Russia’s Ministry of Health reported on May 26 that more than 100 doctors in Russia have died from the coronavirus. The “Memory List,” compiled by relatives and friends of deceased doctors, currently cites 302 deaths among medical workers. Journalists with the independent outlet Mediazona confirmed on May 19 the death of at least 186 medical workers, or one out of every 15 Covid-19 deaths. The outlet attributes the disproportionate toll to underreporting of coronavirus fatality figures, and the high risks the pandemic presents to Russian doctors, who lack protective equipment and supplies. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Russian state TV has hailed medics as national heroes, airing reports from well-equipped hospitals manned by upbeat staff. In April, President Vladimir Putin pledged bonuses to all doctors treating the virus, to bolster "the front line of the country's defense." But the reality off-screen and beyond the achievements peddled by officials looks very different.
Russian Forbes reports that over the last two months, the number of billionaires in Russia has increased from 99 to 101 people, whose net worth has grown from $392 to $454 billion. Norilsk Nickel owner Vladimir Potanin gained 6.4 billion, LUKOIL co-owner Vagit Alekperov netted $5.6 billion, and Leonid Michelson, Chairman of the Board of NOVATEK, gained $5.4 billion over existing income. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Tajik authorities have banned weddings and celebrations, citing the coronavirus epidemic. Marriages may still be registered, however, big celebrations with many guests are banned. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Russia Says CSTO Should Focus On Biosecurity; Georgia Marks Subdued Independence Day.
Two Russian Su-35 fighter jets flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner while intercepting a U.S. Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft over international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, the U.S. Navy has said. The U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet said the incident on May 26 lasted around 65 minutes, during which the Russian pilots simultaneously flew on each wing of the P-8A and restricted the aircraft's ability to maneuver.
The United States says Moscow has deployed military jets to Libya to provide support for Russian mercenaries helping a local warlord battle the North African country's internationally recognized government. There was no immediate comment from Russia's Defense Ministry on the claim, but Andrei Krasov, deputy head of the Russian Duma’s Defense Committee, rejected it as "disinformation," according to the Interfax news agency.
Holding a sign that said: "Free All Political Prisoners," Nikolai Boyarshinov held a one-man picket outside a courthouse in St. Petersburg, Russia, to protest the high-profile "Network" terrorism case against his son, Yuly, that human rights groups have called "fabricated." (video)
In an unprecedented move, the former head of the Russian region of Chuvashia, Mikhail Ignatyev, has filed a lawsuit against President Vladimir Putin challenging a presidential decree that removed him from office in January. Putin fired Ignatyev in late January after the ruling United Russia party expelled Ignatyev.
A Ukrainian court has found a university student guilty of torching RFE/RL reporter Halyna Tereshchuk’s car earlier this year, a decision that the media organization's president said brings prosecutors closer to apprehending the organizers of the premeditated crime.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has failed to appear at the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) for questioning as a witness in a case about the alleged illegal transfer of cultural objects across the border. Poroshenko's lawyer has said the summons for questioning was "illegal" since his client should have been served the subpoena personally, which was not the case.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Azerbaijan was wrong to release a man convicted of killing an Armenian national while the two were on a NATO training course in Hungary, saying the decision “in effect grant[ed] him impunity for a serious hate crime."
Two Uzbek sports journalists Bobur Akmalov and Jamoliddin Bobojonov have left their positions after criticizing the state-run television channel for its coverage of the aftermath of a devastating dam failure earlier in May that killed at least four people and displaced tens of thousands of others.
Rafik Saifulin, the former chief of Uzbekistan's presidential military think tank, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of high treason. The Military Court of Uzbekistan reportedly found Saifulin guilty of spying for Russia and disclosing state secrets.