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RFE/RL's Russia Review: Now With More Technicolor!

RUSSIA -- "The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II Captured in Color Photographs" By Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
RUSSIA -- "The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II Captured in Color Photographs" By Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
We'll get to the Technicolor shortly, but first...

RFE/RL's rundown on Russian politics, activism, and high-tech prison letters.

# Will selectivity or inclusivity win the day? A tussle is brewing in Washington over which Russian officials will make a U.S. list of sanctioned individuals the White House is preparing for publication next month. Some administration officials are advocating steps that would shorten the roster but supporters of a longer “Magnitsky list” are vowing to push back. Correspondent Richard Solash reports.

# Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service has launched a smartphone app that allows users to send messages to inmates, a service state prison workers call “unique” and unmatched in the world. Correspondent Tom Balmforth reports from Moscow.

# British writer and actor Stephen Fry today had a contentious interview with St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, author of the city’s infamous law banning “gay propaganda.” Fry, who was in the city to shoot part of a documentary called “Out There” about local gay communities, took to Twitter to inform his 5.5 million followers of Milonov’s views, and RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom reports the fallout.

# Radio Svoboda's new “Heroes” series offers a look at life in Russia through interviews with people in the midst of a significant life challenge. This first video interviews Alexander and Svetlana, a couple currently in the process of adopting a child and navigating the multilayered process. (In Russian.)

# The number of Russian applications before the European Court of Human Rights has dropped sharply in 2012. Russian officials say the decline is due to fewer Russians turning to the Strasbourg-based court for justice. But as correspondent Claire Bigg reports, Russian rights advocates have another explanation: the dispatch of lawyers hired by Moscow to the European Court.

# Photos that are more than 100 years old aren’t supposed to be in color, as the film format wasn’t widely available until the 1940's. So looking at the work of Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokhudin-Gorskii (1863-1944), who had the support of Tsar Nicholas II to undertake an ambitious project to document the people and places of the Russian Empire in the early 1900's, is akin to the wonderful moment in "The Wizard of Oz" when black and white unfolds to vibrant Technicolor.

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