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Putin Rules; The Balkans Pollutes; Coronavirus Ups And Downs; And More...

Russia's Constitutional Plebiscite Approved In Landslide, Paving Way For Putin’s Continued Rule

Putin Rules; The Balkans Pollutes; Coronavirus Ups And Downs; And More...


Russian Police Break Arm Of Journalist Covering Constitutional Vote

An official investigation has been launched after Russian police broke a journalist's arm while he was investigating irregularities at a polling station in St. Petersburg.

Against The Odds, Russian Rights Group Seeks Justice For Victims Of Police Torture (Warning: graphic images)

In Russia, the Committee Against Torture has recorded some 2,500 accusations of abuse by law enforcement personnel over 20 years. But, of the cases that have made it to a courtroom, just 147 police officers have received significant sentences.

Light Sentence For Kyrgyz Domestic Abuser Irks Activists

A man in Kyrgyzstan has been freed from custody despite being found guilty of severely beating and torturing his wife. A video of the abuse went viral. In accordance with new sentencing guidelines passed in 2019 as part of a reform package that criminalized domestic violence, the man received a two-year suspended sentence, with a warning that if he breaks the law again the sentence can be turned into a two-year prison term.

MAP STUDY: Dirty Balkan Power Plants Pollute As Much As The Rest Of Europe Combined

The Balkans are home to some of the dirtiest air on Earth due to 16 power planTs that create as much air pollution as the 296 other such powerhouses in the rest of Europe.


Inside The 'Nyet' Campaign: Russia's Divided Opposition And The Doomed Battle To Scupper Putin's Vote

Putin’s government seemingly pulled out all the stops to get out the vote, shifting into high gear to boost turnout and ensure a veneer of legitimacy for this week’s quasi-referendum that few saw as free and fair. In Moscow, against a vast bureaucratic machine with unlimited resources, the small group manning the Petrovka office of the NO campaign represents almost the extent of the opposition.

COVID-19 Cases Rise In Russia Again

Russian authorities have announced that the number of new coronavirus cases rose on July 2 to 6,760, after declining the previous two days. The Moscow region, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug,St. Petersburg, and the Irkutsk region have registered the most cases. (Russian Service)

Russia's RT Banned By Latvia

Latvia has banned Russia's RT television channels from being distributed on its territory because of international sanctions against the head of the Russian state TV network, Dmitry Kiselyov.

Russian Prosecutors Object To Parole For Danish Jehovah’s Witness

Prosecutors in Russia have appealed the parole granted by a court last week to a Danish member of the Jehovah's Witnesses who has been imprisoned since 2017 and served half of a six-year sentence.

Ukrainian Central Bank Chief Resigns

The governor of Ukraine's central bank, Yakiv Smoliy, says he is resigning because of “systematic political pressure that denied fulfillment” of his duties. Smoliy tweeted on July 1, "Let it be a warning for attempts to undermine institutional independence of the central bank."

Poroshenko Fails To Show After Being Summoned By Investigations Bureau For Questioning

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has failed to show at the State Bureau of Investigations for questioning in a case about his alleged illegal appointment of Serhiy Semochko as deputy chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Poroshenko's lawyer said the summons for questioning had been made via the bureau’s website, which is illegal since Poroshenko should have been served the subpoena personally.

UN Urges End To ‘Crackdown’ In Belarus Ahead Of Presidential Vote

United Nations experts are urging the Belarusian government to abandon its “policy of arbitrary arrests, violence, and intimidation” against political activists, rights defenders, journalists, and bloggers ahead of a presidential election on August 9.

Belarusian Presidential Challenger Babaryka Remanded In Custody As Candidate Registration Ends

A court in Minsk has remanded in custody Viktar Babaryka, a potential opponent of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as election officials announced what candidates would be allowed to run in an August 9 presidential election.

Lukashenka Declares That Belarus Has ‘Defeated’ Coronavirus

President of Belarus Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced on July 2 that the country's healthcare system has survived and the coronavirus has been “defeated.” He said the country, which did not implement a quarantine or stop the work of industrial enterprises, had demonstrated “political sanity and popular wisdom.” Independent media and numerous experts have disputed the president’s claims about the severity and spread of the virus. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

In Rare Move, Belarusian Court Cancels Death Sentence In High-Profile Case

Belarus's Supreme Court has upheld the appeal of a death-row inmate and annulled his sentence in a murder case, a very rare move in the tightly controlled state led by autocratic President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Belarus is the only country in Europe that enforces the death penalty.

Serbian PM Says Getting Hit By A Bus Can Make You A COVID-19 Victim

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic is continuing a public offensive to reassure Serbs that their government has the coronavirus "totally under control" following a week of spiking infections and an accusation that her government was wildly underreporting COVID-19 deaths and infection rates ahead of last month’s parliamentary elections.

Montenegro Legalizes Same-Sex Partnerships In 'Historic' Move Toward Tolerance

Montenegro has passed a law allowing same-sex civil partnerships, in a move hailed by President Milo Djukanovic as "a step toward the family of most-developed democracies." The law grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals, but without the possibility of adopting children.

Central Asian Countries To Reverse Reopenings Amid COVID-19 Surge

Only weeks after emerging from lengthy lockdowns that battered their fragile economies, an upsurge in coronavirus infections in Central Asia has forced officials to reimpose restrictions. A gravedigger in Kazakhstan’s northwestern city of Aqtobe told RFE/RL on June 25, “Normally in our cemetery about five bodies are buried every month. But in the past two to three days, six or seven bodies are being brought for burial every day.”

Rights Groups Urge Tajik Leader To Reject Amendments On ‘Fake News’

Rights activists and media watchdogs have urged Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to reject proposed legislation that would make it illegal to disseminate false information about the coronavirus pandemic in the media, the Internet, and on social media. They warn the law could be used to prosecute activists and independent journalists.

WATCH: July 6: RFE/RL And GWU’s Central Asia Program Discuss Tajikistan And Turkmenistan And The Fight Against COVID-19

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