Recent news dictates that our June issue be dedicated to Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has begun his third term in office amid considerable skepticism and growing public doubt.
The Return of the Tsar is the title we’ve given to this issue’s Dossier section, which opens with an exhaustive report from Astrit Dakli, a longtime student of Russia. Dakli analyzes the presidential election, probes the Kremlin’s international agenda, and studies Moscow’s relations with former Soviet states. Dakli’s insights are followed by statistical information about the Russian mood supplied by the Levada Institute and Flavio Fusi’s examination of the key role the online world is playing in animating Russian discontent and protest. Our Inside Voices column comes from Russian journalist and writer Yulia Latynina, who supplies a scathing and often ironic attack on Putin and his governing methods. Analyst Ben Judah reflects on the impact of recent Russian street protest, while Alessandra Garusi examines the intensification of repressive legislation. Paola Caridi takes a look at the growing power of Russians in Israel. We close out the section with a report of the growth of prostitution and the sex industry in former Soviet Bloc states. As always, we devote ample space to Europe. Giuseppe Scognamiglio offers his views on the need for growth and development, and not just austerity. Antonio Ferrari and Marta Ottaviani both weigh in on Turkey, Matteo Tacconi looks at the growth of Poland’s “big four” cities, which will host coming European Championship games, and Luisa Betti offers a poignant look at Eastern European children left behind when their parents migrate west in search of work. Our photo essay is by Marco Bulgarelli, who provides a panorama of images on the Danube River, which flows west to east and defines the cultural diversity of a continent. As always, you’ll find our host of columns, including Roberto Santaniello’s “Western Shore” and Stefano Bottoni’s “Eastern Shore,” which together examine events across the continent. Manuela Dviri supplies her Tel Aviv Notes column while Francesca Lancini weighs in with “That’s Incredible,” and Carlotta Magnanini offers up “By the Numbers.” Our special report focuses on war-torn Kabul, as described by Giuliana Sgrena. Carlo Pizzati examines the power of female politicians in India. Francesca Lancini looks at the hopes and dreams of Burma, whose democratic hopes are still marred by scarring ethnic struggles.
In the Arab world and in Iran, artistic expression is intrinsically linked to resisting authoritarianism. The wave of changes sweeping Middle East has returned artists, videographers, documentary makers and webmasters to the forefront.