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An Orthodox priest blesses pro-Russian separatist commander Igor Strelkov (left) during a religious service in the eastern city of Donetsk on July 10.

With the Ukrainian army making gains against pro-Russian separatists, the leader of the rebels has issued an urgent order.

Stop cursing.

"We call ourselves an Orthodox Christian army," Igor Girgkin says in the decree. And besides, "Foul words do not have a Russian origin and were used by Russia's enemies for the desecration of holy places."

Girkin, who goes by the nom-de-guerre Strelkov, or "Shooter," has told reporters that he served in the Russian Security Service until March 2013.

Kyiv says he is working for Russian military intelligence and was sent to Ukraine to stir discord. He has been accused of ordering abductions and executions.

Whether separatist fighters -- who appear to be retreating to the rebel stronghold of Donetsk as the Ukrainian army advances -- will follow Girkin's order is an open question, but some who have reported on the men appear dubious.

Girkin, though, is emphatic.

Apparently tying cursing to Ukrainian, Girkin closes the decree by claiming it is "forbidden to use the Russian language of the enemy soldier. It demeans us spiritually and leads an army to defeat."

-- Glenn Kates

July 31: A public inquiry into the death of Russian ex-spy and fierce Kremlin critic Aleksandr Litvinenko begins in London.
The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

MONDAY, July 28:
Belarus/Poland: Minsk hosts Belarus-Poland ministerial consultations.
Italy/Serbia/Montenegro: Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini visits Belgrade and Podgorica.
U.S./Georgia/Moldova/Ukraine: National Endowment for Democracy in Washington hosts a discussion titled "Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova: How Corruption Threatens the Eastern Partnership."
TUESDAY, July 29:
EU/Russia: The Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) is set to go through the legislative proposals of broader sanctions on Russia.
Kyrgyzstan/CSTO: The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) six member-states -- Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan -- take part in the "Enduring Brotherhood - 2014" joint military exercises in Ala-Too mountains, near Bishkek.
Tajikistan: Dushanbe hosts a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers meeting (to July 31).
U.S./Iraq: The Heritage Foundation in Washington hosts a discussion titled "The Iraq Meltdown: What Next?"
THURSDAY, July 31:
FRIDAY, August 1:
Moldova/EU: Moldova is set to begin exporting its fruits to the European market.
Russia: A new law that would subject popular bloggers to the same restrictions as traditional media goes into effect.

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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