Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Afghan security forces fire from an armored vehicle during a battle with Taliban insurgents in Kunduz Province on May 3.

Foreign Voices Ring Out In Afghan Spring Offensive

With the Taliban spring offensive under way, locals in Afghanistan's northeast are noticing a mysterious influx of foreign fighters. More

The case of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova is seen as part of a broad crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan.

PEN Honors Ismayilova As Azerbaijani Journalist Begins Sixth Month In Custody

Azerbaijan investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova is beginning her sixth month in a Baku jail on charges she says are retribution for her corruption reporting. On May 5, she will be given a prestigious freedom-of-speech award by the PEN American Center amid international calls for her release and the release of others believed jailed for their civic activism. More

"No matter what's going on with politics, people do not change," says 22-year-old Vera Golikova, holding some of her postcards. "People really want to be good to each other."

Looking To Do A Good Deed? Tweet A Babushka!

A Russian-born student living in New York has come up with a novel way to bring a little brightness to lonely pensioners back home. Tweet A Babushka lets people write cheerful 140-character messages that Vera Golikova then translates and transcribes onto postcards to send to pensioners in retirement homes across Russia. More

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has continued his decades-old policy of remaining within Russia's orbit, but avoiding getting completely caught in Moscow's gravity by occasionally adopting an independent position and maintaining relations with the West that do not threaten his grip on power.

Ukraine Crisis Opens Up Wiggle Room For Lukashenka

The Belarusian president first criticized those in Moscow who view his country as "a northwestern province" of Russia, then did an about-face by flatly declaring that "we have been and always will be with Russia." The war in Ukraine has put a sharp new spin on the dizzying relations between Minsk and Moscow. More

Christian Jereghi demonstrates with a picture of Oleh Sentsov, a filmmaker from Crimea detained in Moscow.

Russian Fighting For Ukraine Refuses To 'Die With A Russian Passport'

A young Russian filmmaker who fought alongside government forces in eastern Ukraine is being granted Ukrainian citizenship after an emotional appeal to the country's president. He says Russians fighting for Ukraine are in an impossible legal quandary. More

Recent Features

Inconvenient Friends: Shady Real Estate Deal Tests Kyiv Mayor

As a scandal erupts over a controversial construction project, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko faces a tough choice between backing his friends or serving his constituents.

'Monstration' Rallies Hold Up Mirror To 'Absurd' Russian Reality

The organizer of a surrealist May Day rally says it's merely reflecting the absurd reality of life in Russia.

Russia's Anti-Swastika Crusade Hits Toy Stores, Bookstores, And Museums

Russia is scrambling to get rid of swastikas and other Nazi symbols ahead of Victory Day celebrations. But has it going too far?

The Worst Job In The World? Meet NATO’s Envoy To Russia

It could be described as one of the toughest diplomatic jobs in the world -- NATO's envoy to Moscow. Poland's Robert Pszczel has been in that post since 2010. “Maybe I have a masochistic streak," he says. "I actually still enjoy it.”

Quality, Not Just Quantity, For Kazakh Hero Moms

Having a large family is cause for celebration, but Kazakhstan is no longer rewarding hero moms unless they can prove they are good parents.

Macedonia Dead Last In Europe On Press Freedom

Macedonia has fallen to the bottom of the table in Europe in terms of press freedom, according to the watchdog Freedom House. The road forward looks far from promising.

A Sticky Situation For Poroshenko As Russians Seize Candy Assets

Russian authorities have seized several assets at a candy factory owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Russian city of Lipetsk. The move is certain to complicate Poroshenko's attempts to divest himself of his holdings. But some critics suggest he's not all that eager to sell.

Letters From Donbas, Part 5: 'Students Want Guarantees They'll Get Russian Diplomas'

Thousands of people have fled eastern Ukraine since the conflict erupted in April 2014. Some have since returned. Others never left. From teachers to pensioners to families with children, residents of rebel-held towns are struggling to get on with their lives amid the chaos and uncertainty.

Rising Latvian Artist Says 'Holy Monkeys' Not Meant To Offend

Sergei Dyomin, one of the highest-earning artists in the Latvian capital, Riga, has built his fame around a singular motif -- re-creating Orthodox icons where the saints bear the faces of monkeys. Dyomin, an atheist, insists no disrespect is intended.

Russia's Law Nursery: St. Petersburg Takes Lead In Steering Social Policy

Some St. Petersburg lawmakers want it to be a crime to be unemployed for more than six months. Russia's northern capital has in recent months become something of a nursery for legislative initiatives in social policy.
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