Coronavirus Tops Agenda As EU Aims To Counter Russia and China In Western Balkans
Leaders of the European Union and six Balkan states will gather for an online summit on May 6 that has been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting is expected to avoid membership talks and focus on the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, which has killed nearly 140,000 people on the continent, eroded economic growth, and suppressed any appetite EU leaders have for enlargement.
Russian Minister Of Culture Is Infected With Coronavirus
Russian media reports that Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova has tested positive for the coronavirus. The 39-year-old minister, who took up the post in January, does not require hospitalization. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized last month. (Russian Service)
Russian Med Students Feel Pressure To Fill Gaps In Covid-19 Battle
Russian students say they're being threatened with expulsion from medical school if they refuse to work in hospitals as the country's health system struggles to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. (video)
Self-Quarantining Muscovites Complain Of App’s Glitches And Arbitrary Fines
The Moscow mayor's office has developed a Social Monitoring app for people ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days. The app tracks geolocation and requires that persons in quarantine send a selfie several times a day to confirm they are at home. The mayor’s website provides no information about penalties for noncompliance. There have been complaints from those who have installed the app that the links accompanying requests for selfies are often broken, preventing them from sending selfies, while others say they have received no requests at all. In both cases, however, Muscovites have received fines equivalent to $50. (in Russian, Current Time)
98-Year-Old Russian Blogger Raised Money For Doctors
98-year old WWII anti-aircraft gunner Zinaida Antonovna Korneva is a blogger with over a million followers who, in the course of just a few days, raised almost 2 million rubles (approximately $26,000) on her YouTube channel for medical workers. Korneva says she was inspired by British WWII Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than $37 million for medics on his blog and received a personal thank-you from British Premier Boris Johnson. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Lukashenka Calls On World Leaders To Mark Victory Day In Minsk
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has called on leaders of other countries to attend next week’s military parade in Minsk marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, volunteers in the city of Hrodna are assembling face shields and sewing masks to help hospitals and doctors cope with the pandemic even as the authoritarian president plays it down.
Serbia Opposition Protest Breaks COVID-19 Lockdown
Supporters of Serbia's opposition Freedom and Justice Party defied a COVID-19 lockdown curfew and took to the streets of the capital, Belgrade. The May 4 protest was called by party leader Dragan Djilas in retaliation for a pro-government demonstration that targeted his family home.The opposition protest came the same day Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called a general election for June 21.
'Raspberry' Deal For Ventilators Leaves Bitter Taste In Bosnia
State prosecutors in Bosnia-Herzegovina are investigating a multimillion-dollar deal to import dozens of Chinese ventilators to fight COVID-19 as questions swirl over how a local TV presenter's raspberry farm got picked for the job.
WHO Still Working On Possible Visit To Virus-Free Turkmenistan
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is still working on a possible visit to Turkmenistan as the country continues to claim it has yet to record a positive test for the coronavirus even as the outbreak engulfs its Central Asian neighbors.
Freedom House Warns Of 'Democratic Breakdown' Across Europe, Eurasia
In its latest report, U.S.-based democracy monitor Freedom House warns of a "stunning democratic breakdown" across Central Europe, the Balkans, and Eurasia as many leaders in the region attempt to do away with any remaining checks on their power.
Facebook Removes Disinformation Accounts Linked To Russia, Iran, And Georgia
Facebook said on May 5 that it has removed hundreds of social-media accounts -- more than half of them based in Russia, Iran, and Georgia -- after finding they belonged to networks that were running influence campaigns.
European Court Condemns Romania For Dismissing Top Anti-Graft Prosecutor
Romania's former top anti-corruption official Laura Codruta Koevesi has won a landmark victory at the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that her dismissal in 2018 violated her rights to a fair trial and to freedom of expression.
Azerbaijani Activist's Wife 'Cannot Meet' Spouse Held In Psychiatric Care
The wife of Aqil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Of Azerbaijan, says she has not been able to meet her spouse for more than a month after he was forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic following his criticism of the country's leadership.
Kyrgyz Border Guard Says Clashes Prevented Near Uzbek Exclave
Kyrgyz border authorities say they have prevented a renewed outbreak of clashes near an Uzbek exclave inside Kyrgyz territory. Zamir Miizaev, the chief of the Border Guard Directorate in Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken region, told RFE/RL on May 5 that tensions near the border have been rising due to a dispute around irrigation water usage.
IRAN: ‘They Were Laughing’: Iranian Border Guards Accused Of Torturing, Drowning Afghan Migrants
WATCH: MAY 8: A New Time Of Troubles In Putin’s Russia?
Organized by the German Marshall Fund, with RFE/RL’s Steve Gutterman, Irina Lagunina, and Kiryl Sukhotski.
PRESSROOM: On World Press Freedom Day, Coronavirus Multiplies Challenges Facing Independent Media