Spotify Expands to Russia and Eastern Europe

In addition to Russia, Spotify was rolling out in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

«Launching in these 13 markets is an important moment in Spotify’s journey, especially as we welcome fans and artists in growing music markets like Russia, where streaming is being widely adopted,» Gustav Gyllenhammar, VP for Markets and Subscriber Growth, said in a statement.

Music streaming giant Spotify announced Tuesday it was launching its service in Russia and 12 other countries around Eastern Europe.

Spotify would become available to users immediately, according to a statement, which added that the Swedish streaming service was now accessible in 92 markets.

Spotify said Russia is the 17th largest market for streaming, and is growing at a pace that would see it reach number 10 by 2030.

Spotify has been relatively unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and even returned to profit in the first quarter of 2020.

In late April the music platform reported 286 million active users, of which 130 million were paying subscribers.

Russia Violates Women’s Rights During Childbirth Amid Coronavirus

Russia is among dozens of countries that have violated women’s rights during childbirth amid restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Open Democracy advocacy group said Thursday.

Women in at least 45 countries faced treatment that defied World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines this spring and summer, Open Democracy’s investigation said. These include forcibly separating mothers from newborns, performing C-sections without consent and blocking access to critical care because of restrictions.

“There is no reason… that women should be denied respectful care,” Quazi Monirul Islam, a doctor involved in drafting WHO’s 2005 childbirth guidelines, told Open Democracy.

In Russia, Open Democracy said maternity hospitals banned companions of choice to would-be mothers in at least three Siberian and Far Eastern cities between February and April.

In Moscow and three other cities, women’s health facilities have been either closed or repurposed during the Covid-19 outbreak, it said.

“The research clearly reveals how unnecessary restrictions constitute an alarming pattern of women’s health and rights being deprioritized during the crisis,” said Petra De Sutter, a Belgian lawmaker, gynecologist and president of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF).

Open Democracy’s investigation follows warnings by Russian women’s rights activists in April that Covid-19 restrictions in Moscow put more than 100,000 pregnant women at risk of unwanted pregnancies or botched abortions.

Only three out of 44 Moscow clinics were said to have continued to provide abortions through Russia’s compulsory medical insurance program. The mayor’s office denied the claim, saying that only one facility was repurposed for Covid-19 patients at the height of the outbreak.

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