After a three-year run, my final piece for @moscowtimes (I’ll share what’s next another day) is a conversation with Putin’s close friend Sergei Roldugin about why he bought a $20 million violin and how he could afford it. Russia in a nutshell, etc. https://t.co/5ZQ4zjTh0S
Elections in Russia and some other former Soviet states are largely theater, with the ruling party nearly always winning. Achieving that result requires picking a safe and plausible loser, but the process is not flawless.
I met soldiers back from the front. They spoke of fearsome loitering "suicide drones," the stench of uncollected bodies and Azerbaijani soldiers marching into the line of fire.
"I won’t say that we are not afraid," a commander said. "We are all afraid." https://t.co/CfP3XAebYI
I met an architect who had lost one of her buildings to the war; now she feared for her sons.
“War is probably the most terrible thing in the world. All the most horrible things that man ever created rear their heads in their most horrible manifestation.” https://t.co/CfP3XzWAA8
We visited southern Armenian villages where Azerbaijanis used to live. The Armenians who replaced them are sure the Azerbaijanis will never return. A long view of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on today’s front page https://t.co/mLTKT9sASY
In a village in southern Armenia, they're taking down the Azerbaijani war memorial. Armenians and Azerbaijanis are fighting one of their region's deadliest wars in decades, but they still remember living together in peace.
With photos by @SergeyPonomarevhttps://t.co/ANoXbEfaP0
Also Zatulin: “By unconditionally supporting Lukashenko, we are creating an enormous problem for ourselves in the future with the majority or a significant part of the Belarusian population.” https://t.co/psRBQseU3a
“Every day of conflict in Karabakh is, effectively, helping zero out Russia’s authority,” says Konstantin Zatulin, a senior Putin-allied lawmaker specializing in the post-Soviet space. https://t.co/psRBQseU3a