Pro-Moscow separatists have increased attacks near Luhansk, and intensified their shelling near the frontlines in the Donetsk region.
Several hundred Uzbek citizens queued up at the Federal Migration Service in Ekaterinburg to apply for temporary residence permits. Under new regulations, workers without such documentation must pay about $40 monthly, about half the income they can expect to earn, for the right to stay. (Current Time TV)
Against the backdrop of recent commodity and energy blockades, Crimeans had high hopes for a bridge over the Kerch strait, but its construction is in doubt, adding to the frustrations of even those who favored joining Russia. Residents are fearful of expressing discontent, but some advocate declaring National Territorial Crimean Tatar Autonomy. (In Russian)
A college teacher in southern Kazakhstan was recorded soliciting bribes from her students. Confronted about it afterwards, the teacher said she only charges slackers.
Russian authorities say that the underground explosions that killed 36 people in an Arctic mine over the weekend were the result of natural causes, not negligence or fraud.
The reactions in Russia to the apparent beheading of a child in Moscow by an Uzbek nanny were varied and kneejerk, with authorities calling for a clampdown on nannies and nationalists, and others criticizing the police response.
Commenting on the recent meeting of Belarus and Russian leaders in Minsk, political analyst Pavel Usov said that Belarus desperately needs funds to allay its financial crisis, and is in no position to counter Russian pressure to open an airbase on its territory. But it is unlikely to receive assistance from the West without reforms. (In Belarusian)
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced on February 29 the creation of a new law enforcement structure, effective March 1, that will assume the investigative functions currently carried out by the Prosecutor-General’s office. (In Ukrainian)
Imprisoned Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova has completed a translation of Children of the Jacaranda Tree from her jail cell. The book’s Iranian author Sahar Delijani has praised Ismayilova’s courage, and expressed gratitude for the translation into Azerbaijani, her Tabriz-born mother’s native language. (In Russian)
There was no sign of Oscar night on Russia’s state-run TV channels, for fear of possible criticism from the podium of Russia’s involvement in Syria and Ukraine. After-the-fact coverage is expected soon. (In Russian)
Three newborn babies were presented with military draft notices along with their birth certificates last week by the Russian authorities who control the Crimean Peninsula.
Russian human rights defender Alexey Kovalev, Parnas deputy chairman Konstantin Merzlikin, and Yabloko deputy chairman Alexander Gnezdilov believe Russian authorities are responsible for Boris Nemtsov’s murder. Kovalev blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin personally, “whether he ordered the murder or it was done by someone to please him.” (Over 45K on RFE/RL Russian Service website)
Reindeer meat is a mainstay of the Scandinavian diet, but 30 years after Chernobyl, radiation in the food chain has left many of the animals too toxic to eat.