Anne GarrelsAnne Garrels is a roving foreign correspondent for NPR's foreign desk. She earned international recognition in 2003 by being one of 16 U.S. journalists to remain in Baghdad during the initial invasion of Iraq.
A fisherman looks at sturgeon lying in a boat on the Volga River near Astrakhan in August 2000. The communities around Astrakhan are struggling as the sturgeon population plummeted during recent decades.
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Russian veterans of World War II attend a Victory Day event in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, May 8, 2010. The site of one of the bloodiest and most important battles of World War II, Volgograd and its residents are struggling to find their way in post-Soviet Russia.
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While Russia's president, Vladimir Putin visits a farm in the Volga region, outside Saratov, in September 2004. Since then, Putin has helped bail out farmers in the area, but many observers worry about his party's seemingly pervasive power.
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Russia's Volga River travels 2,300 miles through the country's heartland. It is the source of Russia's power, spanning from imperial times to the present. Here, a cruise ship travels down the Moscow-Volga canal, heading into the river.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdiukov inspect a Russian soldier's military uniform Oct. 8 at a base outside Moscow. The two leaders are spearheading a massive and highly controversial overhaul of the Russian military.
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A young conventual sings during an Orthodox Easter celebration Mass at the St. Nicholas convent in the town of Maloyaroslavets, about 80 miles southwest of Moscow, in April 2004.
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Demonstrators in Moscow hold photos of journalist Mikhail Beketov last year during a protest against a brutal attack on him for investigating allegations of corruption. President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia's biggest problem is corruption among local officials. But attacks on anti-graft crusaders continue in the country.
A boy chops wooden pallets next to a Russian-made Lada in the suburbs of Sofia, Bulgaria. Russian automaker AvtoVAZ has announced it will lay off 25,000 employees from its plant in Togliatti, where 1 in 7 residents is employed by the manufacturer.
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