Current Time-Supported Ukrainian Documentary Wins Director Award At Sundance
The Earth Is Blue As An Orange, a documentary film about the war in Donbas commissioned by Current Time, has won the 2020 Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award for a World Cinema Documentary. It is the festival’s first-ever Ukrainian entry.
Quarantined In Siberia
For 144 Russian travelers, the bone-chillingly cold Siberian city of Tyumen is home for the next 14 days as they wait in state-ordered quarantine for confirmation that they’re clear of the deadly coronavirus.
Chechen Blogger Is Latest Kadyrov Critic To Die Abroad
Imran Aliyev, a 44-year-old blogger from Chechnya, was reportedly found dead on January 30 in a hotel room in the city of Lille. Police have made no arrests but suspect the killing could have a political motive.
Ukraine-Russia Peace Pledge Followed By More Fighting, Deaths
A deal in December to halt the fighting in eastern Ukraine has been followed by the deaths of 11 Ukrainian troops in January. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany met for the first time in three years, agreeing to the "full and comprehensive implementation" of existing cease-fire agreements, but this has not yet happened on the ground.
Clashes In Ukrainian Parliament Over Agricultural Land Bill
Fights broke out in Ukraine’s parliament ahead of a review of a controversial bill that would lift longstanding prohibitions on sales of agricultural land. Fatherland party leader Yulia Tymoshenko told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service that MPs who oppose the bill will appeal to the Constitutional Court. (Ukrainian Service)
'Deserter' Who Alleged Abuse In Trandniester Returns And Recants
Alexandru Rjavitin fled from forced service in a paramilitary unit in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniester, and then disappeared when he returned to visit his family in December 2019. Rjavitin then reappeared on Transdniestrian TV, apparently serving with his old unit and retracting his charges of abuse.
Russia Says Syrian Air Defenses Nearly Hit Airliner Near Damascus
An Airbus A320 airliner with 172 passengers on board has made an emergency landing in the Russian-controlled Khmeimim air base after Syrian air defenses nearly hit it, Russian news agencies have quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying.
U.S. Deploys New Nuclear Submarine Warhead To Deter Russia
The U.S. Navy announced on February 4 that it has put into operation a low-yield, nuclear ballistic missile aboard a submarine to provide “a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon” and support “our commitment to extended deterrence.”
Kremlin 'Has No Part' In Naming Of Russian As Separatist PM
The Kremlin has distanced itself from the naming of a Russian citizen as the separatist prime minister in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on February 6 that "there is nothing controversial" about reports that a former deputy governor of Russia's Irkutsk region had become Donetsk’s "acting prime minister.”
The Other Proposed Amendments To Russia's Constitution
More than 300 proposed changes unrelated to political office and succession have floated through Kremlin halls since President Vladimir Putin announced plans last month to amend Russia’s constitution. Depending on how the process goes, the resulting constitution may be enormously complex, addressing issues as wide-ranging as who can marry whom and how to address Moscow's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Participants In Meetings With Putin Subject To Fever Checks
Russian media reports that as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, the Kremlin has tightened screening procedures for events involving Russian President Vladimir Putin, and will now check visitors’ body temperature with a thermal imager. (Russian Service)
Russian Investigative Journalist, Rights Lawyer Attacked In Grozny
Well-known Russian investigative journalist Yelena Milashina and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina have been attacked in Chechnya. They were in Grozny to attend the trial of a well-known blogger when they were kicked and punched by a group of unknown assailants near their hotel lobby late on February 6.
Russian Church Chief Under Scrutiny For Expensive Watch -- Again
Eight years ago, it was a $39,000 watch -- and a doctored photograph -- that got the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in trouble. This time, Patriarch Kirill was seen with a $16,000 watch.
Ukraine Detains Man Suspected Of Torching RFE/RL Lviv Correspondent's Car
Ukrainian police have detained a man on suspicion of setting the car of RFE/RL correspondent Halyna Tereshchuk on fire in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv last month.
Lukashenka Complains About Russian Oil Supplies Ahead Of Putin Talks
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has arrived in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, state news agency BelTA reported, for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that are expected to focus on disagreements over tariffs for Russian oil.
Azerbaijan's 'Equal Coverage' Law Stifles Media Reports On Elections
Imagine a national election where most TV and radio broadcasters don't report on the candidates, campaigns, or political issues. This is the situation in Azerbaijan as it prepares for early parliamentary elections on February 9.
Tajik Private Broadcasters Instructed To Brief Authorities On Content
Tajikistan’s communications watchdog has instructed private radio and television companies to report about their weekly broadcast plans each Monday. The letters, seen by RFE/RL, warn broadcasters that "measures would be taken" against them if they do not provide their weekly broadcast plans by 8.00 a.m. each Monday.
Tajikistan Says Killers of Foreign Cyclists In 2018 Were Financed Via Russian Payment System
The Tajik National Bank says terrorists who killed four foreign cyclists in the former Soviet republic in 2018 were financed via the Russian payment system Zolotaya Korona (Golden Crown).
Turkmen Males Told To Go Grey
RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports that male officials over 40 years old in Turkmenistan’s eastern Lepab region have been instructed that, effective February 1, they must have grey hair so that they resemble President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has appeared in public with grey hair since August 2018. (Russian and Turkmen Services)
PRESSROOM: Axios Interviews Andrey Loshak, Director of Current Time Series ‘InterNyet’
PRESSROOM: RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service, 1 Year Old, Hits Ground Running
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