Kyrgyz election officials have annulled the official results of the October 4 parliamentary elections after a chaotic night of protests over alleged vote buying by parties close to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov turned deadly.
Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continues despite renewed international calls for a cease-fire in and around the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. A brief lull in overnight fighting was interrupted by a barrage of rocket fire on Nagorno-Karabakh's capital, Stepanakert (Xankandi), and a "large-scale attack" by Azerbaijani forces along the southern front, Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian said.
Detentions accompanied a new day of anti-government protests in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on October 4. Police trucks with water cannons tried to disperse a march as people chanted "Shame!" at marching officers. The march reached Minsk's notorious Akrestsina prison, where some of those detained during recent protests are being held.
The First Public School in the central Georgian town of Khashuri has set up an outdoor classroom to help address the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes take turns learning outside, allowing cleaners to disinfect their indoor classrooms throughout the school day.
Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in a bid to further raise international pressure on the Eastern European country's longtime ruler, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. In comments to German media, Tsikhanouskaya requested Germany, the current holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, support expanded EU sanctions on Belarus, including putting Lukashenka on its blacklist. Also read: Belarusian protests spill off the streets, into the sports arena.
Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has again blamed President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning incident in August that nearly took his life and confirmed his plans to return to Russia after he fully recovers in Germany. Navalny told Russian journalist Yury Dud on Dud's popular YouTube channel on October 5 that he believes he was poisoned on Putin's order and that most likely Russia's Federal Security Service or the Foreign Intelligence Service were involved. OPCW confirms Novichok-like nerve agent used in Navalny poisoning.
Negotiators from Russia and the United States have met in the Finnish capital for a new round of arms-control talks as the two powers' last remaining bilateral nuclear arms pact is due to expire early next year. The October 5 meeting in Helsinki was led by Marshall Billingslea, the U.S. special presidential envoy for arms control, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Russian scientists say pollution has caused a mass die-off of marine life off the shoreline of the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, with poisonous substances stored in a Soviet-era underground site suspected of being behind the disaster. A team of divers found a "mass death" of sea life at a depth of 10 to 15 meters in Avacha Bay, Ivan Usatov of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve said on October 6, adding that "95 percent are dead." Also: Fears That Rocket Fuel Behind Marine Disaster In Russia's Far East
Observers said the next administration -- Trump’s or Biden’s -- is likely to continue to provide Kyiv with military support, including lethal weapons, to help Ukraine amid an ongoing war against Russia-backed separatists in the eastern region known as the Donbas. The United States is also likely to push the Ukrainian government to implement economic reforms, fight corruption, battle the influence of billionaire tycoons, and reduce reliance on Russia energy, they said, and to continue to reject Russia’s claim to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it occupied and seized control over in 2014.
Russia, which has long sought permanent military bases in Belarus, has increased its military activity in and around Belarus in what is its last friend on its border with Europe after an anti-Russian government emerged in Kyiv in 2014. A stronger Russian military presence in Belarus would alter the geopolitical chessboard in Europe, argued Keir Giles, author of the book Moscow Rules and a consulting fellow at London's Chatham House.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced the leader of the volatile North Caucasus region of Daghestan. The Kremlin said in a statement on October 5 that Putin had signed a decree accepting Vladimir Vasilyev's "request to relieve him from his duties." It gave no reason why Vasilyev submitted his resignation.
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service reports that pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who promised him COVID-19 vaccines that Russia already supplies to Belarus. Medvedchuk announced earlier that he and his family have already tried out the vaccine during a trip to Russia-annexed Crimea. Putin thanked Medvedchuk for his position on Russian-Ukrainian relations and expressed readiness to “facilitate [their] restoration.” (Ukrainian Service)
The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, had referred Hungary to the court after Budapest in 2017 passed a law requiring NGOs that receive more than 7.2 million Hungarian forints ($27,000) of foreign funding annually to register as such and make the distinction public. The law, nominally meant to increase the transparency of NGO finances and combat money laundering, said NGOs must publish the names of donors or be subjected to sanctions. Critics say the measure targeted U.S. billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a harsh critic of Orban.
The European Commission aims to raise 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion) in the coming decades in loans and grants for six EU hopefuls in the Western Balkans, according to a document seen by RFE/RL. The sum, earmarked for Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, is part of a project called “An Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans” that Brussels is due to launch on October 6. The money would come on top of at least 9 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in grants from the expected EU budget for the 2021-2027 period.
France has granted political asylum to Kazakhstan's exiled opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov, according to his lawyer and a French newspaper. The French daily Le Monde reported on October 5 that France’s National Court of Asylum Issues, the CDNA, had granted asylum to the fugitive former banker. In its ruling, dated September 29, the court deplored direct pressure from Kazakhstan and "the obvious attempts by outside agents to exert influence on the asylum authorities," according to the report.
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