Articles by Maura Reynolds



Republicans Focus on Security

  • 06 September 06
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
In the run-up to the elections, Republicans are planning to highlight issues they believe play to the party's strengths.

Hussein Plans Predate Sept. 11, Says O'Neill

  • 12 January 04
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The Bush administration was determined to oust Saddam Hussein long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told CBS television in an interview that was to be aired Sunday night.

Bush's Top-Secret Visit to Baghdad

  • 01 December 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
For more than five weeks, the president's inner circle and top security advisers kept the idea to themselves. During a trip to Asia in October, President George W. Bush had asked his most trusted aides to try to fly him to Baghdad, Iraq, for Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. troops.

Putin Waits for a Cue From the UN

  • 29 September 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
At the close of a Camp David summit with U.S. President George W. Bush on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin praised the ""real and mutually respectful partnership"" between the two countries but stopped short of offering to help in the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq.

Kadyrov Was the Uninvited Guest

  • 29 September 03
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
A diplomatic tiff over a member of President Vladimir Putin's delegation to the United Nations has spotlighted strains in the two countries' relationship over Chechnya.

Legend of Pavlik Morozov Dies Hard

  • 13 November 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The cult-like legend surrounding Pavlik Morozov still haunts a country not yet at peace with its past.

Government Denies Dalai Lama Visa

  • 19 August 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The government reversed course Friday and denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, complaining that the exiled Tibetan leader mixes politics with religion to a degree unacceptable to China -- and, by extension, to Russia.

Nuclear Ministry Plays Down Iran Plans

  • 05 August 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
After three days of tense talks with top U.S. envoys, Russian officials appeared to back away a half-step Friday from plans to expand their nuclear cooperation with Iran.

L.A. Victim Was Sought in Russia

  • 22 July 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
At the time of his death, a Russian businessman whose body was pulled from a Northern California reservoir this spring was being sought for questioning by Russian investigators in connection with an $8 million embezzlement case.

Suspect Wanted by FBI Living in Barnaul

  • 10 July 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
A Russian businessman who is the target of a worldwide FBI manhunt is living openly and quietly in his hometown in the Altai region.

A Tale of Two Feuding Royal Grave Sites

  • 21 June 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The competing burial sites demonstrate that when it comes to the executed Romanovs, secular and religious politics have yet to make their peace.

Chechens Say Troops Ignore Order 80

  • 24 April 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Less than two weeks after announcing new safeguards to prevent abuses, the military launched a large-scale operation in Chechnya that was marked by beatings, looting, electric shock torture and at least two extrajudicial killings, residents and human rights workers say.

No Chechens at Guantanamo Bay

  • 05 April 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Among the 300 or so al-Qaida suspects being detained at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, Russia has identified three as Russian citizens from Muslim minorities.

Kandahar's Homosexual Tendencies

  • 04 April 02
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
In his 29 years, Mohammed Daud has seen the faces of perhaps 200 women. A few dozen were family members. The rest were glimpses stolen when he should not have been looking and the women were caught without their face-shrouding burgas.

Amnesty to Investigate Prison Revolt

  • 30 November 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Tossing grenades into a prison basement in a grisly rout of the last few holdouts, the Northern Alliance quelled a three-day rebellion by Taliban prisoners near this northern Afghan city.

Into the Thin Cold Air

  • 24 August 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
TERSKOL, Southern Russia Ч One must approach Europe's highest mountain as a supplicant, the locals warn. Slowly. With respect. She is a haughty queen, they say. Beautiful and placid on the surface, wearing her 5,642 meters of icy glaciers like ermine robes. Her twin conical summits are as gently rounded as a woman's breasts. But geologically and temperamentally, she is a volcano. When angry, she fumes foul gases and stirs fierce storms, which cause climbers to become dizzy and lose their way. Perhaps she is petulant because so many don't take her seriously. Europeans, enamored of their elegant Alps, resist including this downtrodden corner of Russia on the map of Europe. Mountaineers, enamored of more treacherous peaks, consider her little more than a high-altitude slog. Perhaps it is only the Balkarian people, who tend their sheep on her flanks, who love her unconditionally. ""She's our sacred mountain,"" says Iskhak Tilov, a Balkar who runs a high-altitude base for mountain climbers and skiers.

Tank Commander Says He Never Backed Yeltsin

  • 20 August 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
If there was one moment that decided the outcome of the August coup Ч and, by extension, the fate of Russia Ч it was when Boris Yeltsin looked into Boris Tesyolkin's eyes. Tesyolkin was commander of a group of three tanks that pulled up outside the White House on Aug. 19, 1991. And it was onto his tank that Yeltsin clambered to read his appeal declaring the putsch illegal and the putschists criminals. ""I greeted the commander of the tank upon which I was standing and talked with the soldiers,"" Yeltsin wrote later. ""From their faces, from the expression in their eyes, I could see they would not shoot us."" Yeltsin describes the moment as an epiphany. After meeting the tank crew, he wrote later, he was sure the Russian people Ч and the Russian army Ч would rally behind him. It was his signature moment, the image that would define his career. But according to Tesyolkin, Yeltsin misread the moment. ""He asked me, 'Have you come to kill Yeltsin?' "" Tesyolkin said in an interview. ""I replied, 'No.

Homecoming Brings Heartbreak

  • 22 March 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
It wasn't exactly the homecoming Lyubov Tumayeva wanted. But more than six years after her son Sergei left for war, it was the best homecoming she could hope for. ""At least now he will be close by,"" she said Monday, when she laid Sergei's remains to rest in his hometown of Nizhny Novgorod. ""Now I will be able to visit his grave and there will be a place where I can have a cry."" Like hundreds of young soldiers who died between 1994 and 1996 in Russia's first war against Chechnya, Sergei's body went missing. His mother, convinced that his remains had been misidentified and buried in another soldier's grave, launched a war of her own against military officials and investigators to uncover the truth. Her search, and her battle with the family of the other soldier, Yevgeny Ventsel, were chronicled in a 1998 story in the Los Angeles Times. And her hard-won victory, if it can be called that, robs another family of its peace.

Speeding President Brings Moscow to a Halt

  • 29 January 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
Most days, traffic creeps through the streets of central Moscow at an average pace of 10 kilometers per hour. But one commuter rips through at speeds topping 140 kilometers per hour: President Vladimir Putin. Judging by radio talk shows and newspaper stories, frustration with Putin's motorcades is on the rise in the ever-more-congested city. Muscovites are not just angry that Putin's presidential privileges let him escape the snarl, they are also convinced that the president increasingly is causing it. ""When Putin is on the road, nobody else moves,"" says Tatyana Ivanova, 37, who drives a trolleybus along the president's route. ""All cars are ordered to stand still. It's no wonder that this paralyzes the city for hours."" Ivanova blames tight security around Putin. She notes that under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, other vehicles along the presidential route were moved to the side of the road and sometimes permitted to keep moving slowly while the president raced down the center.

'Cruel' General Comes Home to Rule

  • 23 January 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
ULYANOVSK, Central Russia Ч There's a word that makes Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov smile. That word is ""cruel."" Perhaps Shamanov smiles because he's heard it before, that he was reputed to be ""the cruelest general in Chechnya."" Perhaps he smiles because he doesn't really mind the reputation. For whatever reason, he smiles, and then answers the question in a voice that booms like artillery fire. ""I called in tanks to fire on the locations that were firing on us,"" he says. ""And three days later, people began to cry, 'Shamanov is cruel. That's what Shamanov is.' ""Well, I couldn't care less what kind of Shamanov they call me,"" the general-turned-politician continues. ""All I care about are the soldiers under my command, whose lives I answer for. I bear that responsibility. And what names I get called as a result Ч that worries me much less. The kind of general I am is a Russian general."" Many Chechens and human rights workers believe that Shamanov is a war criminal.

Master of Cartoon Satire Greets 3rd Century

  • 05 January 01
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
He was born in the waning days of one century, endured a second and has just greeted a third. ""True, I lived only 95 days in the 19th century,"" Boris Yefimov says with sly modesty. ""Then, together with the rest of the planet, I entered the 20th century. We could not have suspected that it would be so awful."" Yefimov is no ordinary centenarian Ч and not just because he is an eminent political cartoonist. This elfin man with outsized glasses attended the birth of the Soviet Union and survived to witness its death throes. He remembers Nicholas II and met Vladimir Lenin. He was friends with Trotsky and took orders from Stalin. He stood face to face with Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trials. He watched from the window of his Moscow apartment as former President Boris Yeltsin fired on the parliament. And last spring, he cast his vote for Russia's latest leader, Vladimir Putin. ""What is it about my humble person that interests you?"" Yefimov croons, his eyebrows working overtime.

Ransoms Supplement Army Pay

  • 27 October 00
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
KHUTI-KHUTOR, Chechnya Ч Salman Batashev was in a pasture tending his herd when the Russian soldiers came, tied a black scarf over his eyes and took him away. They didn't say much, the 31-year-old recalls. They didn't even ask if he supported the Chechen rebels. Instead, they asked how many cattle his family owned, what kind of house they had, how well they lived. They drove him around for half an hour, then took off the blindfold and threw him into a deep earthen pit. Four men were there already. ""The servicemen were counting us as if we were sheep, estimating how much they could earn for us,"" Batashev says, speaking softly, the fear returning as he recounts his ordeal. ""We knew we were being kept there for ransom."" In the second half of the 1990s, between the first and second wars in the separatist republic, Chechnya's warlords became notorious for running cruel and lucrative kidnapping rings, using the proceeds to arm and enrich themselves. But in recent months, tables have turned.

National Anthem Is a Time to Hum

  • 26 September 00
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
When Russian gold medal winners mount the Olympic podium this month in Australia and beam as their national anthem blares, they are at a loss for words. Even if they want to sing along, they can't. The song has no lyrics. Nine years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is still officially anthem-less. It is also flag-less and emblem-less. The world's largest country is getting by with only temporary symbols of nationhood. There is a song, to be sure, which is being played for Olympic winners Ч a hard-to-hum tune called ""Patriotic Song,"" written in the 19th century by composer Mikhail Glinka. But in addition to being only a provisional anthem, it's nearly tuneless and still completely wordless. ""How can it be that the anthem has languished without words for 10 years?"" wrote the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Election Chief Denies Vote Fraud

  • 14 September 00
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
The election chairman has denied that results from last spring's presidential election were falsified, dismissing claims of large-scale vote fraud reported by The Moscow Times. ""We don't have a single serious document that casts doubt on the outcome of the Russian presidential elections,"" Alexander Veshnyakov, chairman of the Central Elections Commission, said Tuesday. ""I'm completely confident that there are no serious facts"" behind the report, he said. President Vladimir Putin won the March 26 election with nearly 53 percent of the ballots, avoiding a runoff election by about 2 million votes. The Moscow Times in an eight-page special report on Saturday reported that vote counts were falsified and voter registrations doctored in more than half a dozen regions, and described the scale of the fraud as sufficient to change the result of the election. ""Given how close the vote was Ч Putin won with just 52.94 percent, or a slim margin of 2.

Putin Address Details Nation's Woes

Commandos Show Who's Got Power

Who and Where Is the Elusive Lyudmila Putin?

Ryazan Fears Darker Truth of Bombings

Russia Battles for Hearts and Minds

Warm Welcome Meets Gay Chorus