Thousands of people across Belarus protested and scuffles broke out with police after a top challenger to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka was barred from running in the country's election next month. More than 140 demonstrators and a dozen journalists were detained across the country, among them two from RFE/RL. Also see Belarus’s Bloggers: A 'Bigger Threat' Than Political Parties For President Lukashenka?
Dozens of activists and journalists gathered outside the Lefortovo prison in Moscow on July 13 to support former journalist Ivan Safronov, who was detained on high-treason charges on July 7.
Hundreds of protesters stormed a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria to protest what they say is endemic corruption among the country's elites.
An unknown disease is threatening the vital sponge population at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Russia, considered the deepest lake in the world. Researchers have not established what's making the sponges sick.
Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel said around 45 tons of aviation fuel spilled from an Arctic pipeline on July 12.
Seven Azerbaijani servicemen and four Armenian soldiers were reported killed on July 14 in the third day of border clashes involving heavy artillery amid international calls for an immediate de-escalation.
Russia’s State Duma has provided initial approval of a bill drafted by deputy Andrei Lugovoi that authorizes the Justice Ministry to suspend NGOs that receive money or property from U.S.citizens, engage in political activities, or implement projects and programs “to the detriment of the state.” (Russian Service)
Russia's State Duma has approved in the first reading a bill that punishes anyone questioning Moscow’s forcible seizure of the Crimean Peninsula. Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said on July 14 that the bill will ensure that "calls for the violation of Russia's territorial integrity, including calls to alienate parts of its territory, will be considered extremism."
Russia has confirmed 733,699 COVID-19 cases as of July 13, but health demographers like Aleksei Raksha have questioned the virus’s conspicuously low death toll, now totaling 11,439. Raksha has stated that the low fatality rate is not due to a superior state response, but rather to how coronavirus statistics are being counted.
A Russian prosecutor has demanded that three members of the New Greatness youth activist group facing extremism charges receive between 4 and 7 1/2 years in prison. Critics say the case has been revealed to be a set-up by Russia’s security services, and the rights group Memorial has recognized the accused as political prisoners.
Hundreds of demonstrators held their fifth peaceful protest in one week in Russia's Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, demanding the release of the region's governor, Sergei Furgal, who was arrested last week on charges of attempted murder and ordering the killings of two businessmen in 2004-2005.
Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has been summoned for questioning in a criminal case launched over comments he made on social media.
Turkish state media has reported that Russia and Turkey have agreed to resume flights between the two countries as of July 15. Seven other countries have declared their willingness to receive Russian tourists: the Maldives, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Croatia, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Human Rights Watch is urging Ukraine's authorities to investigate death threats against Kateryna Sergatskova, a local independent journalist who has written about the alleged influence of far-right groups on the fact-checking website StopFake.org.
Russia-backed separatists in Donbas have killed a Ukrainian military medic and injured a soldier on a mission to recover a body. Local residents in the village of Zaitseve told RFE/RL that fighting has intensified over the last two weeks. (Ukrainian Service)
Voting is under way in North Macedonia in parliamentary elections that may determine the pace of the Balkan state’s Euro-Atlantic trajectory. The tightly contested July 15 vote is the country's first poll under its new name.
Well-known Kazakh civil rights activist Sanavar Zakirova has been sentenced to one year in prison for 'inflicting bodily damage' on a 39-year-old woman at a rally in March, a charge she denies.