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As expected, Aleksei Navalny lost two court cases on February 20: Judges rejected his appeal against a prison sentence on a parole-violation claim he calls absurd and found him guilty of defaming a World War II veteran in a case he said was a Kremlin propaganda stunt. What's behind the decisions and what's next? RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert C…
 
After big street protests over Aleksei Navalny's jailing were met with a violent crackdown, the Kremlin opponent and his allies called for a different kind of demonstration on February 14, with Russians stepping out of their homes and shining mobile-phone flashlights into the sky. Meanwhile, the court cases targeting Navalny continue. Irina Lagunin…
 
On this week's Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on what has been happening in Turkmenistan recently and if any of these events signal a change in the country's future.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
Protests in Russian streets. Opposition leader Aleksei Navalny ordered to prison. Riot cops bashing protesters. A venerable Russian liberal bashing Navalny. Last week was a momentous week in Russian politics, and in Vladimir Putin's presidency. What comes next? RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Mark Krutov joins guest host Mike Eckel to unpack t…
 
Tens of thousands of Russians turned out for protests for the second straight weekend, lambasting President Vladimir Putin and calling for the release of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny two days before a court hearing that could put him in prison for years. RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert Coalson joins host Steve Gutterman to discus…
 
Tens of thousands of people protested in cities across Russia on January 23, denouncing the government and demanding the release of jailed Kremlin opponent Aleksei Navalny. Thousands were detained in a harsh police crackdown that drew condemnation from Washington. RFE/RL senior correspondent Mike Eckel joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.…
 
How might the new Biden administration change policy toward Central Asia? What might the Central Asian states be looking for from the Biden administration? And what aspects of U.S.-Central Asian relations are likely to remain the same?By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny returned to Russia after five months recuperating in Germany from a poisoning he blames on President Vladimir Putin. He was quickly detained and could soon face several years in prison. Irina Lagunina, director of special projects at RFE/RL's Russian Service, joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.…
 
Thirty years ago this week, Lithuania's drive for independence after half a century under the Soviet yoke ran up against Moscow's desire to keep the Baltic states in the Soviet Union – with momentous consequences. RFE/RL senior correspondent Tony Wesolowsky joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.By Steve Gutterman
 
One of the biggest developments of 2020 in Russia was on paper, the other involved flesh and blood. Irina Lagunina, director of special projects at RFE/RL’s Russian Service, joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss the constitutional amendments, Aleksei Navalny’s poisoning, and how they may affect Russia in 2021 and beyond.…
 
At his annual press conference on December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Ramzan Kadyrov, criticized the West, and -- without evidence -- cast Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny as a U.S. asset. RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert Coalson joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss the motives for the remarks.…
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold forth at his annual press conference, adding elements of a question-and-answer session that he also conducts every year to burnish his image. Irina Lagunina, director of special projects at RFE/RL's Russian Service, joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.By Steve Gutterman
 
Under President Shavkat Mirziyoev, Uzbekistan has made some progress in the four years addressing the long list of rights violations that came to characterize the government under Mirziyoev's predecessor, Islam Karimov. But while some hail what they see as major breakthroughs, others see it as small and slow change.…
 
Russian officials keep calling for the Belarusian people to resolve the standoff between protesters and the state without any outside interference. Every time they do that, they seem to send signals about how Moscow wants things to play out. RFE/RL senior correspondent Tony Wesolowsky joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss the latest developments.…
 
COVID-19 takes a growing toll in Russia, with daily new cases exceeding 25,000 and hospitals struggling to cope. In Belarus, Lukashenka meets with the Russian foreign minister -- and then says he won't be president under a new constitution, whenever that might be. Irina Lagunina, director of special projects at RFE/RL's Russian Service, joins host …
 
What do the election of a pro-EU politician and the defeat of the incumbent, a fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin, mean for Moscow's interests in Moldova? And can Russia's regions cope with the COVID-19 surge? RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert Coalson joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.By Steve Gutterman
 
Kyrgyzstan’s new leadership has hastily written a new draft constitution and set January 10, 2021, the day already named for the presidential election, to also be the day people vote on a referendum on this new constitution.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
Russia records another record-high daily new coronavirus case number and the health-care system struggles to cope. Developments in Moldova and Belarus deal potential blows to Moscow’s geopolitical ambitions. Merhat Sharipzhan, senior correspondent at RFE/RL, joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.By Steve Gutterman
 
On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion that looks at this latest revelations concerning the alleged corruption network involving the former deputy head of Kyrgyzstan’s Customs Service, Raimbek Matraimov, and Chinese-born businessman Khabibula Abdukadyr, and the theft of hundreds of mi…
 
State media outlets and Kremlin allies have portrayed the U.S. election as a chaotic and dubious enterprise that undermines faith in American democracy, while other Russians have said the close race reflected a real choice they suggest is not on offer in their country. RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert Coalson joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss…
 
President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has promised to ease past restrictions and implement reforms, some of which he says will help provide the basis for opposition groups to take a greater part in Kazakhstan's political process. So far, there seems to be little progress.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
Russia is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, with the daily umber of confirmed new infections reaching above 18,000 in recent days and the health-care system encountering severe strains. Irina Lagunina, director of special projects at RFE/RL's Russian Service, joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss the situation and the state's re…
 
After Alyaksandr Lukashenka ignored an opposition deadline to step down and instead cracked down hard again on massive street protests, opponents are trying to turn up the pressure with a general strike. Will Russia's stance shift along with the events in Belarus? RFE/RL senior correspondent Robert Coalson joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.…
 
This week, RFE/RL's media-relations manager for South and Central Asia, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion on what's been happening in Kyrgyzstan since Sadyr Japarov was freed from prison during the unrest sparked by the highly questionable results of the October 4 parliamentary elections.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
The daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Russia reached above 15,000 more than once this past week, for the first time since the pandemic hit last winter. And there are delays in production of the vaccine that Russia approved in August. RFE/RL Moscow Correspondent Matthew Luxmoore joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.…
 
Twists and turns continued at lightning speed in Kyrgyzstan after protests against the results of the October 4 parliamentary elections brought down the government. On this week's Majlis podcast, a deeper look at the fast-changing developments in Kyrgyzstan in recent days.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
With attention drawn away to numerous hotspots outside Russia, police cracked down on persistent protests in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk. And in Belarus, analysts wonder whether Moscow had a hand in Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s unusual meeting with jailed opponents, which came before the violent dispersal of street protests and hundreds of arrest…
 
On this week's Majlis podcast, Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion looking at the political turmoil in Bishkek, who is behind it, what their motives are, and what might get Kyrgyzstan out of this situation.By Muhammad Tahir, Bruce Pannier
 
Russia's efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus have long run up against resistance from Minsk. Does Alyaksandr Lukashenka's vulnerability amid postelection unrest hand Moscow a chance to big up its boot print in a country bordering three NATO members? RFE/RL senior correspondent Tony Wesolowsky joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.…
 
FBI documents obtained exclusively by RFE/RL hold new clues about the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza -- but leave questions that have yet to be answered. RFE/RL senior correspondent Mike Eckel joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss the search for information and justice.…
 
Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny is able to walk and talk, and sees a long but clear path to recovery -- but what do his prospects for involvement in Russian politics look like? And what do the recent regional elections signal about the 2021 State Duma vote, which authorities are hinting could be moved forward by months? Irina Lagunina, director of spec…
 
On this week's show, host Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion about the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, a new Washington-based nonprofit whose website will open a new forum for those interested in Central Asia to connect, exchange ideas, and post material.By RFE/RL
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who remains in power after more than a month of protests over a bitterly disputed election in Belarus. Meanwhile, Kremlin allies claim sweeping victories in Russian regional elections. RFE/RL Moscow correspondent Matthew Luxmoore joins host St…
 
Are the Kremlin’s goals for Belarus changing? And does the German finding that Aleksei Navalny had a Novichok agent in his system change the situation surrounding the Russian opposition politician’s poisoning? RFE/RL senior correspondent Tony Wesolowsky joins host Steve Gutterman to discuss.By Steve Gutterman
 
Was Aleksei Navalny's poisoning an outright assassination attempt? If so, why? Why now? And by whom? Is it in the Kremlin's interest to kill the opposition leader? Wouldn't that make him a martyr? Or maybe one of Russia's notorious intelligence agencies decided they would just take matters into their own hands? And is Navalny now the most formidabl…
 
Opponents to Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka turned out in droves over the weekend, packing the streets of Minsk and showing that after days of tough talk from Lukashenka, they aren’t ready to give up. But what about the Kremlin? It’s an open secret that they don’t think very much of Lukashenka, but what’s the alternative? Irina Lagunina…
 
What are the prospects for Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, approved last week despite the lack of a key trial phase? And what is the Kremlin thinking as it watches Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka face increasing pressure to quit after a disputed election and a violent crackdown on protests? Moscow correspondent Matthew Luxmoore joins host Ste…
 
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