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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Siarhei Leskiec / AFP

Belarus on edge

Police in Belarus broke up crowds of protesters with stun grenades and rubber bullets as longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko looked set to declare an overwhelming victory in a presidential poll his opponents say was rigged.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital Minsk and other cities after a state exit poll showed Lukashenko winning just under 80% in Sunday's election, with main challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya coming second with about 7%.

Government buildings in Minsk had been cordoned off, residents reported internet shutdowns and widespread connection problems, and social media posts showed columns of military vehicles on roads leading into the capital. 

At least one protester was killed during the crackdown and dozens were hospitalized with injuries, the Viasna human rights group said

Fifth week of protests

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Russia's Far East for a fifth consecutive weekend as anti-Kremlin rallies sparked by the arrest of a popular governor showed little sign of dying down Saturday.

Authorities in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Omsk detained at least 31 supporters of the demonstrators in Khabarovsk, a city of some 600,000 people on the border with China.

										 					Igor Volkov / AP / TASS
Igor Volkov / AP / TASS

Rags to riches

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has declared an income of 148 million rubles ($2 million) earned in 2019, nearly 20 times the amount he declared the previous year.

His wife Medni Kadyrova’s earnings were reported to have increased by 4,000%.

Saving the mountain

Around 3,000 residents of central Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan gathered at the foothill of a local natural landmark Sunday to protest plans to convert it for limestone production.

The protest erupted after the Bashkir soda company was reported to have sent felling equipment toward the Kushtau shihan (hill) last week.

Largest diamond

Alrosa has announced the discovery of the world’s largest natural colored diamond in the Russian Far East republic of Sakha.

The yellow-brown diamond weighing 236 carats measures 47x24x22 millimeters is estimated to be between 120 million and 230 million years old. 

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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