Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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  • The village of Kosh-Agach, or "Twin Trees," is named for the two trees on the otherwise barren landscape. During the wedding, branches from the trees will be planted in the ground, representing the families of the bride and groom.
  • The wedding celebration begins with lighting a fire with oil and cotton.
  • The groom is expected to buy a wedding dress for the bride.
  • Members of the groom's family bring a wedding curtain, which will hang in the couple's bedroom, to the house where the bride is hiding.
  • Relatives on both sides already know each other well, but tradition dictates that they must introduce themselves at the wedding.
  • The bride puts on her wedding dress.
  • Relatives escort the bride to the groom's house.
  • The groom's sisters treat the bride's hair with a mixture of milk and pine needles and arrange her hair into two braids, the style for married women.
  • The groom holds a platter with a sheep's head and cuts of meat while guests say blessings for the couple.
  • Relatives light a fire in honor of the couple, and the groom puts meat on to cook.
  • The bride pours a cup of meat broth into the fire. According to a folk saying, the higher the flames reach, the luckier the bride will be.
  • After the traditional wedding ceremony, the couple changes into Western dress as the celebration continues.
  • The toastmaster challenges the bride with questions and tasks to fulfill.
  • The wedding banquet
  • The motto on the wall reads “Love and happiness.” 

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.

Video Archive


Video Vox Pop: How Are Russia's Food Sanctions Affecting Consumers?

Russia's ban on many Western food imports has driven up prices in the country's grocery stores. But not all Muscovites are concerned; some haven't noticed, and some think Russia can easily weather the economic storm.

Video Russians In Latvia

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

Video Russia's Food Ban

Gulnara Khamzina, a restaurant owner in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, says that Moscow's sanctions on imported Western foods are already affecting her business.

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 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 Archive

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RFE/RL Video Roundup - September 1i
September 01, 2014
Protesters storm Pakistan's state TV headquarters, Afghanistan plans a new trade route with India and Iran, and a new school year begins across Europe and Asia -- with stories from Russia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Central Asia.

Video September 1

Protesters storm Pakistan's state TV headquarters, Afghanistan plans a new trade route with India and Iran, and a new school year begins across Europe and Asia -- with stories from Russia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Central Asia.

Video August 29

A Pakistani professor is freed by the Taliban, Afghanistan asks for more monitors for its election recount, Balkan leaders sign a declaration on the search for missing persons, and Kyrgyzstan suffers the effects of a water dispute.

Video August 28

Ukrainians protest at the Defense Ministry in Kyiv, talks between protesters and government break down in Pakistan, an early cotton harvest in Turkmenistan, plus stories from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Video August 27

Pakistani antigovernment protests continue, Afghan officials charge Pakistani spy agency with helping Taliban, Tajik students panic over university registration, plus stories from Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

Video August 26

Antigovernment protests continue in Pakistan, wildfires burn in Kyrgyzstan, officials want to reduce lavish parties in Afghanistan, and a cricket tourney in Kabul.