Russian state TV channels have devoted extensive coverage to mass protests in the United States. Comments by prominent anchors include: “The anarchy that reigns on the streets is more and more reminiscent of the movie The Joker -- coronavirus, unemployment, lockdown, war.” (Channel One); “You could get hit by a rubber bullet, or maybe a real one.” (Channel Rossiya); “The police in America is a source of fear for everyone, they can shoot you when checking your driver's license, if the officer thinks you may be reaching for a gun.” (NTV). Current Time’s See Both Sides program observes that when the same protests occur in Russia, the same broadcasters refer to the protests as “illegal actions,” and to the participants as “provocateurs.” Recently, Russian journalist and MP Ilya Azar was handed a 15-day jail term for holding a peaceful, one-man picket. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Thousands of people have been gathering in Belarus to sign documents in support of opposition candidates for president. Some of them hold giant slippers to swat "the cockroach," a reference to the country's long-serving, authoritarian leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. (video)
More than 250 Tajik migrant workers stranded in Kazakhstan have called on Uzbekistan's president to allow them to travel through his country to return home. The migrant workers have been stuck there since late March after they lost their jobs when Kazakhstan imposed a nationwide quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (video)
Police in Moscow detained at least 20 demonstrators on June 2 as they rallied in front of the Moscow city police headquarters to protest police violence. Yegor Ilyushkin, press secretary of the Civil Society movement, along with activists Mila Zemtsova, Lusine Minasyan, Maria Chernykh, Ksenia Babich, and many other well-known civil rights defenders were among those detained.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has invited U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper to a military parade in Moscow later this month to mark the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that publicly outlines for the first time the conditions according to which the country may deploy nuclear weapons. These include when there is a confirmed ballistic missile attack against the territory of Russia or its allies; when an enemy uses nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction on the territory of Russia and its allies; if an enemy influences Russian critical assets and military facilities; and in the event of aggression using conventional weapons that threatens the existence of the Russian state. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
The Russian human rights center Memorial reports 184 new political prisoners over the last two years, for a total of 314, an increase it attributes mainly to the “exercise of the right to freedom of religion.” The NGO has called for the repeal of laws restricting the right to hold rallies and designating organizations as “undesirable” and “foreign agents,” and has warned about the rehabilitation of nazism. (Russian Service)
A draft bill in the Russian Duma seeks to reverse a resolution passed in 1989 condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Several Heroes of Russia and the Soviet Union and public figures have petitioned Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, claiming the 1989 document undermines Russia’s national interests, wrongly accuses the USSR of starting a war, contributed to the collapse of the USSR, and sows division in society. (Russian Service)
A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detention of four former Moscow police officers suspected of the illegal arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov last year. The same court extended the house arrest of the fifth suspect in the case, former police officer Denis Konovalov, who has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
A court in Russia has ruled that Aleksandr Gabyshev, a shaman in the Siberian region of Yakutia who embarked on a high-profile trek to protest the presidency of Vladimir Putin, must be forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic. The court cited the findings of the region’s central psychiatric clinic, which said Gabyshev suffers from an "overestimation of his personality" because he expressed his intention to drive Putin out of the Kremlin.
Acclaimed Russian film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and his co-defendants might have embezzled 129 million rubles ($1.86 million), a Moscow court heard on June 1 as their high-profile trial resumed. Serebrennikov, who has denied wrongdoing, had taken part in anti-government protests and voiced concern about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A Russian media group linked to a close associate of President Vladimir Putin has produced an antigay political ad ahead of a vote on constitutional amendments that would enable the president to remain in power until 2036. The video shows a young boy’s disappointment upon learning that his new adopted mother is actually a makeup-wearing gay man, who immediately presents the child with a dress.
Authorities in the Siberian city of Norilsk on June 2 declared a state of emergency after a leak from a thermal power plant caused 20,000 liters of diesel fuel to seep into a local river, threatening an ecological disaster in the fragile Arctic environment. The World Wildlife Fund released satellite photos showing crimson red waters in the Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers.
There was little fanfare in Uzbekistan when a large domestic producer of household appliances like refrigerators and ovens was awarded a tender in a secretive process to make millions of gas meters. But RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports that the newly minted Texnopark company has never made a gas meter, and that the firm has ties to one of the country’s wealthiest men, Tashkent Mayor Jahongir Ortiqkhojaev.
A female police lieutenant colonel has fallen from a window on the fifth floor of a Moscow hospital treating coronavirus patients, Russian media reported. The woman, identified as 45-year-old Yulia B. by Komsomolskaya pravda, was described as a senior expert at the Forensic Center of the Interior Ministry.
Kazakhstan is experiencing a double attack as the coronavirus spreads and world prices fall for oil -- one of the country's most important exports. The government's bad economic situation is being exacerbated by an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at major oil fields and mines.
Armenia Sees Growth In Cases Amid Lockdown Easing