Following yesterday’s rubber-stamp election for Belarus’s parliament, strongman leader President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has confirmed that he will seek another term in the country's 2020 presidential election. When asked about likely criticism from the West about the poll, Lukahsenka said, "I'm not in the habit of worrying about this matter."
Around 250,000 Czechs turned out to rally against Prime Minister Andrej Babis on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the country’s Velvet Revolution, the second massive protest opposing Babis at Prague’s Letna park.
Fifty-nine percent of Russians desire “decisive changes,” according to a July survey by the Moscow Carnegie Center and the independent Levada-Center.
Instead of a traditional, routine funeral, some Russians are choosing to check out in their own style, from blinging caskets to digitized grave sites.
In southern Kyrgyzstan, entire regions live off illegal coal mining. The work is dangerous, tut locals say there is no other employment for the region's men.
Ukraine has confirmed that Russia has returned three navy vessels almost a year after seizing them near the Crimean peninsula, which Russia forcibly annexed in 2014. Russia's Foreign Ministry said on November 18 that the vessels were returned after "investigators fully studied them" as part of a probe "on illegal border crossing."
Russia's Justice Ministry has designated RFE/RL's new Northwest Russia (Sever.Realii) reporting unit a “foreign agent.” RFE/RL President Jamie Fly called the label "politically motivated,” and an “attempt to deprive Russian audiences of access to information that is not under Kremlin control.”
Some 2,000 demonstrators turned out for the latest protest in Elista, the capital of Russia’s southwestern region of Kalmykia, against the appointment of the city’s acting mayor, Dmitry Trapeznikov, who is a former leader of Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Protesters have demanded legislation establishing the mayoralty as a locally elected position.
Russia's OMON riot police have broken up a traditional martial arts tournament organized by the antifascist “antifa” group, detaining at least 80 people. The November 17 competition was held to mark the death of Ivan Khutorskoy, one of the group's co-founders, who was shot dead near his Moscow residence 10 years ago.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is walking back several recent reported statements, claiming they are an attempt to “pervert his words.” In an address to the region’s parliament on November 5, he reportedly called for killing, imprisonment, and intimidation of internet users who “offend someone's honor,” and told local Chechen TV on November 14 that threats and intimidation are part of “Chechen ethics.” (Russian Service)
Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) has arrested the chairman of the state-owned Ukreximbank, Oleksandr Hrytsenko, on suspicion of creating an organized crime group, embezzlement, and money laundering. An SBU spokeswoman said the charges involve complicity in laundering stolen assets connected to associates of former President Viktor Yanukovych. Hrytsenko’s lawyer said his client was being punished for going after assets linked with the former president's entourage.
Ukraine's main security agency says it has arrested Al-Bara Shishani, a Georgian national who is a key figure in the Islamic State extremist group.
Protesters in Tbilisi have blocked the entrance to parliament saying they won't allow lawmakers to pass until early elections are called. The demands come on the fourth day of demonstrations since parliament rejected constitutional amendments providing for a transition to a proportional electoral system.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been released from a military hospital in Belgrade where he had been admitted on November 15 after experiencing “cardiovascular problems,” the public TV broadcaster reports.
The Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office has said it will "study" an audio recording in which a man with a voice similar to that of Tashkent Mayor Jahongir Ortiqkhojaev threatens to "destroy" journalists and "turn them "into gays."