Thousands of Minsk residents formed a human chain in the Belarusian capital on June 18 to show their solidarity with Viktar Babaryka, a potential challenger to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in August’s presidential election.
A special disinfection tunnel has been installed at the residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian-built machine sprays people with disinfectant, though it's unclear how effective this is. Russia has been easing up on its lockdown measures, but also has the world’s third-largest number of COVID-19 cases.
Turkmen state-run television has shown the country’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inspecting the wheat crop, driving a combine, giving slices of tomatoes to women, and receiving praise from farmers in the fields. The country is experiencing a food crisis, and people need to queue in long lines for bread. (Current Time TV)
As the Russian government, mainstream media, and educational institutions seek to gloss over the abuses of the Soviet past, the memories of the more than 28 million people who lived through the Soviet Union’s sprawling labor-camp system risk being lost. Generation Gulag documents many of those memories to explain the dangers of authoritarianism.
Speaking in Belgrade on June 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia's approval would be required for any solution reached in peace talks between Kosovo and Serbia, whose leaders are scheduled to meet in the White House next week.
The former head of the autonomous Russian region of Chuvashia, Mikhail Ignatyev, has died in the hospital just days before his unprecedented lawsuit challenging his dismissal by President Vladimir Putin was to be heard in court. No cause of death has been given, but media reports last month said that Ignatyev had been treated for pneumonia in a hospital in the city of St. Petersburg.
Ekho Moskvy radio chief Aleksei Venediktov has been fined approximately $2,878, and the outlet’s web editor Vitaly Ruvinsky was fined approximately $863 for publishing an interview with prominent academician Valery Solovei, who accused Russian authorities of misreporting Covid-19 mortality figures and compared the government’s manipulation of information with the Chernobyl disaster and 2012 floods in Krymsk. (Russian Service)
According to the business daily Vedomosti, contracts exceeding 2 billion rubles ($29 million) have been signed for the procurement and installation in schools across Russia of surveillance cameras linked to a system that has facial-recognition capability and is called Orwell, after the British author of dystopian novels 1984 and Animal Farm.
Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has announced that it will lift restrictions on accessing the Telegram messenger. Earlier in June, founder Pavel Durov called on Russian authorities to lift the ban, arguing that the messenger had helped detect and remove extremist propaganda without violating privacy rights. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Russian World War II veterans scheduled to watch a Victory Day military parade with President Vladimir Putin later this month have been placed under quarantine as a precautionary measure. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June 18 that the decision would safeguard Putin from getting the virus, and "is about taking care of [the group’s] health.
The foreign ministries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania summoned Russian ambassadors and representatives on June 18 to express concerns about historical revisionism in a recent legislative initiative by lawmakers in Russia's State Duma.
European Union member states “decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021," the European Council said in a statement on June 18.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has expressed concerns about Ukraine's justice system at a time when the State Bureau of Investigations and the Prosecutor-General's Office are considering arresting former President Petro Poroshenko amid a spate of investigations involving him. In a statement posted on Facebook on June 18, the embassy wrote that all "citizens in a democracy deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law," and that “The justice system should not be used for the purpose of settling political scores.”
Ukraine’s National Anticorruption Bureau has identified former Infrastructure Minister Andriy Omelyan as a suspect in committing “illegal actions,” including reducing administrative fees at the country’s ports, that have deprived the national budget of approximately $1.1 million. Omelyan served as Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister between 2016-2019. (Ukrainian Service)
A court in Kyiv has sent the head of the regional council in Kherson to pretrial detention under suspicion of ordering a deadly attack on anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk in 2018.
An Armenian court has granted bail to former President Robert Kocharian, who is standing trial on charges of overthrowing the constitutional order and bribery. An appeals court ruled that Kocharian should be released after posting bail of 2 billion drams ($4.2 million), an amount his lawyer said was "unprecedented."
Nazarbaev, who continues to control the Central Asian country after his sudden resignation last year, has self-isolated and is working remotely, his press service has said.
Kyrgyz lawmakers have approved the findings of a parliamentary commission that concluded Kyrgyzstan was not involved in hundreds of millions of dollars of alleged money laundering uncovered in a bombshell joint journalistic investigation. The commission concluded that the $932 million in question “is not related to Kyrgyzstan, since it was the funds of Kyrgyz and foreign private entrepreneurs” working in Uzbekistan. Read the full investigative report here.