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Optimism -- For Free (RFE/RL Russian Service)
Optimism -- For Free (RFE/RL Russian Service)


THE POWER VERTICAL: Russia's Cyber-Jujitsu

Russia has been hacking the West with impunity for years. Its new cybersecurity doctrine suggests that Putin understands that the West has woken up to this.

Crimea's Struggling Marine Park

Crippled by financial woes, Crimea’s Sevastopol Dolphinarium has been forced to sell one of its cherished beluga whales.

Islamic Philosopher Geidar Dzhemal Buried in Kazakhstan

Mourners gathered in Kazakhstan for the funeral of prominent Islamic philosopher and activist Geidar Dzhemal.

American Seduced By Magic Of Kobza

Meet the American who hand crafts traditional Ukrainian musical instruments and teaches the locals how to play.


NATO Chief Urges Continued Pressure On Russia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called for continued diplomatic pressure and sanctions on Russia until Moscow respects a February 2015 agreement aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict.

EU Expected To Extend Sanctions Against Russia

European Union diplomats say EU leaders are likely to prolong economic sanctions on Russia through July 31, 2017, when they meet in Brussels for a summit next week.

Russian Applications For U.S. Asylum Surge Again In 2016

The number of new U.S. asylum applications by Russian citizens has jumped for the fourth straight year in 2016, reaching the highest level in more than two decades. .

Russian Military Adviser Said Killed In Syria

A high-ranking military officer is the third Russian reported by the Defense Ministry to have been killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo this week.

Chechen Commander Summoned As Witness In Nemtsov Trial

A Moscow court has summoned Ruslan Geremeyev, the deputy commander of the Interior Ministry's Chechnya-based Sever (North) battalion, to testify as a witness in the trial of five men charged with the 2015 killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Moscow Caves In On Chechnya Budget

Ramzan Kadyrov appears to have won his spat with Moscow, as

Russian media reports that the federation’s 2017 budget envisions no cuts for Chechnya, instead earmarking approximately $634.5 million for the region. (in Russian)

Russian Activists Demand Dadin’s Release

Russian human rights campaigners draped a huge banner from a St. Petersburg bridge calling for the release of jailed activist Ildar Dadin, who says he has been tortured in prison.

Seven Years For An SMS: Activists Alarmed Over Southern Russia Treason Convictions

Shopkeeper Oksana Sevastidi is serving a seven-year prison sentence for high treason after sending two SMS messages in 2008 that the Russian government says contained secret military information.

In Bogolyubovo, Hell Raised Over Condom Factory

A plan to build a condom factory in a Russian village bearing God’s name is facing spirited resistance from local believers.

Separatist Prisons In Donetsk Said To Run On Slave Labor

Donetsk police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin says that Russia-backed separatists in the region’s occupied territories are making money by using prisoners as slave labor and extorting money from their relatives. In addition, ‘amnesty’ is offered in exchange for services. (in Russian, Donbas.Realii)

Kazakhstan Prepares Major Prison Amnesty

The Kazakh Parliament's lower chamber has approved a bill on an amnesty for some 30,000 people who are behind bars.

Uzbekistan Introduces Visa-Free Travel For 27 Countries

Uzbekistan has dropped visa requirements for citizens from 27 countries for tourism purposes for up to 30 days, effective April 1 2017.

MEDIA RELEASE: To Speak Truth To Disinformation

INFOGRAPHIC: Abiding Nostalgia

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