As the year draws to a close, let's take a look back at the stories and videos that most piqued the interest of RFE/RL readers in 2020.
Two years after an art treasure with a harrowing backstory was uncovered in the walls of a Prague house, the holder went public with the historic scale of the discovery. Read the story by Amos Chapple and Dana Katharina Vaskova and see the paintings here.
Eighty-five years ago, more than 4,000 people died of disease, exposure, violence, and starvation at a Stalinist labor camp on Nazinsky Island in Siberia. Until 1988, the Soviet government suppressed the story of those hellish six weeks on what came to be known as Cannibal Island. Read the story by Andrei Filimonov and Robert Coalson here.
A Netflix movie called 6 Underground is about a tech billionaire who tries to take down an evil dictator in a fictional country called Turgistan. The film appears to be inspired by Turkmenistan and its real-life dictator, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. Read the story by RFE/RL's Turkmen Service here.
A U.S. Air Force plane that crashed in Afghanistan in January had been designed to improve combat communications and “battlefield management” after a 2005 U.S. military disaster. It was described as a “very high-value asset" for battlefield management and communications in Afghanistan. Read the story by Ron Synovitz here.
In January, NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- apparently angered over some tough questioning -- summoned her to his private living room at the State Department in January and challenged her to point to Ukraine on an unmarked map. Kelly -- who has a master's degree in European Studies from Cambridge -- said she did. Pompeo later suggested Kelly had pointed to Bangladesh instead. So we thought we'd create a little quiz: How would you fare if you were called on the carpet by Pompeo? Take the Pompeo quiz here and find other RFE/RL quizzes here.
A doctor at an ambulance unit in Russia's western Voronezh region fell from a hospital window in May following complaints that he was forced to work even after testing positive for COVID-19. He was the third physician in Russia to fall out of a window amid mysterious circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak. Read our story here.
And you might also be interested in these stories:
See the extraordinary work of a forgotten photographer that was uncovered in a village attic in Moldova. Read the story by Amos Chapple and view the photographs here.
3. Archaeologists Say 'Bulgarian Atlantis' Older Than The Pyramids
Underwater archaeologists in Bulgaria say they have discovered evidence of a human settlement by the mouth of the Ropotamo River on the Black Sea that could date back to the fifth millennium B.C. The discovery was made by divers from the Center for Underwater Archaeology in Sozopol, who have been studying the area for the last three years. View the video by RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service above.
A Russian photographer snuck into the world’s only nuclear-capable, ground-effect vehicle and captured rare images of its interior. Read the story by Amos Chapple and see the photos by Lana Sator here.
Seventy-five years after the end of World War II in Europe, photographs capture the devastation wrought on the Hungarian capital, Budapest, during one of Europe’s most overlooked battles. See the before-and-after slider gallery by Amos Chapple here.