The relaxation of restrictions on the sale of cannabis in the United States is stoking opportunities for staggering overnight wealth reminiscent of the rush to grab assets when the Soviet Union collapsed. Among those seeking a piece of the action are Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two Soviet-born businessmen arrested on October 9 on suspicion of crimes including violating campaign-finance laws.
The head of a prison in the Russian region of Karelia denied charges that staff had abused inmates -- until a video surfaced this month showing a brutal beating. One of the attackers seen in the footage is alleged to be the prison chief himself.
Young Tajik men are being taken from the streets by people in plain clothes and reportedly sent to service in the army for two years. Sometimes, the men are taken without any prior notice.
Russia's Foreign Ministry says it will issue a formal note of protest to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow after Russian authorities caught three U.S. diplomats, including the U.S. military and naval attachés, in a restricted area in northern Russia, near the site of a mysterious explosion in August that killed five nuclear workers.
Aidar Gubaidullin, a Moscow protester who was charged with threatening to assault a police officer during an unsanctioned rally in July, has left Russia, his lawyer has confirmed.
Russian media reports that aerospace giant Roscosmos has tightened rules for foreign travel of its employees and those of its subsidiaries in light of “increasing geopolitical tensions,” increased activity of foreign intelligence agencies, and purported attacks on Russians abroad. (Russian Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered a study of youth habits on the Internet, and how the information landscape affects young people's views. He also ordered the establishment of an organization to produce Internet content for the “spiritual and moral education” of youth. An initial report is due on December 1. (Russian Service)
The Ukrainian presidency’s representative to Crimea, Anton Korynevych, has said that 140,000 Russian citizens have relocated to the peninsula in an effort undertaken by the Kremlin to engineer Crimea’s demographics since it was forcibly annexed by Russia in 2014. (Ukrainian Service)
Ukraine’s National Anticorruption Bureau has confirmed the detention of Oleh Hladkovskiy, former deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security Council, on suspicion of abusing his office. Hladkovskiy is a business partner of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The independent, online platform Bihus.info has accused Hladkovskiy’s son Ihor of selling smuggled spare military-equipment parts from Russia at exorbitant prices to the Ukrainian state-run defense firm Ukroboronprom. The Bureau has released no details about the accusations against Hladkovsky Sr. (Ukrainian Service)
Ukraine's first deputy prosecutor-general, Vitaliy Kasko, has said that in the past 3 1/2 years, authorities have failed to provide evidence to recover frozen assets abroad that allegedly belong to former President Viktor Yanukovych and his inner circle. “Not one kopek was retrieved,” Kasko said, because not one former top official suspected of corruption was convicted in Ukraine and their frozen foreign assets tied to a specific crime. Former Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko in 2017 said that Yanukovych and his cohorts had allegedly absconded with approximately $40 billion.
Ukrainian lender PrivatBank has won an appeal in a London court against Ihor Kolomoyskiy, one of the nation's most powerful tycoons, as the Kyiv government seeks to break free from decades of oligarchic influence. The Kyiv Economic Court on October 17 had to suspend a hearing into the appeal by Kolomoyskiy against the nationalization of the bank after the court received a bomb threat.
Russia says Belarusian authorities have detained and then released Anna Bogachyova, a Russian national, who was allegedly involved in Moscow's reported meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
Dozens of journalists and media-freedom activists assembled outside the Serbian government headquarters on October 16 to demand an end to intimidation, threats, and violence against journalists. They were protesting the latest incident two days ago when two masked men threw hundreds of threatening leaflets across the fence into the backyard of the building that houses N1TV Belgrade.
Leading European Union lawmakers have endorsed the appointment of former Romanian anti-corruption official Laura Codruta Koevesi as the bloc’s first anti-fraud prosecutor. She was expected to start her seven-year mandate at the helm of the new European Public Prosecutor's Office following her confirmation on October 16.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has proposed that parliament adopt a law on a mass amnesty affecting some 20,000 people, including foreign nationals, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Central Asian nation's constitution.