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A special morality unit has reportedly been charged with monitoring wedding celebrations in Chechnya (file photo).

Chechnya’s Culture Ministry has ordered the creation of a special police unit to ensure proper traditions are observed at weddings in the Russian region.

The news agency TASS said a special morality unit will be charged with monitoring wedding celebrations.

“If something is noticed that isn’t in accordance with our mindset or clothing, or if there is improper dancing, it will be halted,” the agency quoted the ministry as saying.

The move isn’t the first time that local authorities have sought to regulate such celebrations, some of which have garnered wide attention for ostentatious displays.

Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, and other officials have frequently spoken out about foreign influences that they say are undermining traditions in the Muslim region.

In the Chechen town of Argun, officials decreed that wedding convoys -- where a bridal party parades through the streets -- may consist of between three and five cars.

Last year, the mayor of Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, issued an order banning cake cutting and what he complained were “indecent” dance moves at weddings.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Kavkaz.Realii
Belarusian blogger Eduard Palchys (file photo)

A Minsk court has sentenced a Belarusian blogger to nearly two years of house arrest after finding him guilty of "inciting hatred" on his blog, which was critical of Russian policy toward Belarus and Ukraine.

Eduard Palchys, 26, had been held in jail since January as prosecutors investigated his case.

Under the court sentence, Palchys must return home nightly and regularly report to local police.

Belarusian authorities had opened a criminal case into Palchys's blog posts in late 2014.

Last year, he was ordered held in a psychiatric hospital for one month, and when he was released, he fled to Ukraine.

Palchys was then arrested in January by Russian security forces as he was trying to enter that country.

He was subsequently extradited to Belarus, where he was immediately jailed.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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