Thursday, February 11, 2016

Will Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) use high-profile meetings abroad by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (right) to build real bridges, or to execute tactical moves in a mounting confrontation with the West?

News Analysis: Putin Pulls Levers As Russian Patriarch, PM Head Abroad

Two of Vladimir Putin's top allies head abroad this week on high-profile missions, but Putin is hanging back at home. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill holds a historic meeting with Pope Francis in Cuba, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses a security conference in Munich amid strong Western concerns over Moscow's actions in Ukraine and Syria. More

The postcommunist resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious groups across the former Soviet space has resulted in several pro-life campaigns across the region pushing for abortion to be curtailed. (file photo)

Abkhazia Outlaws Abortions

Abkhazia has outlawed abortion in an apparent effort to boost the population of the breakaway Georgian republic. More

WATCH: Moscow destroys about 100 businesses in a beautification blitz (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

Video 'Illegal' Buildings Bulldozed In Moscow

Moscow authorities' decision to demolish scores of kiosk-like structures under the cover of night has outraged many in the Russian capital. More

Jamala after performing her song in the quarterfinal of Ukraine's competition to select its entry for this year's Eurovision song contest.

Video Singer Hopes To Take Crimean Tatar Tragedy To Eurovision

It is becoming increasingly likely that Ukraine's submission to this year's Eurovision song contest will be 1944, a song by singer Jamala that evokes the horrific deportation of the Crimean Tatar people by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. More

A discussion among European commissioners initiated by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (right) has caused alarm among member states that want to keep the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) over Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (file photo)

EU Debate Initiative Sparks Fears Of Concessions To Russia

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini initiated an internal debate last month with a group of fellow European commissioners on how to improve cooperation with Russia, causing concern among EU members that want to keep up the pressure on Moscow over its interference in Ukraine, sources have told RFE/RL. More

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Cybersleuths: Wristwatch Given To Wounded Soldier 'Proves' Russian Role In Ukraine War

An open-source investigation group called the Conflict Intelligence Team alleges that a commemorative wristwatch secretly given by the Russian state to one of its soldiers shows that Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine was authorized at the highest level.

Video Uzbek President Calls Homosexuality 'Vulgar' Western Habit

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has lashed out at homosexuality, calling it a "vulgar" manifestation of Western culture, in a new attack against gays in the former Soviet Union.

Thirty Years After Chernobyl, Ukraine Doubles Down On Nuclear Power

Ukraine is pushing ahead with plans to modernize its aging, Soviet-designed nuclear power plants as part of a grander vision to merge with EU energy markets and further cut ties with Russia.

Hospital Closure Spells Panic For Siberian Mothers-To-Be

Authorities close down a Siberian district's only maternity ward due to budget cuts, leaving mothers-to-be stranded and at risk.

Is Collecting Garbage A Crime In Iran?

Left with few options to legally highlight state repression in Iran, Mohammad Maleki and Mohammad Nurizad settled on a seemingly innocuous form of public protest -- collecting garbage from the streets of Tehran. That's not a crime. Or is it?

Cash Crunch, Stretched Military Spur Russian Troop Cuts Near Afghan Frontier

Money troubles and a military stretched by war in Syria and Ukraine have prompted Russia to reverse plans to send more troops to Tajikistan -- despite what Kremlin officials say is a growing threat from Islamic militants across the border in Afghanistan.

Video Ukraine's Decommunization Gets Boost As 175 Towns, Villages Renamed

The so-called decommunization of Ukraine edged forward on February 4 as parliament approved the scrapping of 175 names of towns, villages, and districts across the country and replaced them with non-Soviet alternatives.

Video Website Says It Exposed Russian TV Fakery

Is Russian state television making use of paid, Russian-speaking interview subjects to paint a picture of an out-of-control migrant crisis in Germany?

Video MEPs Condemn Russia's 'Unprecedented' Abuses Against Crimean Tatars

The European Parliament has passed a resolution slamming the "unprecedented levels of human rights abuses" being perpetrated against Crimean Tatars by Russian authorities in the Moscow-annexed Ukrainian region. Since the beginning of the year, Crimean Tatars have endured a wave of searches, interrogations, confiscations, and other harassment.

Kyrgyzstan, Russia Spar Over Child-Organ-Trafficking Accusations

A diplomatic ruckus is brewing between Russia and Kyrgyzstan following reports that Russian officials rescued two ethnic-Russian children in the Central Asian country from organ traffickers.
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