Hey, you're busy! We know rferl.org isn't the only website you read. And that it's just possible you may have missed some of our most compelling journalism this week. To make sure you're up-to-date, here are some of the highlights produced by RFE/RL's team of correspondents, multimedia editors, and visual journalists over the past seven days.
We are also including content here from Gandhara, an RFE/RL website focusing on developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Three decades after the U.S.S.R. fell apart, Russians' nostalgia for the Soviet era shows no signs of weakening. In the hometown of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, a sense of pride in a native son is mixed with disappointment and anger. By Matthew Luxmoore
The push to shut down the venerable human rights and historical research group Memorial caps a year in which President Vladimir Putin's government has aggressively persecuted political dissent, independent civil society and journalism, and public activism of all stripes. Liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky says Memorial's closure marks the "transition from an authoritarian regime to a totalitarian one." By Robert Coalson
When the family of an alleged rapist was expelled from a Kyrgyz village, the case cast a spotlight on the role of a special judicial institution -- the Courts of Elders. The suspect is in police custody while a regular criminal investigation continues, but a gathering of elders has already reached its own verdict. These local village courts were instituted by a law passed in 2002 and have been increasingly active in recent years. By Ray Furlong and Current Time
For 20 years, the West had a firm foothold in Afghanistan. Now, with the Taliban back in power, the United States and its allies have retreated. Seeking to fill void are regional powers China and Russia. Some analysts say the region threatens to become an anti-Western hub. By Ron Synovitz
A Russian court has blocked a website that connects detained protesters with lawyers who are willing to represent them, accusing it of promoting terrorism and extremism. OVD-Info was set up after mass protests 10 years ago and has provided legal support to thousands of people who were detained after attending street protests. One lawyer who works with them says this was just the beginning of a "coordinated and organized" attack on lawyers by the Russian state. By Current Time
Some 200 ethnic Kazakhs in Afghanistan have been trying to resettle permanently in their ancestral homeland, Kazakhstan. But their plans have been hampered since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August. By Farangis Najibullah and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
Armenian teachers must travel by all-terrain vehicle up and down a mountain to reach village schools in Armenia's southernmost Syunik Province after Azerbaijan set up a border checkpoint on a highway section previously controlled by Armenia. By RFE/RL's Armenian Service
For years, rights groups have documented evidence of rampant torture and abuse in Russia's sprawling prison network. The gruesome case of a man imprisoned in the Kirov region, described in a statement to his lawyer, adds further evidence. By Idel.Realities
A recent tour of bomb shelters in Kyiv attracted great interest among journalists, as Russia masses its armed forces on Ukraine's borders. But at one command bunker, the telephones were not working, while another had been taken over by a tattoo parlor. Many people had no idea where the shelters were. By Borys Sachalko, Current Time, and Ray Furlong
Some of the photos compiled over decades of work by Russia's Memorial International, which was ordered to be "liquidated" by the country's Supreme Court on December 28. By Amos Chapple