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A.M. Agenda 09.07.2017

Moldovan soldiers stand in a formation before their departure to the Rapid Trident maneuvers in Ukraine
Moldovan soldiers stand in a formation before their departure to the Rapid Trident maneuvers in Ukraine

NATO Chief Sees No ‘Imminent Threat’ In Russian War Games

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says he sees no "imminent threat" from Russia's upcoming military maneuvers with Belarus, which Moscow says will involve some 12,700 troops. Lithuania and Estonia say that as many as 100,000 soldiers could take part in the Zapad 2017 exercises overall, which are set to begin on September 14. Poland and the Baltic states, forming NATO’s most eastern border, have raised particular concerns about the impact of the exercises on their security.

Expert Contacts:

Irina Lagunina, Editor of RFE/RL’s Russian service , Location: Prague Headquarters

Brian Whitmore, Editor of RFE/RL’s Power Vertical blog, Location: Prague Headquarters


Moldova To Join NATO Countries In Military Drills, Despite President’s Opposition

The Moldovan Defense Ministry has announced that its troops will take part in September 8-23”Rapid Trident” multinational military exercises in Ukraine, overruling a decision by pro-Russian President Igor Dodon to keep them out of the drills. The dispute underscores divisions in Moldova, where Dodon is frequently at odds on foreign policy with a government that favors closer ties with the European Union and the United States.

Expert Contacts

Vasile Botnaru, bureau cheif of RFE/RL’s Moldovan service , Location: Chisinau, Moldova

Oana serafim, Director of RFE/RL’s Moldovan service , Location: Prague Headquarters


Kazakh Journalist Convicted Of Money-Laundering

During a high profile hearing today in Almaty, Kazakh journalist Zhanbolat Mamai, often a critical voice of the government, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to three years of "limited freedom," similar to parole. The court also ordered that Mamai's property be confiscated, and barred him from journalism for three years.

Expert Contacts

Torokul Doroov, Director of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service ; Location: Prague Heaquarters

Galym Bokash, Editor of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service , Location: Prague Headquarters


Tajik Officials Tighten Circumcision Rules

The Tajik government is adding a new item to its book of unusual rulings, apparently targeting the religious values of its majority Muslim population. The most recent move addresses the tradition of circumcision, and comes against the backdrop of many similar measures, including a ban on Islamic clothing in government buildings, requirements for traditional Tajik garb during official functions and events, and a crackdown against the outlawed Islamic Renaissance party followers.

Expert Contacts

Sojida Djakhfarova, Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service , Location: Prague Headquarters

Farangiz Najibullah, RFE/RL’s Central Asian Affairs Correspondent , Location: Prague Headquarters