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VISUAL REPORTS

Muscovites Slam Flawed New Flats

Some residents living in condemned Soviet-era housing blocks in the Kuntsevo district of Moscow have been waiting 10 years to relocate. But many are now reluctant to move to new apartments because of what they say are major flaws.

Protesters March For 11th Consecutive Week Through Belgrade

Thousands of Serbian antigovernment protesters have marched for the 11th consecutive Saturday. Protesters in Belgrade collected signatures for the "Covenant With The People" -- a petition initiated by opposition groups to call for fair elections and more public control over the state.

Armenians Revisit Their National Anthem

Armenia is abuzz over its plucky national anthem since a prominent politician called for a return to the hymn that played under communism.

Kazakh Mothers Turn Grief Into Action

After a house fire killed five girls as their parents worked, mothers across Kazakhstan have been demanding more action to help struggling families.

Captured Baby Whales Bound For China, Claim Russian Activists

The Russian prosecutor’s office has begun an investigation into accusations of illegal whaling. Activists claim 87 belugas and 11 killer whales, which are being held near Nakhodka in Russia’s Far East, have been captured for sale to aquariums in China rather than for legal scientific purposes.

OTHER NEWS

Kudrin Calls U.S. Investor's Detention 'Emergency For Economy'

Aleksei Kudrin, the chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, wrote on Twitter on February 18 that the arrest of Michael Calvey, the head of the Baring Vostok investment company, had "obviously" been made against the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who initiated amendments to the Criminal Code last year that mitigated punishments for economic crimes.

Russian Exporters Lose Billions Due To Sanctions

Russia’s ministry of economic development has reported that Russian exporters suffered losses of $6.3 billion in 2018 because of international sanctions. EU sanctions, valued at $2.5 billion, are reported to be the most extensive. U.S. sanctions are estimated at costing Russian exporters $1.1 billion. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Russian Lower House Bans Military Servicemen From Smartphone Use

The Russian Duma has adopted a law banning members of the military from having phones and other devices with internet access, recording, and data storage capabilities during their service. Servicemen will also be forbidden from communicating with journalists and posting information on the internet about their service or former colleagues and relatives. The legislation is now awaiting approval from the Federation Council and Russian President Putin. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Novaya Gazeta Reporter and Russian Journalist Briefly Detained At Amsterdam Airport

The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta says its correspondent Yelena Milashina and a human rights activist Milana Bakhayeva were briefly detained on February 18 upon their arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. According to the newspaper, airport police refused to identify themselves and did not explain why the two women were detained.

Former Yaroslavl Prison Warden Detained In Torture Investigation

The former warden of an infamous prison in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, has been arrested in connection with high-profile torture probes in several penitentiaries in the city, a human rights group says.

Former Russian Intelligence Officer Released From Prison

Former Russian intelligence officer Vladimir Kvachkov, known for his radical views about the Russian leadership, has been released from prison after his conviction for incitement to hatred was annulled following recent changes to the Criminal Code.

Roscosmos Dreams Of Gagarin

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has written on Twitter that the company is developing a project enabling space tourists to retrace the journey of first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, and anticipates that space tourism will generate “hundreds of millions of dollars per year.” Rogozin has previously promised a manned flight to the moon by 2024, and a moon landing by 2030. (Russian Service)

Russian Archipelago Ends State Of Emergency After Polar Bear Invasion

Russian officials have declared the end of a state of emergency in parts of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago after what had been described as a "mass invasion" of polar bears in the islands' human settlements.

Facebook Blocks RT - Run Page

Facebook has blocked a popular page run by Russia’s state-funded RT television channel, saying it was part of ongoing efforts to improve transparency. RT’s editor in chief Margarita Simonyan said on February 18 that Facebook had blocked the page, related to the RT English-language TV project called In the Now, immediately after CNN reported that the project had been sponsored by the Kremlin.

Lukashenka Says Belarus Always Ready To Be EU's 'Reliable' Partner

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told visiting European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger on February 18 that his country "Will always be the European Union's partner." The meeting took place just days after Lukashenka's visit to Russia, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on further integration between the two nations.

Lithuanian FM: EU Russia Sanctions 'Sometimes Too Little, Sometimes Too Late'

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has said that EU sanctions in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine are “sometimes too little, sometimes too late.” But he said not reacting is not an option, and hoped the bloc would “continue in this consensus manner” to support Ukraine.

Son Of Former Armenian President Accused Of Tax Fraud And Money Laundering

Armenia’s National Security Service has charged Sedrak Kocharian, the elder son of ex-President Robert Kocharian, with tax evasion and money laundering. Sedrak Kocharian has said the criminal case is an attack on his family. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

MAJLIS PODCAST: The Challenges For Disabled People In Central Asia

PHOTOGALLERY: Europe's Crumbling Jewish Heritage

About Svoboda Today

Svoboda Today is a quick, daily guide to developments in Russia, Ukraine, and the region, delivered from our bureaus direct to your inbox. Sign up for Svoboda Today daily email newsletter here.

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