RFE/RL's Weekly Rundown , a concise look at our top stories this week:
# Petro Poroshenko, You've Just Been Elected Ukraine's President. Now What?: Poroshenko says his first priority is to visit the Donbas region, so what might he hear when he goes, and what's likely to be at the top of the agenda when he returns? Edward Lucas of "The Economist" says Ukraine has "turned a corner," while U.S. Senator Ted Cruz tells RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Radio Svoboda, that America must stand against Russia's "acts of war" in Ukraine.
# Wither Maidan? : As the weather and prospects for political reconciliation in Ukraine get brighter, a torpor has set in on the Maidan, where activists are split on whether or not they should stay. Hoping to coax them out is Kyiv's newly-elected mayor, former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, but without municipal management experience, is he punching above his weight?
# Ukraine's Rebellious East : An uneasy calm has settled over Donetsk, days after dozens of pro-Russian separatist fighters were reported killed in fighting with government forces. Local journalists report that people are being held hostage in government buildings still controlled by separatists. Radio Svoboda talks to a district official who says he was seized by a group of men when he visited one of the buildings and was thrown into a dungeon-like cellar full of other captives before being released several hours later. Also, it's no longer a secret that fighters from the Chechen Vostok Battalion are operating in eastern Ukraine, but what's its game plan? Finally, could Crimea be back in Ukraine's fold in a matter of months? That's the prediction of one Crimean Tatar leader. (See also: "Reporter's Notebook: Separatists In Eastern Ukraine Think Journalists Are Either For Them Or Against Them.")
# Russia's Eurasia Dream : Using a combination of subsidies and coercion, Moscow is solidifying its Eurasian integration dream, making it both deeper and broader. But coming in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, and against the backdrop of Russia's intervention in eastern Ukraine, suspicions abound that it is but another step in the restoration of the old empire.
# Meanwhile at the EP: It's the year of the fringe for European Parliament as far-left and far-right parties look to nearly double their seats, boosting the likelihood of more pro-Russian voices in the chamber. RFE/RL talks to Judy Dempsey, a nonresident senior associate at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of the "Strategic Europe" blog, about why Euroskeptics won the day.
# Afghanistan's Future : While Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed U.S. plans for a complete withdrawal from the country, observers say there is dismay within the government and the public over a future without foreign forces. Meanwhile, interpreters who have been working for NATO troops face a dangerous and uncertain future in the country. But even as the country is buffeted by regime changes, Taliban infighting, and bloody wars, one elderly Afghan "Johnny Appleseed" plants hope.
# Beyond #YesAllWomen : Imagine a country where, on average, every 40 minutes a girl is kidnapped for the purpose of marriage: that is 32 girls per day, for an approximate total of 11,800 kidnapped girls per year. Welcome to the grim reality of forced marriage in Kyrgyzstan. Meanwhile, the killing of a Pakistani woman by her relatives because she married a man against her family's will is again focusing the world's attention on so-called honor killings. What drives honor killings and why are they so hard to prevent? And in the Balkans, the story of one rape survivor in Kosovo who, like thousands of others, faces rejection by her own family if she dares tell them what happened during the war.
# # Lady Liberty, RFE/RL's page dedicated to the contributions of its women journalists and other media in our target region, has a new Facebook page. Follow it for daily reporting, the issues women confront, and the political, societal and cultural landscapes in which women journalists work.
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-- Karisue Wyson