Armenia's last-minute decision to join a Russian-led customs union at the expense of much closer ties with the European Union has been widely attributed in the West to strong pressure and bullying by Russia.
Istanbul's city center exploded in protest during the summer, Syria's civil war continued through the year, the targeting of undocumented workers in Russia intensified, and America's use of the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan soon comes to an end. These, and hundreds of other stories, were covered by our contributing photojournalists and documentary photographers in 2013.
With a combination of the kitsch of Eurovision and the lofty sentiments of pan-Turkic brotherhood, the Turkic-speaking world’s first international song contest, Turkvision, made its debut. Azerbaijan won the inaugural contest, besting 23 other competitors from across the Turkic world – from the powerhouse host Turkey to tiny Shoria, a region of 14,000 in western Siberia.
The re-election of Angela Merkel as German chancellor in a grand coalition government means the return of Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. Among his main challenges is the need to recalibrate Germany’s – and, by extension, Europe’s – foreign policy towards Russia.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenia, in many ways, must offer a welcome contrast to Ukraine and its building protests against economic integration with Russia and its proposed trade bloc, the Customs Union.
For Georgia, the signing of an association agreement marks a major stride toward the European Union. But the pact should not be construed as an insurance policy against continued meddling by Moscow, experts say.