Opposition Leader Detained, Metro Stations Closed During Baku Protests
Popular Front leader Ali Kerimli was detained in Baku on Saturday during an unauthorized protest in the city center that prompted authorities to close the central 28th of May and Djafar Djabbarli metro stations, and suspend internet service in one downtown district. Police reports say that 60 activists were detained. Protests continued on Sunday, drawing mostly women.
Chinese Facial Recognition Tech Rolls Out On Kazakh Buses
Kazakhstan has launched the first trials of an app that allows commuters to pay for bus tickets through facial recognition technology. The system relies on cameras supplied by Hikvision, a Chinese company recently sanctioned by Washington over its alleged role in human rights abuses. (Kazakh Service)
Russian Police Detain Doctors' Union Head Outside Barricaded Clinic
Police detained the head of one of Russia's doctors' unions as she came to support colleagues barricaded inside a rural tuberculosis clinic set for closure. The protest is part of a wider battle to save dwindling rural health care services in Russia.
Medvedev Says Serbia Poised To Sign Trade Deal With Moscow-Led Economic Union
During a visit to the Serbian capital on October 19, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he expected Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic to sign a free-trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union when she visits Moscow on October 25.
Russian Hackers Hijacked Iranian Group To Launch Attacks
British and U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian hackers hijacked Iran-based cyberspy groups to attack dozens of countries and organizations while pretending to be Iranian.
Putin Hosts Africa Summit For Leg Up In Race For Influence
Russian President Vladimir Putin will host the Russia-Africa Summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi this week, convening 47 African leaders at a time when rivals such as the United States, India, Turkey, and China are also looking to gain influence given the continent’s rising importance as a hub for innovation and population growth, and its fast-growing consumer base.
Members Of U.S. Congress Demand Designating Azov Battalion A Terrorist Group
Forty members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding that Ukraine’s Azov battalion be added to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, describing it as an ultranationalist militia that “openly welcomes neo-Nazis into its ranks,” and linking it to the New Zealand Christ Church shooter. The members also called for the designation of two European right-wing organizations: Nordic Resistance Movement from Sweden, and National Action from the United Kingdom. (Ukrainian Service)
Jehovah’s Witness In Russia Subject To 7-Year Sentence
The prosecutor’s office in the Russian city of Tomsk has requested a 7-year prison sentence for Sergei Klimov, a local resident who participated in meetings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious group branded in Russia as an “extremist” organization. Klimov also faces a potential curfew after serving his sentence, and prohibitions against leaving Tomsk and engaging in “educational” activities, and public or cultural events. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Ukraine Court Orders Former Security And Defense Official To 60-Day Pretrial Detention
Ukraine's High Anti-Corruption Court has remanded Oleh Hladkovskiy, a former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council and longtime business associate and political ally of former President Petro Poroshenko, to 60 days in pretrial detention on charges of abusing office and for allegedly submitting an erroneous declaration of assets. Hladkovskiy has denied the charges.
Ukrainian Institute Struggles Over Ukrainian Identity
The Institute of National Memory aims to "restore historical truth and accuracy in the study of Ukrainian history." Now, with the recent firing of a director known for a nationalistic bent, the institute has emerged as a symbol of the broader struggle over what, exactly, it means to be Ukrainian.
Russia Says $600 Million Loan To Belarus Depends On Integration
Belarus media reports that Russian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov told journalists on the sidelines of IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington D.C. on October 19 that the decision to allocate a $600 million loan to Belarus is still pending, and depends on “how we move on the track of integration.” (Belarus Service)
Runoff Set For Chisinau Mayoral Seat As Moldovans Vote In First Polls Since Summer Crisis
A run-off election is set for the all-important mayoral seat of Moldova's capital city between pro-Russian Socialist Ion Ceban and the pro-EU ACUM Bloc’s Andrei Nastase, with 87 percent of the votes counted after yesterday’s polls. Results are also being tallied for nearly 900 mayoral posts, more than 11,000 local council seats, and four seats in parliament in the country’s first electoral test since a pro-Western government took power four months ago.
Estonia To Consider Early Release of Russian Spy
A former high-ranking Estonian defense official convicted of spying for Russia may be released early from prison when a court on October 29 is expected to rule on the matter. Herman Simm, 72, was convicted in February 2009 and sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison for handing Russia highly-sensitive documents related to NATO since 2004.
UEFA Bars Serbia And Kosovo Soccer Teams From Competing Against Each Other
UEFA announced in a statement on October 18 that soccer teams from Russia and Kosovo “shall no longer be drawn against each other in any future UEFA competitions until further notice," due to “security risks.”
Nazarbaev’s Authorities Extended In Kazakhstan
Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev has signed a decree expanding the powers of Nursultan Nazarbaev, who resigned from the presidency earlier this year and now heads the Kazakh Security Council. According to the new decree, Nazarbaev’s approval is required for the appointment of all ministers, except for those of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Internal Affairs. Appointments of the heads of governmental bodies including the National Bank, presidential administration, National Security Committee, and Foreign Intelligence Service are now also subject to the former president’s approval. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Nazarbaev's Grandson Gets Suspended Prison Term For Biting London Police Officer
A grandson of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been handed a suspended 18-month prison term for biting a police sergeant in London. The Southwark Crown Court in London on October 18 also ruled that the 29-year-old Nazarbaev must continue with treatment for drug addiction, carry out 140 hours of community service, pay a 1,000-pound fine, and compensation of 5,000 pounds for damages.
COMMENTARY: Will Central Asia Be The Core Of The Region’s Energy Market?
INFOGRAPHIC: How Russians And Ukrainians See Each Other
PRESSROOM: ‘Everyone Knew From The Radio’: RFE/RL: Reporting 1989