Georgian Protests Continue For 10th Day
Thousands of people gathered in the capital, Tbilisi, on June 29 for the 10th straight day of rallies that began as protests against Russia but have widened into denunciations of the Georgian government.
Donbas Separatists Release Four Ukrainians
Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform, the For Life party, said in a televised news conference on June 28 that Russia-backed separatists from Ukraine's eastern Donbas region released four Ukrainian citizens, transporting them to the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
Skopje Holds Its First-Ever LGBT Pride Parade
Around 1,000 people gathered on June 29 in the capital of North Macedonia, Skopje, for the first-ever gay pride parade in a Balkan country.
Albanian Local Elections Pass Without Major Incident
Albania avoided clashes during municipal elections amid high tensions between the ruling and opposition parties and a tug-of-war between the prime minister and president, but low turnout at the polls has raised questions about their legitimacy.
Pskov’s Onion Domes Vie For UNESCO Heritage
Pskov, one of the oldest cities in Russia, hopes UNESCO will acknowledge its unique architectural history by including its medieval center on the latest World Heritage List.
Russia Designates U.S.-Based Free Russia Foundation 'Undesirable'
Russia's Justice Ministry said it was classifying the Free Russia Foundation as an "undesirable” organization, a move that could lead to the closure of the Washington-based organization in Russia.
Bellingcat Reveals New Skripal Evidence
The Bellingcat investigative organization says it has obtained evidence suggesting that a senior Russian military intelligence officer worked from a hotel in central London to coordinate the March 2018 nerve agent attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
Ukraine And U.S. Launch Annual Sea Breeze Drills
Ukraine and the U.S. Sixth Fleet have launched annual joint military exercises aimed at deflecting simulated efforts to block access from the Danube river to the Black Sea. The drills will be held over two weeks and involve tens of ships and aircraft, and 3,000 soldiers from 19 different countries, including Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. (Russian Service)
Dialogue To Continue On Kurile Islands Standoff
Following a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a "substantive dialogue" was underway. The two leaders agreed to pursue joint economic activities on the disputed islands, and Abe announced a simplified visa procedure for Russian businesspeople and tourists traveling to Japan.
Medvedev Addresses ‘Trust Deficit’ Towards United Russia Party
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev published an op-ed in the Russian newspaper Izvestia addressing the lack of citizens' trust in the United Russia party, which performed poorly in Russia’s 2018 regional elections. Writing that the party fails to effect real change, Medvedev proposed that it monitor the implementation of projects, elicit feedback, work with NGOs, and support “real” investigative journalism, but not “fake news.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)
High-Ranking Officials Of Russia's National Guard Quitting
Russian media is reporting that the first deputy director of Russia’s National Guard, Colonel General Sergei Melikov, has filed a request to resign his post, and that the resignations of several other top officials in the force are expected in the coming days. Russian President Vladimir Putin established the National Guard (Rosgvardia) in 2016.
Russian Defense Ministry To Launch Film Studio
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the studio will produce patriotic films to showcase Russia’s military. Plans include a film portraying the annexation of Crimea, titled Accession, and one about contemporary “heroes” who have opposed the “terrible monster of international terrorism.” (Russian Service)
Putin, Elton John Spar Over 'Liberalism,' Gay Rights
Russian President Vladimir Putin and British rock star Elton John have sparred over whether liberalism has “outlived its purpose,” and over Russian attitudes toward gays and lesbians.
Zelenskiy Grants Citizenship To Foreigners Who Defended Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree granting citizenship to 14 foreigners who fought for Ukrainian volunteer battalions and the military in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Ominous Forecast For Tourism During Georgia’s Summer Of Discontent
The Kremlin has labeled ongoing protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as "Russophobic hysteria," and announced a ban on flights between Russia and Georgia that is expected to hit the Georgian economy hard.
Former President Of Montenegro Momir Bulatovic Dies At 62
Momir Bulatovic, the president of Montenegro from 1990 until 1998, during the turbulent breakup of the former Yugoslavia, has died at the age of 62.
Turkmenistan Opens Major New Gasoline Refinery Amid Fuel Shortages
Turkmenistan has opened a $1.7 billion new gasoline refinery as the natural-gas-rich country struggles with major deficits of gasoline. The project, built by a Japanese-Turkish consortium, is reportedly the largest in Central Asia.