Five amazing but true stories of escape over, under, or directly through the Iron Curtain.
Fears over the future of democracy in the Czech Republic have stoked new mass protests as the country marks 30 years since the 1989 Velvet Revolution saw the overthrow of communism.
Ukraine has unveiled in the port of Odesa two of five Island-class patrol boats it expects to receive from the United States. Ukraine received the boats at no cost, but paid for their transportation and re-equipment. Navy personnel staffing the ships were trained in Baltimore. (Ukrainian Service)
In a distant corner of Russia’s Far East along the border with China, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, established under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1934, lives on.
Running for office may often carry a personal price, but young Kyrgyz political scientist Denis Berdakov never expected it to amount to a payout of $350,000 for a slot on a candidate list in Kyrgyzstan’s 2020 parliamentary elections.
Russian lawmakers are considering a proposal that would designate individual reporters who work for organizations officially listed as foreign agents as foreign agents themselves. The law would target journalists who make and distribute materials about the social and political situation in Russia.
Russia has announced that it set up a helicopter base at the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area last month. The helicopters include two Mi-35 gunships and a Mi-8 military transport helicopter, with more to follow, the Defense Ministry’s Zvezda Tv said. The base is protected by Pantsir surface-to-air missile systems
Germany's parliament has passed an energy law that allows part of Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to skirt European rules that forbid one entity from being both the producer and the supplier of natural gas. The law lifts one of the last hurdles before the completion of the 1,225-kilometer underwater pipeline project owned by Russia's state-run Gazprom company.
Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation says it has found documentation showing luxury properties worth more than 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million) belonging to the family of Moscow State Prosecutor Denis Popov, raising questions over how such valuable real estate purchases were funded. The properties include a 1,000 square-meter townhouse with 19 apartments in Montenegro that belongs to Popov's former wife, Irina Popova, and which Popov and his children use on a regular basis.
Russian media reports that the head of the Main Directorate of the Rostov federal penitentiary and two deputies have been detained by the FSB on suspicion of disclosing state secrets and receiving bribes. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
A strange thing happened when "life safety" teacher Viktor Sadlinsky was caught on video smacking his high-school students in the Russian village of Borovsky: he received an outpouring of sympathy.
Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin adviser and now an independent political analyst, has suggested that U.S. policy has been tainted by the “pathological couple” -- Russia and Ukraine -- and that “this has resulted in a degradation of its foreign policy." Analyst Tatyana Stanovaya suggested that, "For Putin, it would have been better if the Ukraine scandal had never happened."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a whistle-blower law approved by parliament last month that incentivizes reporting graft by offering whistle-blowers 10 percent of a bribe, or the amount the state incurs in losses due to corrupt schemes. The tipster qualifies for the 10 percent cut only if the bribe meets the threshold of 5,000 or more times the minimum wage -- 10 million hryvnyas or $410,000 at the current exchange rate.
Ukrainian court has released from custody Borys Herman, the man convicted of being recruited by Russia's secret services to organize a plot in 2018 to kill self-exiled Russian reporter and Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko. The Kyiv Appeals Court ruled on November 13 that Herman be released due to his poor health.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon nominated former Finance Minister Ion Chicu to be the country’s next prime minister, a day after pro-Western Prime Minister Maia Sandu's cabinet lost a confidence vote. Dodon described Chicu as “a technocrat, a professional who has not been in any political party."
Georgian lawmakers have rejected a constitutional amendment on the transition to a proportional electoral system that was demanded by protesters this summer.
Armenian-born Thai-boxing world champion Ashot Bolian has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian news agencies report.
President Shavkat Mirziyoev's son-in-law, who already serves as deputy head of Mirziyoev's personal security and an informal ambassador at events with foreign dignitaries, has been named head of Uzbekistan's fledgling Mixed Martial Arts Association.
Uzbek authorities convened a press conference to tell reporters not to politicize the death of Davlat Nazar, a prominent journalist and outspoken government critic who was killed in a late-night road accident last week that many believe is suspicious.
RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports that farmland managers and harvesters who have fulfilled the cotton picking plan were instructed by authorities to purchase 43-inch TVs and bring them to the annual harvest festival so that they could be presented to them as gifts on behalf of the president. Those unable to purchase a new TV have been told to pack and bring their old TV “in shiny wrapping paper.” State workers were busy for an entire week ahead of the festival washing vegetables and fruits and packing them in beautiful boxes so that they could be shown on television. State holidays in Turkmenistan are filmed in advance for broadcast. (in Russian, Current Time TV/Turkmen Service)
Putin’s Witnesses, a documentary supported by Current Time and directed by Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, has been shortlisted for an annual award from the European Film Academy, the so-called Euopean Oscars.