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Podcast: Hell On Earth...And Hope In Cyberspace

The son of Gimry village elder Nabi Magomedov was shot 62 times in a killing claimed by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov.
What if everything you knew about life -- your customs, your values -- were systematically destroyed as your home became one of the most violent places on Earth?

This week on The Blender, we look at Russia's troubled North Caucasus, where rival forces are wreaking havoc on the region's traditional way of life -- and leaving death and misery in their wake.

RFE/RL correspondent Gregory Feifer traveled to the republic of Daghestan, where he reports on one mountain village that has paid a heavy price as militancy and counterterrorism efforts continue to increase.

From Daghestan, we go to cyberspace. Earlier this week, government officials and web activists from 60 countries worldwide gathered in London to talk about the Internet, and how to preserve it as the last bastion of free speech and transparency.

Ahead of the conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with Voice of America's Persian-language service to announce efforts to build a "virtual Tehran embassy" that would use the web to make direct connections with Iranian people.

Her remarks -- together with a same-day interview with the BBC's Persian service -- constituted her first-ever interviews to the Persian media. She spoke to Kambiz Hosseini, a host of VOA's popular satirical program "Parazit."

Daisy Sindelar
Daisy Sindelar

And finally to Kyrgyzstan, where voters have just elected the country's moderate prime minster, Almazbek Atambaev, to serve as president for the next six years. Atambaev's election comes at the end of a fractious political season that saw the forced ouster of his predecessor amid a wave of violent protests that culminated with deadly clashes in the south.

The Blender talks to RFE/RL Central Asia correspondent Bruce Pannier about the many challenges facing the region's lone parliamentary democracy -- and whether the 55-year-old Atambaev is the man for the job.

This week's host is Daisy Sindelar.

This week's show features the traditional Avar song "Ata Yurtum" (Father's House) and "Small World" by Livin' Free, on the Kruder & Dorfmeister mix LP "DJ Kicks."

Clinton And Iran's Youth, Death And Despair In Daghestan, Kyrgyz Election Analysis
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Listen to or download Episode 43 of The Blender above, or subscribe to The Blender on iTunes. For the complete Blender archive, click here.