July/August 2003

Features in this Issue

The Lure of Kunashir

Off limits for eight decades, the Kurile islands are a treasure trove of natural history and geological wonders. We travel to the southernmost island, which is just a stone's throw from Japan.

A Dangerous Relic

The Cold War is over and Russians badly want to reform their military forces to face new realities, both within the country and without. There's just one thing: the military brass doesn't want to fall in line.

A Russian Sorrow

While politicians and generals debate the pace and scope of military reform, Russia's Cold War conscription army stumbles along, perpetuating astonishing abuses. Over 70% of Russians are in favor of ending the draft. Here's why.

Behind the Fences

Russians love their dachas. They are a place of rest, escape and exhilarating labor. We welcome sumer with a look at this venerable institution, and offer tips on dacha peeping and even dacha rentals.

Field Guide to Dachas of the Moscow Region

From Peredelkino to Nikolina Gora, each dacha community is different in its own way...

Spirits of Alkhanai Mountain

Russia's Buddhists have a rich, ancient religion that is deeply in tune with the natural world and rooted in the beautiful mountains southeast of Lake Baikal. We take a spiritual walk up Mount Alkhanai, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Russia.

Pskov (and Pskovians)

An arranged marriage put Pskov on the map (or so the Chronicle says). But, since then, for 1100 years, Pskov has been an important crossroads between Russia and Europe. For a millenium, Pskov has withstood countless attacks and seiges, while facilitating trade and commerce. Its biggest challenge today is integrating with the wider world, while preserving a hold on its historic past.

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