Gorbachev At 85
Nadia Savchenko Says ‘I’m Not A Bargaining Chip’
Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko defended herself in final testimony before a court in the Russian city of Donetsk today, saying she was performing her duty at the time of her 2014 arrest by defending her homeland. She said a rumored exchange of her release for two Russian soldiers detained in Ukraine is too big a price to pay for her freedom, and threatened a hunger strike if the verdict in her case is delayed. RFE/RL is live-streaming the court proceedings here. (Russian Service)
Kyiv Considering Renaming ‘Moscow Avenue' After Nationalist Bandera
Kyiv is considering stripping a major thoroughfare of the name Moskovsky Prospekt, or Moscow Avenue, and renaming it after the deeply divisive Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.
Ukraine Continues To Ready Recruits
At a military training ground near Kharkov, cadets with Ukraine’s National Guard Academy practice shooting a 120-millimeter caliber mortar. (Ukrainian Service)
Kyrgyz IT Professionals Compete On World Market
Mobile app and website developers are flourishing in Bishkek, where they are receiving more and more orders from Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries, and sit astride a strategic border with China. (Current Time TV)
Revisiting Gorbachev on Soviet Leader’s 85th Birthday
In a 2012 interview republished to mark his 85 birthday, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that when authorities are criticized in Russia, they only get angrier, and suggested that only the development of public opinion could cure “the disease.” (In Russian)
Two New Weapons Agreements Signed In Minsk
Ahead of the March 3 Normandy Four meeting in Paris, a contact group in Minsk on March 2 reached agreement to identify areas in eastern Ukraine that still have to be demined, and to ban any weapons training in the 15km zone from the contact line in Donbas. (In Ukrainian)
Crimean Mejlis Faces Ban
The Supreme Court of annexed Crimea announced a hearing on March 3 to consider suspending the Mejlis, the traditional representative body of the peninsula’s Crimean Tatar community, on grounds that it threatens Crimea’s constitutional order and security. (In Russian)
Belarus Adopts More ‘Civilized’ Response To Protesters
In a move that might improve upon Belarus’s traditionally thuggish treatment of unsanctioned protesters, Belarus’s Interior Minister announced on March 1 that demonstrators would now be subject to “administrative protocols,” interpreted as a charge sheet or citation, rather than arrests. (In Belarusian)
Former U.S. Lawmaker Quits Azeri Lobby Group Over Nonpayment
Former U.S. congressman Dan Burton has resigned from the Azerbaijan America Alliance, which has paid U.S. lobbyists more than $12 million since 2011.
Spy Games Target Prague
Speaking about his recent book, Czech journalist and security analyst Ondrej Kundra said that Russian intelligence services have long been active in the Czech Republic, but that confronting them is increasingly difficult. (In Russian)
Ukrainians Swap Out Lenin For Lennon
The 6,000 residents of Kalyny, a town in western Ukraine, are ditching their Soviet past and renaming Vladimir Lenin Street after the late Beatle John Lennon.
Kazakh Leader Says Economy Hit By Russian, Chinese Woes
Despite the slowdown, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told diplomats in Astana on March 2 that container traffic through Kazakhstan en route to Europe from China is expected to nearly double this year, underscoring the country’s influential role as a transit territory.