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RFE/RL's Friday Potpourri: Ukraine's Euromaidan, Russia's State of the Union, Afghanistan's Future, and much more

Still from RFE/RL's 12 December Google+ Hangout discussion "'Euromaidan' -- What's Ahead For Ukraine?"
Still from RFE/RL's 12 December Google+ Hangout discussion "'Euromaidan' -- What's Ahead For Ukraine?"

A roundup of original stories from throughout RFE/RL's Services:

# Wall-to-wall coverage of events in Ukraine, including President Viktor Yanukovych's increasingly inconsistent response to events, a visit to a scrappy new online public television station that didn't exist a month ago, and a Google+ Hangout to discuss what's next for the Euromaidan movement. (As events warrant this weekend, follow Radio Svoboda's live coverage.)

# Vladimir Putin’s annual state of the union address has never been known for its entertainment value, but a growing cadre of observers on Twitter has given Russia-watchers a bite-sized way to digest the annual event. Correspondent Daisy Sindelar lists some of the best, many compiled by Russia’s online television station Dozhd-TV.

# As the U.S. considers its future in Afghanistan, Kabul is also weighing its alternatives to a long-term security arrangement with Washington. Correspondent Frud Bezhan reports that for Kabul, neighboring Iran might present its best bet. (See also: Correspondent Ahmad Shah Azami interviewed Afghanistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Eklil Hakimi on how Kabul views the draft document and how it would like bilateral relations to play out.)

# Armenia's human rights ombudsman has denounced rampant corruption in the country's judicial system. According to his findings, bribe-taking in Armenian courts is endemic and even has an unofficial price list. Correspondents Hovannes Shoghikian and Naira Bulghadarian report.

# It's no secret that oil wealth plus autocracy often equals secrecy and corruption, despite international efforts to fight the problem through greater business transparency. A new report on Azerbaijan's oil industry underlines the challenge. Correspondent Charles Recknagel reports.

# As the world marked the 20th anniversary of Human Rights Day this week, Amnesty International singled out Belarusian gay-rights activist Ihar Tsikhanyuk for its annual international letter-writing event to condemn what they say is the ruthless repression of gays and lesbians in Belarus. Correspondents Vital Tsyhankou and Aleh Hruzdzilovich report.

# RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports on the emergence of a video that offers a rare view into the practice of bridenapping in Kazakhstan.

# As Kyrgyzstan celebrates the 85th birthday of late Soviet-era author Chingiz Aitmatov, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service has come across a long-forgotten work written by him in Russian during an early 1960's visit to the Czechoslovak capital, Prague.

# Introducing "Lady Liberty," a new initiative that highlights the work of women journalists in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

For news from all of RFE/RL's broadcast regions, follow us online and on Twitter and Facebook.

-- Karisue Wyson