Articles by Alex Chachkevitch

English and Credit Cards Altering Russians' Travel Plans

Svetlana Afonina got her first taste of independent travel five years ago when she mustered the courage for a weekend trip to Finland all by herself. Since then, she has been hooked.

Meat-Free No Longer Bourgeois

When Ekanga Davova decided to become a vegetarian in 1993 in an effort to cleanse her body, it made her the odd one out in her social circle. Davova, an Uzbek native who was then 25, recalls her friends' extreme wonder and disbelief with her "new" lifestyle, which excluded meat, fish and poultry.

Don't Like My Driving? Look at My Gun

Tensions on Moscow roads have flared with a prominent blogger and an opposition activist reporting separate clashes with firearm-wielding motorists accused of driving violations.

Bid to Ease Visa Rules Creates a New Hassle

While U.S. and Russian diplomats promised this week to ease visa rules, travelers on the ground have found that attempts to improve the process have resulted in new headaches.

Psychologists Are Happiest Workers

Digging though other people's emotional distress happens to be the most pleasurable job for Russians, while fixing computer trouble is the worst, according to a study by recruiting web site

Rumblings of Political Activism Among Russia's Bikers

Leather. Hard rock. Disdain for traffic rules. Cruising on a highway. Wind in the face, and maybe the occasional beer belly. There are many associations with the biker subculture, but political activism is not on the list.

Doubts Grow About Putin’s Front

Doubts are growing whether the All-Russia People's Front, created two months ago by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will help United Russia win extra votes in the State Duma elections after a series of scandals shook the group.

Chemical Castration Sought for Child Abusers

Two months after President Dmitry Medvedev called for the voluntary chemical castration of child molesters, a Just Russia deputy introduced a bill demanding mandatory chemical castration to the State Duma on Monday.

Investigators Call Putin's Ski Coach Over a Murder

St. Petersburg investigators plan to question Senator Leonid Tyagachyov, former head of the Russian Olympic Committee and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's personal ski coach, as a witness in connection with the 2008 killing of a businessman.

Designer Eyes Plant Site in Ingushetia

Prominent fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin is looking at Ingushetia as a possible site for a large sewing factory, which could bring growth opportunities to the region.

Kashin Is Cleared in Defamation Lawsuit

A Moscow court cleared Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin in a much-watched defamation lawsuit, ruling that he was free to speculate about who might have ordered his beating last fall.

13 Armenians Live Like Prisoners in Moscow Hotel

Valida Avanesyan has been a prisoner in the Hotel Yuzhny on Moscow's Leninsky Prospekt for over six months. She stays in a friend's room. When she gets hungry, she asks friends to bring her some food. Her only connection with the outside world is the balcony.

Laser Beam Blinds 2nd Pilot in Days

The pilot of a passenger jet was temporarily blinded by a laser beam upon landing in Rostov-on-Don late Tuesday, in the second such incident in the city within days, Interfax reported.

EU Vegetables Banned Over E. Coli

The ban on vegetable imports from the European Union, introduced by Russia on Thursday, will not have a lasting impact on the market, but may cause temporary price hikes and shortages of certain vegetables, analysts and industry spokespeople said.