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THE POWER VERTICAL: Russia's Corrupt Statecraft

Russia dropped four places in Transparency International's annual corruption index, ranking 131 out of 176 countries.

Serbia, Kosovo Leaders Agree Further Talks To Reduce Tensions

Leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to further talks on improving relations amid escalating tensions.

Inhuman Conditions: How Kyrgyz Pathologists Work

The response of Kyrgyzstan’s medical community following the recent crash of a Turkish cargo plane crash in Bishkek has raised awareness about the harsh conditions under which Kyrgyz pathologists work. (in Russian, Current Time TV)


Russia Urged To Drop Charges Against Crimean Journalist

Human rights advocates and European lawmakers are calling on Russia to drop criminal charges against Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who is accused of separatism in a case supporters say is aimed at silencing criticism of Moscow's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

Russian Lawmaker Stripped Of Two Olympic Medals

A Russian lawmaker who has been a vocal defender of the country's scandal-plagued state sports system was stripped of two 2008 Beijing Olympic medals on January 25 after a doping test.

Kadyrov Instructs Chechen Police To Shoot On Suspicion

Speaking on January 24 to his Interior Ministry, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov authorized police to open fire at persons suspected of ties to illegal armed groups, declaring "if there is a suspicion, shoot without warning! Why take the risk?" (Russian Service)

In Daghestan, Sharia Eclipsing Secular Courts

Residents of Daghestan are increasingly turning to Sharia law, claiming their disputes cannot be resolved by Russian law, de facto conferring judicial authority on imams on a broad range of non-criminal matters. (North Caucasus Service)

Ukrainian Opposition Bloc Nearing Split

Ukraine’s parliamentary Opposition Bloc, comprising 43 deputies, is on the verge of splitting, with one faction controlled by gas oligarch Dmytro Firtash calling for early elections, and another, led by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, favoring the status quo. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Ukrainian Arms Manufacture Claims Underfunding

Ukraine’s state-owned arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom has said it was prevented from producing modern Oplot tanks and Dozor-B armored vehicles for Ukraine’s military because of inadequate funding, adding that the company’s production capacity exceeds by several times its current budget allocation. (Ukrainian Service)

Azerbaijani Opposition Leaders, Activists Sentenced In Baku

A court in Baku has sentenced 19 opposition figures to lengthy prison terms after convicting them of publicly calling for the overthrow of the government and inciting ethnic, religious, and social hatred.

Nazarbaev Says He'll Devolve Some Powers As He Becomes 'Supreme Arbiter'

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev says he will delegate some of his sweeping powers to parliament and to government ministers as he assumes a role he described as "Supreme Arbiter."

Kazakh Law Requires Registration Of Mobile Phones

New legislation in Kazakhstan requires all mobile phones to be registered with a government database, according to mobile service providers in the Central Asian country.

German Family Trades 'Sexually Permissive' West For The Wilds Of Siberia

Eugen Martens and his family left Siberia's Omsk oblast in the 1990s hoping to build a better future in Germany, but have now returned to Russia, fleeing what he describes as the sexual permissiveness of German society and the influx of refugees there.

COMMENTARY: Hero To Some, Yugoslav General Was Vilified By Serbia And Croatia

COMMENTARY: Consequences Of Russian Bill Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

Critics of the newly proposed legislation told RFE/RL that, previously, "the article on domestic violence in the criminal code served two roles - punishment and prevention. By removing it, the government has taken away the only protective measures for potential victims, and practically legalized domestic violence." (Russian Service)

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