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Podcast: Sex Scandal Rocks Armenia; Barry Rubin On Egyptian Revolution; Music Of The Dutar


Murad Rakhimov, dressed in traditional Turkmen attire, playing the dutar

Murad Rakhimov, dressed in traditional Turkmen attire, playing the dutar

Grant Podelco
In this week's episode, Ruzanna Stepanyan reports from Yerevan about a sex scandal that's thrown Armenia for a loop.

Serop Der-Boghassian is an Iraqi-born Armenian who made a name for himself as a successful businessman. After working for decades in the United States, he returned to his ethnic homeland and became the main employer in a little northern town called Akhtala.

Now he's been charged with sex crimes.

He denies the charges, as the town itself wonders what will become of it if its benefactor is forced out.

Serop Der-Boghossian
Writer at large Jamie Kirchick returns from Israel with an interview with noted Mideast expert and author Barry Rubin. Rubin, as ever, offers his frank comments on the Egyptian revolution and some of the misconceptions surrounding it, as well as the status of the Muslim Brotherhood.

We pay a visit to the editors of our "From Our Bureaus" wire, Pete Baumgartner and Merkhat Sharipzhan, for another installment of "Uncovered" -- a discussion of important stories from our broadcast region that we think are being underreported in the West.

And finally, correspondent Ron Synovitz invited Murad Rakhimov into our studios to kick off a new segment we're calling "A Different Beat." Rakhimov is a virtuoso on the dutar, a two-stringed Asian lute. Listen in as Rakhimov plays the dutar and discusses its exotic history.

This week's host is Grant Podelco.

Listen to or download the latest episode of "The Blender" below or subscribe to "The Blender" on iTunes. For previous episodes, you can also click here.

RFE/RL's The Blender -- 2/18/11

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