December 19, 2007

One Soldier’s War in Chechnya

It was with some pleasurable anticipation that I awaited this book from the Frontline’s Books Editor. He wanted “a soldier to review a soldier’s book.” When it arrived, I did what I do with all books before starting to read it in earnest: examine the cover, look at the photos, check for maps. This volume […]

December 8, 2007

A journey through Putin’s Russia part 4

We arrived in Tyumen early morning after another overnight train ride and were greeted by our next guide, a BP interpreter who on first impressions appears to be a bit of a snob, but we warmed to her slowly, first impressions after a rather sleepless journey can mess with your judgement skills. After checking into […]

December 7, 2007

A Journey through Putin’s Russia Part 3

For the next stage of our trip we took another train to Yekaterinburg for about 24 hours in second class where we had to share a compartment with an elderly couple Konstantin and Galia on their way to the oil town of Nizhnevartovsk for a wedding. They shared with us their food for journey including […]

December 5, 2007

BBC staff get Russian stick

This just in from AP, via Pravda, British Broadcasting Corp’s employees have been attacked in Moscow over the past two weeks. The company was investigating whether they were targeted because of their work. The attacks took place on three different dates in three different locations since Nov. 24, BBC World Service spokesman Peter Connors said […]

December 3, 2007

A Journey through Putin’s Russia Part 2

Our drive to Samara is helped along grandly by our miserable second Tatar translator Ilnur who drones on continuously about Tatar self determination, the Golden Hordes (heard that before), how immorally behaved his other housemates were when he studied in a university in the UK , Islam , and why don’t British Tourists visit his […]

November 28, 2007

Heathcliff O’Malley is blogging

And what’s that new name at the top of the page? Frontline club member Heathcliff O’Malley joins the From the frontline blog ranks today. He’s a photographer, often found within the pages of the Daily Telegraph. He’s on the road in Russia, following President Vladimir Putin across the steppes. Go read his blog. If you […]

November 28, 2007

A journey Through Putin’s Russia Part 1

My trip to Russia started with a phone call from the picture desk, saying that they might want me to go to Russia in the next few days . It all becomes clear the following morning , if I want to go I have only a couple of hours to apply for a Visa and […]

October 19, 2007

The End of Democracy

A decade ago Russia was on its knees. Today it is an energy giant in a world with an apparently unslakeable thirst for oil. As its wealth grows, so does Moscow’s desire to re-establish  itself  on the world stage. Overtures to Hamas, nuclear co-operation with Iran, and a sharing of Serbia’s concerns over Kosovo are […]

September 22, 2007

Freedom for South Ossetia

South Ossetia wants to break free, she’s wanted to break from the shackles of Georgia ever since the Soviet Empire imploded and well… we all know the rest, don’t we? The wannabe South Ossetians have declared an Independence day and it sounds like an awful lorra fun, The parade made its way noisily down Stalin […]

September 22, 2007

Taking more flak

Talking of flak, shrapnel, war wounds and the like. The latest fashion fad in the Caucasus for the dogs of the Russian Federation is – you guessed it – fancy flak jackets poodle style, "Dogs in Chechnya neutralised land mines and other explosive devices which are not seen by mine detectors. And that is why […]

September 21, 2007

Another 100 million bricks in the wall

From Edward Lucas The Economist’s Estonia expert and author of the upcoming book "The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Russia and the West", Imagine two walls, each 120km (75 miles) long, set at right angles and tapering to a height of three metres. They are covered in names, each inscribed in letters 1.35 […]

August 18, 2007

Chechnya – Russia’s “War on Terror”

When three planes smashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, few expected Chechnya to feel the impact. But 9/11 probably had the most far-reaching consequences for the Chechens since Stalin deported the entire population to Siberia in 1944. It also saved the career of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose […]

June 22, 2007

Inside Out – July 07

I started writing this en-route to Frontline’s first event in Kiev amid rumours that Alan Johnston would finally be released. The nightmare for the Johnston family, his loved ones and colleagues looked set to end. At the same the staff of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) were just coming to terms with […]

May 25, 2007

Ukraine unravels

Just over two years ago it seemed Ukraine was firmly headed on a democratic path after its bloodless “Orange Revolution”. But for the last several months the country has been in political crisis and opposing demonstrators have crowded onto its streets. The crisis has revealed the ugly and deep-seated problems which endanger Ukraine’s very existence […]

November 3, 2006

Death of a critic

It was an early morning phone call that let me know of the attack. Issa, a friend in Chechnya, his usually steady voice betraying just a tremor of fear, said unknown gunmen had opened fire on the car he had sent to collect me.  Of the two men inside, one was badly wounded. He said […]