VOX POP: Should The Ukrainian Parliament Be Dissolved?
Many respondents to an informal street poll in Kyiv favored the president’s decision to dissolve parliament, saying that “all of [the deputies] should go.” Some said that the entire system must change. Some opposed the decision, expressing skepticism as to whether it will bring change, and some questioned the legality of the move. (Ukrainian Service)
How A Tattoo Helped Reunite A Kosovar Baby With Her Parents
Flaka Muriqi was born during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. She was separated from her parents and could have been lost. But a distant relative tattooed her foot so she could later find her and return her to her parents.
Turkey Preparing For U.S. Sanctions Over Russian Missile Deal
Turkey's defense minister said Ankara was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, but also referred to a growing "rapprochement" with Washington over the issue. Washington has warned Ankara that it could invoke the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act should Turkey go ahead with the deal.
Russia Places American Investor Calvey Under House Arrest
A Moscow city court has ruled to place American investor Michael Calvey under house arrest. The ruling follows a May 17 decision ordering the private equity fund Baring Vostok to surrender control of the Vostochny bank. Calvey, along with four others, was arrested in Russia in February on charges of defrauding the bank. (Russian Service)
Ukraine Lawmakers To Hold Emergency Session
Ukraine’s parliament was set to hold an extraordinary session on May 22 to discuss changes to the electoral code, one day after the country’s new president issued a decree to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada and set snap parliamentary elections for July 21. In other matters, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy named Andriy Bohdan, a personal lawyer of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskiy, as head of his administration, and appointed Lieutenant General Ruslan Khomchak as Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Ukrainian Military Says Eight Soldiers Captured In Donetsk
Ukrainian authorities say eight military personnel belonging to the country’s armed forces took a wrong turn while aboard a truck near the town of Novotroyitske in the eastern region of Donetsk and were captured by Russia-backed fighters.
Russian Human Rights Defender Speaks With Sentsov
Russian human rights defender Zoya Svetova has spoken on the phone with Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a remote Russian prison, and reports that he has gained weight after waging a hunger strike in 2018, is writing stories, and plans to release a new book. (Russian Service)
Residents Rename Village After Ramzan Kadyrov’s Father
Russian media reports that residents of Tsentaroy (Hosi-Yurt in Chechen), a village in Chechnya, have decided to rename it “Akhmat-Yurt,” after Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s father, who lived and studied there. (Russian Service)
Arsenal Soccer Star Mkhitaryan Will Miss Europa League Final In Azerbaijan
Armenian soccer star Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play in a major European match in Baku later this month, ending uncertainty about whether the Arsenal midfielder would make the trip to his country's bitter foe to face London rival Chelsea on May 29 for the UEFA Europa League title.
Serbia Introduces Life Sentence Without Parole
Serbian lawmakers have voted to introduce life imprisonment without parole for certain grave crimes, despite concerns voiced by the Council of Europe's top human rights official. The provision resulted from a petition launched by the father of a teenage girl who was raped and killed in 2014.
Tajik Opposition Party Holds Government Responsible In Deadly Prison Riot
Tajikistan's banned opposition Islamic Renaissance Party has accused authorities of concealing the truth about a deadly prison riot that the Dushanbe government said killed 32 people, including three members of the group. The riot was the second deadly prison clash to hit the country in the last six months.
Mirziyoev’s Eldest Daughter Criticizes Government’s PR Efforts
Saida Mirziyoyeva a daughter of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev, has criticized the work of various government press agencies for failing to promote “the positive results” of reforms carried out by her father. Mirziyoyeva is deputy director of the presidential administration’s Agency for Information and Mass Communications, which is responsible for promoting the image of Uzbekistan abroad. (in Russian, Uzbek Service)
Ex-Kyrgyz Deputy PM Arrested Over Suspicious Release Of Crime Boss
Kyrgyzstan's former Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Atakhanov has been arrested over his alleged involvement in the early release from prison in 2013 of Aziz Batukaev, one of the country’s most notorious crime bosses. Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry has called the release, which was later found to be based on a false diagnosis of leukemia, illegal.
MAJLIS PODCAST: In Central Asia, An Unfree Press Still Reigns
PHOTOGALLERY: Romania From Above