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RUSSIA -- TATARSTAN -- A woman places a toy at a makeshift memorial for victims of the shooting at School No. 175 in Kazan on May 11, 2021.

Devastating Shooting In Kazan, RFE/RL’s Reporting On The Ground In Tatarstan

A teenage gunman set off an explosion and opened fire at a school in Kazan, the regional capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, killing nine people as hundreds fled the smoke-filled building and prompting President Vladimir Putin to order a clampdown on weapons.


Georgian Opposition Leader Released In Tbilisi After EU Posts Bail

The Tbilisi City Court ruled to release opposition leader Nikia Melia from pretrial detention, after the European Union posted his bail to help end Georgia's protracted political crisis. Melia, the leader of the opposition United National Movement (ENM), was released on May 10 as part of an agreement between the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition leaders signed last month under European Council President Charles Michel's mediation.

Belarusian Runner Makes GPS Protest Art 'That Can't Be Destroyed'

Using open fields as his canvas, Belarusian runner Vadzim Simanau creates virtual pictures using his GPS tracker to support anti-government protesters. When police cracked down on demonstrators, Simanau said he decided to create these protest signs "that can’t be destroyed."

Serbia Honors 2019 Nobel Prize-Winner For Literature, Who Denies Srebrenica Genocide

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on May 9 presented one of the state's highest honors to Peter Handke, an Austrian writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019 who denies the genocide in Srebrenica. The Order of Karadjordje's Star of the First Degree was given to Handke in Belgrade because of his “uncompromising fight for the truth,” according to a statement by the moderator of the ceremony. In presenting the award, Vucic thanked Handke him “for everything you do for our country, for our Serbia,” and apologized that some Serbs “have not always been able to show enough gratitude for everything you have done for us.”

Judged For Their Tattoos: Women In Russia's North Caucasus Face Uphill Battles In Custody Cases

Having a tattoo or an unmarried sister or an Instagram account -- all of these things can count against women seeking custody of their children in Russia’s North Caucasus region, where local court decisions often reflect communities' beliefs that children belong to the father's side of the family.

'A Gift To Posterity': Four Men Who Risked The Wrath Of Stalin To Photograph The Holodomor

Intent on ruthlessly presenting an idealized portrait of the Soviet Union at home and abroad, the U.S.S.R.'s bureaucracy did its utmost to stifle news of the devastating man-made famine orchestrated by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin that killed some 4 million Ukrainians in 1932-33. Some images of the suffering were surreptitiously taken by foreigners, most notably Alexander Wienerberger, James Abbe, and Whiting Williams. Subsequently published in the West, their work was was seen as an important visual corroboration of this human tragedy, which had been brought to wider attention by whistle-blowers such as Gareth Jones and Ewald Ammende.


Ukrainian Secret Services Search House Of Kremlin-Friendly Politician Medvedchuk

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) has searched the Kyiv home of Kremlin-friendly tycoon and politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who along with another pro-Russian lawmaker is now under suspicion of treason. SBU officials told RFE/RL that the search was conducted on May 11, adding that detailed information on the case will be made public later. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venedyktova said the same day that she had signed notices of suspicion to be handed to two lawmakers, whom she identified as M. and K, as suspects for alleged high treason and the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Ukraine's Russian-annexed Crimea. Watch RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service live coverage from the proceedings and the official press conference here.

'Alone' Among Allies? Why Putin Shunned The West In Victory Day Speech

In his speeches on May 9 at the annual Red Square military parade marking the anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly emphasized the massive role the Soviet Union played, while often minimizing the contributions made by the Western Allies, including the United States. This year, he seemed to take that approach a step further, even going off-script -- possibly -- to suggest that the Soviet Union essentially defeated Hitler on its own. The remark drew criticism from Russians who accuse Putin of using the people's pride in winning the war, which killed an estimated 27 million Soviet citizens and left few families untouched, for his own political purposes.

Arms Control, Security Seen Leading Agenda Of Proposed Putin-Biden Summit

The U.S. ambassador for disarmament says preparations for a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden are underway. The two presidents "have agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms-control and emerging security issues," Robert Wood told a United Nations conference on May 11. "They are in the process of preparing for these discussions." Speaking during a visit to Baku, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov backed up Wood's comments, saying that Moscow had proposed discussing arms control and security matters if the bilateral summit were to take place.

FBI Confirms DarkSide Hacker Group Is Behind Pipeline Cyberattack

A criminal gang known as DarkSide is behind a ransomware cyberattack that has paralyzed the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, the FBI confirmed on May 10. A brief FBI statement posted on Twitter said it was working with the Colonial Pipeline company and other government agencies investigating the cyberattack, which has alarmed the U.S. government and caused worry over potential fuel supply disruptions in the eastern United States. DarkSide has been assessed as a criminal actor, Anne Neuberger, deputy national-security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, said at a White House briefing on May 10. Asked about whether Russia was involved, she added that this was "certainly something our intelligence community is looking into." Also, U.S. President Joe Biden says Russia has “some responsibility” in pipeline ransomware attack.

Ukraine's Kuleba Says Some NATO Members Worried About Provoking Russia

Kyiv says it does not expect that next month's NATO summit will produce a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine because some members of the military alliance worry that such a move would provoke Russia. "Regarding the obstacles, unfortunately, there are still several countries among the allies who are guided by the logic of not provoking Russia and believe that sitting and doing nothing is the best way to keep Russia calm," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Ukraine 24 channel on May 11. Ukraine joining the alliance, which Moscow has fiercely opposed, "is historically inevitable," Kuleba said. "It will happen. I am absolutely convinced of that."

Russia Continues To Bypass Sanctions In Crimea; Why Europe Isn’t Investigating

There is no information about a single investigation into the violation of European sanctions in the seven years since Russia’s annexation of Crimea. According to the recent reports, Russia is using EU-sourced equipment at a recently opened water supply station in Simferopol, including pumps made by Siemens of Germany and Grundfos of Denmark. The sanctions mandate that no European equipment can be exported to Crimea. Current Time TV spoke to Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko and Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

U.S. Coast Guard Ship Enters Ukrainian Port Of Odesa For First Time In Twelve Years

The USCGC Hamilton, the first U.S. Coast Guard vessel to enter Ukraine’s port of Odesa in twelve years, sailed in as part of a mission to “ensure stability in the Black Sea region and support Ukraine as a partner.” The Hamilton came to Odesa, which has become the main base of the Ukraine’s navy since the Russia-annexation of Crimea in 2014, after a joint training exercise with Turkish and Georgian partners and colleagues. A training exercise in the Black Sea with Romanian sailors is also planned, according to the ship’s commander, Timothy Cronin. (Ukrainian Service)

Russia Expels Romanian Diplomat In Tit-For-Tat Move

Russia has announced the expulsion of the Romanian Embassy's deputy military attache in response to Bucharest's decision to expel a Russian diplomat. Romania's ambassador to Russia, Cristian Istrate, was summoned on May 11 to the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow where he "was given a note from the ministry declaring Captain G. Iliescu, aide to the military attache at the Romanian Embassy, persona non grata," the ministry said in a statement. Iliescu has 72 hours to leave Russia, the statement said, adding that the decision was made "in response to the unfounded declaration of an aide to the military attache at the Russian Embassy in Bucharest persona non grata on April 26."

Armenia's Parliament Dissolves In Final Step Toward Early Elections

Armenia's parliament failed to elect a prime minister for the second time on May 10, triggering its own dissolution in a final move toward early elections next month. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, who was swept to power by pro-democracy protests in 2018, resigned last month to run in an early election after facing criticism over his handling of last year’s conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. This was the second time lawmakers rejected Pashinian's candidacy, as part of a political deal made earlier between the parliament majority represented by Pashinian's My Step Alliance and two opposition factions -- Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia.

Missing Russian Doctor Who Headed Hospital That Treated Navalny Found Alive

Officials in Russia's Omsk region says regional Health Minister Aleksandr Murakhovsky, who last August was the head doctor at the hospital that treated opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has been found alive after going missing under mysterious circumstances. Murakhovsky, who had been missing since May 7, came out of a forest some 32 kilometers from the site where he disappeared while hunting, the government's press service told the state TASS news agency on May 10. "The health minister of the Omsk region, Aleksandr Murakhovsky, came out to the people near the village of Basly. His state of health is normal," the statement said, adding that he is being examined by medical personnel at a hospital in the Bolsheukovsky district.

Misik, Two Other Activists Given Parole-Like Sentences In Moscow

A court in Moscow has handed parole-like sentences to three young pro-democracy activists for splashing paint on a booth at the entrance to the Prosecutor-General's Office last year to protest against a crackdown on activists. The court on May 11 found the trio guilty of vandalism and sentenced both Igor Basharimov and Ivan Vorobyovsky to 21 months of "freedom limitation," while Olga Misik was sentenced to two years of "freedom limitation." Basharimov and Vorobyovsky were also banned from leaving their homes between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., while Misik was banned from leaving her home between 10 p.m and 6 a.m. The defendants were also ordered not to change their permanent addresses during the terms of their sentences.

Turkmen Leader Pardons Hundreds Of Inmates, Including Jehovah's Witnesses

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has pardoned hundreds of inmates on the occasion of a religious holiday, including jailed Jehovah's Witnesses. Berdymukhammedov was quoted on May 9 as saying that the pardons marked the Night of Revelation, an important stage during the holy month of Ramadan which is currently being observed by Muslims around the world. State media outlets reported that 1,035 inmates were released from prisons around the country on May 9, including 982 Turkmen nationals and 53 foreigners.

MAJLIS PODCAST: Making Sense Of The Clashes At The Kyrgyz-Tajik Border

COMMENTARY: Neighbors Stake Out Positions After Deadly Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Conflict

WATCH May 13 -- Atlantic Council Webinar: Understanding Russian and Iranian perspectives on the Afghan peace process (feat. RFE/RL’s Irina Lagunina, Qadir Habib, and Andres Ilves)

REGISTER: May 17 -- Wilson Center: A Storied Legacy and Continued Challenges: RFE/RL and A. Ross Johnson

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