The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was so fond of raki that he died of liver disease. But alcohol is becoming the latest battleground in Turkey's culture wars. New regulations introduced this month by the conservative, Islamic-leaning AK Party government have caused a storm of protest from the imbibing elite.
Look at global economics from a moral point of view, and it's a story of virtue rewarded. Growth in the West, fueled by easy credit and consumption, collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis. Growth in the East, by contrast, fueled by saving and production, has held steady. But look more carefully, and the reality is that Asia's legendary culture of saving, while not quite a myth, is fast declining in many places.
The oil tycoon's second conviction on questionable charges marks a turning point for Russia. Or, to be more precise, proves that those who believed Russia was at a turning point under Dmitry Medvedev are sadly wrong.
The WikiLeaks documents released so far paint a remarkable picture of just how closely the U.S. and Russia have been working on containing Iran. An extremely detailed exchange of views between top U.S. and Russian officials in Washington in February is described in detail.
In a visit to London last week, Turkish President Abdullah Gül declared his country to be a bright spot amid Europe's gloom: "It wouldn't be surprising if we start talking about BRIC plus T [for Turkey]." The boast was more symptomatic of Turkey's geopolitical ambitions than its real economic heft—in cash terms, its GDP is only half of Russia's, the poorest BRIC nation.
To this day, many Russians can only wish they had never heard of Afghanistan. But two decades after the Soviet Union's humiliating pullout, NATO is working to get Russia back into the country. The plan, championed by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would have Moscow provide helicopters to Afghan and NATO forces, train Afghan national-security forces, and assist in counternarcotics programs and border security.
Two decades after the Soviet Union's humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, NATO is working to get Russia back into the country to help fight drug trafficking and rebuild Afghan security forces. The deal is championed by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as part of a "new start in the relationship between NATO and Russia."
On Monday the German-based media company Axel Springer announced the closure of NEWSWEEK RUSSIA, the Russian-language title it had licensed from NEWSWEEK since 2004. It was one of the few independent newsmagazines left in Russia, and its demise marks the end of one of the last bold and critical voices in the country's increasingly bland and docile media landscape.
The Russian political elite has lined up behind the new president, Dmitry Medvedev, rather than the old one, Vladimir Putin.
Moscow's barrel-chested mayor, Yury Luzhkov, has been a force in Russian politics since 1993, but recently he learned who's boss. When the -mayor thought he could run a highway through a patch of woodland on the city's outskirts, Dmitry Medvedev blocked it—and when Luzhkov publicly complained, the Kremlin launched a media campaign accusing the -mayor of corruption, intimidation, and even murder.
Back when there was no tourism but only travel, the rich would take steamers and luxury trains to Constantinople to visit one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities. A century later, Istanbul is as international as ever—it's been named Europe's Capital of Culture this year—and many of the grand old hotels have new face-lifts, while many boutique hotels are opening in historic buildings.
Yevgeny Chichvarkin once took London by storm. Bounding onto the stage at the Russian Economic Forum four years ago in red sneakers, graffiti-sprayed jeans, and a top that proclaimed that he was MADE IN MOSCOW, the 34-year-old Russian businessman told the elite gathering how he'd grown his Evroset mobile-phone company into a billion-dollar empire in just five years, and that a "new generation of young businesspeople" was "ready to integrate Russia into the world economy."