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Charles Maynes

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We have a report now on the latest place for on-location filmmaking. A Russian film crew docked at the International Space Station, intending to make the world's first-ever movie in orbit. Charles Maynes reports from Moscow.

Updated October 2, 2021 at 3:08 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Descendants of the czarist Romanov dynasty were married in the country's first royal wedding in over a century — kicking off a weekend of lavish events that sparked public curiosity, awe and derision in seemingly equal measure.

MOSCOW — It has been more than a month since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Sergei Opalev is still trying to wrap his head around the chaotic end to America's 20-year war.

It's not the defeat that confounds him — he understands that part all too well. Opalev served as a captain in the Soviet army as it was gradually humbled by Afghan mujahedeen fighters during a decade of war in the 1980s.

The problem, he says, is how U.S. forces left.

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Russia's leader won't be in public for a while. Vladimir Putin says he'll work in self-isolation after an outbreak of COVID-19 in his inner circle. From Moscow, NPR's Charles Maynes has more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in self-isolation because of a COVID-19 outbreak among his inner circle of staff, according to the Kremlin.

Putin said he got his second COVID-19 vaccine in April, but received the shots off camera.

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Today marks 30 years since dramatic political events in Russia - the failed coup in 1991 that brought the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. But as Charles Maynes reports from Moscow, attitudes towards that time are changing.

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A sprinter from Belarus at the Tokyo Games who says she was threatened by her own government has been granted a humanitarian visa to take refuge in Poland. From Moscow, Charles Maynes has the story.

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A U.S. diplomat warns that her Belarusian American husband's health is in "immediate danger" following his late-July arrest by security forces of the authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a limited lifeline to Alexander Lukashenko as the Belarusian strongman paid a visit to the Russian city of Sochi on Monday amid the biggest crisis of his 26-year rule.

For the past four weeks, Belarusians have repeatedly taken to the streets demanding Lukashenko's resignation following an August presidential election that demonstrators say was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power.

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In Belarus, another member of the country's opposition has been detained by security agents — the latest in a series of disappearances that have prompted the country's most famous living author, Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, to speak out against "terror against the people."

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Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET Tuesday

Belarusian authorities say an opposition leader who disappeared Monday has been detained by police while trying to flee the country for neighboring Ukraine.

Maria Kolesnikova was last seen Monday morning when masked men plucked her off the streets of central Minsk and sped off in a van, according to local media reports.

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Moscow lifted coronavirus restrictions today - at least sort of. Russian President Vladimir Putin used the occasion to make a big political announcement. Charles Maynes reports.

The Kremlin is racing to put down a health crisis in the southern republic of Dagestan, where a surge in recent deaths unattributed to the coronavirus is again raising questions about the severity of the outbreak and how Russia tallies its COVID-19 dead.

The United States delivered 50 ventilators to Russia on Thursday, part of a humanitarian aid package worth $5.6 million to help Moscow fight the coronavirus, U.S. officials said.

Another batch of 150 American-made ventilators will head to Russia next week, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy called the delivery "rapid fulfillment" of a request Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed on recent phone calls with President Trump.

A Russian art project intended to ward off the lockdown blues has become a viral sensation on Facebook as pent-up Russian speakers from across the globe reenact paintings to pass the time amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Called Izoizolyacia — roughly meaning "Art Isolation" — the Facebook group says it's for people with "limited movement and unlimited fantasy." It invites members to re-create masterworks but with one important restriction of its own: Use only what you have at home.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the global business of surrogate birthing, leaving many infants and their new parents thousands of miles apart.

In Ukraine, the company BioTexCom, which runs a human reproduction center in Kyiv, brought attention to the issue when it released a video showing dozens of babies in rows of cots, apparently waiting for their parents to collect them.

As the number of coronavirus infections surges in Russia, observers have puzzled over a mystery: How is it that a country with over 250,000 suspected cases, and a shaky health care system, has had relatively few deaths?

The answer appears to be the Russian approach to pathology — an approach that has the Kremlin and government health officials in a bitter feud with media organizations over how Moscow interprets, or possibly manipulates, its data.

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