Fighting was reported on April 11 around the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiyivka, where Russia-backed separatists pounded Ukrainian government positions with artillery and mortar shells. One week earlier, RFE/RL correspondent Levko Stek spent a tense night in the trenches with Ukrainian troops.
Moscow students and faculty of Timiryazevki, a preeminent agricultural university, turned out on April 11 to protest a decision by authorities to transfer experimental fields belonging to the school to developers. (Russian Service)
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariev announced his resignation, but insisted he was innocent of corruption allegations made by one of his own ministers.
At a strict all-female boarding school in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, which aims to prepare Muslim girls to marry Muslim men, there are more applicants than the school can handle.
The people bending and stretching during Turkmenistan’s National Health Month all look happy because they have to. It's their patriotic duty, and they could lose their jobs if they were not exercising with a smile.
Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Hroysman appears to have revived his candidacy on April 12 after refusing the position the night before. Failure to constitute a new coalition by week’s end could prompt President Petro Poroshenko to dismiss parliament and call early elections. (In Ukrainian)
At a press conference in Odesa on April 11, Mayor Mikheil Saakashvili urged Ukraine’s parliament to refrain from approving a new cabinet of ministers, saying it would serve oligarchs, not the people. (In Ukrainian)
Russian President Vladimir Putin removed Boris Gryzlov, chairman of the supreme council of the United Russia party, from Russia’s Security Council, the president’s select advisory body, giving the seat to Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s new National Guard. (In Russian/Current Time TV)
Alexei Navalny has called it “pure fantasy,” while commentators say a state TV program claiming he is a western agent recruited by William Browder, a former investor in Russia, is so sloppy and error-riddled as to defy understanding.
Fearing Western sanctions Russia’s main national banks, with the exception of the Bank of Russia, have declined to establish branches in annexed Crimea. The vacuum has been filed by local banks, 12 of which have closed over the last two years, which lack access to international monetary systems and are suspected of being involved in money laundering. (In Russian)
Russian sociologist Andrey Scherbak spoke to RFE/RL about his research into the backgrounds of 60 field commanders who fought in eastern Ukraine, finding that regardless of which side they fought for, they belong to their society’s lower classes and share similar social characteristics. (In Russian)
In its annual report, “Nations In Transit,” Freedom House warns that economic woes are threatening "entrenched dictatorships" in the former Soviet Union, the migration crisis is fueling populism in Eastern Europe, and reforms in the Balkans are in retreat.
More than a quarter-million documents in the Mossack Fonseca trove have a Czech connection, while nearly 300 Czech clients and shareholders appear in the Panama Papers.
On the eve of Vladimir Putin’s annual televised Q&A session on April 14, Moscow analyst Stanislav Belkovsky considers the political and financial interests of members of the president’s inner circle, and speculates they may want better relations with the West than the Kremlin can currently provide. (over 90K on Russian Service website)