Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Soviet Media Powerhouse: TASS Through The Ages

Russia's state news agency ITAR-TASS has just rebranded itself and will be known by its old, Soviet-era name TASS. Founded in 1925, the Telegraph Agency Of The Soviet Union was responsible for all news content for radio, television, and print media. It became ITAR-TASS in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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 by clicking on the banner above.

Ten Years After Beslan, Memories Still Fresh

On September 1, 2004, Chechen and Ingush militants stormed an elementary school in the town of Beslan in the Russian republic of North Ossetia. Surging through the back-to-school crowds, the militants took 1,100 teachers, children, and relatives hostage, holding them for more than two days and demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya. On the third day, a series of explosions ripped through the building, igniting fires and sparking a deadly gun battle between the militants and Russian security forces. More than 330 hostages died in the violence. A decade later, correspondent Tom Balmforth and photographer Diana Markosian traveled to Beslan to speak to survivors still grappling with the memories of the loved ones they lost.

Photos Of The Week #35

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

Beslan: Three Days Of Terror

On September 1, 2004, Chechen militants stormed an elementary school in the town of Beslan in the Russian republic of North Ossetia. They took 1,100 teachers, children, and their relatives hostage, demanding the withdrawal of federal forces from Chechnya as a condition for their release. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building, resulting in a battle in which more than 330 hostages died, including 186 children.

An Altai 'Golden Wedding'

In Russia's Altai Republic in southern Siberia, the small Altai minority maintains a unique set of cultural customs, including their traditional "Golden Wedding" ceremony.

Wearing The Hijab In Britain

For Muslim women in the United Kingdom, the decision to wear a head scarf, or hijab, reflects a complex range of personal beliefs and competing social pressures.

Photos of The Week #34

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

Moscow, 1990: When The Big Mac Came To Town

Amid tensions between Moscow and the West, Russia has announced the closure of four McDonald's restaurants in the capital for "technical reasons." When the fast-food chain first opened in Russia nearly 25 years ago, it was hailed as a sign of thawing Cold War relations and crowds of Muscovites flocked to taste their first Big Mac.

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

On August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a nonaggression treaty in Moscow, paving the way for the Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland the following month and the beginning of World War II.

Photos Of The Week #33

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

Through Art, Children Plea For Peace In Ukraine

A group of Russian supporters of pro-European activists in Ukraine has collected antiwar drawings by children from across Europe, which they want to send to soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine.

Photos Of The Week #32

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

Clashes In Kyiv As Workers Clear Barricades

Demonstrators clashed with city employees in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on August 7 as the workers tried to clear barricades and tents from Independence Square. Protesters set fire to piles of tires and threw bottles and bricks at the municipal workers, who eventually withdrew. After the mass antigovernment protests that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last winter, hundreds of protesters have remained on Independence Square, saying they want to ensure the new government follows through on reforms.

An Azerbaijani Town On The Front Lines

Azerbaijan-Agdam-Chiragli village-frontline between Azerbaijan and Armenia-4Avg2014

The Azeri town of Ciraqli sits almost on top of the Line of Contact dividing Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, the region controlled by Armenian-backed separatists. There has been fighting around the town in the last week, but residents have been dealing with conflict in the area for far longer than that. RFE/RL photographer Abbas Atilay went to the town in the Agdam district to record what life is like there for the residents.

Scraping Out A Living In Afghanistan

For more than a decade, the international military presence and foreign aid in Afghanistan have helped prop up the local economy. But now, with the number of troops falling and military bases shrinking, Afghans have been left struggling to make ends meet.

'National Geographic Traveler' Photo Contest

"National Geographic Traveler" magazine has announced the winners of its annual photography contest, chosen from more than 18,000 entries.

Photos Of The Week #31

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

Jerge-Tal, Where Kyrgyz And Tajik Cultures Collide

In the Jerge-Tal region of Tajikistan, high in the Pamir Mountains, the descendants of Kyrgyz nomads have settled and established a unique community. The residents of Jerge-Tal easily switch between Kyrgyz, a Turkic language, and Tajik, closely related to Persian. Though they have ties to two cultures, the inhabitants of the region are isolated by their remote location and the frequent closure of the roads leading to Kyrgyzstan amid ongoing border disputes. (Photos by Janyl Jusupjan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)

Coal Mining In Pakistan's Punjab Province

At the Choa Saidan Shah coal mine, workers dig coal with pickaxes, break it up, and load it onto donkeys to be transported to the surface. The mine is in Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and richest province, but most of the miners come the poorer region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, to the northwest. Employed by private contractors, the miners work in teams of four, with each team earning about $10 a day to be divided among them. (Photos by Sara Farid, Reuters)
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