✅ Ukraine’s Controversial New “Donbas De-Occupation Law”
On January 18, the Ukrainian parliament passed its long-awaited “Donbas De-Occupation Law.” In reality, the law does little to “de-occupy” the regions of eastern Ukraine currently under control of Russia-led separatists. Instead, it labels the territories under separatist control as “temporarily occupied” and declares Russia an “aggressor state.” However, the law has also faced criticism for granting security forces virtually unlimited power areas vaguely termed “combat areas” and “security zones bordering military action” — two terms that are hardly explained in the law. Hromadske speaks with MP Oleksiy Ryabchyn and Vyacheslav Likhachev of the Vostok-SOS organization to learn more about the new law and what it means for Ukraine.
✅ Freed By Separatists, Ex-Prisoners Speak
On December 27, Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange with the Russia-led separatists of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” One of the Ukrainians freed from separatist prison was Ihor Kozlovsky, a Donetsk-based professor of religious studies who was imprisoned for nearly two years for his pro-Ukrainian views. After being released, Kozlovsky sat down with Hromadske to talk about his time in prison, his experiences of torture, and his views on what must be done to bring peace to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Professor of Religious Studies
Freed Ukrainian serviceman
✅ The Czech Government’s Resignation, Explained
The future of the two top positions in Czech politics — the prime minister and the president — are now up in the air. This week, the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis failed a vote of confidence. As a result, the government has resigned and assumed an acting role until the new government can be appointed. To complicate matters, Czechia goes to the polls at the end of this month for a second round of presidential elections. Hromadske speaks with Martin Ehl, a Czech journalist and the world news editor at Hospodářské Novin, to find out what this means for Czechia.
World news editor at Hospodářské Novin
✅ The Russian Presidential Race: What To Expect
On March 18, Russia will got to the polls to re-elect President Vladimir Putin to a fourth term. At least, that’s what everyone expects — and not without justification. But there are also some unusual things about this election: opposition journalist Ksenia Sobchak is also running, and the Communist Party has unexpectedly nominated a new candidate: agricultural magnate Pavel Grudinin. Could the race be more important than we think? Hromadske speaks with Moscow-based journalist Noah Sneider.
Moscow Correspondent, The Economist