The Daily Vertical: War Games and Head Games
Brian Whitmore reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered inspections of Russia’s central bank and the ministries of finance, communications, and trade and industry to test their capacity to operate in the event of a large-scale armed conflict.
VoxPop: Is Russia’s United Russia Political Party Corrupt?
Moscow pedestrians expressed a range of views in an informal street poll in advance of parliamentary elections in Russia in September, saying, variously, that United Russia isn’t corrupt, that it represents the interests of rich people, that everyone is corrupt but you have to vote for somebody, and that stronger laws would help -- “like during the times of Stalin.” (In Russian)
More Fighting In Donbas As Minsk Agreements Are Ignored
One Ukrainian soldier was killed and eleven were wounded on August 29, with undisclosed casualties on the separatists’ side during the day’s fighting. (In Russian, Current Time TV)
Ukraine Rolls Out New Generation Weapons
On August 29, Ukraine unveiled its first combat drone and an unmanned, radio-controlled, armored personnel carrier built to carry ammunition, transport the wounded, and perform combat missions. (In Ukrainian)
Kyrgyzstan Buries Moscow Fire Victims Amid Soul-Searching
Funerals for 14 Kyrgyz women who perished in a fire at a print works in Moscow have focused attention on the plight of Kyrgyz migrant workers in Russia, an estimated 1,500 of whom have died in the last five years.
Rights Watchdog Condemns Pre-Election Crackdown In Chechnya
A new report published by Human Rights Watch accuses authorities in Chechnya of systematically erecting a “tyranny” and using “thugs” to intimidate rivals ahead of an election next month in which Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov will seek a 7-year term.
Uzbekistan Celebrates Independence Day Amid Conflicting Reports
Amid conflicting reports about the condition of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, a message posted from a social-media account of his youngest daughter on August 31 suggests that he is alive.
Russia Questions UN Report On Chemical Attacks In Syria
Russia has questioned a UN report that blames Syrian government forces for two chlorine gas attacks and said the UN Security Council cannot use the conclusions to impose sanctions.
Poland Refuses Asylum To Chechens At Border
Dozens of Chechens who arrived earlier this week at Poland’s border with Belarus seeking asylum in the EU-country have left, after the country’s interior minister declared that the Polish border is sealed, “there is no war in Chechnya,” and the country “will not succumb to pressure of those who want a new migration crisis.” (In Russian, Current Time TV)
New Abkhaz Government Unlikely To Mollify Opposition
De facto president Raul Khajimbo’s new cabinet is devoid of opposition representatives, despite growing demands from across the opposition spectrum for a coalition government of national unity.
COMMENTARY: If There Is No Karimov, Is There No Uzbekistan?
Journalist Arkady Dubnov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service that the choice of a successor in Uzbekistan will be determined by the country’s 72-year old National Security Service chief Rustam Inoyatov. (In Russian)
KUDOS: Ukrainian President Awards RFE/RL Crimea Contributor
Mykola Semena, a contributor to an RFE/RL website that reports about Crimea, has received a medal of honor from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in recognition of “outstanding merit in the establishment of an independent Ukraine.” (In Ukrainian)