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Olga Vasilyeva's appointment as Russia's new education minister has angered many educators and liberal commentators, who say that her defense of Soviet policies and ties to the Orthodox faith make her a questionable choice to head one of the world's biggest networks of secular academic institutions.
Despite a series of rumored illnesses in the past and his advanced age, the news that Uzbek President Islam Karimov was suddenly hospitalized after suffering what his daughter said was a brain hemorrhage was a shock to people in Uzbekistan and further afield.
Authorities in Chechnya are being accused of systematically erecting a "tyranny" and using "thugs" to intimidate potential rivals and the public ahead of an election in which Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is seeking a new term.
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Funerals have been held in Kyrgyzstan after 14 Kyrgyz women perished in a fire at a print works in Moscow. The tragedy has refocused attention on the plight of Kyrgyz migrant workers in Russia, where it's estimated some 1,500 Kyrgyz have died in the last five years.
Russian opposition activist, Roman Roslovtsev, has fled to Ukraine and is asking for political asylum. He had been arrested several times in Russia for wearing a mask of President Vladimir Putin.
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