Accessibility links

Podcast: Hitchens On Iran, Nightmare In An Egyptian Jail, Balalaikas, and Boney M -- It's The Best of 'The Blender'!

Christopher Hitchens sat down for a chat with writer at large James Kirchick at his Washington, D.C., home.

Christopher Hitchens sat down for a chat with writer at large James Kirchick at his Washington, D.C., home.

"The Blender" is reaching its sixth-month mark, so for Episode 26, we decided to take a look back at some of the highlights of the first half-year.

All four of "The Blender" hosts -- Daisy Sindelar, Pavel Butorin, Bruce Jacobs, and Grant Podelco -- get together in the studio to talk about some of their favorite highlights so far.

Dmitry Kalinin
We begin with an excerpt from an exclusive interview with author and intellectual Christopher Hitchens (Episode 2), who spoke to writer at large James Kirchick late last year. Hitchens speculates on the possibility of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

From there we move to a harrowing account by correspondent Robert Tait (Episode 5) of his detention by Egypt's intelligence service in the early days of the public uprising that led to the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak and has since sparked other Arab Spring protests in countries like Libya and Syria.

We also replay an interview with Bill Browder (Episode 3), who as the head of Hermitage Capital Management was once the largest American investor in Russia. His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in jail in 2009 under what the Kremlin's own human rights council now admits were abusive conditions.

We revisit our lively roundtable discussion (Episode 14) on the ramifications of France's recent ban on the wearing of face veils.

On the lighter side, we revisit the man with the fastest hands in the East -- balalaika virtuoso Dmitry Kalinin (Episode 21), who shares his passion for the Russian folk instrument with Ron Synovitz in our music segment, "A Different Beat."

Last but surely not least, we look at the German-based disco group Boney M (Episode 5), whose legacy in the former Soviet Union remains untouchable more than three decades after hits like "Daddy Cool" and "Ma Baker" made them superstars behind the Iron Curtain.

We hope you enjoy this special look back at the "Best of The Blender."

Featured music includes "Dina" by Hussein El Masry, "Tunnnnnn" by The Kominas, and -- but of course! -- "Rasputin" by Boney M.

Send your feedback to or leave a comment below. We love hearing from you.

Listen to or download Episode 26 of "The Blender" below or subscribe to "The Blender" on iTunes. For the complete "Blender archive," click here.

RFE/RL's The Blender -- 7/08/11 (Episode 26)

Show comments