company between May and September 2009. If convicted Navalny faces up to ten years in prison. The case was initially dropped, but was revived when an inquiry was launched by Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin.