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Live Blog: Putin's Annual News Conference

Live Blog: Putin's Annual News Conference

Vladimir Putin is holding his annual news conference, a marathon event that comes at a time with the Russian leader’s popularity is down. Join our live blog for minute-by-minute updates, the best content from social media, and context and analysis from RFE/RL’s team of Russia watchers.

VISUAL REPORTS

Ostalgie

The number of Russians who regret the collapse of the U.S.S.R. is at its highest point since 2004.

Stalin Time: Dictator’s Calendars Sell Well In Yekaterinburg

Young Bolsheviks in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg have published their 2019 Josef Stalin calendar. Though the print run is just a few thousand copies, they’re selling fast.

Belarus’s Unorthodox Churchblogging Orthodox Priest

Alyaksandr Kukhta is an Orthodox priest for a small parish in Belarus, but he has twice as many followers online as in real life.

St. Petersburg's Freegans Feast On Forsaken Food

In order to reduce waste, St. Petersburg freegans find food to eat for themselves at garbage dumps, and arrange charity dinners made from discarded food.

OTHER NEWS

Parsing The Annual Putin Press Conference

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the risk of a catastrophic nuclear conflict should not be underestimated and criticized the United States for abandoning Cold War-era arms treaties, while claiming economic progress alongside the need for improvements.

Putin Praises Trump’s Announcement Of Syria Withdrawal

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at his annual news conference, said he agreed with the U.S. President that the defeat of the Islamic State group removes the need for the U.S. military presence in Syria, while reiterating Moscow's long-held argument that the U.S. presence in Syria is illegitimate.

U.S. Targets GRU Officers With New Sanctions While Lifting Others

The United States has imposed new sanctions on more than a dozen current and former Russian military intelligence agents, including two tied to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England this year and one linked to Kremlin-connected oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The Treasury Department also said it would lift sanctions on three companies tied to Deripaska, after he cut his stakes in them.

Ukraine Says Ships To Try Crossing Kerch Strait

The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council Oleksandr Turchynov has announced in an interview that his country’s navy will once again try to cross the Kerch Strait. The move is intended, in part, to affirm Ukraine’s right to cross the shared territorial waters, Turchynov said, but some experts are accusing him of populism. Russia’s foreign ministry has called the announcement “irresponsible” and intended to “aggravate the situation.” (Ukrainian Service)

Russian Businessman Perepilichny Likely Died Of Natural Causes

A Russian businessman who was found dead in southern England six years ago likely died of natural causes, a British inquest has found. Aleksandr Perepilichny collapsed while out jogging near his home south of London in November 2012, and there has been speculation that he might have been murdered.

Mutko Leaves As Chief Of Russian Football Union

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has left the post of president of the country's football federation, the Russian Football Union. Mutko, who led the federation twice, from April 2005 to November 2009 and from September 2015 until now, was penalized with a lifetime ban from the Olympics over doping.

Lithuania Arrests Several Citizens Suspected Of Spying For Russia

Several Lithuanians have been arrested and charged with spying for Russia, the Baltic state's chief prosecutor said, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow.

Latvia Begins Uploading KGB Archive

The National Archive of Latvia has begun publishing KGB files of the Latvian USSR, announcing plans in December to upload files of agents, “suspected” persons, candidates for recruitment, and free-lance operatives and volunteers; and the KGB phonebook and information about the Soviet republic’s Communist party. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

European Court Lifts Sanctions Against Former Ukrainian PM Azarov

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on December 19 to lift sanctions against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who has been accused by Ukraine of illegally acquiring state assets and accepting bribes during the former regime of Viktor Yanukovych. Azarov fled to Russia following the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in 2014. (Ukrainian Service)

EU Presents To-Do List To Western Balkans, Eastern Neighbors

The European Union has asked Western Balkans and EU Eastern Partnership countries that have visa-free regimes with the bloc's Schengen area to take further measures to address irregular migration, urged Georgia to do more to prevent unfounded asylum applications, and called on Ukraine to step up its fight against corruption.

Anger And Illness Grow In The Balkans, Europe's Most-Polluted Region

According to the World Health Organization, residents in nine out of 10 European cities are experiencing health effects due to their exposure to elevated levels of air pollutants. At most risk? Those in the Balkans.

Albania Expels Two Iranian Diplomats Over National Security Concerns

Albania says it has expelled two Iranian diplomats for national security reasons, with a U.S. official saying one was Tehran's ambassador to the Balkan country.

PRESSROOM: RFE/RL Videos Inform And Inspire -- 2.6 Billion Times In 2018

As we wrap up 2018, please take this 1-minute SVOBODATODAY SURVEY

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