Hey, you’re busy! We know rferl.org isn’t the only website you read. And that it’s just possible you may have missed some of our most compelling journalism this week. To make sure you’re up-to-date, here are some of the highlights produced by RFE/RL’s team of correspondents, multimedia editors, and visual journalists over the past seven days.
Mad Maps: Kaliningrad: The Tiny Russian ‘Ham’ Inside An EU ‘Sandwich’
Seventy-five years have passed since the German city of Koenigsberg and its surrounding area became Kaliningrad, now an odd piece of Russia disconnected from the rest of the country. So how did a German region become a Russian exclave? And what role does it play for Russia today? By Kaisa Alliksaar and Kristyna Foltynova
2020: The Year’s Best From RFE/RL’s Photographers
From the effects of the coronavirus pandemic to the brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in Belarus, here are some of the most striking images of the year as taken by RFE/RL’s photographers. As chosen by Lucie Steinzova and Kateryna Oliynyk
‘A Postimperial Transformation’: With Its Neighborhood In Turmoil, Russia Reassesses The Costs Of Hegemony
Concurrent political crises in Russia’s neighborhood have commanded the Kremlin’s attention. But its relative caution may mark a shift to a more pragmatic approach to a region it has long claimed as its sphere of influence. By Matthew Luxmoore
‘War Minus The Shooting’: When Soviet Soccer Took On The Brits After World War II
Seventy-five years ago and just months after the end of World War II, Dynamo Moscow became the first Soviet soccer team to tour Britain. The four games in November 1945 generated huge fan interest, controversy, and surprising results. By Tony Wesolowsky
Russian New Year: At The Heart Of A Wide Tapestry Of Winter Traditions
As part of a series on how the end-of-year holidays are celebrated in our broadcast region, we talked to Irina Lagunina from RFE/RL’s Russian Service about seasonal traditions in her country. “The main festivity is New Year’s night; that’s when Russians prepare the dinner of the year, the main celebration for family, unity, and so forth…” she says. “And there are some absolute must-have dishes on the table.” By Coilin O’Connor and Irina Lagunina
COVID-19 Crackdowns, Expanded Authoritarianism, And The Post-Pandemic World
Harsh COVID restrictions have allowed governments in some countries — including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan — to expand their powers. Rights activists say misused measures need to be drastically rolled back in the post-pandemic world. By Ron Synovitz
Lukashenka’s Long Rule Over Belarus Looks Set To Survive 2020. What About 2021?
Facing unflagging mass protests, a sputtering state-dominated economy, stepped-up sanctions, and increasing international isolation, Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues to cling to power months after an election many Belarusians say he stole. Will that change in 2021? By Tony Wesolowsky
This post was originally published on Radio Free.