Thursday, August 21, 2014


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For Russians In Latvia, Citizenship Is Tricky, But Sights Are Set On Europei
August 13, 2014
As the crisis in Ukraine highlights the country's ethnic divisions, some observers are keeping close watch on other countries with significant Russian minorities -- in particular, the three Baltic states. While Lithuania granted citizenship to all residents after the Soviet breakup, regardless of ethnicity, Latvia and Estonia designated Soviet-era migrants as non-citizens. Today, some 13 percent of Latvia's population are Russian-speaking non-citizens without the right to vote. The citizenship issue -- combined with fears of Moscow's influence -- has raised tensions, but many Russian speakers in Latvia say their future is set firmly in the European Union. (Produced by Alexandru Eftode and Margot Buff)

Russians In Latvia

In Latvia, some 13 percent of the population are Russian-speaking non-citizens without the right to vote.

Video Archive


Video Azerbaijanis Recount Cross-Border Visit That Ended In Death

Azerbaijanis living near the Armenian border recorded a brief video of an Armenian man who had wandered into their village on August 7. The villagers told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that they called the military, who came and detained the unarmed man, identified as 31-year-old Karen Petrosyan.

Video Ethnic Turkmen In Afghanistan Take Up Arms Against Taliban

Taliban militants have been gaining ground in Afghanistan's Jowzjan Province on the border with Turkmenistan. Ethnic Turkmen residents say there are no government forces there to protect them, so they have persuaded a 65-year-old former warlord to lead a militia against the Taliban.

Video Soldier's Mother Receives Letter From Son's Killers

A Ukrainian soldier died in June during an ambush by separatists in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, a separatist fighter posted social media messages bragging about the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers caught in an ambush. Days later, the rebels sent the dead soldier's mother a letter.

Video For Pakistani Father, 36 Children Is Not Enough

Despite being displaced by fighting, Gulzar Khan has kept his family united -- no easy task for a man with three wives, a dozen daughters, and two dozen sons.

Video Crippled By Polio, Afghan Official Hopeful For New Law

Sayed Hamid Daqiq, a senior Afghan Finance Mininstry official, hopes that new legislation will help more disabled people meet their full potential.

Video Moldovan Farmer Upbeat Despite Russia's Fruit Ban

Many farmers in Moldova have been hit hard by a ban imposed by Russia in July 2014 on most fruits originating in their country.

Video Iraqi Christians Describe Expulsion From Mosul

Some of the Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee rebel-controlled Mosul spoke with RFE/RL in Dohuk, in Iraq's Kurdish region.

Video Vox Pop: Muscovites On MH17 Crash

RFE/RL asked Moscow residents what they knew from the Russian media about the July 17 crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Video Remembering A Childhood Meeting With A General, And A Tragedy

Shortly before the July 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic appeared on television reassuring civilians, patting a boy's head, and giving chocolates to children. The boy he met, Izudin Alic, remembers that day as the last time he would see his father.

Video Empty Beaches At Crimea's Tourist Resorts

The Crimean peninsula has traditionally thrived on tourism along its Black Sea coast. But after Russia's annexation of the region in March, the number of tourists has plummeted, leaving restaurants, hotels, and tourist agencies struggling to survive. (RFE/RL)

Video Yo! How To Swear When The Kremlin Says You Can't

One of the most notorious Russian epithets involves an unpleasant sentiment involving someone's mother -- a phrase that utilizes one of the most pungent sounds in the Russian language, "yo." Russian speakers have invented literally hundreds of G-rated ways to convey the sound without the sentiment.

Video World War I: Gavrilo Princip's Final Days

On June 28, 1914, Bosnian Serb revolutionary Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to Austria-Hungary's throne in Sarajevo, setting in motion events that led to the start of World War I. Princip was imprisoned in a fortress near Prague. A historian describes the assassin's torturous years there.

Video Dzhemilev Says Russia Uses Soviet Tactics To Divide Crimean Tatars

Veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, who has been barred from returning to his homeland after Russia's annexation of Crimea, says Moscow is relying "on the old Soviet policy of dividing the Crimean Tatars."

Video Fears Of Violence Drive Tattoos' Popularity In Iraq

Tattoo parlors, once a rarity in Iraq, are increasingly common on Baghdad streets as young men seek out fashionable new looks. But there's a darker side to the trend. Tattoo artists say a growing number of clients are choosing tattoos that could help identify them if they become victims of violence.

Video Hope For Afghan Acid Attack Victim

A donation organized by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan offers a glimmer of hope to Akhtara, a mother of four, who was left severely scarred after her husband's killer threw acid in her face and who had to resort to begging to make ends meet.

Video Crimea-Themed Putin T-Shirts Go On Sale Near Kremlin

T-shirts featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin's image have gone on sale at the GUM department store near the Kremlin in Moscow. The campaign was organized by a pro-Kremlin group called "Vsyo Putyom" ("It's All Right"), a pun on the Russian leader's name.

Video Released Activist Says Donetsk Rebels Use Captives As Forced Labor

An activist recently released from rebel captivity in Donetsk says pro-Russian insurgents occupying the regional state security headquarters make their captives do menial work.

Video 'One Romany Dance' Across Europe

Ukrainian-born choreographer Petia Iourtchenko, who performs and teaches Romany dances around the world, says dance is a bridge between cultures and a unifying force for Roma everywhere.

Video Ukrainian Activist Family Hopes For Change

During Ukraine's mass antigovernment protests early this year, the Trofanyuk family traveled to Kyiv to join the Maidan movement on Independence Square. Now back in their village in western Ukraine, the Trofanyuks are hoping that the early presidential election on May 25 will bring stability.

Video Walesa Praises West For Helping Defeat Communism

Former Polish President Lech Walesa says the West played an instrumental role in bringing down communism in his country a quarter of a century ago.

Video Kwasniewski Praises Jaruzelski

Former President Aleksander Kwasniewski said late Polish communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy in the late 1980s.

Video Chez Yanukovych: Displaced Families In Ukraine

Some Ukrainian families displaced from Crimea and the country's east have settled at the former residence of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya, near Kyiv.

Video Lech Walesa Criticizes Protest Leaders

Former Polish President Lech Walesa has criticized leaders of Ukraine's pro-European Maidan protest movement for failing to negotiate with the former government, thus giving Russia a pretext for intervention.

Video Russian Gay Rights Advocates Fear Closure Of NGO

The St. Petersburg-based organization Vykhod -- translated as Exit, or Coming Out -- offers support to the LGBT community in Russia, where laws against "homosexual propaganda" make it a crime to publicly promote gay rights. Leaders of the organization say they are coming under pressure.

Video Evacuees From Flooded Serbian Town Describe Ordeal

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in Serbia amid the worst floods in living memory. Some 8,000 people have evacuated the flooded town of Obrenovac.

Video Iraqi Mandaeans Celebrate Religious Holiday In Kurdistan

Members of Iraq's Mandaean minority, who practice a distinct and ancient monotheistic religion, this week observed one of their holiest rituals, known as the Golden Baptism. The celebration took place in the Kurdistan region, where many Mandaeans from southern Iraq have sought refuge from violence.

Video 1944 Deportation Victim: ‘I Will Never Forgive Russia’

Ali Aliyev was 14 years old when he and his family were forcibly put on a cattle train and moved out of Crimea. On May 18, 1944, the Soviet government deported more than 230,000 Crimean Tatars from their homeland as a form of collective punishment for alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

Video Ukrainian Miner Describes Torture In Rebel Captivity

Oleksandr Hurov, a 36-year-old coal miner from Novohradovka in eastern Ukraine, says he was kidnapped and tortured by pro-Russian rebels after he took down a separatist flag from the main government building in his hometown.

Video Afghanistan's First Female Cabbie

Sahra Bahayi says she is the first female taxi driver in Afghanistan. Though her claim is hard to prove, the teacher and driver in Mazar-e Sharif is among very few Afghan women who drive at all. She faces threats, harassment, and accusations that her behavior is un-Islamic.

Video Ukrainian Teenager Recovers After Limb Amputation

Sixteen-year-old Oleksandr Kozlovsky was brought to the Czech Republic for medical treatment after being shot in the leg during pro-European demonstrations in February.

Video Russian Historian Says East Ukraine Referendums 'Make No Sense'

Prominent Russian historian Andrei Zubov has dismissed the self-rule referendums in eastern Ukraine as "making no sense" from the legal point of view. Zubov lost his job after writing an article comparing Putin's annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler's seizure of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland in 1938.

Video Interview: Afghan Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani

Afghan presidential frontrunner Ashraf Ghani said that he is prepared to contest a runoff election if necessary in order to ensure a strong mandate.

Video Russian State TV Anchor: 'Propaganda Is Journalism'

Andrei Kondrashov is one of 300 media professionals awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin for their coverage of events in Crimea. He says he sees no difference between journalism and propaganda.

Video 10-Year-Olds Answer: What Is The EU?

May 1 marked the 10th anniversary of the accession of 10 new member states to the European Union. In the Czech capital, Prague, RFE/RL asked fifth-grade students if they knew the significance of the anniversary.

Video In Shift Toward Free Speech, Turkmens Voice Anger With Government

Under Turkmenistan's repressive regime, speaking out against the government can land the speaker in jail. But in recent interviews with RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, some citizens have begun to speak up for their rights, expressing anger with bureaucracy, corruption, and the lack of social services.

Video Interview: Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili sat down for an interview at RFE/RL's headquarters in Prague on April 25 with Georgian Service correspondent Salome Asatiani. Margvelashvili discussed what he would like to say to Russian President Vladimir Putin in potential talks.

Video As Europe Lifts Visa Regime For Moldova, A Family Reunites

As of April 28, Moldovans can travel to the European Union without visas for the first time. Domnica Vasilachi, a farmer in the village of Suric, is one Moldovan who is seizing the opportunity to go abroad for the first time, making plans to finally meet her two young grandsons in Greece.

Video 'Black Stallion' Folk Dance Revival Sweeps Kyrgyzstan

At weddings, on dance floors, and even in shopping malls, young Kyrgyz like to show off the dance moves known as Kara Jorgo, or the "Black Stallion." It's a folk dance that was once nearly lost to time, but has seen a sudden revival amid a growing interest in traditional Kyrgyz culture.

Video RFE/RL Interview: Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti

Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti sat down for an interview at RFE/RL's headquarters in Prague on April 25 with Moldovan Service director Oana Serafim. He discussed Russia's actions in Crimea and reiterated the call for Moscow to withdraw its troops from Moldovan territory.

Video A Drive Around Slovyansk

A taxi driver, who asked not to be identified, took an RFE/RL correspondent for a ride around the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, where armed separatists continued to man barricades and occupy key government buildings. (RFE/RL's Russian Service)

Video Archive

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RFE/RL Video Roundup - Aug. 20i
August 20, 2014
Opposition protesters threaten the prime minister in Pakistan, Afghans celebrate independence in Tajikistan, an exhibit on repression against activists in Russia, plus stories from Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Video August 20

Opposition protesters threaten the prime minister in Pakistan, Afghans celebrate independence in Tajikistan, an exhibit on repression against activists in Russia, plus stories from Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Video August 19

Barrel bombs dropped in Iraq, flooded Serbian cities rebuilt, the Sarajevo film festival in full swing, plus a story from Tajikistan.

Video August 18

Antigovernment activists receive jail terms in Moscow, Kazakh fuel companies impose gasoline rations, and Afghans demand that war criminals be brought to justice, plus stories from Pakistan and Tatarstan.

Video August 15

Antigovernment protesters march on the Pakistani capital, Kazakh homeowners take a last stand to protect their property from demolition, Kazan hosts an evening of Tatar poetry, plus other stories from Pakistan, Georgia, and Tajikistan.

Video August 14

Armenians rally in support of Yazidis in Iraq, Ukraine sends aid to a separatist-held region, and Moldovans protest Russia's fruit embargo, plus stories from Russia and Pakistan.