Evgeny Finkel

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A burning police car during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 5. (Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters)

Russia is deploying troops to Kazakhstan, where a sharp increase in fuel prices and the rising costs of food and other necessities have triggered mass protests. So far, dozens of people have died. Government buildings have been torched, statues of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev toppled. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s position is shaky. Unable to quell the protests on its own, the Kazakh leadership asked for assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led regional security alliance.

Yet Kazakhstan’s problems are not unique to itself. Ominously, prices of staple foods and other vital goods are rapidly rising in Russia as well.…  Seguir leyendo »

Undersecretary of State at the Chancellery of the President of Poland Wojciech Kolarski, left, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, right, place candles at the Monument to the Victims at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Oswiecim, Poland, on Jan. 27, 2018. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

On Feb. 1 the Polish parliament’s upper house approved a controversial bill that aimed, according to its backers, “to protect Poland’s reputation and ensure historians recognize that Poles as well as Jews perished under the Nazis.” Widely interpreted as criminalizing any mention that some Poles committed crimes during the Holocaust, the law was swiftly condemned by a wide range of Holocaust commemoration bodies, survivors, and historians. The United States asked Poland to rethink the legislation. Israel countered with a bill that criminalizes denying or minimizing the role of Nazi collaborators.

But few in the Western media read Polish, and the law’s actual scope is actually broader than has been reported.…  Seguir leyendo »

The entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with the lettering ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (‘Work makes you free’) (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

One month ago, on July 9, Iraq’s prime minister announced the liberation of Mosul after three years of Islamic State rule. The violence displaced almost 800,000 civilians; more than 40,000 died, and large tracts of the city were turned to rubble during the battle that had lasted since October 2016. Beyond those dramatic losses, the war also fundamentally reshaped local communities — as the remaining houses, land and other assets changed owners.

Of the Iraqi refugees interviewed by the International Organization for Migration, 89 percent said they had their dwellings confiscated; some 35 percent lost farmland, and 13 percent lost businesses.…  Seguir leyendo »