With Rooms to Grow

If there is any doubt that Moscow has arrived as a high-end tourist destination, just try booking a hotel room. Accommodations in the hotel-starved Russian capital are already going for $1,000 a night—not including breakfast.

Russia's Medvedev Woos Business

Dmitry Medvedev, a shoo-in as Russia's next president, recently addressed a key constituency—business leaders—with a hopeful and comforting message.

The Last Word: Yulia Tymoshenko

After months of bickering with his archrival, Ukraine's pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Western-backed President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved Parliament on April 2 and called snap elections in order to breathe life back into the deadlocked government.

State of Hate

Russia is becoming an increasingly scary place. Ask Marat Gelman, whose gallery made the mistake of hosting a show by a Georgian artist at a time when Georgians are the subject of official disapproval.

Medical Meccas: Eye-Surgery Assembly Line

Moscow may not spring to mind as a center of medical excellence. Ordinary Russian hospitals are dismal places, and those wealthy enough to afford it usually leave the country for medical care.

Ramzan's World

Drive down Victory Boulevard in Grozny, and you'd never think there had been a war in Chechnya. Five years ago this broad avenue looked like Stalingrad after World War II.

Periscope

When Shamil Basayev was killed last week, Chechen rebels lost their most daring and bloodthirsty leader. Basayev became Russia's most wanted man after his followers seized a Moscow theater in 2002; he also ordered the 2004 school siege at Beslan that left 331 people dead.

What's Wrong with Russia

Peter the Great built St. Petersburg three centuries ago as Russia's window on the West. But for a few days this week, the old tsarist capital will become the West's window on Russia.

Man for the People

Dmitry kozak, vladimir Putin's special envoy to the Caucasus, speaks passionately from his seat at the head of a long table. Listening sheepishly in this conference room in Kislovodsk, a spa in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains where the poet Aleksandr Pushkin took hot mineral baths in the 1820s, are the presidents of Russia's southern republics, the ward bosses of the country's toughest neighborhood.

Partner, or Bully?

Vladimir Putin was feeling indignant. Why don't Europeans trust Russia? "I constantly hear complaints" that Europe is "overly dependent" on Russian energy, he griped last week to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Siberian city of Tomsk. "But Russia is a reliable partner.

Fear and Loathing in Siberia

Vladimir Putin, like Russia's double-headed imperial eagle, has two faces. Both have lately been very much in evidence. At a meeting of G8 energy ministers in Moscow last week, the Russian president showed his Western visage, presenting Russia as a reliable energy partner and playing the superpower alongside the big hitters of the democratic, industrialized world.

The Good Life

Moscow is a city riding high on oil money. Now the spending habits of high-rolling Muscovites have spawned some of Europe's coolest clubs and most lavish restaurants.

A Chill in the Moscow Air

The scandal broke with all the trappings of a cold-war espionage story--British spies as the villains, the eagle-eyed Russian secret service as the heroes.

Roiling the Baltic Waters

In June 1947, Capt.-Lt. Konstantin Tershkov of the Soviet Navy had a serious problem on his hands. He'd been ordered to dump 34,000 metric tons of captured Nazi chemical weapons into the deepest part of the Baltic Sea by the end of the summer.

Russia: Looking Toward a Positive Future

It's not a beauty pageant that little girls dream of winning. But Svetlana Izambayeva, 24, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2002, felt a need to enter Russia's Miss Positive 2005, an Internet beauty pageant solely for HIV-positive girls. "We will never have any progress until we give HIV a voice and a face," she says. "I thought I could be that face."By winning the pageant last week, Izambayeva now is.

Not Quite Paradise

You're dropped in by a military helicopter, and off you go, reveling in some of the finest untouched powder skiing in Europe. This isn't France or Switzerland but southern Russia, on the slopes of Krasnaya Polyana, 2,800 meters high in the Caucasus Mountains.

Awaiting The 'Big Fire'

Ramazan Tembotov hardly cuts the image of a hardened Islamo-terrorist. A soft-spoken human-rights activist, he's clearly more at home with legal briefs than a Kalashnikov.

A Spreading War

They came early in the morning. More than a hundred, and perhaps as many as 500 armed men attacking the quiet Russian town of Nalchik in the shadow of Europe's highest mountain.

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