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Iraq's Crisis, Afghanistan After The Vote, Russia's Next Best Options, and more


Among the most popular Internet memes involving Ukraine, separatist sympathizers using the #сепаратяка ("little separatist") hashtag rally their pets to the cause.

Among the most popular Internet memes involving Ukraine, separatist sympathizers using the #сепаратяка ("little separatist") hashtag rally their pets to the cause.

RFE/RL's Weekly Rundown, a concise look at our top stories this week:

# INFOGRAPHIC / VIDEO--World War I : The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 100 years ago on June 28 triggered the First World War. RFE/RL asks historian Christopher Clark what lessons "the Great War" might still hold for today's policymakers, and takes a close video look at the torturous years assassin Gavrilo Princip spent in Terezin Prison near Prague. The war resulted in a drastic reorganization of borders and political influence; drag the cursor back and forth to compare Europe of 1914 to today.

# INFOGRAPHIC--Angry Iraqis Add (More) Complications: Here are some of the key grievances of Iraq's Sunnis that have fueled today's crisis, which has complicated Middle East relationships even further in the nine months since RFE/RL posted its original infographic on the subject. Here's our update.

# VIDEO--Afghanistan After The Vote: As charges of vote fraud rage after Afghanistan's elections, the inflammatory language traded between rival supporters on Facebook and Twitter-–many of them with religious and ethnic undertones--risks rekindling the type of interethnic violence seen in the country in the 1990s. With an eye to Iraq, many Afghans are concerned that the planned withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan, coupled with the country's lack of a strong and committed security force, could plunge the country into chaos again. And NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen talks to Radio Free Afghanistan about what's ahead for the country, including his thoughts on Kabul taking the lead in negotiations with the Taliban.

# Russia's Next Best Options: The European Union will sign key political and trade agreements with Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova today. What do the accords mean for these countries and how might Russia react? Perhaps it will step up the wooing of France, where analysts say the Kremlin and France's far-right share a similar ideological model based on an aggressive anti-U.S., Euroskeptic attitude. Another on Russia's BFF list is Austria's OMV energy firm, which inked a landmark deal with gas monopoly Gazprom to build the country's section of the controversial South Stream natural-gas pipeline. Caught between political channels are Russians living abroad, who are confused about the implications of a new law on dual citizenship. And in this week's "The Power Vertical" podcast, panelists discuss Little Green Men and Russia's mastery of ambiguous warfare.

# Art And Reality In Ukraine: The Russian human rights organization Memorial on June 25 offered a rare showing of "Gaamer," the award-winning 2011 film by up-and-coming Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who remains in Moscow's Lefortovo prison on suspicion of plotting terrorism in his native Crimea. Faring better are Ukrainian business owners who can claim victory over the Yanukovych-era practice of corporate "raids," whereby businesses were stolen by criminal groups acting with the protection of high-level contacts. Finally, the crisis in Ukraine has spawned a steady stream of Internet memes, some lighthearted, others biting, all deeply political. Follow the latest in the tenuous cease-fire with RFE/RL's Ukraine Live Blog.

# Banned In Iran: Iranian fans are loving their sports, with their team playing in the World Cup and Tehran hosting an international volleyball event. But not everyone is cheering, at least not in public, because the women best stay home. (Where one assumes they will flaunt the skin-tight leggings that have caused such consternation for Iran’s interior minister.) Also banned from public spaces are some of the country's religious minorities, but they are increasingly empowered by the reach of the Internet to build online communities, practice their faith, highlight abuses by the state, and reach out to potential followers. And as tech and gadget site bloggers are sentenced to ambiguous prison terms, Iranian netizens wonder if President Hassan Rohani is unwilling, or simply unable, to effect change in this Global Post report co-authored by Radio Farda's own webmaster, Fred Petrossians.

# Surviving In Central Asia: Fresh evidence suggests that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are looking to Central Asia as a potential source of trained military fighters. The leaders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan both marked a milestone this week--25 years as heads of their, now, countries. They are the last of the Soviet-era leaders still in power. (One hopes their future statues will fare better than a monument to a prominent Kazakh poet/philosopher and a Russian scientist, which was described by one critic as "Dwarfs With An iPhone.")

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