Russian film and theater actors gathered in Moscow to take turns holding a one-person picket in front of presidential offices. They are demonstrating support for Pavel Ustinov, a budding actor who has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for allegedly harming a police officer at a recent protest, despite video evidence showing otherwise.
A Yakut shaman, who has been walking for months to Moscow in a protest "to drive [Russian President Vladimir] Putin out of Kremlin," has been taken away by dozens of armed and masked people in uniforms.
In a country rife with corruption and often bizarre official events, the televised confession by Turkmenistan's trade minister did not seem out of place.
Patients were recovering in hospital after an armed clash on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in which at least one Kyrgyz border guard was killed and 19 people injured, including a 12-year-old child.
The United States and Belarus plan to resume hosting ambassadors after an 11-year hiatus amid mutual growing concern over Russia's foreign-policy adventures. The step toward “normalizing” relations was announced by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale on September 17 in Minsk.
The United States has accused Moscow of using “sham organizations” to promote its “spurious claim” that Ukraine’s Crimea region is part of Russia during an annual human rights conference of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The former governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeria Hontareva has been invited to the United States to address lawmakers after she was nearly run over and her home set ablaze. U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said "I am trying to get her here to address us in some manner.”
Ukraine's foreign minister has voiced concern about the prospect of being nudged into an unfavorable agreement with Russia, telling RFE/RL that he hopes the West is pressuring Moscow as hard as it is pushing Kyiv for progress toward peace in the Donbas.
EU ambassadors are set to decide whether to support former Romanian anti-corruption official Laura Codruta Koevesi as the first-ever European anti-fraud prosecutor. The European Council has so far backed French prosecutor Jean-Francois Bohnert, while the European Parliament has thrown its support behind Koevesi.
Moscow’s Meshchansky district court has released Aidar Gubaidullin, one of the activists in a high-profile unsanctioned-rally case, and ordered him not to leave the Russian capital. The judge also sent his case back to prosecutors, stating, “... his right to a defense was violated as it was not clear to him what exactly he was accused of."
European lawmakers have nominated Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The center-right European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest group in the European Parliament, said on September 18 that it had picked Navalny because “he is...one of the few voices of truth" in the country.
Moscow police have detained Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Aleksei Navalny’s anticorruption foundation. His colleague, Leonid Volkov, believes Zhdanov may have been detained on charges relating to holding rallies. (Current Time, in Russian)
The body of Yelena Grigoryeva, one of the most prominent opposition activists in St. Petersburg and an outspoken gay rights advocate, lay in the bushes near her apartment building for over 12 hours before it was discovered by a passerby in July. Investigators announced that she had been stabbed in a drunken dispute with an acquaintance, but Grigoryeva's friends, fellow LGBT activists, and lawyers have expressed deep doubts about the official version.
Russian border guards have detained at least 160 North Korean nationals who they say were illegally fishing in Russian waters. Russian media outlets are reporting that authorities seized two fishing vessels and 11 motorboats in the action on the Sea of Japan.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has announced on Facebook that Ukraine will lift the moratorium on sales of agricultural land effective October 1, 2020. The moratorium was introduced in 2001 and expires on January 1, 2020. Purchases will be available only to Ukrainian citizens and companies, and will be facilitated by a loan-support program for small farmers. (Ukrainian Service)
The Prove They Are Alive! campaign has told the OSCE's human rights conference in Warsaw that Turkmenistan is backtracking on promises to curtail the practice of enforced disappearances of prisoners, and called on the international community to apply "strong, consistent" pressure to end what it says is a "systemic" state practice.
Turkmenistan's security service is expanding its network of so-called informants among university students to spy on those who criticize the government or use proxies to access banned websites.
A sexually explicit video involving a Tajik female activist has been posted online in an apparent bid to defame her in Tajikistan’s religiously conservative society.