Slovaks go to the polls on February 29 to elect a new parliament, with opinion polls suggesting a strong showing for both the far-right and a populist former businessman. The election comes amid the high-profile trial of five people charged in connection with the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova.
The funeral has taken place of Kazakh civil rights activist Dulat Aghadil, who recently died in police custody. Police in Nur-Sultan detained around 20 activists who had gone from the funeral to a demonstration in the capital to demand an independent investigation into Aghadil's death.
A woman who claims to be the sister-in-law of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is parading her pampered life on Instagram.
When Ukrainian soldiers found a stray dog during their war with Russia-backed separatists, they took him in and called him Corporal. He's since become a wounded war veteran after surviving a land-mine explosion.
There is a growing list of critics of Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who have been killed or died abroad under suspicious circumstances.
In a February 27 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the actual goal of Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest and detention was to “silence and punish her for her work.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington "does not and will not ever recognize" Moscow's claim to Ukraine's Crimea region. Pompeo said that "February 27 will mark the sixth anniversary of Russia's attempted annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and the United States reaffirms: Crimea is Ukraine."
In a February 26 interview, Vladislav Surkov, the "gray cardinal" and Kremlin ideologist who oversaw Ukraine policy during the now six-year war, said the very idea of a Ukrainian state is open for debate. "There is no Ukraine. There is Ukrainian-ness," Surkov said. "That is, it is a specific disorder of the mind, a sudden passion for ethnography, taken to its extremes."
Russian snipers and separatist marksmen trained in Russian military camps outmatch their Ukrainian counterparts in the Donbas conflict with better rifles, equipment, and ammunition, an analysis by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation says.
RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena, who was sentenced to house arrest by a Russian court on a charge of separatism in 2017, has been removed from Russia’s list of “terrorists and extremists.”
Russia’s latest report on children’s health released this month notes a shortage of qualified doctors and singles out medical facilities that are in poor condition. The country’s Audit Chamber said that about one-third of 117,000 medical facilities that were inspected lack running water and more than 40 percent lack central heating,
A human rights group says well-known Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov has been assaulted in his apartment in a European country where he lives in hiding. Abdurakhmanov has continued to criticize the Kadyrov regime from abroad, focusing on human rights violations and corruption in Chechnya.
Russian media reports that Katerina Tikhonova, who is believed to be one of Vladimir Putin's two daughters, will head Moscow State University’s new Institute for Advanced Studies of Problems of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems. Putin did not confirm nor deny Tikhonova was his daughter during his annual press conference in December last year. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Authorities in Belarus have reported the country’ first confirmed case of coronavirus, identifying the person as a student from Iran who arrived in the country on February 22.
The U.S. special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo says the United States does not support the Kosovar government’s decision to temporarily and partly lift the import tariff on products from Serbia. Richard Grenell, who also serves as U.S. ambassador to Germany and President Donald Trump's intelligence chief, tweeted that the move is a “half measure.”
Azerbaijani authorities have confirmed the first case of coronavirus. The infected person is a Russian citizen who came to Azerbaijan from Iran. An Iranian man who traveled through Azerbaijan to Georgia has registered that country’s first case. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
A recent Levada Center poll has found that only 25% of respondents plan to vote in favor of President Vladimir Putin’s proposed amendments to the constitution. 10% plan to vote against them, 37% plan to vote but haven’t decided if they are for or against, and 23% plan not to vote at all. The poll further revealed that 64% of respondents do not understand the amendments, and 58% do not understand why they are needed. The referendum is expected on April 22. (Russian Service)