Senior Correspondent, Kabul
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Dec 8, 2010

Russia, Afghanistan agree to beef up heroin fight

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan agreed with Russia on Wednesday to step up efforts in fighting the Afghan heroin trade which kills at least 30,000 Russians a year.

“We are neighbours linked by the same piece of land, and we have the potential to strengthen our work in fighting a global menace,” Russia’s anti-drugs tsar Viktor Ivanov told his Central Asian counterparts.

Nov 30, 2010
via FaithWorld

On Tolstoy centenary, Russian Orthodox won’t lift excommunication

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The Russian Orthodox Church refused to rehabilitate him and the state chose to ignore him, but the official silence surrounding the 100th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s death has not muffled praise or quelled debate.

Unlike the 150th anniversary of writer Anton Chekhov’s birth this year — which prompted an emotional outpouring from President Dmitry Medvedev and spurred a nationwide festival — the November centenary of one of Russia’s most universally acclaimed writers has been met with surreal silence.

Nov 30, 2010

“Deathly” silence fails to bury Tolstoy centenary

By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Yana Soboleva

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) – The Russian Orthodox Church refused to rehabilitate him and the state chose to ignore him, but the official silence surrounding the 100th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s death has not muffled praise or quelled debate.

Unlike the 150th anniversary of writer Anton Chekhov’s birth this year — which prompted an emotional outpouring from President Dmitry Medvedev and spurred a nationwide festival — the November centenary of one of Russia’s most universally acclaimed writers has been met with surreal silence.

Nov 30, 2010

Medvedev seeks tougher Russian corruption fines

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused some law enforcement officials on Tuesday of having direct links to organised crime and called for stiffer fines to punish bribery, but his anti-graft promises drew scepticism.

In his annual state of the nation speech, Medvedev referred to endemic bribe-taking, and documented cases of the torture and death of people in custody that have earned Russian police a fearful reputation.

Nov 30, 2010

Russia’s Medvedev seeks tougher corruption fines

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused some law enforcement officials on Tuesday of having direct links to organized crime and called for stiffer fines to punish bribery, but his anti-graft promises drew skepticism.

In his annual state of the nation speech, Medvedev referred to endemic bribe-taking, and documented cases of the torture and death of people in custody that have earned Russian police a fearful reputation.

Nov 28, 2010
via FaithWorld

Russia’s Islamist rebels mull language switch to Arabic or Turkish

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(Photo: Workers clean blood from the sidewalk outside the parliament building in Grozny October 19, 2010 following a suicide attack there that killed four people/Kazbek Basayev)

Militants waging an Islamist insurgency in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region have proposed using either Arabic or a Turkic language as a lingua franca for their affairs. The insurgents now communicate with each other largely in Russian, also the main language of the dozen or so Islamist web sites they are affiliated with, and of their video addresses.

The insurgency leader, Chechen rebel Doku Umarov, suggested earlier this month that a “state” language be formed for the self-styled Caucasus Emirate, a grouping of Muslim republics including Chechnya and Dagestan that want to quit Russia.

Nov 26, 2010

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Moscow

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) – Glitzy and decadent, the non-stop Russian capital is famed for its exorbitant prices, extravagant nightlife and freezing winter temperatures.

But there is a lot more than glamour and excess: it has fabulous art, a slew of Soviet-era gems, exotic cuisine from the Caucasus and Central Asia, and simple pleasures rare in the West. Local correspondents help you get most out of a stay in this vast city of almost 11 million.

Nov 22, 2010

Russia could shun European rights court–top judge

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s top judge said it may no longer honor judgments handed down by Europe’s influential Court of Human Rights, but a Kremlin official played down the idea, calling it a “backwards” step.

Russia — a member of the Council of Europe, the human rights watchdog under which the Court operates — lodges the largest amount of cases with the court in what activists say is a sign of the country’s poor rights record.

Nov 12, 2010

Nobel winner sees generations before Russia modernizes

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Corruption, bureaucracy and a lingering Soviet mindset are big obstacles in Moscow’s drive to boost science and technology to diversify its economy, this year’s Russian-born Nobel Physics Prize winner said.

Andre Geim, 51, who shared the prize for his work on ultra-thin carbon that may have uses in touch screens, light panels and solar cells, left Russia in the early 1990s.

Oct 31, 2010

Moscow allows 1,000 anti-government protesters to rally

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Over a thousand anti-government protesters were allowed to rally on Sunday in Moscow’s central Triumph Square for the first time in years as authorities granted their opponents a moment to air their grievances.

Though veteran human rights defender Lyudmila Alexeyeva was granted permission by authorities to hold a rally for 800 people, scores of armed police stood by as the square filled up with more people than allowed, many of them chanting “Russia without (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin!”

    • About Amie

      "Based in Kabul, Amie reports on the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. She was previously based in Moscow, where she reported across the former Soviet Union for almost five years, covering energy, politics and lifestyle stories. For over two years there, she focused on the Islamist insurgency in Russia's Muslim North Caucasus. She has also reported in Greece and Britain."
      Hometown:
      London
      Joined Reuters:
      September 2006
      Languages:
      English, Russian, Italian
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