Police in Belarus detained more than 100 people on June 20 at opposition rallies in Minsk and elsewhere. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced his government had thwarted a "revolution" as it clamped down on opposition leaders, activists, and the media. RFE/RL journalist Alaksandra Dynko is shown in this video being arrested by police while she is on the air, reporting live. RFE/RL cameraman Andrey Rabchyk was also detained. RFE/RL said the arrests represent "direct attacks on the independent press.”
Authorities in Ukraine said lockdowns may be reimposed at a regional level after days of record new coronavirus cases.
161,170. That's how many passports Russian authorities issued to foreigners between January and March this year. It's more than twice the number issued during the same period in 2019. In April, President Vladimir Putin also signed a dual-citizenship law that could attract up to 10 million new citizens.
Since mid-June, dozens of Russian websites, including those of regional media and administrations, have posted a catchy get-out-the-vote video in advance of the July 1 constitutional referendum. Current Time took notice, since the video’s animation, colors, fonts, and subtitles closely resemble the visual style of the network’s own social videos. The Chelyabinsk TV channel Obl-TV has stated that the video is distributed by the Central Election Commission.
A life-sized statue of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was unveiled on June 20 in Gelsenkirchen, a former mining town in western Germany by the radical left-wing Marxist-Leninist Party Of Germany.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is on track to win 63 percent of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. The vote was held amid a boycott from parts of the opposition and concerns about the coronavirus.
The United States and Russia have opened two days of talks on June 22 on their last major nuclear agreement, the New START treaty, which caps the number of deployed long-range nuclear warheads each can have.
President Vladimir Putin has said that he would consider standing for election again if Russian voters approve a controversial constitutional amendment in a vote scheduled for July 1. "I am not ruling out the possibility of running for office if the option appears in the constitution. We’ll see," he told state TV on July 21.
Prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to sentence acclaimed theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov to six years in prison on embezzlement charges he denies. Prosecutor Mikhail Reznichenko said as the trial resumed on June 22 that it had been proven Serebrennikov and other defendants in the case had embezzled almost 129 million rubles ($1.86 million).
Two Russian activists from a group known as Set (Network) have received lengthy prison terms on charges of being members of a terrorist group. On June 22, a military court sentenced Viktor Filinkov to seven years and Yury Boyarshinov to 5 1/2 years in prison in a case opposition figures and rights defenders have called "fabricated."
Russian media has reported that Pytor Verzilov, a founding member of the protest music group Pussy Riot, was detained on June 21 after Moscow police searched his residence. He said the investigation was connected to mass arrests that occurred in July 2019. The news agency Interfax cited unnamed law enforcement officials as saying Verzilov had been detained on extremism charges.
European lawmakers are calling for the creation of a "common economic space" between the EU and the six former Soviet republics of its Eastern Partnership program as part of a process of "gradual integration" into the bloc.
Kazakhstan's state-run centers for children with special needs are being described by activists as "the place no one would have stayed" if they had a choice. Some 1,700 children with mental disabilities who live at such facilities in Kazakhstan have only limited contact with the outside world.
Azerbaijan Reinstates Lockdown; Pakistan Opens Afghan Border Crossing
A Levada Center poll has found that only 25% of Russians support constitutional amendments that are the subject of a referendum called by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 1. Twenty-eight percent of respondents support “The Constitution of Free People,” an alternative document prepared by the Public Constitutional Council and the Yabloko party. Eighty percent believe the referendum should allow a vote between the two proposals. (Russian Service)
BULGARIA: Why Declining Press Freedom In Bulgaria Should Worry Us All -- An Interview With RFE/RL’s Ivan Bedrov