INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Western governments are considering coordinated action against Russia after Germany said gravely ill Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny was poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. Reacting to the findings, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on September 2 that Navalny “was meant to be silenced,” and called the attack "attempted murder by poisoning."
The United States has demanded an immediate end to the violent crackdown by Belarus's government on opposition supporters after the disputed election on August 9 that gave longtime authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka a new six-year term. Anti-government demonstrations inside the country have continued, a day after more than 120 people were detained for taking part in unsanctioned rallies. Several dozen journalists gathered outside a police station in Minsk on September 2 in support for six colleagues from Belarusian news outlets who were detained while covering an anti-government protest. A former Belarus state TV journalist talked to Current Time about censorship under Lukashenka.
Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka used an interview with Russian state media RT to thank the outlet for stepping in and replacing hundreds of Belarus state TV employees who walked out to protest police violence following the disputed August 9 presidential election. Lukashenka told the outlet “how important you were to us” during a difficult period, and thanked its “technicians, and journalists... and leadership.” (Russian Service)
Prominent Russian blogger and activist Yegor Zhukov, who was severely beaten by unknown assailants on August 30, said on Facebook that the attack and a previous one were “about politics for sure. [It is] an example of real Russian politics in the year of 2020." Moscow police said on August 31 that an investigation into the attack had been launched.
In a hearing held behind closed doors, a court in Moscow has extended the pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, until at least until December 7. Most recently a consultant for Roscosmos, the 30-year-old Safronov had worked as a journalist covering the military-industrial complex for the newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Dmitry Belousov, a former Russian state TV chief editor, journalist and screenwriter who now lives in the Netherlands, said he himself had received surveillance from the security services about opposition politician Aleksei Navlany, including transcripts of telephone conversations and meetings, that he was expected to incorporate into his broadcasts. (Russian Service)
A Russian lawmaker representing the Siberian region of Yakutsk has submitted a bill that would slash the commissions paid to U.S. tech companies Apple and Google for the purchase of apps on their platforms. The bill would cap the tech giants' commission at 20 percent. Apple currently collects a 30 percent commission on sales in its App Store.
Ukrainian police are looking for two men suspected of setting fire to a car belonging to a member of RFE/RL’s investigative journalism team, Schemes. Kyiv police chief Andriy Nebytov posted the suspects’ names and photos on Facebook. (Ukrainian Service)
Lawyers for Mykhailo Tkach, a journalist with RFE/RL Ukrainian Service’s investigative journalism team Schemes, have requested that the prosecutor's office transfer the criminal case on possible illegal surveillance of Tkach’s apartment to the country’s Security Service, claiming that the police investigation has been “ineffective.” (Ukrainian Service)
Erbol Mandibek has quit his lucrative job at a Kazakh state television station because he said he could no longer take "lies and hypocrisy" in the government-controlled media.
A group of 40 Iranian lawmakers has submitted a controversial draft bill to the parliament giving control of the country's Internet gateways to the armed forces, including the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The bill also calls for the creation of a board, to include representatives from the judiciary, the government, and the IRGC, that will oversee social-media platforms and deal with any violations. Amnesty International Reports 'Shocking' Rights Violations After Iran’s November Protests.
PRESSROOM: Belarus Broadens Assault Against RFE/RL