Russian police detained almost 150 people in Moscow protesting recently approved constitutional changes that could allow President Vladimir Putin to serve two more terms until 2036.
People living along the northern border between Armenia and Azerbaijan say villages on both sides have been targeted by heavy weapons since deadly clashes broke out on July 12.
Kyrgyzstan is facing a severe shortage of medical professionals, hospital beds, drugs, and equipment as coronavirus infections have shot up in recent weeks.
The U.S. State Department announced on July 15 that it had sanctioned five companies connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin, as well as three individuals, in the latest bid to stop the financier's "destabilizing global activity."
The United States has threatened to sanction any individual or company helping Russia build a controversial natural gas pipeline to Germany as the Kremlin moves to complete the last kilometers of the nearly $11 billion project. “Get out now -- or risk the consequences,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said July 15 during a press conference in Washington.
The British National Cybersecurity Center said on July 16 that hacking group APT29, also known as the Dukes or Cozy Bear, has targeted organizations involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in the three countries.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has removed long-time Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, calling his diplomacy “passive” amid an escalation of conflict with neighboring Armenia. Tensions remain high on the border between the two countries after days of skirmishes that have reportedly claimed 15 lives.
The Moscow City Court has upheld the two-month pretrial arrest of Sergei Furgal, the governor of the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Krai region, who faces multiple murder-related charges allegedly dating from 2004 - 2005. Cities across the region have been rocked for days by the largest protests witnessed since the Soviet collapse in 1991. The protests have continued daily and featured anti-Putin slogans, leaving Moscow scrambling to gauge the right response. “The Kremlin is shocked,” said Abbas Galyamov, a political analyst based in Moscow. “No one knows how to react.”
The Moscow City Court has upheld the two-month pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, currently an aide to the chief of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, who is charged with high treason. One of Safronov’s lawyers, Ivan Pavlov, told MBKh Media news that the Federal Security Service for the first time provided him with case materials that contain what investigators called classified information.
Lawyers of Pskov-based journalist and RFE/RL Russian Service contributor Svetlana Prokopyeva filed an appeal against the verdict of a district military court, which found her guilty on July 3 of “justifying terrorism.” Prokopyeva was issued a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $6,950) in a case widely criticized by rights monitors as an attack on freedom of speech. (Russian Service) Prokopyeva received the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom award on July 13. Funds to help Svetlana pay the fine are being raised here.
In a meeting with his cabinet, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ordered all state officials to subscribe to the social media accounts of the region’s official TV channels. Those who refuse, he said, “are not comrades in our path” and are “dangerous.” Additionally, he said that European and Western intelligence services have spent “tens of millions of dollars” to destabilize Chechnya. (Russian Service)
Following the recent approval of a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages in Russia, a group of lawmakers has proposed legislation that would prevent people who have changed their gender from getting married or adopting children.
The campaigns of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, former Belgazprombank head Viktar Babaryka, and prominent businessman Valer Tsapkala on June 16 announced a joint program comprising five points. The program urges Belarusians to vote in the August 9 election, calls for the release of all “political and economic prisoners” and new trials, and pledges to hold “an honest repeat election after August 9” and cooperate on election monitoring and combating electoral fraud.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka dismissed Western criticism after police violently dispersed thousands of demonstrators earlier this week, declaring on July 15, "We don't want anyone to tell us how to live.”
Bulgaria’s prime minister has asked his finance, economy, and interior ministers to step down amid nationwide anti-corruption protests that have rocked the country for a week.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have held their first face-to-face talks in 20 months under a European Union-mediated dialogue process aimed at normalizing relations between the two Balkan neighbors. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo's prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, agreed to meet again in-person in early September.
Concluding four days of questioning by international war-crimes prosecutors at The Hague, Kosovar President Hashim Thaci said, “It is now up to the prosecutors and the judge to evaluate without bias my testimony. If they do that with an unbiased professional manner and fairness, they will easily come to the conclusion that I committed no crime.”
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Azerbaijan to pay 40,000 euros ($45,660) as compensation to prominent human rights activists Leyla Yunus and her husband, Arif Yunus, for violating their basic rights. They were arrested separately in 2014 and convicted of economic crimes in August 2015 in a trial denounced by international human rights groups as a travesty of justice.