Stories written by Pavol Stracansky

Russians Back Crimea Action, They’d Better

Elena Smolenskaya doesn’t hesitate a second when asked what she thinks about the Russian military intervention in Crimea. The 23-year-old Moscow student is convinced that President Vladimir Putin had no choice but to order troops into the country.

Crimea Faces a ‘Frozen Conflict’

Crimea could remain under Russian control indefinitely as the current crisis - described by some politicians as Europe’s gravest since the end of the Cold War – threatens to turn into a “frozen conflict”, experts say.

After Sochi, the Hounding Game

Fears are growing in Russia that the Kremlin is preparing a crackdown on rights activists following the end of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

EU No Instant Saviour for Ukraine

Ukrainians are facing years of pain and upheaval if the country moves towards closer EU integration – or the prospect of the country being left to “rot” if they do not, experts say following the weekend’s revolution.

Recession and Repression Fuel Anger

As Ukraine’s capital experiences the worst violence in its post-Soviet history, some protestors are warning that the festering discontent with the regime which led to the current crisis is unlikely to disappear overnight even if a solution to the current impasse is found.

‘No Way Back’ for Kiev Protesters

Bloody clashes that have left more than a score dead and more than a 1,000 injured in the Ukrainian capital could continue for weeks. Local people say there is now “no way back” for either side in what has become the worst crisis in the country’s post-Soviet history.

Russian Health Going Down With Vodka

Sitting in the dining room of a Moscow hotel, manager Yulia Golovanova explains why she always likes to see Russians, rather than foreigners, bring guests in.

Ukraine Crackdown Hits Fight Against AIDS

Groups battling one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics say their task may get “catastrophically” harder following the introduction of controversial laws in Ukraine in response to months of anti-government protests.

Ukraine Media Under Attack

Just hours after Ukrainian investigative journalist Tetyana Chornovil was beaten and left for dead last month at the side of the road by men she claims were acting on the orders of the country’s president, pictures of her battered and bruised face quickly made their way around the world.

Russia Plays the Pardon Game

An amnesty freeing high-profile detainees and convicts and the pardoning of arguably Russia’s most famous political prisoner have failed to move critics of the country’s appalling human rights record.

Kremlin Tightens Grip on Media

Russia is set to lose one of its few relatively objective news outlets as the Kremlin moves to tighten its grip on the country’s media.

Ukraine Crackdown Turns Sinister

As anti-government protests in the Ukraine move into their third week, there are growing concerns among individuals and civil society organisations in the country over the regime’s approach to protestors.

Foul Play Ahead of Russian Olympics

Despite an endorsement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for their adherence to environmental standards in preparations for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities are cracking down harder and harder on people trying to expose the environmental cost of projects related to the Games.

HIV ‘Wave’ Feared in Central Asia

Healthcare systems in Eastern Europe and Central Asia remain woefully unable to cope with HIV/AIDS as the region’s raging epidemic – the fastest growing in the world – takes on a new dimension, a senior UN official has told IPS.

Russia Invents a Migrant Enemy

Growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Russia which spilled over into violent riots in Moscow earlier this month is playing into the hands of a government keen to promote the image of a popular ‘enemy’ to a discontented public, rights groups claim.

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