Eve Conant

On Second Thought

Sandra Liedskalna, a fruit seller in Latvia's capital of Riga, is getting evil looks these days. As an early snow falls on the marketplace, Liedskalna is offering steep discounts on her imperfect yet fresh, honey-scented apples.

Show Of Nerve

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.

Hostage Crisis

Anna Politkovskaya was in Los Angeles yesterday, waiting to attend a dinner honoring her for her courage in covering the war in Chechnya. She didn't make it to the dinner.

Deciphering The Bones

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.

Back To The Future

Sept. 12 started out like any other day for Sergey Kukura, the finance director of one of Russia's largest oil firms, LUKOil: he plunked down onto a soft leather seat in the back of his chauffeured automobile.

Radicals In Retreat

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...

Reading The Bones

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...

A Sea Of Misery

Once upon a time, the town of Muynak was a bustling port along the Aral Sea. City workers still paint the street signs with images of seagulls and ocean waves, and here and there the masts of ships poke up between the buildings.

War Of The Faiths

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.

The Heart Of The Matter

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.

Chilling In The Gulag

Anyone can spend a holiday at the beach. But what about at a teeming slum, a nuclear-meltdown site or a former concentration camp? A growing number of vacationers are looking for just such hardship holidays.

Saying Nyet To Russian

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.

Russia: Putin's Priority List

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.

Periscope

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.

NOWHERE TO TURN FOR HELP

"Marziya," 36, is hiding at Samarkand's only women's shelter, a private home tucked behind an unmarked iron gate. Her husband began beating her in 1992, at the height of Uzbekistan's economic turmoil.

Remaking The Army

Sinking submarines, desertions within the ranks, suicides, corruption, decay and dissolution. Russia's generals are no longer running a superpower's military, but they still think Army life is fine--and are fighting fiercely to stave off anything that smacks of change.

Repairing A Broken Culture

In the basement of Afghanistan's culture ministry, a statue's broken foot and part of a skirt lie discarded in the corner. A lion's paw peeks out of a pile of rubble; a small rock turns out to be part of an elephant head.

First Person Global

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.

Why Afghans Don't Know Their Ages

Ask Afghans how old they are, and most will scratch their heads and look to their friends for guidance. NEWSWEEK's house here in Kabul is something of an anomaly, because most of our staff here say they do know their ages.Or do they?

Art In Exile

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.

Exploiting A Jihad?

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.

His Big Gamble

Vladimir Putin has been enjoying the limelight. He's been lionized by NATO and feted by Tony Blair. His speech to the German Parliament got raves. Even President George W.

A Social 'Neutron Bomb'

Elena Yaskevich hunches over her desk and lights up another cigarette. Her office phone, one of Moscow's few drug-addiction hot lines, rings once again. She begins yet another round of questions, the same as the last. "How old is your daughter?" Pause. "I see, 17.

In Search Of The Gods

Azov is hardly the kind of place where most people would look for adventure. Life is slow in this postcard-pretty Russian town on the delta of the muddy river Don.

The Dinosaur Fish

The dinosaurs may all be dead, but at least we still have the sturgeon. When it appeared during the age of the big dinosaurs 200 million years ago, it was covered with an armor of shiny interlocking scales.

Scarred For Life

Nina Ungureanu is tired of having visitors come to her gate. "They all want the same thing," says the Moldovan housewife, 40. That is, to join the ranks of the other seemingly lucky villagers, like Ungureanu, who have mortgaged their bodies to buy a roof over their heads.

Heading For An Early Grave

White males may be king in most places, but not in Russia. In addition to rampant alcoholism, men there face rising AIDS and tuberculosis rates, as well as the stresses of unemployment and the military draft.

Moldova's Red Revival

This is a revolution!" exclaims Ivan Ursu, a lifelong communist, surveying the banquet tables at the Inauguration of Moldova's new communist president. "And there wasn't even any shooting!" In Moldova, the party is partying again.

In The Name Of War

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.

'This Is A Wake'

It's 3 a.m. local time at Mission Control outside Moscow. Soon the first "impulse" will be given, and Mir will begin its irreversible descent. In the smoke-filled, crowded hallways here there is little time for sentimentality.

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