Ukraine Flooded With Illegal Weapons From Donbas
Machine guns and grenades are easily smuggled through checkpoints along the line of contact, where vehicle inspections are weak and deals are easily made. (In Russian/Current Time TV)
Ukraine Artists Bring Life To Abandoned Houses
Floral artists in the eastern, industrial city of Dnepropetrovsk have used plants and other materials to transform abandoned houses into art objects, if only for a day. (Ukrainian Service)
Jamala Says Song About Music More Than Politics
Ukrainian Eurovision winner Jamala said at a May 17 press conference she was sad her song was linked to politics, referring to accusations that it was a commentary on Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.
‘Family Values’ Congress Brings Anti-West Message To Georgia
Several thousand social-conservative activists from around the world are gathering in Tbilisi this week in a high-profile event they say is aimed at countering the West's "fanatical liberal ideology."
RFE/RL Kazakh Journalist Threatened As Tensions Rise Over Privatization
Uniformed police visited RFE/RL Kazakh Service reporter Dilara Isa at her apartment in Shymkent on May 17 and warned her, without explanation, that she may be summoned to the prosecutor’s office for questioning. The incident comes amidst a wave of arrests and threats of 'severe legal consequences' targeting activists ahead of protests against new land privatization laws that are planned for May 21 across Kazakhstan. (In Russian)
Russian Nationalist Dugin Says EU Denied Him Entry
Aleksandr Dugin, the anti-Western head of the Russia-based International Eurasian Movement, says he has been denied entry into the European Union after arriving at a Greek airport, despite not being on an EU sanctions list.
NSA Tapped Phone Of Russian Crime Boss In Probe For Putin Ties
According to an internal NSA newsletter published by the website The Intercept, the NSA in 2002 or 2003 successfully tapped the phone of Vladimir Kumarin, the reputed head of the notorious Tambov crime syndicate whose influence in St. Petersburg in the 1990s earned him the moniker "Night Governor."
Navalny Attacked By Cossacks
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and several members of his Anticorruption Foundation were doused with milk and verbally berated by a group of Cossacks at an airport in the southern Black Sea resort city of Anapa on May 17.
Sochi Doping Allegations Suggest ‘Unprecedented’ Criminal Activity
The International Olympic Committee will instruct its anti-doping lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, to reexamine samples from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Entrepreneur Recalls A 'Driven' Putin With His Hand Out
Maksim Freidzon, who now lives in Israel and is suing Gazprom, LUKoil, and several other companies and individuals in the United States for $540 million, recalls doing business in the 1990s with St. Petersburg’s External Affairs Committee, which was headed by then-Deputy Mayor Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine Sees Glimmer Of Economic Growth
Ukraine’s State Statistics Service has recorded 0.1 percent GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016, but experts calculate that a decade of steady 5 percent growth is necessary for citizens to detect material improvement in their lives. (In Ukrainian)
Commemorations Marking Crimean Tatar Deportations Banned
On the 72nd anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, authorities of Russia-annexed Crimea are banning public memorials to commemorate the victims. (In Ukrainian)
Russian Travel To Crimea Down Since 2015
Russian tourist agencies report a 25 percent decline in the last year among Russians booking travel to Crimea, citing political tensions and poor services and infrastructure as factors pushing vacationers to explore other Black Sea destinations. (In Ukrainian)
Baku Accused Of Using Drug Charges To Silence Activists
Two youth activists in Azerbaijan have accused police in the capital of beating them to force them to confess to vandalizing a monument, and then charging the pair with bogus drug offenses when they didn’t break.
ANALYSIS: Kazakhstan's Privatization Hits A Snag
Kazakhstan is off to a rough start in its privatization drive, as false starts and legal issues have raised doubts about investing in some of the companies on the privatization block.