She's the face of Belarusian state TV propaganda. Yulia Artsyukh appears not only as a news reporter, but is also presented as a typical mother who is outraged by anti-government protests. People on social media have pointed to other faces that appear in multiple roles, with one critic saying that state media can't find real people to interview who support the regime. Also read: Exiled Defectors From Belarus's Law Enforcement Are Now Holding Their Ex-Colleagues To Account.
Azerbaijani forces moved into the district of Lachin early on December 1. It was the last of three territories ceded by Armenia under a peace deal that ended a six-week war over Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijani citizens celebrated the news in Baku, and some made plans to return to Lachin, while Armenians living there faced the prospect of leaving their homes. Also read: Azerbaijani Forces Enter Third District Under Nagorno-Karabakh Truce.
At an event in Skopje, demonstrators beat drums and displayed a banner calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Desertification and overgrazing are threatening the Nogai steppe in Russia's Republic of Daghestan. The way of life of the native Nogai people is at risk as shifting sand dunes swallow up pastures, farmland, and even homes.
Valery Melnikov was known in Russia for the huge New Year's cards he created on the ice and snow of a frozen river in the country's Far East. After he died in October at the age of 72 after contracting COVID-19, residents of his home region of Amur decided to continue the tradition he started and make a giant, snowy card in his memory.
Russia's Investigative Committee has rejected reports saying a probe has been launched into opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's interview with the radio station Ekho Moskvy. The committee said on December 1 that media reports about the alleged probe were false and called on news outlets not to distribute unconfirmed reports based on anonymous sources. The comments came after the official TASS news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that Moscow investigators alleged Navalny called for the forcible change of Russia's constitutional order during the April 27 interview with Ekho Moskvy.
The Kremlin has rebuffed calls by incoming Moldova President Maia Sandu for Russian troops to withdraw from the separatist region of Transdniester, saying such a move could lead to "serious destabilization." The former World Bank economist on November 30 called for Russian troops in Transdniester to be removed in favor of civilian monitors under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), adding that she wanted dialogue with Moscow. "We are an independent country that does not want foreign troops to stay on its territory," she told a press conference.
The European Commission (EC) will propose for the first time that the European Union impose sanctions on "foreign actors" from states such as Russia or China that spread disinformation, as it pushes for a tougher oversight mechanism for online platforms, according to a draft document seen by RFE/RL. The European Democracy Action Plan, which the EC is set to present on December 2, says that the 27-member bloc "needs to use more systematically the full range of tools in its toolbox for countering foreign interference and influence operations and further develop them, including by imposing costs on the perpetrators."
The Russian government has submitted draft legislation to the Russian State Duma that recognizes cryptocurrency as property and introduces an obligation for Russians, as well as foreigners and companies living and operating in the country, to report such assets to the tax authorities. These assets are to be taxed in the future, but the rate has not yet been set. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Several Jehovah's Witnesses have been sentenced in Russia for being members of the religious group that Moscow has labeled as extremist and banned in the country. A court in the Siberian city of Omsk, on November 30, sentenced 48-year-old Sergei Polyakov to three years in prison after finding him guilty of "organizing the activities of an extremist group." Polyakov's wife, Anastasia Polyakova and two other Jehovah's Witnesses, Dinara Dyusekeyeva and Gaukhar Bektemirova, were convicted of "taking part in the activities of an extremist group" and handed suspended two-year prison terms each.
Individual entrepreneurs held a ‘SaveФОП’ rally in Kyiv, where they accused Ukraine’s parliament of “betrayal” for delaying votes on bills simplifying taxation of small and medium businesses & postponing mandatory use of cash registers. The parliament later postponed consideration of the bills until January 1, 2022. (Ukrainian Service)
Former Soviet Communist Party Politburo member Yegor Ligachev has become the first ex-top Soviet official to live to the age of 100. In the late 1980s, Ligachev was considered the second-most-powerful official in the Soviet Union after President Mikhail Gorbachev, who himself turned 89 in 2020. Ligachev, who marked his 100th birthday on November 29, started his political career in the Communist Party during World War II.
The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay 21,000 euro in compensation to Krasnoyarsk physicist Valentin Danilov, who was convicted of treason and fraud in 2004. The ECHR concluded that Russian authorities had violated Danilov's right to a fair trial and the right to question witnesses. A former director of the Thermophysical Center in Krasnoyarsk, Danilov was accused of transferring secret information about space technology to the Chinese and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The first jury to hear his case acquitted Danilov, but, at the request of the prosecutor's office, the Supreme Court of Russia remanded the case for a new trial, and a new jury found him guilty. Danilov was released on parole in 2012. (Russian Service)
A member of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (AXCP), Mahammad Imanli, has been sentenced to one year in prison for violating coronavirus prevention rules, a charge he rejects as false and politically motivated. On December 1, Judge Mirheydar Zeynalov of the Sabuncu district court in Baku found Imanli guilty of failing to comply with coronavirus precautions and "spreading the disease." Imanli rejected the court's findings saying he was sentenced "only because I am a member of the AXCP."
Police in Kazan have apprehended a man suspected in dozens of killings of elderly women that took place nearly 10 years ago in and around Russia's Republic of Tatarstan. The Investigative Committee said on December 1 that the 38-year-old suspect, identified as Radik Tagirov, who worked as a locksmith in Kazan, had confessed to killing 26 elderly women and stealing their belongings in 2011 and 2012.
Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has canceled the June 2020 conviction and jail sentence of former President Almazbek Atambaev for his role in the illegal release from prison of notorious crime boss Aziz Batukaev in 2013. Atambaev's lawyer Zamir Jooshev told RFE/RL late on November 30 that the Supreme Court ruled to send the case back to the Birinchi Mai district court in Bishkek for retrial. A reason for the decision was not immediately given.
A large banner denouncing Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, appeared in the Central Asian nation's largest city, Almaty, on December 1 as the country marks the Day of the First President. Nazarbaev enjoys almost limitless powers in Kazakhstan as “elbasy” -- leader of the nation.