former Soviet Union

  • Georgia-russia Conflict Requires Israel to Balance Competing Interests

    In the war between Georgia and Russia, Israel faced a choice between a fair-weather ally and a friend by proxy. When the conflict flared two weeks ago, first with Georgia’s shelling of the capital of South Ossetia and then with Russian tanks rumbling through the breakaway province into Georgia, Israel hedged its bets: It didn’t… More ▸

  • Anatomy of an Aid Effort: Rescue and Relief in Georgia

    Some ran Friday when the bombs fell on Tskhinvali, some on Saturday when they fell on Gori and some on Sunday when the Russian tanks rolled into Georgia proper. The Jews of Georgia scattered, disappeared and resurfaced in refugee camps, relatives’ homes or at the doors of the synagogue. As Russia occupied Georgia, pushing ever… More ▸

  • Flee for Safety or Guard Home? Georgia’s Jews Face Wartime Dilemmas

    Tina Pshavtoshvili is a refugee, living in a borrowed room in a strange city and facing an uncertain future — again. Last time she was forced to flee a war zone she was running from Tskhinvali, capital of the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. Her daughter was a baby, along for the escape during… More ▸

  • Jews Caught on Both Sides of Georgia-russia Fighting

    Russian and Georgian troops continued to fight a pitched battle Monday that has spilled beyond the borders of South Ossetia and toward the Georgian city of Gori, where Jewish relief organizations continued to make contact with local Jews. More than 200 Jewish residents fled the Russian bombardment over the weekend. More have decided to leave… More ▸

  • As Fighting Rages in the Caucasus, Israel Playing Down Georgia Ties

    As Russian and Georgian forces battle over South Ossetia, Israel finds itself on the defensive. Though a favored armed supplier for the former Soviet republic, the Jewish state now appears to be at pains to play down these ties rather than risk a crisis with Moscow. It is more than just sound diplomacy. With Russia… More ▸

  • Rhythmic Gymnasts Go to the Mat with Approach Born in FSU

    On one side of the cavernous gym, six members of Israel’s first Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team warm up in a circle, chatting softly in a mix of Russian and Hebrew while stretching their legs in effortless splits on the mat. Nearby, Irina Risenzon, a fellow gymnast competing in the individual category, is trying to master… More ▸

  • Belarus, by Helping to Restore Cemeteries, Takes Steps to Right Holocaust Wrongs

    A smattering of the 7,500 residents of this village where Jews once lived huddle under their umbrellas as the rain falls. They peer over their shoulders to catch a glimpse of Aaron Ginsburg, who traces his ancestors here, reciting a speech through tears. “Dokshitsers made new lives in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia… More ▸

  • Limmud FSU Becomes Self-sustaining and Spreads

    The night bus to Limmud Moscow navigates the Friday-night gridlock of Mercedes’ and Range Rovers on Rublovskoye highway, the main thoroughfare to the chateaus of Russia’s oligarchs. Huddled in the back of the bus, a group of newly minted Limmudniks, as organizers call them, pass the time playing cards and trading the Hebrew phrases they… More ▸

  • Jewish Program Helps Put Georgia Refugees to Work

    Nino Dvali projects optimism and confidence, and her almond eyes sparkle when she talks about her lifelong dream: owning her own clothing boutique. When the 24-year-old Georgia native proudly unfolds the elegant, handmade black dress she designed, which looks like something Audrey Hepburn would be proud to wear, it serves as a potent reminder of… More ▸

  • Shunned by West, Belarus Seeks Iran Ties

    Facing diplomatic troubles with the United States and higher energy prices from Russia, Belarus is looking for new partners overseas. It’s turning to Iran and the Arab world. Belarus has been a subject of Western criticism for more than a decade, primarily due to the government’s human rights record and limits on political freedoms. Things… More ▸