This week, Russia advances the laws on critical information infrastructure; Belarus pledges to make innovative development a state priority; Kyrgyz operator loses customers for debt; Ukraine asks Facebook for help to combat fake news; Turkmenistan cracks down on mobile VPN; Kazakhstan suffered from massive cyber attack.

1. Russian State Duma approved in the first reading a package of laws on critical information infrastructure in accordance with the country’s new doctrine on information security. The legislation introduces definitions of “critical information facilities” whose damage might carry risks for the state and society.

2. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on State programme for innovative development of the country for 2016-2020. The development of ICT is among its top priorities. The government plans to implement 75 innovative projects in machine building, medicine, petroleum chemistry, construction, energy, and transport.

3. Kyrgyz national operator, Kyrgyztelecom, will absorb the customers of a smaller private telecom operator, SapatCom, as a ‘repayment’ of 7 million soms ($100,000) debt. SapatCom has been given about two years to pay off the debt, and Kyrgyztelecom agreed to claim the assets on account of debt payment.

4. Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine, Yurii Stets, appealed to Facebook to develop a verification mechanism to filter out fake news. Recently, Facebook announced that Germany would be the first country where updates addressing the fake news issues would be introduced in the run-up to elections in September 2017.

5. Turkmen mobile phone users reported problems with VPN services that had allowed them to circumvent the government blocking of social media networks, independent news media, and messengers. At the same time, special services raided electronics shops that helped to install VPN on mobile phones.

6. According to the Ministry of communication and information of Kazakhstan, 21 government websites were affected by a hacking attack last week. Later, media reported that hackers were allegedly from Morocco. At the same time, Kazakhstan’s Center for Cyber-attack Analysis and Investigation reported about defacements of 323 websites, mostly of government agencies, hospitals, colleges, and libraries.