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Defeat, disappointment and the glimmer of dictatorship in Russia’s Far East

A regional election has gone badly wrong. Dissecting the Kremlin’s defeat in Primorye shows paths for Russia’s future.

Fear and loathing in Kyrgyzstan: how the LGBTQI community is fighting back against rising discrimination

LGBTQI people remain easy targets in Kyrgyzstan, with nowhere to turn for recourse. But activists are fighting back.

Spiritual capital: why Ukraine is breaking from Russia’s Orthodox Church

The Ukrainian government has promised its citizens a new, independent Orthodox Church that will unite Ukrainian believers. But bringing several denominations together is harder than you think. RU

Double discrimination: why Uzbek women in Kyrgyzstan are a minority within a minority

In the aftermath of Kyrgyzstan's 2010 revolution, the country's Uzbek minority population has seen their position worsen — and Uzbek women have been marginalised most of all. 

“They told me that if I didn’t become more cooperative, they could do whatever they wanted to me”: anarchist Arman Sagynbayev reveals torture by Russian law enforcement

In this high-profile terrorism investigation into Russian anarchists, brutal torture has been used to extract confessions from detainees.

The future of Russia’s one and only LGBT film festival

New legislation will hit independent and controversial cinema in Russia. The organisers of this LGBT film festival are going to keep on fighting for their right to speak on “forbidden” topics. RU

Are Kyrgyzstan’s glaciers under threat? This ecologist thinks so

The Central Asian state’s Tian Shan mountain range isn’t just home to shrinking glaciers. It’s also the site of an international mining operation.

Controversial trial in Kazakhstan sheds light on Chinese camps

China’s attempts to suppress information about Xinjiang open floodgates to scrutiny of its indoctrination policy.

Conspiracy theory has gone mainstream in Russia. But how does it work?

Inside Russia’s conspiracy machine, things are more complicated than they seem. A new book demonstrates the pitfalls of conspiracy thinking.

Meet Russian anarchist Ilya Romanov. He’s spent nearly 20 years in prison

Through radical protest of the 1990s and 2000s to the repressive machine of today, Romanov's biography shows how the Russian government’s attitude to protest has hardened. RU

Transforming Tajikistan: how the Rahmon regime turned religion into a site of struggle

This new book focuses on Tajik society’s turn to Islam as a means of coping with disorder.

Azerbaijan’s blocking of websites is a sign of further restrictions online

This month has seen yet another series of attacks on internet freedom.

Will the war in Russia’s North Caucasus ever end?

Over the past 200 years, war and colonisation has defined Russia’s North Caucasus. But in a period of relative calm, significant changes are still underway. RU

The Second Chechen War: Testimony of an Eyewitness

Chechen journalist Abdul Itslayev lived out the Second Chechen War in his native village. Against a backdrop of rocket attacks, murder and robbery, he tried to piece together what, in fact, was happening. RU

Who is ordering attacks on activists in Ukraine?

In Ukraine, activists are being attacked, and law enforcement is standing idle. The pressure on civil society has become systematic. RU

Why Russia needs a grassroots campaign against political repression

Political repression is ramping up in Russia, but a network of people ready to stand against it is yet to emerge.

How this DIY magazine is making space for taboo topics in Russia

Under conditions of growing self-censorship, small media can often raise questions avoided by Russia’s national media – but of real concern to readers. RU

Torture, missing evidence and procedural violations: how to make a terrorism case against 21 Russian Muslims

Another trial against Russian “Islamists” results in harsh convictions – this time, 21 of them.

How Turkmenistan spies on its citizens at home and abroad

A mix of traditional techniques and new technologies allows the Turkmen regime to follow its citizens’ every move.

A torture scandal makes Russia pay attention

Graphic footage of a prisoner being tortured has gripped the Russian public. But the lawyer who helped expose this torture needs state protection.

“I wanted to wail, to scream at them: ‘What in the world are you doing to my daughter? Are you human or not?’”

An interview with the mother of Anna Pavlikova, an 18-year-old facing extremism charges in Russia.

Research the revenge: what we’re getting wrong about Russia Today

Data-mining and analysis will not reveal what makes Russian propaganda tick.

 

With attacks on independent media, the "thaw" in Belarus is over

The last few years have been viewed as a relative liberalisation in Belarusian public life. It seems this is coming to an end. RU

How to return one billion dollars stolen from the people of Uzbekistan

The saga of Gulnara Karimova’s ill-gotten and ill-fated assets – frozen in a number of mostly European jurisdictions – may soon come to an end.

“We can’t let up”: theatre producer Anna Palenchuk on hunger-striking director Oleg Sentsov

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is on hunger strike in a prison in Russia’s Far North, but he’s still working on projects. RU

Kyrgyzstan’s north-south road to corruption

A new investigation reveals another side of Chinese infrastructure projects in Central Asia: elite corruption.

How conservative is the Russian regime?

Russia's intensifying neoliberal policies and the accompanying conservative rhetoric are clear evidence of the prolonged crisis facing the Putin regime. RU

#FreeFatima: how the Tajik regime treats the children of political exiles as hostages

Preventing the children of opposition exiles from leaving Tajikistan is one of the cruellest forms of repression.  

How citizens battling a controversial gold mining project are testing Armenia’s new democracy

Can Armenia’s Velvet Revolution deliver change for communities struggling for their health, livelihoods and futures? ArmenianRU

How Kazakhstan’s anti-extremism blacklist forces activists, bloggers and opposition politicians into the shadows

In Kazakhstan, persecution of citizens convicted for extremism does not end with a court judgement or sentence. Being blacklisted also threatens an indefinite suspension of your financial rights. RU

Why Russian prison officers can torture with impunity

Russian courts continue to protect prison service officers accused of torturing and murdering inmates. RU

Hidden motivations: a brutal attack on a Russian Orthodox Church in Chechnya leaves questions unanswered

Allegations of a cover-up and improper qualification of an organised assault on an Orthodox Church in May this year have left space for conspiracy and intrigue.

Russia’s rising retirement age: six real stories

The Russian government’s move to raise the retirement age is encountering a lot of public discontent. Here, six Russian citizens tell us why they're against the reform. 

Tree cutting and pollution in Bishkek: to the last breath?

While the leaders of Kyrgyzstan’s capital insist on removing the city’s greenery, local groups are trying to stop it.

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