Polina Ivanova Profile picture
Correspondent @FT covering Russia and Ukraine. Previously: @Reuters investigations team. DMs open. Or write to me: polina.ivanova@ft.com
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Jan 10 5 tweets 2 min read
Chinese officials in private conversations with the ⁦@FT⁩ strove to distance Beijing from Moscow on the issue of Ukraine —

Some are scathing. “The invasion decision was made by a very small group of people. China shouldn’t simply follow Russia.” on.ft.com/3vOQrcq Fascinating story from @FT China team.

From a diplomatic perspective, China’s main aim is to improve relations with some countries in the west, after a period which has at times left Beijing feeling uncomfortably isolated. The focus is on ties with Europe
Nov 20, 2022 9 tweets 5 min read
On a snowy afternoon in Moscow last week, a trickle of people entered a vast hall under the Kremlin walls, past riot police, to see a v unusual new show: an exhibition on Ukraine.

For a walk through the Kremlin view of the world, a thread:
on.ft.com/3EqTX0C Outside, Ukrainian flag colours hang on Manezh hall — even wearing ribbons of those colours in Moscow can get you in trouble these days. But it’s the poster for a show organised by the Russian government and Orthodox church: “Ukraine: between two epochs”
Oct 30, 2022 5 tweets 3 min read
How does looting actually work? For weeks we have investigated the grain trade out of occupied Ukraine - finding a rare trove of documents, and a complex shadow operation by private companies and arms of the Russian state itself.
w @xtophercook+@laurapitel
ft.com/content/89b06f… The documents - including invoices, cargo manifests, certificates of origin - provide a complete paper trail for one shipment of milling wheat, from occupied Zaporizhzhia to the global market.

They also show how cover stories are produced...
Sep 23, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Yesterday I spoke to a woman from the ethnic minority region of Buryatia.

Her husband - a father of five with no military experience - had been bombarded with phone calls from local officials saying they were coming to give him conscription papers.

on.ft.com/3ScGajZ The couple switched off their phones and left. But soon they were short of options.

Conscription officers came knocking and checked for them inside their house, friends said. Their village was not safe either: relatives warned them that men had been rounded up there that night.
Mar 25, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
Russia's military held a big briefing this afternoon, announcing the war was entering a 'second phase'.

Here's a summary of how Russia, at this point in the war, is depicting what it set out to do, why, and where we're at. (relaying their words, pls don't shoot msnger) Firstly, the generals said Russia had always intended only to 'liberate' the Donbas, that was what it set out to do. It had two options: fight a war in the east, but allow Kyiv to replenish its forces, or start off by knocking out Ukrainian military capacities across the country.
Mar 16, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
Putin today labelled some Russians as traitors, and then some...

Full quotes below and link to transcript here. And shivers.
kremlin.ru/events/preside… The west, Putin said, is betting on the support of a 'fifth column', on "national traitors"...

"...on those who make money here, in our country, but live there, and "live" not even in the geographical sense, but in their thoughts, in their consciousness, which is enslaved."
Mar 15, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Marina Ovsyannikova exits court after being fined for protesting the war live on Channel One video from @the_ins_ru
Mar 15, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Many Russians woke up this week to find a blank page and a buffer wheel where their Instagram feeds used to be.

A story on what it’s like to suddenly be cut off from the western digital world — with ⁦@MsHannahMurphyon.ft.com/3ta0FUd Though internet monitoring sites are showing Instagram as down across Russia many people are also finding that the blocks are patchy — and VPNs are doing the trick.

Demand for VPN services in Russia skyrocketed 2,088 per cent on Sunday.
Mar 11, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
BREAKING - Russia just started process of banning Instagram.

It’s huge because this is really a much loved platform in Russia and also the source of income for lots of small businesses across the country. And for young Moscow elites it’s.. everything Whatsapp too
Mar 1, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Russian defence ministry is warning - according to the TASS and RIA - that it is about to strike several targets in Kyiv. One at least may be in the very heart of the city. Where it previously maintained a pretence of not targeting anything near residents -- now it's telling residents near any targets to leave their homes. Jesus
Feb 25, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
#BREAKING - Gunfire heard in the government quarter of central Kyiv @AP is reporting Shooting in the centre, Russian troops entering Kyiv from the north.

Ukraine’s army called on residents of the northern Kyiv district of Obolon to resist.

“Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!” the defence ministry said.
Feb 25, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
Woke up to two loud bangs in central Kyiv, around 04:20 am.

Videos (unverified!!) shared by residents on social media show an explosion in the sky raining burning shrapnel onto the city.

Twitter suggesting it is the work of Ukraine’s air defences intercepting a missile Others reporting they heard it too
Feb 24, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Our report out of Kyiv this morning as it awakes to the sound of explosions and the Russian invasion begins.

led by ⁦@JohnReedwriteson.ft.com/35hwOQp Lines of cars jammed the main roads out of the capital as residents fled, leaving the city centre deserted.

People with suitcases in hand crowded into metro trains, tried to buy medical supplies at pharmacies, and lined up at ATMs to withdraw cash.
Feb 24, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Explosions reported around Kyiv’s airport and heard in the city. It’s 05:30am here. Ok now I can hear them
Feb 23, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
An incredibly powerful and moving speech by Ukraine’s president Zelensky tonight.

He addressed the Russian people directly in a bid to prevent the potential outbreak of a major and full-blown war — Listing his deep personal ties to the Donbas region in east Ukraine, he stressed Kyiv wanted peace and urged Russians to question the information presented to them by state TV.

“You are being told that we hate Russian culture. How could we hate a culture, any culture?” he said.
Sep 25, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
Last night in the early hours of the morning Valentina Chupik, the most dogged defender of migrants’ rights in Moscow, said she had been detained trying to return to Russia.

In a series of anxious msgs she said she’d been banned from Russia until 2051. I can no longer reach her Chupik is the first point of call for thousands of migrants from Central Asia working in Moscow if anything happened, constantly fielding calls about bosses who didn’t pay up, bad landlords, abuse by law enforcement, deportation and so on
May 15, 2021 11 tweets 3 min read
Russia has produced just 33 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine so far. We spoke to people across the supply chain to find out why:

with @ykymykovna
reuters.com/business/healt… 1. Initial scale-up was hard.

The chief exec of one firm described working as if "blindfolded" at first.

"Vaccine production takes 1-1.5 months... Then, you compare output to the reference sample. If it matches, you're lucky. If it doesn't, you pour out the product you made."
Feb 20, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
Russia has approved a third vaccine, CoviVac.

It was developed by the St. Petersburg institute that created the main polio vaccine, back in the 1950s

And it uses the same method, something that sets it apart from other COVID-19 shots around.

Full story:
reuters.com/article/us-hea… The Chumakov Centre, founded in 1955 in St Petersburg by Mikhail Chumakov, is known for its work with U.S. scientist Albert Sabin at the height of the Cold War, which led to the production of the widely-used polio vaccine.
Sep 4, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
Russia just published the results of its Phase I/II COVID-19 vaccine trial - first clinical trial data on the vaccine thus far.

Key points:
1- published in The Lancet, int'l peer-reviewed journal
2- jab created immune response at 1.5 times of someone who was sick with covid 3- also produced T-cell response which could give longer-term immunity
4- immune response seen in 100% of trial participants
5- trial involved 76 people, 38 of them received the two-shot jab which is the main one Russia is marketing
Jul 9, 2020 20 tweets 7 min read
Eight days since voting ended on July 1 on Russia's constitutional reforms, that open the door for Putin to stay on in power for another decade and a half.

Since then, a flurry of arrests, detentions, trials. And a tornado.

Here's one week of journalism in Russia: Friday. July 3.

Over a dozen journalists are detained picketing in Moscow in support of colleague Svetlana Prokopyeva, accused of justifying terrorism in a 2019 article about a suicide bombing against the FSB.
Jan 15, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
#BREAKING - Russian government to resign in full, Prime Minister Medvedev to be appointed deputy head of Security Council This means all ministers stepping down, pending re-appointment. Putin has asked them to keep working in their current jobs until new govt formed