Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office in Lviv suspects an underworld criminal and a police major of collusion in the arson of a vehicle belonging to RFE/RL correspondent Halyna Tereshchuk. Lviv’s lead prosecutor signed the charge sheets for the two suspects on February 11.
By the summer, Ukraine hopes it can repair the damaged navy vessels returned by Russia in November 2019. Russia seized three Ukrainian boats and their crews off Crimea in 2018 near the Kerch Strait.
Thousands of ethnic Dungans have fled ethnic violence in Kazakhstan. They originally came to Central Asia after an unsuccessful revolt against Chinese rule in the 19th century, and maintain a unique language, cuisine, and culture.
Andriy Yermak, the new head of Ukraine's presidential administration, has told reporters on February 12 that there is room for compromise in talks on ending the 5-year war with Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Veteran official Dmitry Kozak has been appointed as Russia's chief negotiator in relations with Kyiv and Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, sidelining hard-liner Vladislav Surkov. Kozak, Ukrainian-born, is a former deputy prime minister, and was appointed deputy head of the Kremlin administration late last month.
Maksim Vernikov, a former coordinator of Open Russia and editor-in-chief of Ural. MBK Media, is the first Russian citizen to be sentenced under the criminal code for activities in association with an “undesirable organization.” The Leninsky District Court of Yekaterinburg sentenced Vernikov to 300 hours of community service; he was earlier fined twice for organizing an Open Russia conference and writing about it on the Russian social media network Vkontakte. (Russian Service)
A Russian regional court’s "heinous" sentencing of seven activists to long prison terms has ignited outrage on social media, with some critics drawing parallels to the show trials of the Stalinist era. The men were sentenced on February 10 to prison terms ranging from six to 18 years, punishments normally given to violent criminals.
More than 100 Russian cultural figures have issued a letter expressing solidarity with political prisoners. The letter, published on February 11 by the website Colta.ru, describes the demonstrations that take place every Friday at metro stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and says they “are turning into a tradition in other cities of Russia.”
A newly suggested amendment to the constitution proposes offering lifetime membership in the Federation Council to Russian presidents who have completed their terms in office. Another bill proposes increasing the number of Council members appointed by the president from 17 out of 170 to 30. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
A Russian newspaper says that a married couple faces criminal charges for photographs taken at their 2015 wedding and published online that reveal the identity of a Russian counterintelligence officer in Kaliningrad.
Khamzat Kadyrov, the 23-year-old nephew of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has reportedly been appointed head of the republic’s Security Council. After RFE/RL’s Caucasus.Realii website reported the news, first posted on Instagram by Turpal-Ali Ibragimov, the Shalinsky District prefect and another Kadyrov relative, Ibragimov deleted the post. (Kavkaz.Realities)
The NATO flag was raised in front of the parliament building in Skopje on February 11 as North Macedonia celebrated its impending accession to the military alliance. Earlier in the day, North Macedonia’s parliament unanimously ratified the NATO accession protocol, which will come into effect after the 29th and final member of the alliance -- Spain -- does the same.
Azerbaijani riot police have detained more than 20 opposition and independent candidates who were protesting in front of Baku’s Central Election Commission against the results of last weekend’s early parliamentary polls.
Relatives of Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly have demanded that President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev allow investigators to question his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbaev and his daughter Darigha Nazarbaeva, the current Senate speaker, over his assassination. Sarsenbaiuly, a prominent opposition figure, was shot dead execution-style along with two associates 14 years ago.
The childhood village of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon is receiving a major overhaul as part of a plan to transform it into a provincial capital. Danghara, located about 115 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe, was previously known for its vast tracts of agricultural land.
The latest Levada Center poll has found that public trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin has dropped to 35%, from 39% in September and from 59% in November 2017. Center head Lev Gudkov attributes the fall to “prolonged dissatisfaction,” including over the economy and people’s inability to earn money. (in Russian, Current Time TV)