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Wednesday 26 June 2019

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A.M. Agenda 09.05.2017

Uzbek som banknotes

AM Agenda 09.05.2017

New Russian Law Would Expand Definition Of Foreign and Domestic “Undesirables”

Russian lawmakers are examining possible new legislation envisioning the deportation of foreigners who engage in "undesirable" behavior deemed to be interference in the country's internal affairs. The new bill, which would broaden a restrictive law adopted in 2015, could also include criminal penalties for Russian citizens found to have engaged in "undesirable" activities deemed threatening to national security.

Expert Contacts

Mikhail Sokolov, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
sokolovmi@rferl.org -- Location: Moscow, Russia

Sergey Khassov-Cassia, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
khazov-cassias@rferl.org -- Location: Moscow, Russia

*****

Azerbaijan Accused of ‘Exporting Censorship’ To France

A French court is set to begin hearing a lawsuit by Azerbaijan's government against two French broadcast journalists it accuses of defamation, in a case described by a media watchdog as an attempt by Baku to "export its censorship to France." Elise Lucet and Laurent Richard are accused of defaming the Azerbaijani government by referring to it as a "dictatorship" when then-President Francois Hollande visited the country in May 2014.

Expert Contacts

Ilkin Mammadov, Director of RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service
mammadovi@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

BRICS Declare Pakistan-Based Groups A Security Concern

Five of the world’s leading emerging economies have issued a statement citing for the first time Pakistan-based militant groups as a regional security concern. The September 4 declaration also calls for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan and urges patrons of those groups to be held accountable. Afghanistan welcomed the announcement; Pakistan yet to react.

Expert Contacts:

Daud Khan, Editor of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal
khand@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Alamzeb Khan, Bureau chief of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal
khana@rferl.org -- Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

*****

Uzbekistan’s Ambitious Currency Reform Plan Takes Effect

As new Uzbek currency regulations go into effect today, September 5, black-market traders brace for the worst.

Expert Contacts:

Alisher Siddikov, Director of RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service
alisher.siddique@gmail.com -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Bruce Pannier, Editor of RFE/RL’s Qishloq Ovozi blog
pannierb@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

A.M. Agenda 08.31.2017

Pakistani local residents gathered around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike, 05.21.2017

A.M. Agenda 08.31.2017

Amnesty Scheme Prompts Return Of Taliban Figures To Afghanistan

An amnesty scheme pioneered by General Abdul Razziq, the powerful commander of Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, is prompting Taliban militants to return to the country. The beneficiaries of the so-called “safe zone project” so far include 15 senior Taliban leaders, with more expected. General Razziq says the scheme offers a real solution to undercut Pakistan’s sway over Taliban forces and provide a path to peace.

Expert Contacts:

Abubakar Siddique, Editor of RFE/RL’s Gandhara blog
siddiquea@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Hamid Mohmand, Bureau Chief of RFE/RL’s Afghan Service
mohmandh@rferl.org -- Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

*****

Russia Gears Up Its Influence In Tajikistan

Dozens of Russian teachers have arrived in Tajikistan on the eve of the new school year to work in local schools, reportedly to promote the Russian language and culture. The decision is part of an influence campaign waged by Russia that has seen Moscow expand its media presence in the country and send 100 vehicles to reinforce its military base in the town of Kulob.

Expert Contacts

Sojida Djakhfarova, Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
djakhfarovas@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Bruce Pannier, Editor of RFE/RL’s Qishloq Ovozi blog,
pannierb@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

Yanukovych Crimea Residence Ends Up In Kremlin Hands

The investigative group Municipal Scanner reports that companies associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest associates have acquired an unfinished residence in Crimea that previously belonged to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The change of ownership, which followed Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, occurred despite statements by the peninsula’s Russia-backed authorities in 2016 calling the construction illegal, promising to transfer the residence to the state, and pledging to remove a surrounding fence that blocks a popular hiking route.

Expert Contacts:

Mikhail Sokolov, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
sokolovm@rferl.org -- Moscow, Russia

Sergey Khazov-Cassia, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
khazov-cassias@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

How Chechnya Forcibly Reconciles Families

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has created a commission to reunite 1,000 divorced couples, claiming that children from “incomplete” families are more susceptible to the influence of extremists. The commission has enlisted imams, local authorities, and security officials to compile lists of divorced people; the “reconciliation” process has had both comic and tragic moments, while raising concerns about basic rights and security in the rogue republic.

Expert Contacts:

Aslan Doukaev, Director of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
doukaeva@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Valery Dzutsati, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
dzutsativ@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

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