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The New Year Is Over -- Time To Throw Out The Christmas Tree And The Government (RFE/RL Russian Service)

VISUAL REPORTS

Remains Of Ukrainians Killed In Iran Air Disaster Arrive In Kyiv

The remains of the 11 Ukrainian victims -- nine crew members and two passengers -- killed in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 in Iran arrived in Kyiv on January 19. Another 165 people perished in the crash.

Musical Flash Mobs Commemorate Donetsk Airport Battle

Ukrainian military orchestras popped up to perform in airports around the country to commemorate the brutal battle that destroyed the international airport near the eastern city of Donetsk.

Russian Oscar Nominee Hopes ‘Family Values’ Film Will Win Glory

Oscar-nominee Daria Kashcheeva is still at film school but has her sights set on winning an Academy Award for a short animated film, which she says is all about family relationships and forgiveness.

Montenegro Epiphany Swim Marked By Political Tension

Hundreds took part in the annual Epiphany swimming race in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, amid nationalist chanting. Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic, who started the race on January 19 by casting a crucifix into the Moraca River, demanded the repeal of a law which he says enables the state to confiscate Serbian Orthodox Church property.

Who's The Woman Who Helped Attack Kazakh Journalists?

Last summer, a group of women mobbed Kazakh journalists at a human rights conference in Almaty, hitting them and breaking their cameras. One of the women, Akzhol Akhmetova, whom locals have labeled a "titushka" -- a plainclothes provocateur - spoke to RFE/RL's Kazakh Service.

PHOTOGALLERY: Azerbaijanis Mark 30th Anniversary Of Bloody 'Black January' Crackdown

Azerbaijanis have marked the 30th anniversary of Black January, the bloody crackdown on January 20, 1990 by Soviet troops that failed to stop Azerbaijan's independence movement. The following year Azerbaijan became a sovereign state.

OTHER NEWS

Top Russian Prosecutor Chaika Removed

Russia's top prosecutor, Yury Chaika, who as one of the most powerful law enforcement figures in the country oversaw a raft of politically charged criminal investigations, will leave his position after nearly 14 years in office. He will be replaced by Igor Krasnov, who has served as deputy chairman of the Investigative Committee. Chaika has been offered a position of presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District.

Putin Sends Proposed Constitutional Changes To Parliament

Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted a package of proposed constitutional amendments to parliament, after announcing last week a surprise overhaul of the country's political system that observers say could help keep the 67-year-old former KGB officer in power indefinitely.

Medvedev Says He's Hanging On To United Russia Party Chairmanship

Russian ex-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says he will continue to chair the ruling United Russia party. Medvedev resigned along with his government in the wake of constitutional changes announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual state-of-the-nation speech.

Russia Bans RFE/RL Contributor From Crimea Until 2054

RFE/RL Crimea contributor Taras Ibragimov has been barred by Russia’s FSB from entering Russian-annexed Crimea until 2054. The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group says the ban is the result of his uncensored reporting, specifically his coverage of political trials of Crimean Tatars in Crimea and Russia.

Monitoring Group Reports ‘Systematic’ Ultraright Violence In Ukraine

The Kyiv-based Institute Respublica has recorded 137 incidents of confrontation and violence committed by ultraright groups in Ukraine over the 12-month period dating from October 2018. "Ultraright violence continues to be systematic, regular and, with very rare exceptions, committed with impunity," a coordinator of the project said.

Kyiv Asks OSCE To Expand Ukraine Monitoring Mission

Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko says Ukraine has asked the OSCE to expand its monitoring mission in Ukraine, which has been present in the country since 2014.

Britain 'Regretful' Ukrainian State Symbol Appears In Police 'Extremist' Guide

A statement by the British government says it is aware that Ukraine's national symbol appears in a British police guide for identifying extremist symbols and that it is "regretful" of the fact.

Lukashenka Reshuffles Military Leadership

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has reshuffled the country's top military brass, appointing Major General Viktar Khrenin, the commander of the Western troops, as defense minister, and naming Khrenin's predecessor, Lieutenant General Andrey Raukou, to the position of secretary-general of the Security Council.

Polish, Russian Fight Over World War II Shifts To Auschwitz

Poland and Russia can’t agree on the proper way to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland, or which countries’ presidents should have a place of honor, and where, and how.

'Mothers Of Srebrenica' Sue Netherlands In European Court

Relatives of the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre have filed suit against the Netherlands at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the latest development in a long-running battle by a group known as The Mothers of Srebrenica to hold the Dutch government liable for the deaths of 350 Bosnian Muslim men.

Protesters In Bosnian Capital Hold Rally Over Choking Air Pollution

Protesters in Sarajevo donning protective masks have assembled to draw attention to dangerously high levels of air pollution in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Muslim Brotherhood Arrests Rise In Tajikistan

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports at least 70 people across the country have been arrested in recent weeks on suspicion of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization banned in Tajikistan and other countries. Local authorities have not responded to requests for comment. (In Russian, Tajik Service)

COMMENTARY: Kazakh Officials Force Opposition Rallies Into Faraway Places

MAJLIS PODCAST: The Blackening Skies Of Central Asia

IRAN: Iran Confirms Two Tor Missiles Fired In Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

JOURNALISTS IN TROUBLE newsletter, 1/1/2020 - 1/16/2020

PRESSROOM: RFE/RL Names New Central Asia Director

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