Current Time asked people across the Russian Federation and in Ukraine, Latvia, the Caucasus and the Central Asian states to share their wishes for their countries in 2019.
The death toll in a New Year's Eve apartment-building collapse rose to 37 as rescuers working in frigid temperatures pulled bodies from the rubble in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk and speculation grew over the cause of the disaster.
On January 1, approximately 2,000 people representing far-right organizations took part in a march in Kyiv marking the 110th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera, a highly controversial figure in the Ukrainian nationalist movement of the 20th century. The Ukrainian government voted on December 19 to declare Bandera’s birthday a national holiday. (Ukrainian Service)
Tajikistan's once thriving Jewish population has dwindled to an estimated 50 people. Most left for Israel in the 1990s to escape the country's civil war. But one woman has returned to the city of her birth, Dushanbe, where she is keeping her faith and community alive with music.
Of the 76 journalists killed in 2018, 34 of them were targeted in direct reprisal for their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Following a stern demand by the United States for an explanation of Russia’s arrest of retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on spying charges, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited Whelan at a detention facility in Moscow on January 2 and spoke by phone with his family.
RFE/RL says it will appeal to the Supreme Court of Russia to throw out a 100,000-ruble ($1,440) fine imposed in July under the country’s controversial "foreign agent" law.
Russian activist Valery Kazantsev, who helped organize protests against plans to raise the retirement age, was severely beaten by unknown attackers in the hall of his apartment block in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on January 1
Sixteen national antidoping organizations have called on the World Anti-Doping Agency to take immediate action following Russia's failure to meet a December 31 deadline to hand over data from its antidoping laboratory.
Russian media report that scientists from Novosibirsk have begun a series of experiments to create a thermonuclear plasma engine to power space rockets for much faster flights to Mars or the Moon. The research is run out of an installation called SMOLA (Spiral Magnetic Open Trap) housed at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. (Russian Service)
Figures from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index show that the total wealth of Russian billionaires decreased by $5.9 billion in 2018, with only nine succeeding in increasing their net worth over the last year. Of the world’s 500 richest people, 25 are from Russia. (Russian Service)
Russia’s so-called Yarovaya law, a package of bills passed in July 2016, is part of a crackdown on foreign-based religious groups that has allowed the government to impose significant obstacles to missionary work and target religious groups in a state-sponsored campaign against perceived malign foreign influence.
Ukraine says one of its soldiers has been killed and two others wounded in clashes in the country’s east despite a fresh cease-fire agreement between Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists.
In a New Year’s video greeting that went viral on social networks, a Kazakh police officer proudly called the Central Asian nation's police forces a "gang" and hinted at corrupt ties within law enforcement.
Turkmenistan state media has announced that Serdar Berdymukhamedov, the son of the Turkmen President, has been decreed deputy governor of Akhal velayat, a newly defined region surrounding the country’s capital city Ashgabat, that accounts for 14% of the country’s population, 23% of its agricultural production, 31% of its industrial production, and 43.8% of its total natural gas output. (in Russian, Current Time TV)