Nine stories you must read (or watch)
Hey, you’re busy! We know rferl.org is not the only website you read. And that it’s just possible that you missed some of our most compelling journals this week. To make sure you’re up to date, here are some of the highlights produced by RFE / RL’s team of correspondents, multimedia editors and visual journalists over the past seven days.
Considering recent dramatic developments in Kabul and beyond, much of our content this week has come from Gandhara, an Afghanistan and Pakistan focused RFE / RL website that is a go-to source for English reporting from our networks of local journalists in both countries.
Outsmart the Kremlin? How Navalny’s “smart vote” works.
Smart voting is a successful voting strategy promoted by opposition leader Alexei Navalny that makes the Kremlin – and the ruling United Russia party – nervous. He helps oppositional Russians vote for those candidates deemed most capable of defeating United Russia candidates. This is how it works. By Carlos Coelho and Mike Eckel
‘Unity’ holiday tests Balkan sympathy and tolerance for a new ‘Serbian world’
A ceremony to mark Serbian National Unity Day was held in front of a monument in Belgrade dedicated to the 12th century Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja. The jointly declared holiday on September 15 was first introduced last year in Serbia and Republika Srpska, the predominantly Serbian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Critics say the call for Serbian flags to be displayed across the region is a provocation, but Serbian President Alexander Vucic has said Serbs will never apologize for flying the Serbian flag again. By Andy Heil, Marija Augustinovic and Goran Katic
Tajikistan: Taliban’s toughest critic
Tajikistan is Afghanistan’s only neighbor that does not try to come to terms with the Taliban. Why is Dushanbe taking this unique position and what will this mean for the future? By Bruce Pannier
‘A Miserable Existence’: Farmers Feed Cardboard Animals As Kazakh Drought Bites
Kazakh farmers have started feeding their animals with mud made from cardboard and water amid a drought they say is the worst in living memory. Thousands of animals are estimated to have died, pushing farmers into poverty in Manghystau province in western Kazakhstan. Some have predicted worse to come. “Winter is coming,” said one farmer. “Hungry animals will not be able to survive the cold.” Disclaimer: Viewers may find the content of this video disturbing. By Manas Kaiyrtayuly, Kazakh Service of RFE / RL, and Ray Furlong