In a video address posted on YouTube late on August 16, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who left for neighboring Lithuania after Belarus’s disputed August 9 election, called for the creation of a legal framework to ensure a new fair election, and said she is ready to lead. Workers at Minsk’s MZKT factory shouted “leave” while President Alyaksandr Lukashenka addressed the crowd. (Belarus Service, Current Time)
The death of Alyaksandr Taraykouski on August 10 has become a rallying cry for the protest movement against President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the wake of a disputed election and a severe crackdown. New video published by the Associated Press showing the death of the protester appears to contradict the official version of events. Claims of rampant torture in Belarus’s prisons are reported here.
Residents of the city of Aleksandrov, north of Moscow, say they want a giant landfill site closed permanently, claiming it's a health hazard. Local activists started blockading the site in 2018 to stop trash from Moscow from being unloaded there. A court order in May banned such dumping, but checkpoints run by residents remain in place.
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka that Russia is ready to assist Belarus in accordance with a collective military pact. The Kremlin said in the same statement that external pressure was being applied to Belarus. It did not say by whom.
Based on social media posts, the Moscow-based Conflict Intelligence Team says Russian National Guard vehicles without any identification are moving toward the country’s border with Belarus. Eyewitness reports not yet confirmed by RFE/RL say dozens of trucks have passed towards Belarus. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Local media outlets and Telegram channels on August 17 reported a 15-minute internet shutdown. It follows a comprehensive shutdown that created an information blackout from August 9 - 11, which President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has claimed was engineered abroad. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
State-television presenters in Belarus are signing off for good, fed up with putting a positive spin on the country’s turmoil. The television personalities are joining growing numbers of police officers and factory workers who are walking off the job to protest the government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Against the backdrop of Belarus’s Soviet-style command economy, in which state companies dominate sectors like oil, gas, and agriculture, the IT sector has been an outlier. The high-tech business park on the city’s outskirts bears more resemblance to the edgy urban vibe of Silicon Valley, Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berlin’s Silicon Allee.
Thousands of protesters have marched in Russia's Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, where rallies against President Vladimir Putin's role in a regional political crisis have been held for over a month. Some of the protesters chanted "Long live Belarus!" as they marched through Khabarovsk on August 15.
A senior Armenian official says Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s congratulatory message to Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on his disputed reelection was in line with the agenda of Armenia’s peaceful 2018 revolution and taken on the basis of a “comprehensive risk assessment.”
Five American companies owned by Ukrainian tycoons who are accused of laundering money and using the misappropriated funds to help buy U.S. assets were approved for as much as $13.3 million in loans through a federal program aimed at saving jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to U.S. government records.
Azerbaijan's ambassador to Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro, Eldar Hasanov, has been detained on embezzlement charges.
Aisultan Nazarbaev, a grandson of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev who suffered from drug addiction and had run-ins with the law in the United Kingdom, has died in London at the age of 29. His mother, former Kazakh parliament speaker Darigha Nazarbaeva, confirmed her son's death in an August 16 statement.
According to RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, Uzbekistan's Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade has hired Washington D.C.-based company Xenophon Strategies for $585,000 to provide “information support services” to stop a boycott against Uzbek cotton by the Cotton Campaign boycott. (in Russian, Uzbek Service)
A vehicle belonging to a member of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service Schemes investigative reporting team was set afire last night in a suspected arson attack. No one was hurt. RFE/RL said the attack appeared to be “aimed at intimidating RFE/RL's reporters,” and demanded a swift investigation to identify perpetrators and hold them accountable.