On April 26, 1986, a routine safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine spiraled out of control. Follow the dramatic events that led to the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster. Also read: Belarusian Opposition Leader Tsikhanouskaya's Memories Of Ireland, As A “Child Of Chernobyl.
Several hundred protesters gathered in Almaty on April 24 for an unsanctioned rally to oppose a draft law on land ownership that they say poses a threat to Kazakh sovereignty and national security. According to RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, protesters at the event, organized by the unregistered Democratic Party, called on parliament to stop considering amendments to the legislation that would enable long-term leasing by foreign entities. Opponents fear the amendments would open the door to more real estate purchases by local oligarchs, and further increase Chinese influence in the country.
Hoteliers along Georgia’s Black Sea coast hope huge discounts can revive the decimated tourism industry in Batumi, the shiny city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. Along the most premium stretch of pebbled shoreline, beachfront apartments are available for $12 a night. If that’s too pricey, backpackers can walk inland a few hundred meters and score a hostel bed for just $2.
Thousands of Armenians marched in Yerevan on April 23 to commemorate World War I-era mass killings of their kin by Ottoman forces, a bloodletting which U.S. President Joe Biden recognized as genocide on April 24. The annual torch-lit march was held on the eve of the 106th anniversary of the massacres in which -- Armenians say -- up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. So far about 30 countries have recognized the events as "genocide," a characterization which Turkey vehemently rejects.
Total global military expenditure rose to almost $2 trillion last year, an increase of 2.6 percent in real terms from 2019, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Photographer Olga Ivashchenko joined forestry workers helping Ukraine's wild bison survive through the harsh winters of the Carpathian Mountains.
A Russian court has approved a motion by prosecutors to suspend some of the activities of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his Citizens' Rights Defense Foundation (FZPG). "A judge of the Moscow City Court has considered the motion of the plaintiff to take interim measures of protection. The judge of the Moscow City Court has decided to use interim measures of protection in the form of prohibiting certain acts with regards to the Anti-Corruption Foundation and the Citizens' Rights Defense Foundation noncommercial organizations," the court's press office said on April 27. Also read: Prosecutor Seeking 'Extremist' Tag For Navalny Groups Was The Subject Of A Corruption Exposé By Navalny.
A Russian government regulator has slapped a fine of more than $12 million on U.S. tech giant Apple for "abusing" its dominant market position by giving preference to its own applications. "Apple was found to have abused its dominant position in the iOS distribution market through a series of sequential actions which resulted in a competitive advantage for its own products," the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said in a statement on April 27. "On April 26, 2021, the FAS of Russia imposed a turnover fine on Apple Inc of 906.3 million rubles ($12.1 million) for violating anti-monopoly legislation," the statement said.
Ukraine's SBU security service says it has arrested a local resident suspected of planning a Russian-ordered cyberattack on Ukrainian state institutions. "The attack targeted central and local governments, and the aim was to block the operation of information and critical infrastructure facilities," an SBU statement said. STB operatives “established that the special services of the Russian Federation acted through a resident of [the southeastern Ukrainian city of] Zaporizhzhya,” the statement said. The SBU said the hacker was meant to send a disguised file containing spyware to Ukrainian officials.
Current Time TV spoke with Ukrainian political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko about when and under what conditions a meeting between Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin might be possible. Fesenko said that he believes that a meeting might be possible before a meeting between the U.S. President Joe Biden with President Vladimir Putin, but most likely this will be Moscow’s decision that will also depend on president’ schedules. Fesenko does not expect major breakthroughs as a result of a meeting, but says it can help with de-escalation of the situation both around Ukrainian borders and inside Donbas. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
The United Kingdom has announced its first round of sanctions under its new global anti-corruption regime, freezing assets and imposing restrictions on 14 individuals from Russia, as well as eight others from different parts of the world. The 14 Russians were hit with sanctions for their involvement in corruption uncovered by the late Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and whistle-blower who helped reveal the theft of nearly $230 million from Russia's government through fraudulent tax refunds. The targeted Russian nationals' assets in the United Kingdom have been frozen and they are barred from visiting the United Kingdom, according to the measures.
On March 20, 2012, a decree signed by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov set out a system of payments to military servicemen “for special achievements in the service.” Section 4 of the order, which was first highlighted by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, stated that "servicemen of military units 99450, 74455, and the structural unit of military unit 29155 are paid a monthly supplement.” At the time, little attention was paid to the decree: Little was known about the units, which fell under the umbrella of the feared-and-respected military intelligence agency known as the GRU. Here’s a look at the Russian military intelligence unit that has captured the attention of Western intelligence.
Belarusian authorities expect to hold a referendum early next year on the constitutional amendments promised by authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka amid mass protests after a presidential election last year that opposition leaders and the West say was rigged. The chairwoman of Belarus's Central Election Commission, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, said in an interview with Russia's RIA Novosti news agency on April 27 that the referendum is likely to be held in January or February 2022 and not by the end of this year as some media reports have said. She added that, if the referendum were to be held alongside local elections, the most likely date for the poll would be January 16.
Ukraine has declared the Russian consul in the Black Sea port city of Odesa as 'persona non grata' after a second Ukrainian diplomat was kicked out of Russia in an ongoing diplomatic spat between the two countries. The consul must leave the country by April 30 at the latest, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 27. Amid already heightened tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, the latest diplomatic row was sparked by the arrest and subsequent expulsion of a Ukrainian consul earlier this month in St. Petersburg.
The U.S. has provided nearly $7.85 million in military assistance to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, in the form of “command and control, communications, vehicle spare parts, medical components, and tactical equipment.” Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the start of armed conflict in Donbas 2014, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with over $2 billion in security assistance. (Ukrainian Service)
Brazil’s federal health regulator has rejected the importing of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after technical staff pointed to "inherent risks" and said there was a lack of information guaranteeing its safety, quality, and effectiveness. The regulator, known as Anvisa, voted unanimously on April 26 not to approve the Russian vaccine, which has been requested by state governors battling a deadly second wave of the coronavirus. "We will never allow millions of Brazilians to be exposed to products without due verification of quality, safety, and efficacy," Anvisa President Antonio Barra Torres said.
A Tajik court has sentenced nine people for smuggling large amounts of gold and cash from Dushanbe to Dubai and Istanbul, in a case that has been closely watched in Tajikistan. The Dushanbe City Court said the men -- all of them Tajik citizens -- were handed prison terms ranging from two to 5 1/2 years on April 20. Five of the men -- whose occupations weren’t disclosed -- were convicted of smuggling cash and gold from the Tajik-Afghan border to Dushanbe and further to foreign countries.
Hundreds of Uzbek migrant workers, including many women from the country’s densely populated Ferghana Valley, cross into neighboring Kyrgyzstan every day looking for jobs. Large crowds of Uzbek migrants gather near the Dostuk border crossing in the southern Kara-Suu district of the Osh region early every morning. It’s where many of the migrants get hired for short-term, informal jobs. Others travel deeper into the country in search of employment.
A court in Kazakhstan's southern Zhambyl region has handed down sentences to 51 defendants in a case over deadly ethnic clashes that shocked the Central Asian country in February 2020. The court on April 27 sentenced eight defendants to prison terms of between 15 and 20 years after finding them guilty of murder and taking part in mass disorder. Another defendant was sentenced to 11 years in prison, one to seven years in prison, and seven men were sentenced to five years in prison each. One defendant was acquitted while the remainder were handed parole-like "freedom-limitation" sentences for periods of between two and six years.
MAJLIS PODCAST: The Threat To Religious Freedom In Central Asia