News Summary

The Vostok Report

The news to 5 April 2013.

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography http://www.fotopedia.com/redirect?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2F61926883%40N00

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography 

The Easter weekend has seen heavy snowfall in Poland, causing severe disruptions to the infrastructure and electricity supply, especially in the eastern and central parts of the country.

Source: BBC News

A number of important laws and decrees were signed by Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, including a law allowing regions to choose whether or not to elect governors by popular vote and a decree forcing state officials to disclose their incomes and expenses. The latter has been portrayed as part of an anti-corruption campaign undertaken by the Russian leadership.

Source: RIA Novosti

Members of Ukraine’s opposition have blocked the speakers’ rostrum in the parliament for the third time this year in protest to the pro-presidential majority’s refusal to organise local elections in Kyiv. They were supported by numerous opposition activists who organized a mass demonstration outside the parliament. The Ukrainian capital is currently under the control of presidential appointee Oleksandr Popov. The blockade eventually led to a decision by the ruling Party of Regions to hold parliamentary meetings in a different location.

Source: RIA Novosti

Talks held under EU auspices between the Kosovar and Serbian heads of state have broken down without achieving any tangible results. The talks were designed to attain a normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Kosovo had declared its independence in 2008 but is still not recognized by Serbia as a sovereign state.

Source: BBC News

Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s most critical and investigative newspaper is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Co-founded by Mikhail Gorbachev, the paper has been considered one of the most independent players in the Russian media landscape. Despite the murder of several of its journalists over the past years and the constant threat of being closed down by the authorities, NG continues to be one of the main voices of the political opposition in the country.

Source: RFE/RL

Russian NGOs continue to be targeted by the Russian authorities. The past days have witnessed numerous raids and controls. Branding foreign NGOs as ‘agents’ has also led to a change in perception amongst the Russian population. NGO representatives have started noticing a decline in trust in their activities, which is likely to lead to a decline in funding.

Source: Tagesschau

Russian blogger and oppositionist Aleksey Navalny is prepared to run for president in the next federal elections. Navalny, who faces embezzlement charges in what his supporters call a politically motivated trial told the Russian internet TV channel ‘Dozhd’ that he wanted to “change life in the country”. If convicted for the charges brought against him, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Source: Ria Novosti

Ukraine has refused to extradite the former Tajik PM Abdumalik Abdullojonov to Tajikistan. Having spent the past years in the United States, he was arrested last month in Kyiv on an international warrant for alleged involvement in criminal and terrorist activities in Tajikistan in the 1990s. Abdullojonov denies the charges against him.

Source: RFE/RL

Georgia’s Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvilli, has been linked to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands by a consortium of investigative journalists investigating offshore assets.  Mr Ivanishvilli, Georgia’s richest man, claims to have disavowed all interests in the company.

Source: The Guardian

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