COVID-19 Torpedoes Russian Nuclear Sub Facilities
In the Soviet era, Severodvinsk was a closed city because of its defense industries. Now it's been cut off again amid an outbreak of the coronavirus at nuclear submarine factories. Since June 6, nobody has been allowed in or out except workers and special forces.
Baku Police Accused Of 'Revenge Operation'
Dozens of police officers raided a Baku neighborhood on June 8 and detained several people in an early morning raid that one rights activist described as a "revenge operation." The Interior Ministry issued a statement alleging that the detainees had thrown garbage at police officers a day earlier as they were detaining another local for "violating restrictions imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus."
Serbian President Says Kosovo's Tariff Move 'Opens Possibility' For Resuming Talks
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic made the statement in an interview on June 7 with RFE/RL’s Balkan Service, one day after Kosovo’s new government lifted all trade barriers that had been imposed on Serbia. But Vucic dispelled speculation that dialogue might lead to recognition of Kosovo’s independence, stating that “it will certainly not work this way.”
More Than 100 Detained As Kazakh Police Block Opposition Protests
RFE/RL correspondents saw uniformed and plainclothes police snatch more than 100 activists off the streets and take them away in vans from rallies planned by two opposition parties in several cities on June 6 to demand democratic reforms. In several instances, unknown people holding umbrellas tried to stop journalists from filming.
Russia’s First Channel Uses Bait-And-Switch Tactic To Broadcast Violent Protest Footage To Prime Time Audiences
As Russia’s Channel One ended its prime-time screening of the 2000 Russian crime film Brat 2 (Brother 2) on June 7, viewers across the country were treated not to film credits, but to a video compilation of looting and police violence on the streets of U.S. cities set to the song "Goodbye, America," by famous Russian rock band Nautilus Pompilius. The footage was apparently filmed during protests in the U.S. following the May 25 killing while in police custody of unarmed African-American George Floyd. (In Russian, Current Time)
Stoltenberg Urges NATO Unity Amid Challenges From China, Russia
In a speech laying out his vision of NATO for 2030, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the 30-member alliance must “stay strong militarily, be more united politically, and take a broader approach globally” in order to continue to “protect our democracies” in a “more competitive world.”
Trump Envoy Says U.S., Russia To Hold Nuclear Arms Talks In June, China Invited
The United States and Russia have agreed on a time and place for nuclear arms negotiations this month and invited China, President Donald Trump’s arms negotiator wrote on Twitter on June 8.
Russian Journalist, Lawmaker Released After Court Cuts Jail Term
A Russian journalist Ilya Azar, who also serves on a Moscow district council, was released from jail on June 7 after serving 10 days in detention for staging a single-person picket.
Pskov Court Sentences Jehovah’s Witness To 6.5 Years In Prison
Jehovah’s Witness Gennady Shpakovsky was found guilty of creating and financing an extremist community. In 2017, Russian government labeled the religious organization as extremist and banned it. (Russian Service)
Russian State Channel RT Files Lawsuit Against Opposition Figure Navalny
The Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT has filed a lawsuit against opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, alleging that he damaged the firm’s business reputation. Navalny and his foundation have published several exposés in recent months about RT and its editor in chief, Margarita Simonyan.
Defense Requests More Time In Dutch MH17 Trial After Virus Delays
Lawyers for a Russian suspect in the trial in absentia of four men accused of downing flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 have requested more time to prepare their case saying that the coronavirus pandemic has severely impeded their efforts to defend their client.
Oil Spill Reported In Russia's Far Northern Nenets Region
Russian state media have reported that an estimated 10 tons of oil have leaked from a depressurized well in the Nenets Autonomous Region, north of the Arctic Circle. Specialists from the Rostekhnadzor state inspection agency were reportedly able to stop the oil flow. The cause of the leak was not specified.
Kadyrov To Subsidize Grooms To Buy Brides
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has issued an order to provide 207 grooms with approximately $725 from the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation for bride-buying. The money is intended for grooms whose financial situation was negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will pay for a traditional Muslim marriage ceremony, which includes payment of a dowry to the bride. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Belarusian Opposition Politician Gets 15-Day Jail Term Over Minsk Rally
A co-chairman of the non-registered opposition Belarusian Christian Democratic Party, Paval Sevyarynets, was sentenced to 15 days in jail during weekend rallies in Minsk ahead of a presidential election scheduled for this summer. The sight of thousands of people snaking along streets in towns and cities across Belarus to sign petitions for would-be opposition candidates has apparently spooked authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Armenian PM Replaces Top Security Officials
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has initiated an unexpected shake-up in the leadership of the country’s security services. The presidential office said on June 8 that it had received suggestions from Pashinian to dismiss the chief of the general staff of the armed forces, Artak Davtian, the director of the National Security Service, Eduard Martirosian, and police chief Arman Sargsian.
Tajik City Mayor Arrested On Corruption Charges
The Mayor of Tajikistan's southern city of Kulob, Bahrom Inoyatzoda, has been arrested on corruption charges.
Russia Latest Country To Ease Restrictions; Russia’s Chief Rabbi Being Treated; Kazakh Women Demand Financial Support
MAJLIS PODCAST: The Coronavirus Effect On Central Asia’s Relations With China
IRAN: Iran’s Majles: A Parliament Full Of IRGC Commanders