For a cold fish, Vladimir Putin is lately generating a lot of warmth. At their June summit in Slovenia, George W. Bush peered into the soul of the Russian president and declared him "trustworthy." Then, last week, Putin got a bearhug from Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who had come to the Russian capital to sign a 20-year friendship treaty between Moscow and Beijing.
Amid the clutter of a makeshift studio, Marianna Maksimovskaya, one of Russia's best-known TV anchors, is getting ready for her evening newscast. But tonight she's not wearing her regular gray suit; she's dressed in black pants and a turtleneck, looking somewhat like a guerrilla broadcaster--which she's just become.
High on the eighth floor of Russia's national television center, journalists from NTV gather for what amounts to a council of war. With tense and tired faces, they listen as one of the station's lawyers, Yuri Bagrayev, briefs them on the day's big news--the latest twist in a prolonged campaign to shut them down. "Don't have any illusions," Bagrayev warns.
You enter the KGB Museum through a cavernous, columned foyer adorned with a huge white bust of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police. Then you walk up a flight of stairs, past a gold-leaf inscription reading "To the Chekists-Soldiers of the Revolution," and meet the official guide, himself a long-time veteran of the old KGB, who refuses to give his name to visitors.The Chekists were the members of Version 1.0 of the KGB, which was originally known, on its founding in 1918, as...
Whether the Ukrainian president actually ordered the murder of a political nemesis will probably never be proved to anyone's satisfaction. But judging from the demonstrations that have jolted Kiev, the court of public opinion has already declared Leonid Kuchma guilty, though he has denied it vigorously.
Sergei Dorenko was hardly surprised when he was fired two weeks ago. The blow had been coming ever since last September, when the executives of Russia's No. 1 television network, ORT, abruptly canceled the news show he anchored and began dismissing the members of his news team, one by one.
When I first met Ravshan Gapirov I didn't think that I might be helping him to get arrested. Gapirov is the director of a human-rights center in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, long considered the most liberal of the five countries in the region that once were part of the Soviet Union.
For a few days last week, Karolina Yemelyanova and her high-school friends discovered a whole new life--a life without TV. After a devastating fire in Moscow's Ostankino television tower that blacked out television screens across the capital, Yemelyanova's crowd found themselves engaged in bizarre activities: reading books, going out for strolls, talking with everyone around them. "Usually you just sit there and stare at the screen," Yemelyanova, 16, said in wonderment. "You don't see anything,...