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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Demonstrators took to the streets of Khabarovsk for a 92nd daily protest in support of their jailed former governor. Dmitry Morgulis / TASS

Far East crackdown

Russian police roughly detained 25 people at a protest Saturday backing a jailed former governor in the country's Far East, the first harsh crackdown on the long-running demonstrations.

Police hit protesters with batons and one man was carried unconscious into a police van while a woman who fainted lay on the ground. The detentions came as demonstrators held their 92nd daily protest in support of former governor Sergei Furgal in the city of Khabarovsk, more than 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) east of Moscow.

Karabakh flare-up

A Russian-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan failed to hold on Sunday, with both sides accusing the other of intensive shelling of civilian areas and escalating two weeks of fierce clashes.

Aris Messinis / AFP

Renewed fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, has seen more than 450 people reported dead and thousands forced to flee their homes. It has stoked fears of a full-blown war embroiling Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a military treaty with Armenia.

‘March for Pride’

Police deployed water cannon and stun grenades and detained nearly 600 opposition demonstrators in Belarus' capital Minsk on Sunday, some of the harshest tactics seen since a disputed election that handed President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office.

Natalia Fedosenko / TASS

The crackdown came after the 66-year-old strongman, in power since 1994, on Saturday took the unusual step of visiting a group of recently jailed opposition politicians. Two of them have been reportedly released.

Kyrgyz unrest

Lawmakers in Russia’s Central Asian ally Kyrgyzstan chose a populist recently freed by anti-government protesters from jail as prime minister Saturday, appearing to calm a week of violent post-election turmoil.

The president of neighboring Tajikistan, meanwhile, cruised to victory with 90.9% of the vote following a presidential election Sunday in which he faced only token opposition.

Danish doppelganger

Notorious Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov (known as Vovan and Lexus) said they duped Danish lawmakers into thinking that they spoke with Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya leader by phone last week.

The foreign policy board, the highest ranking committee on foreign affairs in Denmark’s parliament, became suspicious 40 minutes into the classified remote meeting when the fake Tikhanovskaya said she could not turn on her camera. The chairman of the board said that web traffic traced the call to Russia.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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