Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who has been fighting allegations of orchestrating a state-sponsored doping campaign, just got a new job.
A minibus driver in Makhachkala, Russia, who provides free rides every Friday, has been rewarded for his generosity by grateful passengers, who have have raised cash to send him to the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
Ikhtiandr Sharipov, a forest ranger in Russia's Chelyabinsk region, led a volunteer effort to repair a country road, and was then slapped with a 2.5 million ruble fine.
Hundreds of residents and tourists in Lviv, Ukraine took part in a holiday festival titled Christmas Stars Flare, which, among numerous octagonal stars, featured one created from bullet cartridges and camouflage fabric from the country’s separatist-occupied eastern zone. (Ukrainian Service)
Czechs vote in the first round of presidential elections on January 12-13, with incumbent Milos Zeman currently the lead candidate in opinion polls.
Russia says 13 armed drones have recently been used to attack its Hmeimim air base and its naval facility in western Syria.
Russian officials on January 8 rejected an accusation by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russia is attempting to interfere in U.S. congressional elections this year and has been meddling in U.S. elections "for decades."
Kirill Tremasov, former director of macroeconomic forecasting for Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, told RFE/RL that his country’s economic growth is very weak, noting that Russia has lagged behind developed and developing countries across a range of economic indicators for the past 5 years, and Russians’ real incomes have been declining since 2013. (Russian Service)
As candidate registration closed on January 8 for Belarus’s local council elections on February 18, preliminary information suggested that the opposition United Civil Party, Social Democratic Party, BPF Party and Fair World Party may field as many as 300 candidates, up from 277 in 2014. (Belarus Service)
A spokesman for the Iowa National Guard says Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has canceled a planned visit to the U.S. state this week because "he was unable to get a visa."
Bosnian Serb leaders have planned the biggest celebrations ever to mark the Day Of Republika Srpska, a disputed “statehood day” in the Bosnian Serb entity that has been banned by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Constitutional Court.
A government decree published on January 6 restricts Uzbeks to performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca only once in a lifetime. Umrah, a lesser ritual, may be performed every two years, providing pilgrims have not made Hajj in the previous five years. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
The Kyrgyz government wants to know more about a decision by the Chinese company Full Gold Mining to fire 370 miners in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov thinks white cars bring good fortune. As a result, officials in Ashgabat have been impounding black vehicles without warning, wreaking havoc for owners who need special permission to repaint and then reregister their cars.