News of the Day: 8 May 2021

RFE/RL: Having a tattoo or an unmarried sister or an Instagram account — all of these things can count against women seeking custody of their children in Russia’s North Caucasus region, where local court decisions often reflect communities’ beliefs that children belong to the father’s side of the family. In Muslim-majority Chechnya and Ingushetia, and to a lesser extent, Daghestan, deep-seated customs dictate that children go to the father’s side of family following a divorce. And while Russian federal law has demonstrated its preference for such children to stay with their mothers, city and district courts in the North Caucasus often go their own way in the name of tradition. The issue is the subject of an extensive report by Current Time that tells the stories of several women struggling to wrest their children from a firmly established patriarchal system.

RFE/RL: Yegor Ligachyov, a former member of the Soviet Communist Party’s Politburo who was once seen as Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s right-hand man, has died at the age of 100. Ligachyov, who in November 2020 became the first former top Soviet official to reach the century mark and was known for coming up with Gorbachev’s hugely unpopular anti-alcohol campaign, died in a Moscow hospital in the evening of May 7. He was considered in the late 1980s as the second-most-powerful official in the Soviet Union after President Gorbachev, with whom he initially was seen as a close ally.

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