News Summary

The Vostok Report

The news to 1 September 2013

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

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography

Four paintings by Russian artist Konstantin Altunin have been confiscated by the police in St. Petersburg for unspecified reasons. One of them shows Russian president Vladimir Putin in women’s underwear. The artist has left the country to seek political asylum in France.

Source: BBC News

One of Russia’s richest businessmen, Suleiman Kerimov, owner of 25 percent of the potash-producing company Uralkali, is suspected by the Belarusian authorities to be implicated in illegal activities. The company’s CEO, Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk. The accusations and arrest have caused another setback in the worsening relations between Russia and Belarus. One of Moscow’s immediate reactions was to ban the import of Belarusian pork.

Source: RFE/RL and  The Guardian

The three founding members of the Ukrainian group FEMEN have left the country after a police raid. The authorities stated that weapons had been found in the group’s office in Kiev. FEMEN claims that the raid is politically motivated and that the weapons had been foisted on them.

Source: Tagesschau (in German) and FEMEN.org  (English)

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych has refused to allow former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been charged with and imprisoned for alleged abuse of office in 2011, to receive medical treatment abroad, claiming that such a decision was beyond his personal powers. The trial and sentence have widely been criticised for being politically motivated.

Source: The Guardian

As expected, Russia’s reaction to US president Obama’s statement on a possible military operation in Syria has been negative. The Russian Federation questions the data obtained by a recent UN mission to Syria which finds that chemical weapons had been used in the ongoing conflict.

Source: BBC News

Ethnic tensions have resurfaced in the Croatian town of Vukovar after the introduction of bilingual signs in Croatian and Serbian. Dozens of protesters have removed the signs, hinting at the negative associations connected with the Serbian language. Vukovar had been severely damaged during the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s.

Source: BBC News

Russia’s most prominent opposition activist Alexei Navalny has obtained permission by Moscow City Hall to hold a rally in the context of the Moscow mayor elections in September 2013, a request that had initially been refused by the authorities.

Source: RIA Novosti

 

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