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Through the summer days of the Soviet era, Vladimir Prokopyev was a busy man. On a pristine island in Lake Baikal, the airport manager watched over the arrival of three or sometimes four flights every day. Then it all stopped. While Vladimir carried on with his tasks, the U.S.S.R. collapsed. In the hard new realities of the free market, support for the air service disappeared and the planes stopped coming. But Vladimir, now 86, is a man of duty. He had an airport to maintain and, for the past 20 years, ever hopeful that scheduled flights would return, that’s exactly what he’s done. (Photos by RFE/RL's Petr Shelomovskiy)

The massacre of the Avetisian family one year ago shocked the Caucasus nation of Armenia. The killings left seven dead, spanning three generations, with the youngest victim just 6 months old. News that the lone suspect was a soldier stationed at Russia's 102nd Military Base, located in the northwestern city of Gyumri, left locals outraged. But despite this being only the latest in a string of violent incidents related to the base, many feel that without the presence of Russian military the very existence of Armenia would be threatened. Photos and text by RFE/RL's Amos Chapple

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