For all their faults, the Soviet leadership appreciated their responsibilities as the custodians of the nuclear arsenal. The last Soviet leader to engage in nuclear blackmail with the West was Nikita Khrushchev, but the current occupant of the Kremlin does so repeatedly.
The entrance of the Roshen store in Kharkiv was blown up on December 9 with an RGD-5 grenade, causing damage to glass doors and windows, but no injuries. (Ukrainian Service)
Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky has generated shock and controversy with protests involving public nudity, self-harm, or fire. His private life is every bit as unorthodox as his public appearances. (Warning: contains disturbing images.)
In Stockholm ahead of the Nobel ceremony, Svetlana Alexievich spoke about her writing and repression in Belarus, where coverage of her prize has been barred from state television.
Ambassadors from the 28 member states had been expected to agree on a six-month extension of the sanctions on December 9, but the decision was postponed after Italy called for a debate on the matter by EU leaders in Brussels next week.
Russia is threatening to take Ukraine to court for debts owed by the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. Experts say Russia could win if the debt is judged to be sovereign rather than commercial. (In Ukrainian)
Speaking in harsh terms at an online news conference in London on December 9, the exiled former oil tycoon accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of hijacking the government, and predicted he will be thrown out of power within a few years.
Ex-mayor of Kyiv Leonid Chernovetsky said he’s transferring his businesses in Ukraine to his son and is relocating to Georgia, where he plans to run in the country’s parliamentary elections in 2016. (Current Time TV)
In an interview with RFE/RL, Odessa mayor and former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said that after Russian President Putin’s “irrational Syrian adventures,” regime collapse and challenges to Russia's territorial integrity are next. (In Russian)
A Russian designer thinks she can make good money selling anti-Turkish T-shirts, but has had to delay production because trucks carrying imported Turkish fabric are stuck at the border.
Tajikistan’s lower house of parliament approved the bill, anointing President Emomalii Rahmon "leader of the nation" and extending him and members of his family permanent immunity from prosecution. (Current Time TV)