Friday, May 29, 2015


Top Shots

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Afghanistan: Life In A Historical Battlefield

Successive wars for control over Afghanistan, beginning with the Great Game of the 19th century and continuing with the Soviet invasion and the U.S.-led war against the Taliban, have left behind a landscape that is both stark and striking. Rostyslav Khotin of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service recently traveled to Afghanistan to see what clues the Kremlin's 1979-89 occupation might hold for Ukraine's own conflict with Russia.

Revamped Khomeini Shrine Shocks Even His Fans

A debate has erupted over the merits of a grand expansion and renovation of a mausoleum to honor the late founder of Iran's Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, forcing an official defense of the project.

Photos Of The Week #21

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

What Is Killing Off Kazakhstan's Rare Antelope?

Herds of one of Central Asia's most iconic animals, Kazakhstan's saiga antelope, are dwindling rapidly and no one seems to know why. ​The Kazakh Department for Emergency Situations says more than 19,000 saiga carcasses have now been buried in the country's Qostanai region, though unofficial reports on May 20 suggested the number of dead animals may already exceed 30,000.

At Least 15 Killed In Baku High-Rise Apartment Fire

At least 15 people have been killed in a fire that that ripped through a 16-story apartment building in Azerbaijan's capital. The Health Ministry told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that 63 other people were injured in the fire that erupted on May 19 in Baku's Binaqadi district and rushed to hospitals. Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and Prosecutor-General Zakir Qaralov were at the scene.

Ancient Palmyra Threatened By Islamic State Militants

Syrian authorities say Islamic State militants have advanced to within 2 kilometers of Palmyra, an ancient city with outstanding architectural heritage dating from the first century. The militants have caused significant damage to similar sites they have overrun in Iraq, posting videos of themselves destroying antiquities. UNESCO includes Palmyra on its list of World Heritage sites, describing it as one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world -- a crossroads for local, Persian, Greek and Roman influences.

80th Anniversary: Inside The Moscow Metro, A Collection Of 20th-Century Art

Opened in 1935 during the Stalin era, the Moscow Metro is an extravagant gallery of communist design, featuring Soviet artworks, statues, chandeliers, stained glass, and ceiling mosaics.

Photos Of The Week #20

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Russia's 'Child Soldiers': Military Parade Features Kids In Uniform

About 500 Russian children, aged between 4 and 10 years, dressed in military uniforms for a parade to celebrate 70 years since the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. The parade, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, took place under the auspices of the commander of Russia's Southern Military District on May 14 -- a few days after an enormous show of military hardware by the Kremlin in Moscow on May 9, when Russia traditionally marks the victory.

Macedonia Mourns Eight Police Killed In Gunbattle

Macedonia is observing a second day of national mourning on May 11 for eight police officers killed during a weekend battle against gunmen in the northern town of Kumanovo. Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said 14 suspected gunmen also were killed in the battle, which began early on May 9 in the town near the borders with Kosovo and Serbia.

Photos Of The Week #19

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Drawing Attention To The Case Of Azerbaijan's Khadija Ismayilova

Earlier this week, Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani investigative journalist and contributor to RFE/RL, was awarded a prestigious media freedom award from the PEN American Center. PEN commissioned a series of editorial cartoons to draw attention to Ismayilova's case.

Photos Of The Week #18

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

The Forgotten Gulag Camps Of Chukotka

The Chukotka peninsula is Russia's most northeastern expanse, stretching into the Bering Strait less than 100 kilometers from Alaska. Travel to the sparsely populated region is usually restricted for non-residents because of its proximity to the United States. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Chukotka was part of the gulag prison camp system, and became the graveyard of tens of thousands of prisoners. Janyl Jusupjan of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service recently traveled to Chukotka's Chaunsky district, where the remains of the gulag camps can still be seen in a forbidding landscape.

Photos Of The Week #17

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Lelo: The Muddy, Bloody Game That Packs A Punch In Georgia

The game of lelo (goal) makes rugby or American football look dainty. It was once popular across Georgia, and some historians believe it goes back as many as 300 years. But it is now only played once a year in a single village in western Georgia called Shukhuti. (Giorgi Gogua of RFE/RL's Georgian Service)

Photos Of The Week #16

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our "Picture This" archive.

Debaltseve: The Town Of Death And Old People

Fierce fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists has left the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve in ruins. Many of those who remain are pensioners, who struggle to survive without any money, water, or heating. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has described the situation in Debaltseve as a "humanitarian catastrophe." (Photos by Petr Shelomovskiy for RFE/RL's Current Time TV program)

'There Is Only The Earth': Images Of The Armenian Diaspora

Armenian-American photojournalist Scout Tufankjian has traveled to more than 20 countries -- places as varied as Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and Russia -- to document the estimated 8-million-strong Armenian diaspora. Her new book, "There Is Only The Earth," comes as the world prepares to mark the April 24 centenary of the mass slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman-era Turks.

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