Valentina Mitronova's right eye droops as if sagging under the weight of all she has witnessed. As a toddler caught in the nearly 900-day siege of Leningrad during World War II, her earliest memories were forged in an atmosphere of suffering. On her fourth birthday, she recalls eating soup made by her mother from the beans that rattled inside her plastic baby toys.
Armenia is experiencing a Russian-style winter this year, and despite Yerevan’s plans to join the Moscow-led Customs Union, consumers are not catching a break when it comes to the cost of Russian gas. Instead, the price of Russian gas imports has risen 18 percent over last year, a development that is stoking public anger with the government’s decision to cast its economic lot with the Kremlin.
“Don’t spit in the well you drink from!” This expression, which has equivalents in both Kyrgyz and Tajik, is often heard in the Isfara Valley to express the interdependence of life along the twisting, largely unmarked border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
It is often said that charity begins at home. But in the tightly woven system of family networks and patronage that marks the tiny South Caucasus country of Georgia, the culture of giving has struggled to move beyond assistance to relatives and friends.
The escalating turmoil over corruption allegations against Turkey’s political elite is now threatening the ruling Justice and Development Party’s greatest achievement – Turkey’s economic growth. With national elections looming in the future, that threat could affect the party’s 11-plus-year hold on power, some local observers believe.
As her six-year-old daughter prepares to start school this September, Alina Bilyaletdinova says that sifting through online chat forums and scouring media reports of disgraced school principals has become “a full-time job.” With limited funds, trying to find an acceptable school in Kyrgyzstan’s shabby public education system, full of informal and semi-official financial arrangements, has been daun
The aluminum sheds were designed to be garden storage, a place to put something and forget about it. And for more than 20 years, these oblong barrel-like structures have housed a forgotten community of refugees.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was once dubbed corruption’s “Person of the Year” by an organization of investigative journalists. But to many Azerbaijani citizens, he is seen as more trustworthy than the courts, recent survey data shows.
Walk into one of the ubiquitous Bishkek butcher shops advertising itself as “halal” and ask what the word means, and you are likely to receive a shrug and a gesture pointing to a certificate on the wall. In Kyrgyzstan, where the observance of Islamic customs appears to be spreading quickly, there’s little agreement about how to prepare meat in a religiously proper way.
After working as a respected journalist for 25 years in numerous capacities, including a stint as a columnist at one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Serdar Akinan found himself in early 2013 at a career crossroads: would he continue working in the mainstream Turkish media or open up a pizza place?