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Czech Republic – A view of the RFE/RL building at Hagibor, Prague, 31Jan2012

RFE/RL Appeals Russian Court-Imposed Fines Linked To Controversial 'Foreign-Agent' Law

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc. (RFE/RL) has appealed a string of Russian court decisions to fine several of the broadcaster's Russian-language endeavours and the general director of its operations in Russia for allegedly failing to comply with new restrictions under the country’s controversial “foreign-agent” law.


No Food, No Bed, No Contacts: What Happened To St. Petersburg's Detainees

They live in conditions reportedly akin to torture, according to some rights activists, and cannot always tell relatives their whereabouts. Current Time looked into the fate of a few of St. Petersburg's estimated 260 detainees from the February 2 protests against Aleksei Navalny's imprisonment.

'He Was Almost Crying': The Story Behind Iconic Navalny Protest Photo

RFE/RL Sever.Realii contributor Svetlana Prokopyeva spoke with photographer Dmitry Markov, the author of the iconic Navalny protest photo of a masked policeman that became an instant classic during recent protests in Russia.

Appeal Grows For Russian, Chinese Serums As Western Vaccine Efforts Get Bogged Down

A new study has helped Russia's leading coronavirus vaccine bounce back from criticism of a premature rollout, just as many countries are confronting a growing array of logistical and political challenges to delivering vaccines. The interim analysis of the Sputnik V's Phase 3 trial results, which were published on February 2 in the international medical journal The Lancet, found that Sputnik V is 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and effective against severe and moderate disease. That is roughly comparable to the protection conferred by the leading Western-made vaccines so far. Also read -- Exclusive: EU Staff In Moscow Given Green Light For Sputnik Vaccination & Hungary May Begin Use Of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Next Week.

Tea, Cake, And Death Threats: Coexistence On The New Azerbaijan-Armenia Border

When an Armenian shopkeeper tells an RFE/RL film crew she would serve Azerbaijani customers, her husband threatens to kill her. The new border drawn by the peace deal signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan has split the village of Shurnukh and brought new tensions.

DNA Shows Ancient Siberians Domesticated Dogs, Who Then Helped Settle America

A team of interdisciplinary researchers has used DNA and other evidence to assert a "tandem movement" in and then beyond northeastern Siberia at a key stage of human and canid development late in the last Ice Age. Their identification of eastern Russia as a wellspring of dog-domestication tens of thousands of years ago is a major contribution to the debate over when "the first recognizably domestic dog" appeared.


In Court Again, Navalny Accuses Russian Officials Of 'Fabricating' Slander Case

Jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has accused Russian officials of "fabricating" a slander case against him for comments he wrote on Twitter about several people who appeared in a pro-Kremlin video. Navalny was in court on February 5 to face charges he slandered a World War II veteran who was seen in a promotional video in support of last year's constitutional amendments that cleared the way for President Vladimir Putin to run for two more terms in office after 2024 if he wants. Also read -- In Navalny Protests, The Kremlin Finds A Familiar Target To Blame: The U.S. And The West.

Top Doctor At Omsk Hospital Where Navalny Was Treated Dies Suddenly

A top doctor at the hospital in Omsk where opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was treated immediately after his poisoning last summer has died, the hospital and regional Health Ministry said on February 4. Sergei Maksimishin, who was the deputy chief physician for anesthesiology and resuscitation at Omsk emergency hospital No. 1, died in his ward from a heart attack, the press service of the regional Health Ministry told Open Media. He was 55.

Every Fifth Russian Approves Of Navalny’s Activities

Against the backdrop of recent events, including Aleksei Navalny’s return to Russia, reporting about the alleged “Putin’s Palace,” and protests across Russia, a poll by Levada Center found that 19%, or every 5th Russian, approves of Navalny's activities. The least supportive of Navalny are people over 55 years of age. For 64% of all people with a negative view of Navalny’s activities, the main source of information is television. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Halt To Russia's Opposition Protests Prompts Criticism From 'Seething' Activists

After two weeks of police beatings, thousands of arrests, and a wave of criminal prosecutions whose reach is only just becoming apparent, allies of imprisoned Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny have called an end to the anti-government protests they incited over the course of three consecutive weeks. “If we continue to go out each week, we’ll continue to get thousands arrested and hundreds beaten,” Leonid Volkov, a top Navalny aide, told supporters in a YouTube video announcing the decision. “That’s not what we want, and that’s not what Aleksei asks of us.”

Blinken Warns Lavrov That U.S. Will Respond 'Firmly' To Russian Malign Actions

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Russia that the new U.S. administration will respond "firmly" to Russian actions against the United States and its allies. The State Department said Blinken issued the warning in a February 4 telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "The Secretary reiterated President [Joe] Biden's resolve to protect American citizens and act firmly in defense of U.S. interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies," the State Department said in a statement.

Russia Expels European Diplomats, Top EU Official Laments 'Low Point' In Relations

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Swedish ambassador, the charge d'affaires of Poland, and the German envoy were summoned to the ministry where a protest was lodged with the diplomats in connection with the "recorded participation of diplomatic employees of the Consulates General of the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Poland in St. Petersburg and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Moscow in illegal actions on January 23." The announcement came hours after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell met his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, amid a deterioration of relations that has worsened in recent weeks over Navalny’s detention and a crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Russian Metallurgical Giant Ordered To Pay Record $1.9 Billion For Devastating Arctic Fuel Spill

A court in Siberia has ordered Russian metallurgical giant Norilsk Nickel, owned by Russia's richest man, Vladimir Potanin, to pay more than 146 billion rubles ($1.9 billion) for a spill that dumped thousands of tons of diesel fuel into the Russian Arctic last year. Russia's environmental watchdog, Rosprirodnadzor, originally sought 148 billion rubles from Norilsk in compensation for the spill, one of the worst ecological disasters to occur in the Arctic.

Counselors Or 'Commissars'? Motive Under Scrutiny As Russia Moves To Protect School Kids From 'Destructive Influence'

Russian education minister Sergei Kravtsov announced a program called Navigators of Childhood, which aims to create a new position in Russian schools called "adviser to the school director for upbringing ['vospitaniye'] and work with student organizations." The term "vospitaniye" denotes the process of raising and educating children with proper behavior for integration into adult society. Some observers, however, see the initiative as an effort to keep school-aged Russians away from anti-government protests.

“Ze-Quarantine:” Zelenskiy's Birthday, VIP Restaurant Guests During A Lockdown. And Police Inaction

The RFE/RL Ukrainian Service’s investigative program Schemes exposed how top Ukrainian officials kept visiting restaurants in Kyiv amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. One of the restaurant-goers was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who hosted a secret birthday party with about 30 guests, none of them wearing a mask, while publicly urging the country to comply with lockdown requirements. Even when journalists called in police to document violations at elite restaurants, no violation protocols were ever issued. (Ukrainian Service)

Former Belarusian Banker, Would-Be Presidential Candidate To Stand Trial On February 17

Viktar Babaryka, a former Belarusian banker whose bid to challenge Alyaksandr Lukashenka in last year’s disputed presidential election was halted by his arrest, is due to go on trial on February 17. The February 4 announcement on Babaryka’s Telegram channel came shortly after a preliminary hearing at a district court in Minsk, at which Babaryka was not present. Several co-defendants were in the courtroom, including six men who had made deals with investigators in hopes of facing lesser charges.

Belarusian Blogger Gets Prison Term For Online Videos He Says Investigate Illegal Drugs, Protests

The Minsk City Court on February 5 sentenced 36-year-old blogger Paval Spiryn to 4 ½ years in prison after finding him guilty of posting two videos online that Spiryn says are investigative journalism, but authorities charge incited social discord. The case stemmed from two videos Spiryn posted on YouTube -- one about illegal drugs operations in Belarus and one focused on police brutality in the dispersal of protesters during ongoing rallies demanding the resignation of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Stockholm Court Upholds Telia Acquittals In Gulnara Karimova Case

A court in Stockholm has upheld the acquittals of three former senior officials at the telecom giant Telia in a case involving approximately $320 million in payments made to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan's late President Islam Karimov. Lars Nyberg, the former chief executive officer of Telia, and two other men were accused of bribing a local business partner in Uzbekistan between 2007 and 2010, which they denied. Stockholm's court of appeals on February 4 upheld a lower court ruling to acquit the three men.

DEEP DIVE: How Taxpayers Are Forced To Help Finance Azerbaijan’s Post-War Recovery

It may rank as the wealthiest country in the South Caucasus, but employers in energy-rich Azerbaijan, faced with an economic slump brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, are reportedly docking salaries or ordering employees to contribute to a state fund that assists wounded military personnel and the families of soldiers slain during Azerbaijan’s 2020 war with Armenia.

Kyrgyz Ex-PM Detained In Corruption Probe

Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister and current member of parliament Kubanychbek Jumaliev has been detained on suspicion of corruption. The State Committee for National Security said on February 4 that Jumaliev was put in pretrial detention for two months pending an investigation. The exact circumstances of the probe are unknown, but involve fraud and abuse of power related to licensing and property. Also -- Kyrgyz Ex-President Atambaev's Pretrial Detention Extended Until April 7.

PRESSROOM: RFE/RL Welcomes Back Jamie Fly As President

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