Russia

4:03pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Europe

Will The New AK-47 Be As Popular As The Original?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:59 am

A Colombian police officer stands guard next to seized Chinese-made AK-47 replicas on Nov. 18, 2009. The guns have become so ubiquitous around the world that Russia's planned redesign may not do much to booster sales.
Luis Robayo Getty Images

The Kalashnikov assault rifle, or AK-47, is one of the most dangerous and widely used weapons in the world. For more than 60 years, nations, rebels, gangsters and child soldiers have wielded the gun.

And now, Russian officials say it's outdated. As part of a $700 billion army modernization program, the country has announced a redesign of the rifle.

New York Times foreign correspondent C.J. Chivers — author of The Gun, a book about the Kalashnikov — tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the updates are mostly cosmetic.

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11:35am

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Russia, China Join Call For Syria To Let U.N. Human Rights Official Visit

In what Israel's Haaretz.com is referring to as a "rare move" by longtime supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Russia and China today joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in calling on Syria to let U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos see what's happening inside that nation.

Syria so far has not allowed Amos to visit.

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11:30am

Thu March 1, 2012
Europe

As Election Nears, Russians Express Frustrations

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 4:10 pm

Thousands of Russians form a 10-mile human chain around a Moscow ring road on Monday during an opposition protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He is expected to win the March 4 presidential elections but is facing growing opposition.
UPI/Landov

Cars decorated with white ribbons and carnations drove around Moscow's Garden Ring Road in a wet snow this past Sunday, honking cheerfully to the thousands of demonstrators on the sidewalk who formed a human chain around the city.

Elena Korobova was a link in that chain.

"I want to get rid of Putin, because I don't like his policy, I don't like what he's doing for Russia," she says of Vladimir Putin, Russia's current prime minister.

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9:24am

Thu March 1, 2012
Author Interviews

Masha Gessen: How Vladimir Putin Rose To Power

Media suppression, corruption and the murder of political rivals have marked the regime of Vladimir Putin, who is running for his third term as president in Russia's election next week. Despite mass demonstrations, he's expected to win.

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10:20am

Tue February 28, 2012
Author Interviews

Putin 101: Understanding Russia's 'Strongman'

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 10:36 am

Macmillan

Russia's presidential election is on Saturday. The projected winner is current prime minister — and former president — Vladimir Putin, the subject of a new biography, The Strongman. Author Angus Roxburgh is a longtime journalist who served briefly as a public relations adviser to the Kremlin. He joined Morning Edition's David Greene to discuss the complicated figure who dominates and defines Russian politics.


Interview Highlights

On Putin's ability to manipulate others

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