Accessibility links

Breaking News



Russia's Pro-Kremlin Media Highlight 'Chaos And Instability' In U.S. Presidential Election


Former Kosovar President Heads To The Hague Following War Crimes Charges

The car of Hashim Thaci was seen entering an EU police and justice mission base just outside Pristina on November 5, following his announcement that he would resign as the president of Kosovo. Thaci, a guerrilla leader during the country's war for independence from Serbia in the 1990s, resigned after confirming that he had been indicted by the Kosovo Specialist Chamber (KSC) in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Also watch: Police raid home of former Kosovar President Hashim Thaci.

PHOTOGALLERY: Capitals During War: The View From Baku And Yerevan

There is an intense display of patriotism in the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Armenia as the two countries enter the fifth week of war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Leon Theremin: Inventor Or Spy?

Meet Leon Theremin, a Russian physicist, inventor, and musician, who developed not only a musical instrument that can be played without being touched, but also a spying device that was successfully planted in the U.S. ambassador's residence in Moscow -- where it stayed for seven years..

Murdered Jewish Painter's Work Found Hidden In Prague House

Around 700 paintings and drawings by a Jewish painter murdered during the Holocaust have been uncovered in a house in a Prague suburb that was being torn down. The works by Gertrud Kauders, who studied at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts, were found behind walls and under floorboards. Kauders' great-niece, who lives in New Zealand, told RFE/RL that surviving family members were amazed by the discovery.


Russian Spy Chief Says Navalny Poisoned By West; Siberian Police Disagree

Contradicting statements by Russian officials have suggested either that Western nations could be behind the poisoning in August of opposition politician and outspoken Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, or that he was not poisoned at all. News agency RIA Novosti on November 6 published an interview with Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), who said -- without offering any evidence -- that Western intelligence agencies wanted "to revive the withered protest movement in Russia" by assassinating a Russian opposition leader. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry's Siberian branch said on the same day that it had found no traces of poison on Navalny’s clothes or items he had used while in the city of Tomsk, and argued that his illness may have been caused by the "exacerbation of chronic pancreatitis."

EU Blacklists Lukashenka, Son, 13 Others Over Crackdown In Belarus

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Alyaksandr Lukashenka, his son Viktar, and 13 other high-ranking Belarusian officials held responsible for “violence, unjustified arrests, and falsification” of the presidential election nearly three months ago. The EU Official Journal on November 6 published the names of the 15 individuals subject to visa bans and asset freezes. Following the EU, Canada also imposes sanctions on Belarus’ officials.

Civilians Reportedly Killed As Fighting Over Nagorno-Karabakh Continues

Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh continued overnight, with the separatist region's de facto authorities reporting the deaths of at least three civilians following shelling by Azerbaijani forces. The artillery fire was concentrated on Stepanakert, the region's largest city, and Shushi (known in Azeri as Susa), a strategic mountain town located some 10 kilometers south of Stepanakert.

Ruble Rebounds From Near-Record Lows On U.S. Election Bounce; Turbulence Seen On Horizon

The Russian ruble is expected to face continuing headwinds, despite the currency leading a post-U.S. election rally by emerging-market currencies. The ruble jumped on November 5 and was on pace for one of its best weeks in months. The ruble was trading at 76.9 to the dollar, an improvement from hovering above 80 on November 2, a level near lows last seen at the height of the pandemic scare in March. Also Watch They Count The Votes?! Watching U.S. Nail-Biter, Many Russians Bemoan The State Of Their 'Democracy'.

Ex-U.S. Marine Imprisoned In Russia Complains Of Sleep Deprivation

The brother of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges he rejects, says his sibling is suffering sleep deprivation at a prison colony. Whelan complained that he was being woken up at approximately two-hour intervals every night over the past few weeks, his brother, David, said on November 5. He said the practice apparently started because someone in the Russian prison system deemed his brother a flight risk.

Balkans Become Unlikely Bridgehead In Europe For U.S.'s Anti-China Push

Romania's announcement that the country would ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its cellular networks was the latest move to roll back China's dominance in cutting-edge 5G telecommunication in Central and Southeastern Europe. The announcement by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on November 1 comes as the United States seriously steps up its "China strategy" in Europe recently, inking a slew of declarations across the region designed to limit China’s role in telecom networks.

Belarus Extends Pretrial Detention Of Opposition Figure Kalesnikava

Belarusian authorities have prolonged the pretrial detention of Maryya Kalesnikava, an opposition figure who is facing national-security charges, for two months. The press service of jailed Belarusian politician Viktar Babaryka said on November 6 that investigators had extended Kalesnikava's detention until January 8. Kalesnikava's lawyer Lyudmila Kazak said earlier in the day that her client's bail request had been rejected.

Roscosmos Requests Over $19.3 Billion To Create An Analogue To Elon Musk's Starlink

Russia’s state-owned space agency Roscosmos has asked the government for a little over $19.3 billion for the creation of the Sphere satellite constellation, which should provide communications for the entire surface of the globe. The project is aimed to compete with Elon Musk's Starlink satellite Internet access project and the British-Indian OneWeb project. At this point, however, there is no funding for Sphere, and the requested amount exceeds the budget for all Russian space programs over the last nine years. (Russian Service)

Vitali Klitschko Re-Elected As Mayor Of Kyiv

RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service reports that incumbent Kyiv Mayor and ex-boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has won re-election, avoiding a runoff with 50.52% of the vote. Klitschko became the Mayor of Kyiv in June 2014; he was elected to a full five-year term in October 2015. (Ukrainian Service)

Moscow Mayor’s Office Asks Residents To Avoid Unnecessary Walking In City

Russian media reports that, amid a record number of new COVID-19 cases, the Moscow Mayor’s office has asked that residents avoid unnecessary movement around the city on foot or by private transport. Mayor’s office representatives stressed that employees transferred to remote work should stay at home and those who violate it will be fined. (Russian Service)

Former Russian Official Acquires Controlling Stake In Weapons Maker Kalashnikov

Former Russian deputy transport minister Alan Lushnikov has acquired a controlling stake in weapons maker Kalashnikov. Lushnikov, who served as deputy transport minister between 2017 and 2018, acquired a 75-percent-minus-one-share stake in Kalashnikov via a firm called TKH-Invest. Kommersant quoted Lushnikov on November 6 as saying that he had bought TKH-Invest from Deputy Defense Minister Aleksei Krivoruchko, who is one of the high-ranking Russian officials who was hit with European Union sanctions last month over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.

Bill On Ex-Presidents' Immunity Proposed By Two Russian Lawmakers

Two Russian lawmakers have proposed a draft law on the extension of immunity for former presidents and their family members. The bill prepared by Andrei Klishas, a member of the Russian parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, and a member of the lower chamber, the State Duma, Pavel Krasheninnikov, was proposed for debate on November 5. The official proposal says the bill was prepared in accordance with constitutional amendments initiated by President Vladimir Putin and adopted earlier this year in a national vote.

Bulgaria Dispute Threatens To Delay North Macedonia's Path To The EU

Bulgaria is threatening to delay North Macedonia's path toward European Union membership over a history and language dispute with its neighbor. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced on November 6 it had informed the European Commission that Sofia will block the so-called negotiating framework for North Macedonia, which is due to be the basis for the formal launch of EU accession talks.

Kazakh Opposition Group Allowed To Hold Rally Challenging Upcoming Polls

Authorities in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, have given an unregistered party permission to hold a protest rally ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, as its members continue to stage individual protests calling for the group’s official registration. Democratic Party leader Zhanbolat Mamai told RFE/RL on November 5 that he had obtained permission to organize the rally on November 14.

Five Alleged Members Of Banned Hizb Ut-Tahrir Islamic Group Arrested In Tatarstan

Five alleged members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group, labeled as extremist and banned in Russia, have been detained in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on November 6 that its officers, along with National Guard troops, detained five individuals suspected of propagating "terrorist ideas" among Tatarstan's Muslims.

In 'Symbolic Action,' Fence Around Kyrgyz Government Building Torn Down

Kyrgyz authorities have torn down the iron fence and gates around the main government building in Bishkek that houses the presidential office and parliament, in a move the capital's acting mayor, Balbak Tulobaev, called "symbolic." Tulobaev said on November 6 that the action was taken at the request of parliament Chairman Talant Mamytov, who was also present at the site. "The idea was initiated by the Prime Minister and acting President Sadyr Japarov. The move can be defined as a symbolic action showing that all barriers between the authorities and people are gone," Tulobaev said.

About Svoboda Today

Svoboda Today is a quick guide to developments in Russia, Ukraine, and the region, delivered from our bureaus direct to your inbox.

Click here to subscribe to the Svoboda Today newsletter.