Stories about Moscow

Remembering Pakistan’s sacrifices for securing Europe’s freedom

In the November of 1989, ordinary Germans began physically tearing down the Berlin Wall whilst the soldiers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) stood by doing nothing. Throughout Europe, communist regimes that had been imposed on largely non-consenting populations were falling. The global media remarked that all of this happened without a shot being fired, the exception being Romania where two shots were fired — one into the head of the dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and one into that of his wife. However, this seemingly neat and tidy story of how communism fell in Europe is rather illusory, because throughout the 1980s, there was ...

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Munch on these easy, lip-smacking snacks instead of your nails while rooting for your World Cup team!

The stage has been set. Stadium lights are ablaze. Billions around the world are worshipping the black and white ball. Even those who don’t really follow football are simply tailgating and gathering in groups to cheer on their favourite teams. The FIFA World Cup is already shaping up to be more exciting than many had hoped. Hosts Russia kicked off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Moscow. There have already been some shocks: Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the competition, was the first to qualify for the Round-of-16; defending champions Germany have been knocked out of the ...

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For these 10 players, the 2018 FIFA World Cup could be their last shot at redemption

There are superstars and there are rising stars. There are seasoned veterans and there are hidden gems. Then there are those looking for a final chance at reviving their stagnating careers. The World Cup is a showcase for everyone and anyone but for some players, it is more about one last shot at salvaging their careers than aiming for the World Cup glory. But then again, things can go either way and players can find their careers sinking, if they exhibit poor performance in this tournament. In this list, let’s look at 10 players for whom this World Cup could ...

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Is Trump’s secret relationship with Putin the only thing preventing another Cold War?

The world order these days feels more like a throwback to the Cold War era, as the UK and its allies take diplomatic action against Russia for its alleged role in the nerve toxin poisoning of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. The UK’s western allies – especially the European Union (EU), the US, and members of NATO – have shown solidarity with London, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats. Skripal, a former Russian spy, was accused of selling Russian secrets to Britain, and was hence jailed. It was in 2010 that he, along with his daughter, went to ...

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Pakistan and Russia: From Cold War foes to budding allies?

It is no secret that Pak-US ties are experiencing a downward spiral. However, there is some good coming out of this mistrust between both countries. The ongoing tensions have motivated Pakistan to reach out to regional stakeholders other than China for potential partnerships, and one such partner being actively pursued by Islamabad is its former Afghan-jihad foe, Russia. Who would have thought that after almost three decades of Soviet disintegration and Pakistan’s active role in the former’s defeat in Afghanistan, both countries’ foreign ministers would be warmly embracing each other in Moscow? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif – who recently concluded a three-day visit to Russia and signed a number of ...

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Who can possibly hurt me if I have already conquered the pain by hurting myself?

Droplets of blood appeared on his arm. Trembling, he deepened the cut, elongating it along the markings he had drawn earlier. This time, more blood trickled out. Clamping his teeth firmly around the washcloth, he spread the cut along the length of his bony arm. “How about that now, father? It is blood gushing out, isn’t it? Your weak skinny boy has some blood in him after all!” He mumbled furiously to himself, picturing his father’s bewildered face. He would love to wipe that smug smile off his face. He had conquered the only fear he had, the biggest fear anyone ...

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16 years after 9/11: Its tragic memory, surreal aftermath and the insecure world it left behind

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...

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Russia will never sabotage its alliance with Iran for Donald Trump

As I write these lines, Washington is abuzz with the news of Donald Trump’s top security advisor, Michael Flynn’s resignation. The White House is trying to clean up the mess Flynn’s rather over-zealously erratic act created, ending up in critics looking at the election victory in a whole new light.  Ironically, Trump saw in Flynn the capability to penetrate the Russian iron curtain by virtue of his connections with Moscow. Ironically also, it was Flynn who had put Iran on an unexplained and unelaborated ‘notice’ early February – an ill-conceived, rhetoric ridden, flash in the pan type of a half-step that really just reiterated Washington’s unsavoury ...

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10 iconic moments no sports fan can ever forget

Every year, hundreds of sports events are held around the world, yet a very few moments among them linger on in our memories and eventually turn into classic moments we keep replaying in our minds. Here are 10 of the most irreplaceable flashes every sports fanatic can never erase from their memories: 1. Maradona’s ‘Goal of the Century’ during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Photo: Reuters Within five minutes of the second-half during the quarter-final match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup between England and Argentina, Diego Maradona gave the football world two of its most classic moments. First, he scored the  famous ‘Hand of God’ goal as the result of an ...

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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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