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VISUAL REPORTS

'Sasha 3%': Belarusian Opposition Mocks President's Support Ahead Of Election

A popular meme has spread in Belarus, reflecting an opinion poll showing President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has just 3 percent support.

Graveyard Protest Highlights COVID-19 Fears Ahead Of Russian Balloting

Activists dressed as corpses gathered at a St. Petersburg cemetery in a bizarre protest against Russia's nationwide vote on changing the constitution. Hundreds of local voting officials have signed an open letter refusing to work at polling stations. Russia currently has the third-highest COVID-19 caseload in the world.

Putin's Constitutional Flip-Flop That Could Extend His Rule Until 2036

Russians are going to the polls to vote on constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in office for two more terms. Putin has repeatedly denied that he would change the constitution to extend his rule. Here’s a look back at his previous statements that are at odds with what he is saying now.

Police In Montenegro Detain Dozens After Pro-Serbian Protests

Montenegrin police have detained dozens of people following rallies in Podgorica and other cities called by opposition figures who are seeking closer ties with Serbia and Russia. The June 24 protests reflect mounting political tensions in Montenegro ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for August 30.

PHOTOGALLERY: Playgrounds, Airports, Automobiles: Russia’s Drive To Get Out The Vote, Anywhere and Everywhere

TOP NEWS

Moscow Turnout For Online Voting In Constitutional Referendum Reaches 50%

Chief editor of Radio Ekho Moskvy Aleksei Venediktov, who is the head of Russia’s independent “Public Headquarters for Election Monitoring,” announced that as of 9:00am on June 26, the second day of voting in Russia’s constitutional referendum, the turnout of online voters in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod had surpassed 50 percent. The Central Election Commission has announced that 10 million people, or 9.5 percent of voters nationally, have physically voted in the election so far. (Russian Service)

Election Commissions In St. Petersburg Bar Current Time Journalist From Reporting

Current Time journalist Alexander Glebov has been barred from reporting from polling stations in St. Petersburg, where voting on a constitutional referendum has begun. Glebov learned that a photo of him was distributed in chats among polling place officials with the comment, "Be careful. Do not provide any information, do not allow video shooting." (in Russian, Current Time TV)

Popular Belarusian Blogger Faces Criminal Charges

Popular Belarus blogger, former Havel Journalism Fellow and consultant for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service Ihar Losik was detained on June 25 after 9 police officials raided his apartment. RFE/RL has condemned the arrest, stating that blogging is not a crime, and demanding his immediate release. Authorities have opened a criminal case against Losik for “organizing mass riots” using his Telegram channel. He faces a sentence of up to three years in prison. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

As Pre-Election Crackdown Continues, Lukashenka Accuses Russia, Poland Of Meddling

In a June 25 Telegram post, Lukashenka, facing the strongest-ever challenge to his leadership as he seeks a sixth term, accused activists of posting "creepy fake" stories on the Internet seeking to discredit him and his family before the elections, scheduled for August 9. "It is clear that there are puppet masters behind them. They are on both sides of us; they reside in Poland and they throw [dirt] from Russia as well...They use the most modern fake technologies. The meddling into our election, our internal affairs is under way," Lukashenka stated.

Moscow Court Finds Director Serebrennikov Guilty In Fraud Case

A Moscow court ruled on June 26 that acclaimed theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov is guilty on embezzlement charges he denies. Prosecutor Mikhail Reznichenko claimed proof that Serebrennikov and other defendants in the case had embezzled almost 129 million rubles (more than $1.86 million). He has asked the court to sentence the director to six years in prison.

Macron To Raise Ukraine, Other Security Matters In Video Talk With Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a videoconference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 26. The coronavirus pandemic and security issues, including the situation in Ukraine, are on the agenda, together with "cooperation in the fields of health and the environment,” the French presidency has said.

Russia Baffles German Historians With Request They Supplement Lectures With An Article By Putin

German professor Julia Obertreis received an email message from the Russian Embassy in Berlin on June 22 touting a revisionist article about World War II authored by none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Attached to the e-mail was a German translation of Putin's text -- all 9,000 words of it, and a direct appeal from the embassy to use the article in preparing her lectures.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Visits Kyiv Ahead Of Planned Summit In July

The Ukrainian and Hungarian foreign ministers have met for the second time in less than a month as the two neighboring states seek to overcome an impasse over a restrictive language law in Ukraine. A summit between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is planned in Kyiv in July.

Broken Or A Breakthrough: Surprise Kosovo War-Time Charges Put Balkan Talks In Limbo

The cancellation of the White House meeting between Kosovo and Serbia raises questions about what the longer-term consequences will be for Kosovo, Kosovars, and the international backers of a deal to eliminate a nagging source of instability in the heart of Europe.

Azerbaijani Journalist Convicted Of Hooliganism In ‘Trumped-Up’ Case

Reporters Without Borders is urging Azerbaijan to quash last week’s conviction against reporter Tezehan Miralamli, calling him the "latest victim" of the government’s practice of fabricating cases against critical journalists.

Kazakh Health Minister Replaced As Coronavirus Cases Surge

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has replaced the Central Asian nation's health minister amid a surge in coronavirus cases and renewed lockdowns. The reshuffle at the Health Ministry comes a week after 79-year-old former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev tested positive for the coronavirus.

Turkmen President Discovers Power Of The Internet

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has announced the need to develop “a modern national system for exchanging Internet messages to disseminate reliable information among the population,” and urged Turkmen journalists to register on popular social networks to convey to the world community “the success of the national economy.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)

COVID-19 Roundup:

WHO Mission To Visit 'Virus-Free' Turkmenistan

READ: RFE/RL Journalists In Trouble Newsletter, June 10 - 25

WATCH: Generation Gulag: Stopping The Rewriting Of Soviet History

PHOTOGALLERY: Marshal Konev Makes Triumphant Return To Prague

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