A man wearing a cowboy hat and an American-flag shirt sits astride a Pershing missile. His face has been peeled away, exposing his skull. Nearby, a Kyrgyz grandmother in traditional dress, a naked child and a Russian Orthodox priest, among others, demand, in English, “No more Hiroshimas!”
Taking the bus from Tbilisi to Istanbul is a 24-hour-plus ordeal that generally involves cattle-dodging, seaside views, stops for local food and the pungent odors of fellow travelers. But there is another rite of passage that helps differentiates the trip from most other long bus rides -- the loading and transit of hundreds of cartons of cigarettes.
For many in Georgia, Russia’s annexation Crimea is reigniting fears about separatism rooted in ethnic conflict and Kremlin meddling. But now Georgians aren’t just worrying about the breakaway entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, they also are concerned about the loyalty of the predominantly ethnic-Armenian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s apparent landslide victory in Turkey’s recent local elections is giving him a boost as he seeks his ultimate political goal – the establishment of a strong presidential system of government, analysts say. But amid allegations of government corruption, abuse of power and election fraud, will social unity be left curbside in the process?
"I’m going for a swim," says Pelle Bendz, a 52-year-old Swede, as he rummages in the jeep for his bathing trunks. The other tourists look at him, bewildered. What’s left of the Aral Sea is reputed to be a toxic stew, contaminated by pesticides and other chemicals. But the weather’s hot and Bendz insists his travel agency told him “swimming” was part of the package.
As the Russia-Ukraine crisis unfolds, the Armenian government is casting its diplomatic lot with the Kremlin. Some in Yerevan worry the government is committing a geopolitical blunder by expressing a clear preference for Russia over the West.