Pompeo Calls For Russian Troop Pullout From Georgia
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for Russia to withdraw its troops from breakaway regions in Georgia while also pledging deeper security and economic support for Tbilisi.
VOX POP: Are You Concerned That Russia Is Isolated From The West?
Most respondents to an informal street poll in Moscow expressed no feelings of isolation, although some said they were dissatisfied with Russia’s “foreign wars” and sanctions. One said he is more troubled by Russia’s domestic situation and the “obsession” with the country’s leaders. One mentioned a friend’s difficulty obtaining a U.S. visa, and another expressed concern about Russians’ ability to travel abroad. (Russian Service)
Donbas Separatists Showcase Own ‘Military Industrial Complex’
Leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic have recently showed off two new missile systems that some experts say may have more PR value than military might, since some look fake and others fly wildly off target. Some observers suspect they are part of an effort by Russia to use the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern region to test new weapons. (Ukrainian Service/Donbas Realities)
Young Belarusian Tattoo Artist Rolls With The Punches
Zhenya Panfilenka, a 19-year-old Belarusian artist with movement disabilities, tattoos people free of charge.
Russian Duma Confirms Kudrin To Head Russia’s Audit Chamber
Russian State Duma has approved Alexei Kudrin as chairman of the Audit Chamber, the body responsible for overseeing the expenditure of government funds. Kudrin was Russia’s finance minister from 2000-2011. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
World Leaders Urged To Boycott World Cup Opening Over Syria 'Atrocities'
Human Rights Watch has called on world leaders to boycott next month's opening ceremony of the World Cup soccer competition in Russia unless Russian President Vladimir Putin takes steps to protect Syrian civilians.
Imprisoned Filmmaker Sentsov Wages Hunger Strike For Prisoner Release
Speaking at a press conference in Kyiv on May 21, the lawyer for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is imprisoned on terrorism charges in a remote location in Russia, said his client will wage his hunger strike “to the end.” Sentsov timed his hunger strike to correspond with Russia's hosting of the 2018 soccer World Cup championship to ensure “an outcry in favor of other political prisoners,” his lawyer said earlier. (Russian Service)
Putin’s Italian Friends Expected To Push To End Sanctions
The Italian radical right wing League came to power on a platform that included a commitment “to abolish the senseless sanctions against Russia.” Some observers say the party’s pact to form a government with the populist Five Star Movement positions it to torpedo sanctions when EU members meet to review new measures against the Kremlin in June. (Russian Service)
Russian Duma Adopts Countersanctions Bill
In what appears to be an effort by Moscow to respond to asset freezes and financial restrictions imposed by the U.S. government on Russian officials and tycoons in April, Russia’s State Duma has approved in its third and final reading a bill that provides for countermeasures.
Yekaterinburg Mayor Resigns In Protest Over Scrapping Of Direct Elections
Yekaterinburg Mayor Yevgeny Roizman has announced his resignation, saying he refused to take part in abolishing the direct election of the mayor in Russia's fourth-largest city.
KGB General In Cossack's Clothing Is The Man Behind The Whips
Activists who have spent weeks trying to identify the paramilitaries dressed in traditional Cossack garb who attacked protesters with whips at an opposition rally in Moscow on May 5 have succeeded in recognizing the insignia on the clothing as that of the so-called Central Cossack Host (TsKV), which is headed by a Kremlin-appointed "ataman" named Ivan Mironov.
Muslim Migrants Reshaping Russia's Dying Countryside, One Village At A Time
The arrival to urban centers and the countryside of millions of mostly Muslim labor migrants from Central Asia is at the center of what is shaping up to be Russia's most radical ethnic makeover in centuries.
Russia's FSB Accuses Crimean Tatars Of 'Extremist' Plot
Russia's Federal Security Service has accused Crimean Tatar activists of orchestrating and carrying out attacks with Kyiv's support, allegations described as "fantasy" by the Ukrainian Security Service.
Belarus Calls Same-Sex Relationships 'Fake' After U.K. Raises Rainbow Flag
Belarusian officials are still hung up over a rainbow flag that was flying outside the British Embassy in Minsk last week to acknowledge International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
Tajiks Protest Iranian Support For Islamic Party
Some 50 people gathered outside the Iranian Embassy in Dushanbe on May 21 to protest Tehran's alleged support for the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan.