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  • Trump-Russia inquiry: lawyer who worked with Manafort pleads guilty to lying to FBI

    Alex van der Zwaan charged with making false statements to special counsel investigating Trump campaign and its ties to Russia

    A lawyer who previously worked with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, marking another major development in the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Kremlin.

    Alex van der Zwaan, who married the daughter of a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch last year, admitted making false statements in connection to work he did in Ukraine, as part of a plea agreement with the special prosecutor on the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller.

    Related:Top Democrat suggests proof of Trump-Russia collusion still to come

    “No, I’m not,” the president said in mid-December. But in fact Trump had ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s firing in June 2017, just one month after Mueller was appointed, the New York Times reported. Trump backed down when the White House Counsel, Donald McGahn, refused to convey the order to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

    Related:Trump-Russia inquiry: Manafort under pressure after reports that Gates has flipped

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  • Thousands march in Kiev calling for Ukraine's president to quit

    Supporters of deported former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili demand impeachment of Petro Poroshenko

    Thousands of supporters of the deported former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili have marched through the streets of Kiev, demanding the impeachment of the Ukrainian president.

    Journalists said an estimated 10,000 people took part in the rally on Sunday, though the ministry of internal affairs put the number at about 3,000.

    Related:Georgia's former president deported from Ukraine to Poland

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  • Putin’s quest for lost glory | Shaun Walker

    As our correspondent prepares to leave Russia, he argues that the Russian leader’s rule has been dedicated to restoring pride lost in the collapse of the Soviet Union

    Working on one of my final stories as the Guardian and Observer’s Moscow correspondent, I took my seat at the Bolshoi Theatre one evening last December for the premiere of Nureyev. The ballet told the story of superstar dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected from the Soviet Union to the west. The premiere had been postponed at the last minute some months previously, partly due to its gay themes. In the interim between the cancelled premiere and the rescheduled one, the ballet’s director, Kirill Serebrennikov, known for his risque productions and political activism, had been placed under house arrest on embezzlement charges that most people thought were spurious. He’s still there and risks a long jail sentence.

    Inside the Bolshoi’s gilded, celebrated auditorium, where tsars held their coronation concerts and Lenin and Stalin gave speeches from the stage, the hall was packed with the elite of Vladimir Putin’s Moscow. Theatre and television stars mingled with government officials and Putin cronies and they all sat through the powerful staging that dealt with the search for personal and artistic freedom under the oppressive Soviet regime.

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