Anatoly Beloyusov had never seen anything quite like what he found in the ruined auditorium. The professional rescue worker was right behind the Special Forces who stormed Moscow's Melnikova Street theater in a predawn raid, ending a 58-hour standoff in which nearly 850 performers and theatergoers, dozens of them children, were held hostage by a suicide squad of Chechen terrorists.
The skeletons were twisted around each other, many frozen in a fetal position as if they were trying to stay warm. There were skulls and tibias, femurs and ribs, all piling up in the claw of the tractor breaking ground for an elite Vilnius housing complex. "The bones wouldn't stop coming out of the ground," recalls one worker.
Sheraly Akbotoev received the summons in Kabul last November. An Uzbek religious instructor and avowed jihadist, Akbotoev was a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a hard-line group with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. "Come to Logar province" in northern Afghanistan, his superiors told him by phone. "Something has happened." U.S. fighter planes had attacked a convoy of IMU fighters fleeing Konduz, where some 300 of them had been helping the Taliban resist the U.S.-backed...
The skeletons were twisted around each other, many frozen in a fetal position as if they were trying to stay warm. There were skulls and tibias, femurs and ribs, all piling up in the claw of the tractor breaking ground for an elite Vilnius housing complex. "The bones wouldn't stop coming out of the ground," recalls one worker at the construction site in the Lithuanian capital last winter.The horrified work crew feared they had uncovered a mass grave of either Jewish Holocaust victims or those...
Father Krzysztof Kempa has a congregation but no church. As he reads mass for 15 Roman Catholics in a dark, cramped apartment in the southern Russian city of Belgorod, he struggles to make himself heard over a curbside car alarm, the hum of an old Soviet refrigerator and a boiling tea kettle.
It's not often that billboards urge you not to buy or sell something. But the Moldovan capital of Chisinau is an exception. Its streets are filled with admonitions: TU NU ESTI MARFA (YOU ARE NOT FOR SALE).The dawn of market economics in Moldova has had an infamous side effect--a fire sale of its women.
Hardly anyone these days has a good word for the language of the former Soviet Union. Teenagers in Central Asia say they hate it; thousands have taken to the streets of Moldova and Belarus to protest it; former Soviet governments have deleted it from their mandatory-education programs, and some countries, like Latvia, have passed discriminatory laws against those who speak it.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has long been suspected of trying to rekindle the glory of the former Soviet Union. But last week he more than hinted at just the opposite, coming down hard on Belarus's President Aleksandr Lukashenko two days after the two met in St.
Pope John Paul II is finally getting involved in one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Last week he called for an emergency meeting (to be held this week), directing a dozen American cardinals and the top two officers of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to convene with Vatican officials in Rome to discuss the recent U.S. sexual-abuse scandals.
While driving through Kabul in November, I saw two women leaning against a stone wall, chatting with each other. They were both enveloped head to toe in light blue burqas, but that didn't seem to get in the way of their conversation, as they touched each other on the shoulder.
On the wall of the Nukus Museum, a crazed-looking bull with pointed horns stares out at visitors. The picture was painted by a man named Lysenko. Art historians don't know his first name, or much else about him--except that he was forced to enter a Soviet mental institution for his depiction of that bull.
A group of about 100 armed Islamic guerrillas, some wearing balaclavas, gather in a circle in an unidentified forest in Chechnya. In a grainy scene from a videotape found by Russian intelligence agents, they are shown in the middle of a meeting led by Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev, some time after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
With his close-shaven head and his small, feral eyes, Yuri Budanov, 37, is not the kind of man to inspire affection. Yet he's got plenty of fans. Outside the courthouse in southern Russia, where Budanov's case is being tried, demonstrators hold up placards proclaiming his innocence and calling for his release.