Syria has taught the Kremlin that being a big part of the problem means being a big part of the solution - and delivers global clout.
“Little green men” demonstrated in front of the Russian Embassy in Prague and hung a Ukrainian flag on the fence on March 14 to protest the Kremlin’s policy in Ukraine. (Ukrainian Service)
In this exclusive interview, part of RFE/RL’s “Russia & Me” video project, former two-term President of Armenia Robert Kocharian says the Kremlin responds better to carrots than sticks.
Workers put in 15-day shifts and make roughly $150 monthly in tunnels that run one hundred meters deep and lack air. Chinese gold miners have showed interest in the mine, but so far locals are not selling. (Current Time TV)
Russia Says Syria Drawdown Has Begun
Russia’s Defense Ministry said today that a group of Su-34 bombers had left Russia’s air base in the Syrian city of Khmeimim. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said "the main task today is to comprehensively assist a peace settlement.” The Russian Federation Council's Defense Committee said Moscow will keep about 1,000 military personnel at its two bases in Syria.
In a meeting on March 14, EU foreign ministers unanimously agreed that Russia must fully respect and implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement signed in February 2015, and that Brussels will not recognize Moscow's "illegal" annexation of Crimea.
Most observers say that Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko is the technocratic choice, while Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy is the political choice to fill the post of prime minister, although some speculate that parliamentary speaker Volodymur Groysman or National Security Council head Oleksandr Turchynov could command the 226 votes necessary to get the position. (In Ukrainian)
A court in Baku found Mammad Ibrahim, an adviser to the leader of the opposition Popular Front party, guilty of hooliganism on March 15. Ibrahim says the case against him is politically motivated.
Semenchenko Denies Being A Spy
In a discussion with RFE/RL, Ukrainian parliamentarian and former commander of the pro-Ukrainian volunteer Donbas battalion Semen Semenchenko denied claims he works for the Kremlin. Ukrainian investigative journalist Vladmir Boyko says Semenchko was recruited by the Russian security service, and that his personal records, including proof of a criminal conviction, were taken from Crimea to Moscow. (In Russian)
Healthcare advocates say a new system governing disability benefits in Russia is “profoundly vicious,” leaving hundreds of thousands of people, many of them with severe illnesses or disabilities, without support.
On the night of Maslenitsa, March 14, when Russians traditionally celebrate the last week before the beginning of Lent by burning a scarecrow, a group of young people burned books by American writer Henry Miller, labeling them “tablets of sodomy” and examples of western decadence. (Current Time TV)
According to this commentator, endless fees, costly licenses, a general disregard for property rights, and a fading hope that Russia will restore order make up the new commercial code in Crimea. (In Ukrainian)
An investigative report suggests that the fall of the Soviet Union meant not only the separation of 15 republics, but also the collapse of the entire Soviet space industry, due to mismanagement, corruption, and neglect. (In Russian)