Most respondents were not alarmed, although several noted a rise in prices and anticipated effects if they travel abroad. One said she earned two times less and the cost of her vacation is two times more. Several said they had no expenses in foreign currencies, and so felt no impact from the fall in exchange rates. Several expected worse effects to come, although one said the ruble’s fall, and rise, is cyclical; another called it “a standard game of speculators.” (Russian Service)
International celebrities are lining up to receive Russian citizenship, or so state-run media says. French actor Gérard Depardieu has moved on to Algeria, but American action star Steven Seagal has stepped into the spotlight with a new passport and Russian diplomatic title, and other new citizens of the Federation include Ornella Muti, Jeff Monson, Brigitte Bardot, Samy Naceri, Fred Durst, and Roy Jones Jr. (Current Time TV, Facebook)
Every year, thousands of Ukrainian children skip a visit to the village to see their grandparents and attend the military-patriotic camp, “Azovets,” instead. With no TV, cellphone or other gadgets allowed, they are trained to shoot guns, build physical fitness, and learn the discipline and “nationalist commandments.” of young soldiers. (Current Time TV)
Premarital virginity tests for women have sparked a hot debate in Tajikistan recently, after a woman’s parents committed suicide because her test was negative.
The French newspaper Le Monde has published an appeal by more than 100 international cultural figures calling on the EU, UN and other international agencies to urge Russia to release imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who has been waging a hunger strike since May 14. Signatories to the letter include French film director Jean-Luc Godard, British film director Ken Loach, Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg and French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Russia's Presidential Advisory Council On Human Rights has announced that member Zoya Svetova has been granted permission to visit imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. Sentsov’s health is failing as a result of a hunger-strike he has waged since May.
Russia has claimed in an August 13 statement that the country finished eliminating its chemical arsenal last year, in response to a new U.S. demand that Moscow allow chemical weapons inspectors into the country after the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin on August 18 for the second time in just over three months, her government says.
Attack MI-24 helicopters and SU-25 aircraft have become a common site just a dozen meters above the Sea of Azov’s coastline, as Ukraine seeks to improve its aviation readiness over the water in response to provocative actions by Russia, Kyiv says. Russia has blocked several Ukrainian ports in the sea over the last four months. (Ukrainian Service)
Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian has been released from a pretrial detention facility after the country’s Court of Appeals ruled that he cannot be prosecuted for the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.
Romania has opened an investigation into alleged police violence at a mass protest against the government over the weekend that left hundreds of people injured. Protests continued for a fourth day on August 13.
Five people have died in a helicopter accident in eastern Tajikistan, including three Russian mountaineers and two Tajik members of the helicopter crew. The Mi-8 helicopter was carrying 13 Russians, one Belarusian, and one Spanish mountaineer from the Ismoili Somoni Peak, the highest in the former Soviet Union.
Amid a national economic crisis, which has left wages and pensions unpaid and forced people to seek employment abroad, Turkmenistan has signed a $300 million contract with a Turkish company to build a luxury hotel in Ashgabat. (in Russian, Turkmen Service)