Russia has registered a record 1,154 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The infection was confirmed in 43 Russian regions. The federal authority Rospotrebnadzor says 185,000 people infected with COVID-19 are currently under medical supervision. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
While Russian authorities are trumpeting their shipments of medical supplies to other countries fighting the coronavirus, they are restricting local efforts to combat the pandemic at home. In Kolomna, a town near Moscow, activists were stopped from raising funds to buy protective equipment for doctors at a local hospital. The facility’s chief doctor declined the help after a call from the police, and the volunteers were questioned by security service agents. Anastasia Vasilyeva, who heads an independent union of doctors, was detained and fined after she and other volunteers collected respirators, antiseptic, goggles, and gloves for a hospital in the Novgorod region. She was accused of spreading “fake news” about the coronavirus, and when she and colleagues sought to deliver the aid, she was fined $21 for insubordination to the police. (Russian Service)
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has promised to reward police who beat a resident for violating the isolation regime. Kadyrov said he’d “rather hit one than bury thousands of people,” adding that he will beat people with batons, and put them in jail or basements to “protect his people.” Kadyrov on April 6 refused a request from Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to open the region’s borders, and said he “will not let people in without registration in the Chechen Republic.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Caretakers of public cemeteries in Dnipro, a city in southeastern Ukraine, have been ordered to dig 600 graves, and thousands of body bags have been preordered for potential coronavirus victims. City authorities told Current Time they wanted to be prepared, but also to show residents the importance of observing the mandatory quarantine. (video)
There were some tense moments in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, when police blocked a bridge to Kyiv's Hydropark, a popular island sports ground located in the Dnipro River. Angry citizens confronted police and argued that new restrictions violated their freedom of movement. Two people were arrested. (video)
The Russia-backed separatist territory in Ukraine’s Donetsk region has begun issuing public warnings about the coronavirus pandemic. On April 3, a separatist-controlled TV station reported that a woman and her child who had recently traveled to Moscow were diagnosed with the virus. Self-isolation has been made mandatory except for “essential” workers.” (Ukrainian Service/Donbas Realities)
More than 200 volunteers across Serbia working in 3D printing have come together via social media to create visors to donate to medical staff working during the COVID-19 pandemic. (video)
Authorities in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, have blocked public access to all city parks and squares in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Police put yellow tape around Pristina's main square on April 6 to prevent people from gathering in larger numbers. (video)
The United States has designated the ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement and three of its leaders as terrorists, marking the first time the classification has been applied to a white supremacist group.
In a surprise March 28 statement, Russia’s Rosneft declared it would be exiting Venezuela after 10 years and billions of dollars in investments. The announcement plays into a geopolitical struggle involving both volatile energy markets and the fate of Venezuela, where Russia has helped a leader considered illegitimate by the United States and many other governments remain in power.
Several masked individuals attacked the Czech Embassy in Moscow after Prague authorities removed a statue in the city of the Soviet military commander Ivan Konev. The attackers threw smoke bombs onto the embassy's territory on April 5 and placed a banner saying Stop Fascism on the compound’s fence. A group called Other Russia that consists of members of the banned National Bolshevik party claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two deputy prosecutors in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, have been arrested on charges relating to "illegal production, processing, purchasing, keeping, transportation, and trafficking without aim to sell narcotic substances." The charges carry a potential 5-year prison sentence.
Authorities in Turkmenistan's eastern Darganata district have further limited daily ATM cash withdrawals for individuals, another sign the Central Asian energy-rich nation may be cash-strapped. Over the weekend, the cash machines started issuing a maximum of 100 manats per day, which is less than $30 by the official rate, and less than $5 on the black market, the main place where citizens can buy foreign currency.
In case you missed this terrific discussion with GMF and RFE/RL about the pandemic and propaganda in Russia, Bulgaria, and the Balkans, watch it here.