An ice-skating babushka living solo on Russia’s Lake Baikal, a kindergarten-teacher-turned-rapper in Ukraine, a model-blogger with cerebral palsy defying discrimination in Kazakhstan. They may not make international headlines, but these real-life, first-person stories offer insight into everyday life in Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, and beyond that no news analysis can provide. Put a face on the trends, policies, and events with profiles (in mostly chronological order) from My Story.
Chechnya's Mail Carrier In Heels: Delivering A Message Of Self-Respect For Women
Thirty-six-year-old mail carrier Madina's profession, departure from an abusive marriage, and even high heels and short skirts appear to go against the grain of what many consider “appropriate” for women in conservative Chechnya, but she shows no sign of backing down.
'You Look Asian': Russian Activist Seeks Justice For Racial Profiling
Aleksandr Kim, a Russian rights activist, intervened when he saw Moscow police stopping migrants for identity checks and refused to comply when officers demanded his documents based solely on his appearance. Kim hopes to to shed light on police officers' use of racial profiling.
Shaman On 8,000-Kilometer Trek 'To Topple Putin'
This March, 51-year-old Aleksandr Gabyshev left Yakutsk in Russia's Far East to walk 8,000 kilometers to the Russian capital and rally opposition to President Vladimir Putin, whom he calls a demon. So far, no media reports suggest that he has been hindered.
'A Person, Not An Invalid': Smolensk DJ Defies His Diagnosis
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Stas Borodin, 33, lost a good job in Moscow, his wife left him, and he was forced to return to his native Smolensk. He didn't give up, but instead started a new life and became a well-known DJ in the city.
Amid Moscow Violence, Italian Priest Offered 'Love To Everyone'
An Italian priest gave sanctuary in a Moscow church to protesters fleeing from riot police amid some of the worst police brutality the Russian capital has seen in years. Later, he allowed policemen to come in for water because, he says, the Orthodox Church must offer "love to everyone."
The Dukhobors, Georgia's Pacifist 'Spirit Warriors'
In Georgia, members of a small Christian sect called the Dukhobors preserve the faith they brought with them from Russia in centuries past. Their forebears were persecuted and exiled for their unconventional beliefs and refusal to serve in the army.
'Half-Naked And Barefoot': Chechens, Ingush Recall 1944 Deportations
In February 1944, Soviet leaders started forcibly deporting nearly half a million people from the Caucasus region to Central Asia. Seventy-five years later, survivors who remain in Kazakhstan spoke to Current Time about the lasting trauma of being torn from their homes and families.
The Human Touch
Age No Obstacle For Octogenarian Postal Worker On 48-KM Route
Eighty-two-year-old Yekaterina Dzalayeva has been delivering the mail for half a century in Russia's North Ossetia region. Memories of awaiting the mail during World War II fueled her dedication.The Internet has not diminished it. In this remote mountain community, it's the human touch that counts.
The Tragic Death Of Tomsk's Beloved Puppet Master
Tomsk's beloved puppeteer, Vladimir Zakharov, built and ran his own theater in the Siberian city after switching from robotics to puppetry in the 1990s. He died tragically in early February while trying to save his puppets after his workshop caught fire.
All Creatures Wild And Small: A Kyrgyz Man's Rescue Mission
A resident of Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, has persuaded the city authorities to give him land for a rehabilitation center for rescued wild animals. With the help of volunteers, he saves porcupines, raccoons, foxes, and other animals, and then releases them back them into the wild.