2016 in pictures:
A nerve-racking year
for Russia
The doping scandal, the Panama Papers,
the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey and the arrest of a federal minister – 2016 was a real endurance test for Russia. What other events were captured in pictures and stuck in the memory this year?
March 8. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted to having used meldonium, a substance that had been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since Jan. 1. Other Russian athletes also tested positive for meldonium.

Source: Getty Images.
April 3. A number of high-ranking Russian officials featured in the Panama Papers, an international journalistic investigation into offshore companies used by hundreds of politicians and businesspeople. Among them was a childhood friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, cellist Sergei Roldugin, whom the authors of the report described as the Russian president's "wallet," the man responsible for managing Putin's personal fortune.

Source: Aleksandr Nikolaev/Interpress/TASS
April 29. Sochi hosted the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Source: Getty Images.
May 5. The Mariinsky Theater orchestra led by Valery Gergiev, and with the participation of cellist Sergei Roldugin, gave a concert in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra after it was reclaimed from militants (however in December ISIS retook it).

Source: Mikhail Voskresensky / RIA Novosti
May 6. Russia hosted the ice-hockey world championship. Canada defended its title, beating Finland 2:0 in the final.

Source: AP.
July 15. "The terrorist attack in Nice is very close." Russians laid flowers and expressed condolences over the terror attack on the French Riviera that claimed 84 lives.

Source: Sergei Savostyanov / TASS
July 26. The game Pokémon Go captivated the whole world, including Russia. In Yekaterinburg (1,100 miles east of Moscow) mystery enthusiasts turned a round-shaped stone monument situated near the Drama Theater into a giant Poké Ball.

Source: Donat Sorokin / TASS
Sept. 5. The closing ceremony of the Spasskaya Tower international military music festival.

Source: Marina Lystseva / TASS
Sept. 10. Moscow launched a light rail system called the Moscow Central Ring. One of the country's biggest transport projects, it cost over 100 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) and took just four years to build.

Source: AP.
Sept. 10. Vladimir Putin poses for a photo with models dressed as brides in Red Square during Moscow Day celebrations in the city.

Source: Reuters.
Nov. 4. A monument to Prince Vladimir, who in 988 made Christianity the official religion in ancient Russia, was unveiled in Borovitskaya Square in central Moscow. The numerous arguments about the symbolism of the 17-meter-high statue made it the most discussed monument of the year.

Source: Reuters.
Nov. 8. The U.S. presidential election interested Russians more than the State Duma election that was held in September, with the race to the White House followed by 69 percent of Russians. The news of Republican candidate Donald Trump's victory was greeted with champagne at the Russian State Duma.

Pictured: Felix, a male polar bear, holds a portrait of presidential candidate Donald Trump in his mouth as he predicts the result of the U.S. presidential election at the Royev Ruchei zoo in Krasnoyarsk (2,100 miles east of Moscow) on Nov. 7, 2016.

Source: Reuters.
Nov. 15. Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was arrested while receiving a $2-million bribe for the ministry's approval of a deal allowing Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft to purchase a controlling stake in Bashneft, which belonged to the state. This was the first case in modern Russian history in which a serving minister was detained and the highest-profile corruption scandal to date.

Source: Sergei Guneyev / RIA Novosti
Nov. 23. Members of the Skipper yacht club ended the sailing season on the river Yenisei dressed as Grandfather Frost (the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus) and his granddaughter Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden. The outside temperature was about minus 21 degrees Сelsius (-6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Source: Reuters.
Dec. 19. Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot dead in front of TV cameras at the opening of a photo exhibition in Ankara. The gunman is seen in the background on the left.

Source: AP.
Dec. 25. One of the 92 people killed in the Tu-154 crash over the Black Sea was Yelizaveta Glinka (also known as 'Doctor Liza'), a well-known Russian physician, charity worker and human rights activist. Homeless people, terminally ill patients, children of war – throughout her life Glinka sought to help all those in need, devoting all her time and energy to her patients. And while her activities in the Donbass and Syria were sometimes seen as controversial abroad, 'Doctor Liza' was cherished by many Russians.

Source: Mikhail Sokolov/TASS
Read more:
Photo editors: Andrei Zaitsev, Slava Petrakina.
Text by Ekaterina Sinelschikova.
Main photo: April 28. The first space launch was carried out from the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur Region. Vostochny is Russia's first civilian cosmodrome. The first manned mission is expected to be launched from there after 2023.
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