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Azerbaijan Arrests Blogger; Ukraine Arrests Tax Chief; Hungary Detains Asylum Seekers; United Russia’s Network; Balkan Rumblings; And More...

VISUAL REPORTS

THE POWER VERTICAL: Comintern 2.0?

Over the past three months, Russia’s ruling United Russia party has signed agreements with two far-right European parties: Italy's Northern League and Austria's Freedom Party.

Anticorruption Blogger Jailed In Azerbaijan

Blogger Mehman Huseynov is well known in Azerbaijan for investigating alleged government corruption. A Baku court has sentenced him to two years in prison for libel.

Handmade War Drones Take Off In Ukraine

Ukraine has created an entire drone industry from scratch since the start of the conflict with Russia-backed separatists.

Campaigns Kick Off In Armenian Parliamentary Elections

Campaigning for parliamentary elections in Armenia began with a total of nine parties and alliances on the ballot for the vote on April 2.

OTHER NEWS

Ukrainian Court Orders Arrest Of Top Tax Official

A court in Kyiv has placed Roman Nasirov, Ukraine's tax and customs service chief, under arrest pending trial on embezzlement charges.

Hungary Approves Detention Of All Asylum Seekers

Hungary's parliament has overwhelmingly approved the automatic detention of all asylum seekers in container camps at the borders, despite criticism from rights groups.

Russia Open To Investment And Oil And Gas Cooperation With U.S. Firms

Russia’s energy minister told an energy conference in Houston on March 6 that "Russia is open" to investment and collaboration with U.S. companies in the oil and gas sectors.

Kremlin Denounces U.S. 'Hysteria' Over Russia

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denounced what he called "hysteria" in the U.S. over Russia's alleged meddling in last year's presidential election and said it is harming ties between the two global powers.

Duma Proposes Holding Elections On ‘Crimea Reunification Day’

The speaker of Russia’s State Duma on March 7 characterized as “promising” a proposal to reschedule presidential elections from March 11 to March 18, 2018, the day marking Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there is no official position on the matter. (In Russian, Current Time TV)

Russian Banks Not Servicing Holders Of Separatist Passports

Russian media report that, despite a February 18 presidential decree recognizing passports of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, none of Russia’s top 30 banks is providing services to holders of the separatist documents. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Navalny Faces Difficulties While Opening Campaign Office

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny faced a series of obstacles when opening his election campaign headquarters in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod on March 6.

Russian Activist Says Torture Won't Stop Until Torturers Are Punished

The chief of a prominent Russian human rights group says that torture in Russian penitentiaries and police stations will stop only when the practitioners are brought to trial and convicted.

Claim That Nicholas II Is Weeping Holy Tears In Crimea Prompts Laughter

The claim by Russian lawmaker Natalya Poklonskaya that a bust of Tsar Nicholas II wept tears on the centennial of his abdication of power has the Internet laughing.

U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' Over Closures Of Abkhazia Crossing Points

The United States says it is "deeply concerned" by the decision of Russia-backed separatists in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region to close two crossing points on the boundary line with Georgian-controlled territory.

Atambaev Lashes Out At Kyrgyz Parliament Amid Political Tension

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev lashed out at lawmakers who have alleged he was connected to the cargo of a plane that crashed in January, and voiced support for a legislator who said parliament should be dissolved.

Uzbek, Turkmen Presidents Agree To Expand Cooperation

The presidents of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan say they have agreed on closer cooperation between their two countries on energy, transportation, and security projects that could also involve Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the South Caucasus.

COMMENTARY: Worrying Signs Just Keep Trickling Out

Warnings that another conflict may erupt in the Balkans have been coming in from former diplomats and think tanks in recent weeks.

ANALYSIS: The End Of The (Gas Pipe-) Line For Turkmenistan

MOST READ/RUSSIA: Will Putinism Last Until 2042?

St. Petersburg-based political analyst Dmitry Travin believes that “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin's system has ample resources to survive for a long time, but has virtually no resources to actively develop the economy,” which will only stagnate and deteriorate over time. (over 40k views on Russian Service website)

MOST READ/RUSSIA: The Non-Shale Gas Revolution In The ‘Russian World’

Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Portnikov told RFE/RL that Ukraine’s energy dependence on Russia involves not only economics, but also corruption. “Energy blackmail and corruption ties have been the only way the Kremlin could influence neighbours” like Ukraine and Belarus. Once there is an alternative to Russian gas and oil, or the Kremlin raises prices, “the ‘Russian world’ - which never was - will be no more.” (over 40k views on Russian Service website)

POLYGRAPH.Info: Russia Says Ukrainian Separatist Passports ‘Comply With International Law

PRESSROOM: RFE/RL Films To Screen At One World Festival In Prague

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