Taxes are a hot topic of discussion these days for shoppers at Bishkek’s sprawling Azamat car market. The Kyrgyz government is expected to sharply raise import tariffs soon on vehicles to prepare for accession into the Russia-led Customs Union; shoppers fear the new regulations will double the price of the average car within a few years.
Highlighting the challenge of forging a lasting political settlement to the 26-year-long conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, officials and experts in the two countries are offering starkly different views on the heavy fighting that erupted around the territory in late July and early August.
First, Russians are told that they will have to alter their eating habits thanks to a non-importation ukaz issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin covering Western food products. Now they are catching grief in a Black Sea resort for the way they look.
Amid the recent escalation of hostilities surrounding the contested Nagorno-Karabakh territory, authorities and experts in both Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaging in the old Soviet practice of identifying the outside power that most benefits from conflict. For many in Armenia, the answer is straightforward enough – Russia.
With apple-picking season underway in Moldova, Vasile Nitrean, a farmer in Soroca, a northeastern town near the Ukrainian border, says he has “big problems.” For the past 15 years, he has sold his crop to Russian buyers. Now, because of a Russian ban, he, along with many other farmers, needs to find a new market, and fast.
Almost 80 years ago, ideological true believers from all over the world flocked to Spain to fight in a civil war, serving in the famed International Brigades on the Republican side. These days, echoes of Spain can be found in Ukraine, where foreign ideologues now can be found battling separatists backed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
A newly published book highlights the critical role vodka has played in Russian history. The work, titled Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State, sees an enduring connection between vodka and the autocratic political institutions and policies that have characterized Russia for centuries.