Russian peacekeepers are on their way to Nagorno-Karabakh to be deployed as part of an agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia to halt six weeks of military conflict over the breakaway region. The November 10 announcement of a Russia-brokered truce to end fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in the enclave triggered celebrations in Azerbaijan but a political crisis in Armenia, where angry protesters stormed government buildings and parliament. Angry Mob Attacks RFE/RL's Armenia Bureau.
Police in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, used water cannons to disperse a protest outside the country's Central Election Commission on the night of November 8-9. Demonstrations have been ongoing since the October 31 parliamentary elections, which the opposition says were rigged. Georgian Opposition Parties Demand Fresh Elections in Tbilisi Rally.
More than 1,000 anti-government demonstrators were detained across Belarus on the 13th consecutive Sunday of protests calling for the resignation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and a new presidential election following a disputed vote three months ago. The Vyasna human rights group said a total of 1,024 people were detained by security forces on November 8, with video and photographs on social media showing men, often in plainclothes, brutally wrestling demonstrators to the ground and forcing them into police transport. Britain Expels Two Belarusian Diplomats In Tit-For-Tat Move.
As congratulations came in from around the world for Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin remained silent on the result of the U.S. election. On November 9, two days after Biden clinched the presidency by winning at least 270 electoral votes, Putin's spokesman said the Kremlin would wait for an "official announcement" of the results.
When U.S. media began to call the presidential race in Joe Biden's favor on November 7, it was about 6:30 p.m. in Kyiv. Within hours, a former president tweeted that his country was "blessed," an investment banker voiced hope for reforms, and a political analyst said fears that Washington might use Ukraine as a pawn in a bid for a Russia reset would fade. For many politicians, civil-society leaders, and citizens in Ukraine, the news came as a relief.
Come January, many U.S. diplomats overseas may be packing their bags along with President Donald Trump. All U.S. ambassadors – the envoys to nearly 200 countries and organizations, such as the United Nations, NATO and the European Union -- are formally asked to send in their resignation shortly after a new president is elected. However, resignations submitted by career foreign service professionals are, as a rule, not accepted. They usually continue to serve until they complete their three-year stint.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said "attempts to exert foreign pressure" in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova are "unacceptable." Opening an online summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on November 10, Putin said that Belarus was "under pressure from external forces." Putin also said that two other former Soviet republics, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, are also experiencing "outer pressure."
Belarus's only nuclear plant, near the Lithuanian border and just 50 kilometers from the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, has suspended electricity production just three days after authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka officially opened it. An official from the nuclear plant said on November 10 that the facility's output had been stopped after the Energy Ministry said a day earlier that unspecified equipment must be replaced before electricity production can resume,
An award-winning correspondent for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, Aleh Hruzdzilovich, was visited in his apartment by police on November 10, who showed him photos from an October 25 protest rally in Minsk, in which Hruzdzilovich can allegedly be seen. Police then detained Hruzdzilovich and took him to Minsk’s Frunzenskoye police station for further questioning. Hruzdzilovich has worked as a correspondent for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service for over 20 years, specializing in reporting on human rights issues; he also collaborates with other independent Belarusian media and is an author of the book “Who Blew Up The Minsk Metro.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Local Chechen media reports that the head of the Republic Ramzan Kadyrov appointed his 28-year-old fourth cousin Khas-Magomed Kadyrov, who previously held the post of secretary of the regional Security Council, as the head of Ramzan Kadyrov’s administration, following appointments by Kadyrov of several other close relatives to public offices in Chechnya. Additionally, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appointed Ramzan Kadyrov's cousin, Odes Baysultanov, as Russian Deputy Minister of Sports. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
For the first time since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, a foreign mission - the honorary consulate of Nicaragua - will open on the peninsula. At the invitation of the Russia-appointed head of annexed Crimea Sergei Aksenov, Nicaragua’s Ambassador to Russia, Alba Asucena Torres visited the peninsula. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the action "miserable” and "an openly unfriendly step;" the Ukrainian government has asked the country’s National Security and Defense Council to impose sanctions against Nicaragua. (Ukrainian Service/Crimea Realii)
An investigation by the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service reporting project Crimea.Realities reveals that Russia is bypassing international sanctions over its annexation of Crimea to import General Electric and Siemens medical equipment into the peninsula. Billions of rubles from the Russian budget have been spent on building medical centers and installing the latest MRI and CT scanning machines; most of the equipment flaunted by local officials is from abroad, including medical devices by General Electric, Siemens and other international corporations. Experts say that the vast majority of companies working with Crimea act as intermediaries between the customer and the manufacturer, and are registered not in Crimea, but in Russia. (Ukrainian Service/Crimea Realii)
A court of appeals in Moscow has intervened to ease the terms of the three-year prison term activist Yegor Lesnykh received during a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Moscow last year. The Court of Appeals No.2 on November 9 ruled that Lesnykh will serve the remaining part of his sentence in a colony settlement instead of a prison. A colony settlement is a penitentiary in which convicts live close to a facility where they work.
Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has ordered a new variation of the Kazakh-language alphabet based on Latin letters that would replace the current alphabet based on Cyrillic by 2025. According to the Kazakh presidential press service, Toqaev asked Culture Minister Aqtoty Raiymqulova and Education Minister Askhat Aimaghambetov to work with experts on the alphabet and present their work to a national commission working on the issue.
Former Kosovar President Hashim Thaci appeared for the first time before a war crimes court in The Hague to face charges of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from Kosovo’s war of independence more than 20 years ago. A commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) during the 1998-1999 war, Thaci resigned as president on November 5 after learning the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) had confirmed an indictment against him.
When a new government finally got near-unanimous support from lawmakers in Serbia's overwhelmingly one-party parliament late last month, there were a lot of familiar faces. President Aleksandar Vucic had once again designated fellow Progressive Party member Ana Brnabic as prime minister after being noncommittal toward her ahead of a much-maligned election.
The Hungarian government has announced the country's strictest anti-coronavirus measures to date after the authorities reported record-breaking hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID-19. In a video posted on Facebook on November 9, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said a general curfew would be imposed nationwide between 8 p.m and 5 a.m. and apply to everyone except those going to work.
Tajik students of foreign universities who have been prevented from leaving the Central Asian country due to travel restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus are pleading with authorities for help. Some 20 students gathered in front of the Foreign Ministry in Dushanbe on November 9 to urge authorities to find a way for them to travel to Russia and other countries for their studies. Ministry officials met with the students and told them the matter was being discussed with the authorities of the countries where their universities are located.
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