UNICEF reports 65 children have been killed, and some 168 injured, by mines and unexploded ordnance in eastern Ukraine since March 2014. Swiss volunteers are taking a puppet show on tour to teach children the dangers.
At least 30 people, including Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and human rights activist Lev Ponomarev, were detained by police on December 12 at an unsanctioned rally in the center of Moscow to mark Constitution Day. (Russian Service)
Four year-old Andriy made stuffed snowmen to raise money for his cancer treatment in Belarus. Thousands of volunteers have joined the effort, raising over $30,000 to cover his treatment costs.
An activist theater group used song, dance, and dress to portray Jewish and Romany cultures for passengers on city buses in Belgrade.
Despite patriotism and Vladimir Putin's sky-high poll numbers, the Kremlin appears worried that, as Russia's recession deepens, people could take to the streets.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has announced that cuts in gas consumption have saved the country 2 billion USD, “which were used to pay Gazprom, and which Russia used to buy tanks and supply weapons and gunmen to support its military aggression against Ukraine.” (In Ukrainian)
As protests continue against new tolls on federal highways, reports indicate that the son of Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s longtime friend and judo partner, owns a 50 percent stake in the proposed "Platon" fee collection system. (Current Time TV)
Delays on imports of Turkish components by Russian border authorities has meant that factories producing household appliances are suspending operations, and automobile manufacturing is under threat. (In Russian)
In an interview with RFE/RL, a former investigator with St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office, who previously was instrumental in disclosing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s contacts with organized crime in the 1990s, commented on recent reports of Russian criminal activity in Spain. (In Russian)
Armenia has approved amendments transforming the government from a presidential to a parliamentary system, despite allegations that the December 6 constitutional referendum was subject to widespread fraud.
Turkmenistan marked 20 years of “permanent neutrality” on December 12. Participants in a roundtable discussed how the policy affects Turkmenistan’s geopolitical position, and whether it serves as a shield closing off the country from the outside world.