Following the Duma’s approval of an amendment on presidential term limits that would enable President Vladimir Putin to remain in office for another 12 years, demonstrators in Moscow turned out to stage single protests at the monument of Prince Vladimir the Great. One poster said that if Putin remains president until 2036, he would be in power longer than Peter the Great. Opposition activists also filed applications to hold protest rallies in Moscow, even as city authorities banned events with more than 5,000 people in response to the coronavirus. (Russian Service)
Language has long been a tripwire between Ukraine and Russia. A bill that will increase schools’ usage of Ukrainian, the state language, has caused concern among some parents in the eastern city of Kharkiv over how easily their children can transition from lessons in Russian.
Thousands of women and men endured sexual violence during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo, but the subject remains taboo even today. Vasfije Krasniqi–Goodman, a survivor and activist, spoke to the parliament of Kosovo on March 9, calling for the stigma to be erased and for criminals to be brought to justice.
A Siberian village has become a magnet for various fringe faith communities, after a visit by the follower of an Indian mystic. Some believe it's the site of a mythical temple, others that it's the center of the universe. Archaeologists have found some pottery.
Russian parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, has approved a bill containing constitutional amendments that will allow President Vladimir Putin to run for a fifth presidential term in 2024, and potentially a sixth term until 2036. The Constitutional Court must approve the changes, which will also be put to a public referendum on April 22. The Russian Duma yesterday voted to approve another 40 amendments.
For weeks, observers have speculated over the paths Russian President Vladimir Putin might take to remain in power. In an unusual and unexpected appearance before the State Duma on March 10, he signaled that he may choose the simplest of all: staying on as president.
For years now, Russia has been laser-focused on insulating itself from an external economic shock. But in an unexpected move on March 6, the Kremlin rejected a call by OPEC countries to further cut oil production, breaking three years of cooperation under an arrangement called OPEC+ and stunning participants at a meeting in Vienna, not to mention some of Russia’s own oil executives.
The United States arrested a Russian citizen on charges of running a vast online marketplace for stolen account credentials, the latest in a series of suspected Russian cybercriminals nabbed during overseas travel.
The Kremlin says it has been informed through diplomatic channels that U.S. President Donald Trump will not attend the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. No further information was provided.
The manufacturer of Russia’s Proton-M rocket has cancelled the launch of the heavy-lift vehicle from the Baikonur cosmodrome due to the discovery of low-quality components. The launch, which was supposed to carry two satellites, is delayed until May. Last year the company cancelled three launches because of technical difficulties. (Russian Service)
The Ukrainian military says two soldiers were killed and eight wounded from projectile fire on March 10 after an anti-tank missile struck a military truck near the town of Pisky in the eastern Donetsk region.
Schools and universities in the Ukrainian capital will close until the end of March to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said mass events such as concerts and conferences would also be restricted, and cinemas and entertainment areas in shopping malls would remain closed. The city is receiving rapid test kits to diagnose infections. “Right now, there are 1,200 [kits], by the end of the week we’ll have 5,000,” Klitschko announced in a social-media post.
EU To Entice Eastern Partnership Nations To Reduce Russian Energy Dependence And Fight Economic Crime
The European Union plans to better tie financial support to the six nations of its Eastern Partnership program to improvements in the rule of law, and may increase funding for alternative energy to wean them off Russian fossil fuels. A leaked communication also said Brussels wants to step up the program’s efforts to fight economic crime, including the recovery of stolen assets.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has urged voters to back proposed changes to the constitution that would lead to the removal of a majority of Constitutional Court judges. Pashinian made the call on March 10 ahead of next month’s referendum on the proposed reforms, saying the court “had patronized all electoral frauds in Armenia in the past.”
Austrian authorities have extradited Hizbullo Shovalizoda to Tajikistan, despite warnings from activists that he may face torture and an unfair judicial process there. The Tajik Prosecutor-General's Office said on March 5 that Shovalizoda is suspected of being a member of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan and participating in an attempt to overthrow the government.
A court in London is set to decide the fate of a $104 million London mansion and two other properties linked to the family of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. The high-security home is owned by companies based in tax havens, but public records show that the occupiers are Nazarbaev's grandson Nurali Aliev and his wife, Aida.