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Take a day off after ‘tense’ weekend, Russia tells journalists

Knackered after covering a stunning march on Moscow by a small army of mercenaries? Take a day off after a “tense” weekend, Russian authorities told journalists on Sunday.

An armed rebellion by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had vowed on Friday to topple the Russian military leadership and begun a march on Moscow, sparked the country’s largest political crisis in decades and prompted many newsrooms to work around the clock.

Moscow authorities introduced “anti-terror” measures and said residents will have a day off on Monday, even though Wagner chief Prigozhin suddenly aborted his revolt on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, the Russian ministry of digital development also pitched in with recommendations, saying journalists and IT workers should take a day to rest.

“Saturday was a very emotional and tense day,” the ministry of digital development, communications and mass media said in a statement on social media.

“We recommend giving employees of IT and telecom companies and media a day off.”

The ministry singled out employees of companies working round-the-clock and media workers, who operated in regions “at the epicentre of the events,” saying they needed an opportunity to rest.

“Many employees of the digital development ministry spent the weekend at their workplace,” the statement said, “so we also made this decision for our employees.”

Wagner’s aborted revolt has left many in Russia and abroad stunned, with even seasoned political analysts confused about Prigozhin’s purposes. 

Prigozhin’s announcement of the sudden climbdown sparked ridicule in Russia, and the latest audio message on his Telegram channel announcing he was turning around his forces has racked up nearly 400,000 “clown face” emojis.

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