Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Russia: Official Pressure Rising Against RFE/RL
Kyrgyz President Declares State Of Emergency As New Clashes Break Out In Bishkek
Kyrgyzstan's embattled President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has declared a state of emergency after new clashes broke out between supporters of rival politicians trying to gain power after mass demonstrations in the Central Asian nation ousted the government. Violence breaks out in Bishkek amid Kyrgyz political chaos.
Cathedral In Nagorno-Karabakh Shelled As Azerbaijani Districts Also Attacked
A cathedral in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh was damaged in fighting on October 8. Armenia has blamed Azerbaijan, which denies targeting any religious sites. Districts across Azerbaijan have also come under attack from the Armenian side. The violent conflict between the two sides, which resulted in a war in the 1990s, flared up again on September 27.
Yet Another Election With Rahmon…
How The Tajik President Has Managed To Stay In Power For Nearly Three Decades.
PHOTOGALLERY: Two Months Of Protests In Belarus
RFE/RL Belarus Service gathered the most significant events during the two months of protests in Hrodna. (Belarus Service)
Azerbaijan's Aliyev Warns Of Last Chance For Armenia As Moscow Talks Start
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says he is giving Armenia a "last chance" to resolve a conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh as his country will reclaim the territory "either via peace or by war," even as the two countries’ foreign ministers meet in Moscow for their first high-level talks after nearly two weeks of clashes.
Belarus Postpones Launch Of Nuclear Plant Near Lithuania To 2022
Belarus says it has postponed the full launch of the first reactor at its Astravets nuclear power plant by two years to 2022. The plant, located near the Lithuanian border, was scheduled to be launched on October 6 until the cabinet order on October 9. Built by the Russian state firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the project is opposed by neighboring EU member Lithuania, whose capital, Vilnius, is just 50 kilometers away.
Associate Of Belarusian Opposition Leader Tsikhanouskaya Detained In Minsk
Belarusian police say they have detained Anatol Lyabedzka, an associate of opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, on suspicion of committing an administrative violation. Minsk city police spokeswoman Natallya Hanusevich said on October 8 that Lyabedzka was detained in the capital; earlier in the day, Lyabedzka's colleagues said he had stopped answering phone calls and that his whereabouts were unknown.
Denmark Supports EU Sanctions Against Moscow Over Navalny Poisoning
Denmark says it will join European Union (EU) sanctions to be imposed against Russia over the poisoning of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny with a chemical agent from the Soviet-style Novichok group. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told journalists in Moscow on October 9 that his country "strongly condemns the attempt on the life of Aleksei Navalny by means of [a] chemical agent, which happened in Russia."
Head Of The Omsk Hospital That Treated Navalny Has Been Promoted
Alexander Murakhovsky, the chief doctor of Omsk Emergency Hospital #1, where Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was hospitalised after being poisoned on August 20, has been promoted, and will now also serve as the head of the city’s hospital #1. The Omsk region health ministry reports that the former head of the hospital, one of the largest medical institutions in the city, left his post for personal reasons. (Russian Service)
'The Chief Doctor Won't Answer': Amid COVID Surge, Russian Medical Workers Seek Missing Hazard Pay
Across Russia, medical workers are saying that local officials have prevented them from receiving COVID-related bonuses promised under two presidential decrees issued in April. Decree No. 415 promises bonuses to medical workers who risk exposure to the novel coronavirus while at work, while No. 484 offers payments to medical workers who are confirmed to have been infected on the job.
Six Jehovah's Witnesses Receive Suspended Prison Sentences In Russia
A Russian court has handed down suspended prison sentences to six members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, in what a spokesman for the religious denomination called a "gross injustice." Judge Galina Soshkina in the central city of Ulyanovsk sentenced the defendants on October 8 to between 2 1/2 years and four years, plus between seven and 10 months of restricted freedom, according to the Jehovah's Witnesses world headquarters in the United States.
Six Russian Weightlifters Banned From Competition For Doping
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) says six Russian weightlifters have been banned from competition for doping violations. The punishments were based on evidence of cheating obtained by the World Anti-Doping Agency's investigation of samples taken from the Moscow laboratory at the center of the Russian doping scandal that erupted in 2014, the IWF said in a statement on October 8. Dmitry Lapikov received the heaviest sanction -- a competition ban until August 2026.
EU Mulls Adding Lukashenka To Blacklist Over Belarus Election, Crackdown
The European Union stands ready to include Alyaksandr Lukashenka on its blacklist of Belarusian officials deemed responsible for electoral fraud and a brutal crackdown on protesters and opposition members, according to a draft document seen by RFE/RL. The document, drafted by the council of the EU, is expected to be adopted by the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers when they meet in Brussels on October 12. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic recall Ambassadors from Belarus.
'Schemes’ Uncovers Secret Meeting Between Zelenskiy Aide, Ukraine’s Richest Oligarch
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service investigative program Schemes revealed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief advisor, Serhiy Shefir, secretly visited the Kyiv mansion of Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov. One year ago, Schemes recorded Shefir visiting the office of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky in downtown Kyiv. (Ukrainian Service)
Serbian Officials Double Down On Ethnic Insult, Stoking Tensions With Albanians
Serbia and its neighbors Kosovo and Albania have descended into a bitter diplomatic ruckus after officials in Belgrade invoked a slur against ethnic Albanians and spoke degradingly of efforts to find the remains of victims of the 1990’s Balkan wars. Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has used the word "shiptar" to refer to Albanians at least six times in official communiques over the past month, including in Kosovo, formerly a province of Serbia. The word is a perversion of the Albanian word for "Albanian," "Shqiptar."
Kazakh Opposition Leader Charged In France With Embezzlement; Complaint Filed By Kazakh Government
Kazakh opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov has been charged in Paris with embezzling $7.5 billion in a case brought by Kazakhstan, according to one of his lawyers. Gerard Cholakian said Ablyazov, who was recently granted political asylum in France, was charged with "aggravated abuse of trust" and "money laundering" before he was released under judicial oversight.
In Unprecedented Lawsuits, Former Uzbek Political Prisoners Seek Compensation From Tashkent
Two former political prisoners in Uzbekistan are demanding financial compensation from the government over “unjust convictions” and the suffering they endured in the country’s notorious Jaslyk Prison. In the unprecedented civil lawsuits filed by two residents of Qashqadaryo Province, Chuyan Mamatkulov is demanding about $50,000 and Elyor Tursunov is seeking $20,000 in damages.
Turkmen President Replaces Several Officials, Regional Judges, Prosecutors
Turkmenistan's authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has replaced several officials, regional judges, and prosecutors. According to state media reports, Berdymukhammedov sacked Mergen Gurdov from the post of the chairman of the State Migration Service; Bekmyrat Ovezov became the service's new chief. No explanation for the moves was given.
PRESSROOM: EXPERTS AVAILABLE: Presidential Election in Tajikistan