A vote in Russia's parliament removes constitutional obstacles to Vladimir Putin remaining in power as long as he wishes, according to political scientists and opposition figures. Police in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities detained activists on March 12 during and ahead of protests against the amendments.
War-weary Ukrainian soldiers have found a wagging tail and a cold nose can provide much-needed solace for stress and panic attacks.
A play at a theater in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, has been performed without a live audience after indoor cultural events were temporarily banned because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands watched Chekhov's Uncle Vanya via a Facebook livestream.
Ten strongmen have taken part in the second face-slapping event at this year's Siberian Power Show in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk. Each competitor takes a turn slapping the other, trying to knock out his opponent with one swoop.
Facebook and Twitter say they have removed a number of Russia-linked fake accounts that targeted U.S. users from their operations in Ghana and Nigeria. Facebook on March 12 said the accounts were in the “early stages” of building an audience on behalf of individuals in Russia, posting on topics such as black history, celebrity gossip, and fashion.
Each of Russia’s 85 regional parliaments has approved new amendments to the constitution that would enable President Vladimir Putin to remain in power for another 16 years. The amendments were also approved by the Russia-imposed legislatures in Crimea, and the Crimean naval port city of Sevastopol.
Russian media reports that Yelena Shmeleva, the co-chairperson of Vladimir Putin’s 2018 presidential campaign, will head the Yandex Public Fund, which was created in November 2019 to coordinate the company’s strategic decisionmaking. Yandex is Russia's dominant search engine. Supposedly, the state will not directly participate in the work of the fund, but will influence decisions that could affect national security. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
A Russian court in Moscow has fined BBC World News and its editor in chief in Russia on March 12 for failing to correctly label content unsuitable for children, to submit content to a state archive.
Earlier this month, Russia's finance minister said that even if oil prices dropped to $30 a barrel, the government would be able to operate without difficulty for four years. The Kremlin is about to find out how true that is.
Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin has ordered Sergei Katasonov, a deputy from the Liberal Democratic party led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and deputies who were in contact with him, to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Katasonov recently traveled to France, but reportedly did not disclose the trip. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
The Russian and European space agencies have postponed their joint mission to Mars until 2022, citing technical difficulties and the coronavirus pandemic.
Ukrainian police say 15 people were arrested on March 12 after a group of right-wing activists disrupted a presentation in Kyiv regarding a possible political settlement in the war in eastern Ukraine. Some were members of the nationalist group National Corps.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Former Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, who briefly lead the country after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, said that he gave an “order to shoot” to Ukrainian military on the peninsula during Russia’s forced annexation, but that civilians used by Russian troops as human shields prevented soldiers from shooting. (Ukrainian Service/Crimea Realities)
Ukrainian rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk has said he is stepping down as leader of Holos (Voice), the political party that he founded last year, to concentrate on using his star power to recruit new members.
The former chief of security for Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has pleaded guilty to bribe-taking along with more than a dozen other defendants. Andrey Utsyurin said on March 11, the second day of his trial, that he has "doubts" about whether his actions were what the court claimed and that he will talk about the subject at a later date.
Montenegro has witnessed opposition and related street protests since the government rushed to push a contentious new law on religions and faith through parliament earlier this year. Many people have suspected that the Serbian Orthodox church is behind the graffiti, but a video circulated recently on social media suggests members of the clergy have played a more formal role.
Uzbekistan’s Justice Ministry has registered a group protecting inmates' rights and the U.S.-based nongovernmental organization Mercy Corps, which focuses on poverty relief. The former, known as Huquqiy Tayanch (Legal Base), was officially registered after eight unsuccessful previous attempts.