America's coming withdrawal from Afghanistan will leave a large power vacuum in Central Asia—one that both Russia and China are keen to fill. China has the overwhelming economic clout, while Russia has the longstanding political and cultural ties to its former empire.
In 2004, Chechnya's president, Ahkmad Kadyrov, the face of the Kremlin Chechenization project, was assassinated and his son Ramzan took power. Ramzan went much further than his father: human-rights groups have accused him of ordering torture, abductions, and killings, both inside Chechnya and on dissidents abroad.
The video shows a gun barrel jutting from the rear window of a shiny black Lada sedan as it cruises slowly down Putin Prospect, a new boulevard of designer shops in the Chechen capital, Grozny. Spotting a pair of young women in long skirts but without headscarves, the vehicle's occupants open fire.
Rain poured over the crowd gathered for a rock concert in Moscow's central Pushkin Square last month. Police sealed off the square, searched everyone coming in, and infiltrated the crowd with plainclothes officers.
Between 2004 and the end of July, Ella Pamfilova served as the Russian president's adviser on human rights. But she left that post to protest a wave of violent attacks against human-rights activists. In the past year three of them have been murdered, and four others have had to flee the country.
When Dmitry Medvedev was elected president of Russia, he publicly criticized the country's human-rights record and called for reform. But last week, he was dealt a stunning blow when his chief adviser on human rights resigned over a new wave of attacks on activists.
Roza Otunbayeva became Kyrgyzstan's acting president in April after the violent ouster of Kurmanbek Bakiyev by angry crowds. Last week, after an explosion of interethnic violence in the country's south, she appealed to Russia to send peacekeeping troops. She spoke to NEWSWEEK's Anna Nemtsova by phone from Bishkek.
The Kremlin is once again nurturing adoration of Joseph Stalin.
In the largest opposition demonstration in Georgia since November 2007— WHEN President Mikheil Saakashvili tested his democratic credentials by sending in riot police to quash the protests—tens of thousands of people filled Tbilisi's leafy Rustaveli Avenue last Thursday to demand Saakashvili's resignation.
A crisis-stricken Kremlin is courting Western investors, and activists hope this may lead to the release of high-profile political prisoners, like the Yukos Oil executives. (Last month, a terminally-ill Yukos man was allowed the option of dying at home.) Anna Nemtsova spoke to lawyer Yuri Schmidt about the likelihood of a pardon for Yukos oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Would the release of Khodorkovsky be a positive sign for Western investors that Russia is becoming a rule-of-law...