After Russian Exchange, Two Ex-Ukrainian Prisoners Free To Talk, But Not To Go Home
Vladimir Balukh and Oleksiy Sizonovych were part of a landmark exchange between Ukraine and Russia on September 7 of 70 prisoners. But for both men, their freedom does not mean they are home yet: Balukh is from annexed Crimea and Sizonovych from separatist-controlled Luhansk.
Generations Of Grief: Military Daughter Follows Father To Grave In Ukraine
After Serhiy Nykonenko was killed in eastern Ukraine, his daughter joined the fight against pro-Russia separatists. The family is grieving again.
U.S. TV Drama Gets Embroiled In Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
In an episode of SEAL Team, a military drama on CBS, elite U.S. forces are sent to protect an Azerbaijani power plant from an incursion, possibly by an "Armenian militia." The show kicked off a firestorm on social media as Armenians accused its makers of bias and suggested Azerbaijan had paid for it.
Bosnia's Bizarre System Of Government
It has been one year since the October 7, 2018 general elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the country is still without a national and many lesser governments as the country's 148 parties(!), many of them ethnically based, fail to form coalitions.
ICYMI: In Syria’s Manbij, Russians See What U.S. Left Behind
Russian troops moved quickly into the northern Syrian town of Manbij, just after U.S. forces pulled out. Russian video of the things left behind went viral.
Russian Duma Accuses RFE/RL, Foreign Media Of Breaking Election Law
A Russian parliamentary committee has accused six foreign-registered and funded media outlets of violating the country's election law by calling on Russians to participate in the summer-long protests leading up to last month's local and regional elections. MBK Media, Meduza, RFE/RL's Russian Service, Voice of America (VOA), Current Time TV, and BBC News Russian are the accused media outlets. RFE/RL President Jamie Fly rejected the "false and politically motivated accusations," saying they "are intended to silence independent media in Russia and intimidate independent journalists."
Putin Proposes Withdrawal From IV Geneva Convention Protocol
Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented a bill to the Duma proposing Russia’s withdrawal from a protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts. An explanatory note accompanying the draft cites “risks of abuse” of the protocol’s authorities “for political purposes by unscrupulous states.” (Russian Service)
Why Putin Took Kadyrov To Meet The Saudi King
During his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimir Putin was accompanied by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen deputy head Khasan Khakimov, and Russian State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov. The gesture has been seen as an attempt to symbolize the prominence of Muslims in Russia, and as a means of establishing cooperation with the countries of the Middle East. (in Russian, Kavkaz.Realii)
St. Petersburg Subway Bombing Suspect Recants Confession, Claims Torture, Blackmail
A suspect in a high-profile trial over a deadly 2017 subway blast in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has recanted his confession claiming it was made under torture by the Federal Security Service and threats of blackmail.
Two Suspects Slit Wrists In Moscow Courtroom
Two suspects accused of founding an extremist group to overthrow the Russian government slit their wrists in a Moscow courtroom on October 17, their lawyer Maksim Pashkov told local media.
Armenia Wins Seat On UN Human Rights Council
Armenia has been elected as one of 14 new members of the UN Human Rights Council, receiving votes from 144 of 193 countries. Armenia will be joined by Poland in filling two new seats available on the council for the Eastern Europe region, with Moldova missing the cut.
Bulgarian National Radio Chief Sacked In Free Speech Row
Bulgaria's broadcast regulator has sacked the chief of Bulgarian National Radio for taking the channel off the air for several hours last month in a spat with a presenter known for covering the country’s corruption-prone judicial system. The Council for Electronic Media ruled that the suspension represented a “grave violation” of Bulgarians' right to information.
First Flag: Kosovo's Would-Be PM Takes Serbian Heat For Favoring Albanian Banner
The image of an Albanian flag in the background during a meeting between Kosovo’s Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) party leader Albin Kurti and British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott has raised questions about how the 44-year-old Albanian nationalist might approach Kosovo's biggest international challenges.
Azeri Police Detain Activists Ahead Of Protest Rally
Azeri police have detained numerous opposition activists, charging them with petty hooliganism and defying the police. The arrests come one day before a protest rally planned by the National Council of Democratic Forces in downtown Baku to demand electoral system reform, release of political prisoners, and measures relating to healthcare and energy prices. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Kazakh Protest Leader Jailed On Hooliganism Charge
A court in the southwestern Kazakh town of Zhanaozen has sentenced Erzhan Elshibaev, the leader of protests staged by jobless youths earlier this year, to five years in prison after being found guilty of inflicting bodily harm in a 2017 brawl that was not related to the protests. Elshibaev has rejected the charges.
MAJLIS PODCAST: The Role Of Women In Central Asian Governments
PRESSROOM: U.S. Congressional Press Freedom Caucus Expresses Concern To Tajik President Over Journalists’ Accreditation