Friday, May 06, 2016

Top Shots

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Belarus Meets Texas Chicken

У Менску адкрыўся рэстаран хуткага харчаваньня Texas Chicken. У першыя паўгадзіны працы наведнікам абяцалі 52 бясплатныя абеды. Перад дзьвярыма сабраліся сотні людзей...

Photos Of The Week #17

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

In Her World: Living With Autism In Russia

At first sight, six-year-old Vera Bondik doesn't seem like an unusual child. She looks just like other children her age. The difference is that she will never make eye contact with you, talk to you, or listen to you. She lives in her own world, which no one else can enter. Vera is autistic.

The Surprising Story Behind Ukraine’s 'Tunnel of Love'

It’s one of the most photographed places in Ukraine. Visitors travel from around the world to see the famous tree tunnel running through the small western town of Klevan. As RFE/RL’s Amos Chapple discovered when he explored the site, Ukraine's “Tunnel of Love” can reportedly trace its origins all the way back to the tensions and secrecy of the Cold War.

Searching For Pieces Of Lenin

In the spring of 2015, the Ukrainian government passed so-called "decommunization" laws, which effectively outlawed Soviet-era symbols. Under legislation adopted in May 2015, the communist government that ruled between 1917 and 1991 is condemned as a criminal regime. Across Ukraine, monuments to the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, were dismantled and scattered around the country, often in pieces. Photographer Niels Ackermann and journalist Sébastien Gobert researched and tracked down the locations of these Lenin monuments. Their search brought them to museums, art galleries, and overgrown yards. (A version of this gallery first appeared on The Calvert Journal.)

Photos Of The Week #16

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Chernobyl Engineers Revisit Their Control Center, 30 Years Later

April 26 marks 30 years since the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. To mark the anniversary, three former Chernobyl engineers returned to their workplace, accompanied by RFE/RL journalists. For Arcadia Uskova and Oleksiy Breusa, it was not their first visit back. For Oleksandr Cheranov, however, the visit marked the first time he had stood inside the power plant since April 26, 1986, when the fourth block of the reactor was destroyed in the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster.

Chernobyl: Land Of Milk And Honey?

In Chernobyl a small group of people have chosen to return to live inside the irradiated exclusion zone. RFE/RL's Amos Chapple met one man living a remarkably idyllic existence on Chernobyl's poisoned land.

More Than 300 Casualties In Massive Kabul Attack

Afghan officials say Taliban militants have attacked an office of the country's main security agency in Kabul, killing at least 28 people and wounding about 300. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told RFE/RL that the April 19 attack began with a suicide car bomb during the morning rush hour, followed by an assault by armed militants. The attack -- near the Defense Ministry in the capital's central first district -- targeted an office that houses a National Directorate of Security unit responsible for protecting government officials. Mohammad Ismail Kawusi, the Health Ministry's public-relations director, told RFE/RL that at least 20 people were killed in the attack and 198 people were taken by ambulance to various hospitals. Numerous others were wounded, he said. Casualties included both civilians and members of Afghan security forces.

Photos Of The Week #15

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Moscow's 'Trams Without Rails'

In central Moscow, the humble trolleybus is arriving at the end of the line. The lumbering electric buses, tethered to overhead cables, are a cheap and quiet way to get around the Russian capital. But now, as part of city renovations, Moscow authorities plan to phase out trolleybuses from many central streets this year. According to reports, 30 kilometers of trolleybus routes are due to be dismantled. A dip into the photo archives reveals the long relationship between Moscow and its "trams without rails."

Avdiyivka: Eastern Ukraine's Latest Flash Point

The shaky cease-fire between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government troops appears to have fallen apart around the small industrial town of Avdiyivka. In recent weeks, battles have erupted around the strategically important crossroads in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. European observers have reported the “highest level of cease-fire violations” since September 2015, with deaths reported on both sides. On April 2, photographer Maxim Tucker entered the area and spent a week documenting villages shattered by a conflict that is now entering its third year.

Let’s Go, Yuri

Cosmonautics Day is celebrated on April 12 each year in Russia. It is a holiday dedicated to the first manned space flight, 55 years ago, when Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth on board the Vostok-1 spaceship.

Photos Of The Week #14

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Around Chernobyl, Animals Thrive In Man's Absence

Thirty years after the world's worst nuclear accident, the area around Chernobyl -- known as the exclusion zone -- remains empty of people, but the forest teems with elk, deer, wolves, and other animals. The diversity of wildlife suggests that radiation, though harmful, has not kept creatures from thriving, and the lack of human activity has allowed the natural habitat to recover.

Photos Of The Week #13

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.

Life In Isolation At The Spaso-Kamenny Monastery

Spaso-Kamenny was the first stone monastery in Russia's north. Established in 1260 on an island in Lake Kubenskoye, about 500 kilometers north of Moscow, it played an important role in expanding orthodox beliefs. In 1937, the historic Spaso-Preobrazhensky cathedral was blown up by the Soviets. Today, the monastery is considered one of the main pilgrimage centers of the region. In the winter, there are just a few people living there, maintaining and restoring it.

The Winters That Were

As another winter melts into spring, the masterful Russian photographer Alexander Petrosyan has shared with RFE/RL moments from the long, cold months in St. Petersburg. From the city's delicate golden spires, to its grimy back streets, Petrosyan always manages to present images that are as fresh and bracing as the winters he portrays.

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