Also by Margot Buff
January 21, 2022
Vastly Outnumbered, Ukraine's Military Has Some Strengths
Russia has amassed an estimated 127,000 troops near the borders of Ukraine. In the event of an invasion, some Western experts believe Kyiv's forces could be quickly overwhelmed. But analysts point to some resources that make Ukraine a stronger power than it might appear.
November 28, 2021
Baking Armenian Lavash With Bare Hands, Fire, And Love
When Armenians bake the flatbread known as lavash, they incorporate Christian rituals and family knowledge -- but few people still practice this culinary craft at home. Knarik Torosian is one baker who still makes lavash in an underground wood-fired oven.
November 24, 2021
Trafficked In, Trafficked Out: Iraqi Kurds Recount Failed Journey To Belarus's Borders
As a migrant crisis intensifies on Belarus's borders with the EU, some travelers from war-torn countries describe paying a high price for the unfulfilled promise of reaching Western Europe. One family from Iraq's Kurdistan region were forced to pay traffickers to return home after a failed trip.
November 17, 2021
Migrants Receive Temporary Shelter In Belarus After Border Crisis Escalates
An ongoing crisis on Belarus's border with Poland escalated in recent days as migrants seeking to cross into the EU clashed with Polish security forces. With temperatures dropping, some migrants who had camped out by the border have now moved to a shelter in Belarus where they await deportation.
October 18, 2021
'Reindeer Are Sacred': Herders Struggle For Survival In Russia's Far East
In parts of Yakutia, in Russia's Far East, many residents raise reindeer to make a living, relying, in part, on modest government subsidies to make ends meet. Their livelihood is part of a traditional way of life, but it's threatened with obsolescence as young people leave in search of better jobs.
October 02, 2021
Georgian Remains Of 'Oldest Woman Warrior' Offer Clues To Early Civilization
An ancient skeleton excavated at a site near Tbilisi has been kept at Georgia's National Museum for nearly a century -- but archaeologists are now giving it a closer look. They say the woman who was buried with jewelry and a sword is the oldest female warrior ever identified.
September 28, 2021
Eighty Years Later, Ukraine Recalls The Nazi Atrocities At Babyn Yar
On September 29-30, 1941, a ravine near Kyiv called Babyn Yar became the site of a massacre that foreshadowed the horrific scale of the Holocaust. Occupying Nazi forces, with the help of collaborators, shot and killed nearly 34,000 Jews at the site in the first of a series of mass killings.
September 05, 2021
Prejudice And Pride: Georgia's LGBT Community Finds New Strength After Violent Attacks
In July, a planned LGBT Pride March in Tbilisi was called off after right-wing protesters attacked activists and journalists, whom they accused of spreading "anti-Georgian sentiments." In the wake of the violence, LGBT activists say their sense of purpose and solidarity is stronger than ever.
August 28, 2021
A Belarusian Was 'Learning A Rhythm' With Protest Drummers. Now He's In Prison For Six Years.
In 2020, 31-year-old Alyaksey Sanchuk joined a group of street drummers, part of a wave of mass protests over the presidential election in Belarus that was widely seen as rigged. He was arrested, charged with financing and organizing illegal protests, and sentenced to six years in prison.
August 03, 2021
Belarus Accused Of 'Provocation' As Record Numbers Of Illegal Migrants Reach Lithuania
Lithuanian officials say waves of illegal migrants arriving from Belarus have reached a new peak, with nearly 300 detentions reported in one day alone. Most of the detainees are Iraqis who crossed the border via Belarus with apparent ease.
July 16, 2021
As Migrants Cross From Belarus, Lithuania Sees Influx As 'Hybrid Attack'
Some 1,500 people have illegally crossed from Belarus into EU member Lithuania this summer -- more than 20 times the number in all of 2020. Lithuanian leaders say Belarus is allowing migrants from third countries to transit to the European Union as a form of retaliation against the bloc.
July 15, 2021
Thirty Years After Vukovar Massacre, A Croatian Father Is Still Seeking His Lost Son
In August 1991, as Yugoslavia disintegrated, national army troops and paramilitary forces laid siege to the city of Vukovar in northeastern Croatia. One resident, Pavo Zivkovic, has spent decades trying to find his son Goran, who he believes was among the victims of a massacre near the city.
July 09, 2021
Five Things To Know About Bulgaria's Snap Elections
Bulgaria is set to hold early elections on July 11, following polls in April that resulted in a fragmented parliament and failed to produce a government. Here's a look ahead at a vote that could produce a similarly inconclusive outcome.
July 06, 2021
LUKoil Says It Cleaned Up Its Oil Spill. Russian Environmentalists Say The Contamination Continues.
In May, a leaking pipeline spilled oil into a river and across a large area of the Komi region in northern Russia. Local officials and the LUKoil energy company said the cleanup work is now finished, but local environmentalists say the impact is greater than the company admits.
July 02, 2021
Pandemic Profits: Uzbek COVID Response Shown To Benefit Political Insiders
In March 2020, Uzbek President Shavkhat Mirziyoev launched a $1 billion fund to deal with the coronavirus crisis, a number that soon swelled to $8 billion. RFE/RL's Uzbek Service identified possible causes for some of the excess spending: no-bid government contracts for costly medical facilities.
June 29, 2021
Putin's Promises: A History Of Empty Assurances
On June 30, Russia's president is holding his annual televised call-in show. In previous years, he's used the program to lay out plans for the country's future. Here's a look back at some of the promises Putin has made to the Russian public but which he has failed to deliver on.
June 18, 2021
Disturbing Video Shows Police Seizing Chechen Woman From Shelter
A newly released video shows police breaking into a safe house in Daghestan, southern Russia, and seizing Khalima Taramova. The Chechen woman had fled there with a person said to be her girlfriend after what she described as beatings and threats at home.
June 17, 2021
Facing A COVID-19 Surge, Moscow Makes Vaccines Mandatory For Some Workers
Moscow authorities announced this week that COVID-19 vaccinations will be compulsory for public-facing workers, including teachers, taxi drivers, and salespeople. The mandate is a response to surging case numbers in Russia and low vaccination rates.
June 15, 2021
'She Pulls Goats Like A Man': Tajik Buzkashi Player Shatters Stereotypes
Tajik rider Malika Rajabova is used to being the only woman on the field when she plays buzkashi, a Central Asian sport in which competitors on horseback fight to grab a goat carcass. She says some men have told her she shouldn't play, but that has only heightened her motivation to win.
June 15, 2021
'No Illusions' About Reset Of Relations When Biden, Putin Meet
On June 16, Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin for the first U.S.-Russian summit of Biden's presidency. The talks in Switzerland are not expected to produce a diplomatic breakthrough, but they allow Biden to take a firm stance toward Russia in a period of icy relations.