Kazakh activists received jail terms and fines for posting a banner calling for fair presidential elections on the sidelines of the Almaty marathon. Amnesty International is calling the detainees prisoners of conscience.
A small town in Tartarstan has struggled after losing two major sources of employment before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many residents have moved out of the place once called "Tat Vegas."
More than 100 antique aircraft sit in purgatory in a former Soviet air base in eastern Ukraine, but some of these planes may live to fly again.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing to brief Chinese leaders on his just-concluded summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and said he is also willing to share details of the talks with the United States.
In the lexicon of U.S. counterintelligence, it's called "spot and assess," "access agents," and "backchannels." According to U.S. prosecutors, it's also what Maria Butina was doing during her time in United States, and explains why these actions “had the potential to damage the national security of the United States."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected international criticism of his decision to ease the process granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in regions of eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists. Putin said his decree resembles policies in European Union member states like Romania and Hungary that grant citizenship to "their own ethnic kin living outside their borders." The OSCE assailed the decision in an April 25 statement.
Commenting on April 25 on a controversial decree easing Russian citizenship procedures for residents of separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that through meetings over the years with Donbas residents, she saw an “obvious need to support our people who have de facto become residents of our country.” (in Russian, Current Time)
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of China’s so-called Belt and Road forum in Beijing on April 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Iranian President Hassan Rohani at a summit in Russia in August.
The United States has imposed an entry ban on Muslim Khuchiyev, the prime minister of Russia's North Caucasus Chechen Republic. An April 25 State Department notice said the designation is tied to "credible information” that a foreign official has been involved in corruption or gross human rights abuses, and, in Khuchiyev’s case, torture.
Yury Kartyzhev, the first person to be convicted under a new Russian law banning insults of Russian authorities and state symbols, is not exactly contrite. "Some people say that Putin raised Russia from its knees," Kartyzhev told RFE/RL. "He didn't lift anything, we just have oil and gas. Put a monkey [in the president's office], it will be better than this Putin."
Russian research agency Avtostat reports that sales of Rolls-Royce automobiles in Russia in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 85%, with the most popular model being the Cullinan SUV, which sells at a starting price of $401,000. So far 24 of the vehicles have been sold to customers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Russia’s Krasnodar region. The statistics highlight acute social and economic inequality in Russia, where, according to the state statistics service Rossat, 80% of residents have difficulty buying the most basic things. (Russian Service)
Belarusian opposition groups have cancelled an annual protest march in Minsk commemorating victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster after they were told they would have to pay the cost for providing police security. The issue isn’t about money: “we refuse to pay, in principle," said one of the organizers.
Kazakhstan's Nationwide Social Democratic Party (ZhSDP), the only registered party in the country that positions itself in opposition to the government, has declared it will boycott an early presidential election scheduled for June 9.