Daily Vertical: A Very Big Deal
On January 1st, Ukraine’s deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union will finally come into effect, with absolutely no concessions to Moscow.
Azerbaijani Currency Collapses
The Azerbaijani manat plummeted after the central bank in Baku decided to float the currency freely. Residents, many of whom have their mortgages in dollars, said the government had “bankrupted” them overnight.
Mogherini Signs Kazakh Deal
The wide-ranging accord is looser than the association agreements and free-trade deals the EU has offered eastern neighbors like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, but it is more ambitious than anything previously agreed with any other Central Asian state.
Russian Activist’s Car Torched After Parking Spot Spat
Yan Katelevsky had his car torched after challenging local authorities over a parking spot they had reserved for themselves.
For Some Students, Textbooks, Bedbugs, And Cockroaches
Students living in some dormitories belonging to Moscow State University have complained about cockroaches in the kitchen, rats in the basement, and bed bugs in the mattresses. (Russian Service)
Killing Free TV
In an interview with RFE/RL, Arkady Mayofice, founder and former co-owner of the recently closed Tomsk TV-2 channel, who left Russia in February 2015 to avoid possible detention, said the crackdown on his company was politically motivated. (In Russian)
Report Blasts Russia and Syria Over Cluster Bombs
Human Rights Watch says it has documented 20 cluster-munition attacks in populated areas across Syria since Russia launched its bombardment campaign on September 30.
Russian Activist Flees To Ukraine
Vladimir Ionov, 76, who was expected to deliver his final statement to a Moscow court this week, faces a possible 1 million-ruble fine ($14,000) or up to five years in prison on charges of attending more than two unauthorized public events during a six-month period.
Russian Diplomats in Sweden Accused Of ‘Annexing’ Building
A struggle for the building housing the Russian Trade Mission continues, as Russian diplomats erect barricades and the local municipality retaliates by turning off the water. Swedish authorities had put the building on auction to repay a debt owed by Russia to a German businessman. (Current Time TV)
Renewal Of EU Sanctions Against Russia Is Official
A December 21 decision by the EU commission to extend sanctions against Russia until July 31, 2016 has been published in the EU’s Official Journal. (In Ukrainian)
Ukrainian Parliament To Discuss 2016 Budget
Experts think the prospects of an agreement on the budget are uncertain because only two out of four majority factions are ready to vote for the bill. (In Ukrainian)
A Dossier On Murderers
In an interview with RFE/RL, Polish MP Malgozata Giosewska discusses her report for the International Court in the Hague on war crimes committed by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Giosewska spoke with 60 victims and witnesses, who expressed disappointment in the lack of action taken by Ukrainian authorities, and hope that the crimes will not go unpunished. (In Russian)