A U.S. military plane carrying a second batch of ventilators to Russia landed in Moscow on June 4, as part of a $5.6 million humanitarian donation to help the country cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's been 10 years since violent clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan claimed hundreds of lives. Fighting broke out in the country's second-biggest city of Osh and led to brutal killings, the destruction of thousands of homes, and the mass displacement of ethnic Uzbeks. New ethnic unrest erupted on May 31 in the Ferghana region near the Sokh exclave within neighboring Kyrgyzstan.
It's been 10 years since Azimjon Askarov was arrested by Kyrgyz security forces in connection with ethnic Uzbek-Kyrgyz clashes that first erupted in the city of Osh. A court in Bishkek recently upheld the ethnic Uzbek human rights activist's life sentence, despite international pressure for his release.
When Ukraine’s Privatbank filed a lawsuit in the United States against its former owner Ihor Kolomoyskiy one year ago, it claimed the tycoon had used a slew of anonymous shell companies registered in the U.S. state of Delaware to carry out what it called a “brazen” heist. The Tax Justice Network, a British-based advocacy group, has ranked the United States second only to the Cayman Islands in its 2020 survey of the nations “most complicit” in allowing wealthy individuals and criminals to hide and launder money. Two new bills now on their way through the U.S. Congress could change that.
Facebook says it has begun to label state-controlled media organizations such as Russia's Sputnik, Iran's Press TV, and China's Xinhua News so that people know whether the content they read is coming from an entity that may be under the influence of a state.
A group of bipartisan senators has submitted legislation to stop Russia from completing Nord Stream 2, a controversial undersea natural-gas pipeline to Germany.
Russian media has obtained a copy of a pamphlet compiled by Kremlin strategists exhorting voters to participate in the July 1 constitutional referendum “in light of the pandemic experience.” The manual exclaims,“Voting now is not just a grand historical event, but a symbol of a return to normal life... a sign that the whole country is out of a quarantine and is moving on.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Lawyers for Aleksandr Gabyshev say they have filed a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights challenging their client's confinement to a psychiatric clinic against his will and without a court ruling, which they say is illegal. The Siberian shaman has led a cross-country trek to protest Vladimir Putin’s presidency.
A court in Russian-annexed Crimea has sentenced a Jehovah's Witness to six years in prison for being a member of an extremist group. Russia officially banned the Jehovah's Witnesses in April 2017 and deemed it an "extremist organization," despite widespread condemnation from Western countries and human rights groups.
Calls For Dismissal Of Ukraine's Powerful Interior Minister Grow Louder After Alleged Police Rape, Gangland Shooting
Recent allegations of violent crimes have added to calls for the dismissal of Ukraine's formidable interior minister, Arsen Avakov, who critics say has failed to reform the police and bring law and order to the country.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has named Raman Golovchenko, the previous head of a state body overseeing the defense industry, as prime minister, two months before a presidential election. Analysts say his appointment is intended to consolidate Lukashenka's rule and could signal the 65-year-old Belarusian leader's readiness to get tough if necessary to hold on to power.
Former Polish President Lech Walesa has urged Belarusians not to give up on democracy and the rule of law as the country heads toward a presidential election in August. In an interview with RFE/RL on June 3, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said, "The only question is the time and the price we are ready to pay for freedom in Belarus," adding, "But this has to happen because there is no Europe without Belarus."
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis says his government has declared two staff members at the Russian Embassy in Prague persona non grata.
Vasil Bozhkov, Bulgaria's richest businessman, who is currently living in self-imposed exile in Dubai, has fired the latest salvo in his ongoing social-media war against the government, comparing himself to folk hero Ali Baba in a Facebook cartoon.
Several political parties and movements in Kyrgyzstan established a strategic partnership called Jany Dem (A New Breath) to take part in parliamentary elections scheduled for October. A June 5 memorandum was signed by leaders of Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, Ak Shumkar (White Falcon) party, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Jany Dem Youth Association, and the Green Alliance group.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has begun testing a COVID-19 vaccine on 50 volunteer military personnel. The vaccine was developed by the government-financed Gamalei Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, which has pledged that it will be ready for public use by early fall. Critics have questioned the legality and ethics of using military personnel in trials for any medication intended “for medical use.”
Mega-Million-Dollar COVID-19 Hospital Built by Tycoon Agalarov Lacks Medicine, Protective Gear, And Work Contracts
This April, Azerbaijani-Russian businessman Araz Agalarov faced a problem: Russia’s coronavirus lockdown was threatening to bankrupt the real-estate development empire of the 65-year-old tycoon, a former business partner of U.S. President Donald Trump. But Agalarov’s holding company, the Crocus Group, would soon begin receiving tender-free government contracts worth over $27.4 million (1.9 billion rubles) for converting two halls in its Crocus Expo center near Moscow into temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients.
Russian farmers who are highly dependent on Central Asian workers to harvest their crops are in a bind as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown has left hundreds of thousands of migrants unable to get into Russia. The dire situation has prompted some Russian experts to call on Moscow to allow tens of thousands of migrant workers to enter Russia despite the lockdown in order to save the harvests.
LISTEN: RFE/RL President Jamie Fly discusses mounting pressure on independent media with the Power 3.0 podcast