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  • On the eve of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine - the second general elections since the dramatic and controversial takeover of power earlier this year, we look at where the country is headed and how it will change – if change at all.

  • Sex education remains a controversial subject in Britain. Politicians and parents worry about the over sexualisation of children in the digital age, while some parents worry that schools are failing to provide proper guidance to pupils and other parents believe information being given is too graphic.

     

  • US-led forces have stepped up air strikes against Islamic State or ISIS fighters threatening the Syrian town of Kobane, near the Turkish border. This comes after Turkish officials denied reaching an agreement with the US to use its Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, 100 miles from the Syrian border. So what will the US-led coalition’s strategy to tackle ISIS be, and what of Turkey’s role? VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a discussion.

Telling It Like It Is
  • Journalist Maggie Pagano of the Financial News, and former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrassov join writer and broadcaster Jeffrey Robinson on the line to discuss the week's events in Telling Like it Is. They talk about the crisis on the Turkish border with IS militants, the response to the Ebola outbreak and Nick Clegg's speech at the Liberal Democrat conference. VoR's Brendan Cole asks the questions.

  • US strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Ed Miliband’s Labour Party conference speech and the Tesco scandal of overstated profits are among the topics discussed in Telling it Like it Is. With VoR's Brendan Cole are political analyst Alexander Nekrassov, journalist Maggie Pagano and New York-based writer and broadcaster Jeffrey Robinson. 

  • The United States' decison to conduct air strikes in Syria, the prospects of an unlikely alliance between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, and the Scottish independence vote are among the topics discussed by former Kremlin advisor Alexander Nekrassov, Independent journalist Maggie Pagano and US television and radio commentator Jeffrey Robinson.

Talking Points
  • Something rotten is going on off the state of Sweden. A foreign something, nobody is sure what, has been reported floating close to Stockholm. Could be a submarine, could be a man in black, which begs a question how big is the man, or small the submarine. Well, must be a really big one if the Swedish navy has declared the area off limits to civilian navigation, and the skies above have been designated a no fly zone, as if the Baltic country is next to Syria or Libya. But small enough to be found in four days of a massive search.

  • British Ukrainian Russian actress and writer Vera Graziadei bemoans the lack of investigation into atrocities in Ukraine, including those against children. 

  • This month’s by-election results showed us quite clearly that UKIP – the rising force in British politics – poses a significant threat not only to Conservative chances of success in next year’s general election, but to Labour too, writes Neil Clark.

Debating Russia
  • Ukraine as a story topic has largely dropped out of the headlines for West’s mass media. This is tragic for many reasons, particularly since the country faces economic collapse and worse. Has the West abandoned Ukraine? VoR's Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

  • Protests, democracy demands, outside meddling, regime change and the future of China - all of these issues have put Hong Kong in the spotlight. Have the students and Beijing both blinked at this point? VoR's Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion.

  • US president Barack Obama says he wants to obliterate Islamic State (IS) without the help of Iran or Assad, and he doesn't want to offend the region's Sunnis. This is a tall order. VoR’s Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion on whether there are other ways of dealing with IS.

In Conversation
  • Moscow audiences will be entertained on November 29  by the British musical trio 'Blake'. Humphrey Berney, Ollie Baines and Stephen Bowman have had tremendous success performing for the British Royal Family, at national sporting events and touring around the world with their mixture of classical, opera and popular music.

  • It’s long been said that we are what we eat. For many of us in the developed world almost everything we eat comes from commercially produced animals and crops, and is bought from supermarkets. A new book lifts the lid on the dangers of mass food production both for human health and for the health of the planet. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Philip Lymbery, one of the joint authors of Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat.

  • Australian by birth, author and adventurer Tim Cope decided to train as a wilderness guide in Finland. That led to an adventure riding across Russia to China by bicycle and then to a bolder journey on horseback across Mongolia all the way east to Kazakhstan and Ukraine eventually ending up in Hungary. The journey took three years and his story is told in On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Land of the Nomads. VoR’s Tim Ecott talks to Tim Cope.

Curtain Up
  • Families from all over England travel down to London to see the Nutcracker ballet at Christmas. But it wasn’t always such a hit. VoR's Alice Lagnado invited Russian music expert Daniel Jaffe into the studio and began by asking him how the ballet was first greeted back in the late 19th century.

  • The ballet world is going through a difficult time in Russia, with courtroom trials and a change in management at the renowned Vaganova academy in St Petersburg. VoR’s Alice Lagnado takes a further look.

  • In this edition of Curtain Up, VoR’s Alice Lagnado talks to conductor Alice Farnham, who is bringing Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia to the Mariinsky Theatre this month. It’s her first time conducting at the Mariinsky, and it’s also the first time the opera has been performed at the theatre.

Features
  • Sergei Yastrzhembsky, a former top aide to Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, has swapped the big beasts of politics for the arguably less daunting ones of the African plains.

  • In 1994, the current President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, decided that he would move the capital of the country from Almaty, the historic and cultural centre, to the city of Akmola. Was this a wise move? VoR's Tim Walklate has just returned from there and gives his personal account of the result.

  • A rapper in white doctor's scrubs reels off life-saving advice on Ebola to the sound of a hip-hop anthem, one of the many African artists putting their talents to work to fight the killer virus. Upbeat songs and caustic cartoons have cropped up across Ebola-hit West Africa and beyond to spread a public health message that the authorities often struggle to convey.

     

     

Galleries
  • Sergei Yastrzhembsky, a former top aide to Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, has swapped the big beasts of politics for the arguably less daunting ones of the African plains. Patriarchal Africa: The Last Sunrise – photo chronicle of a vanishing life is a compendium of photographs that Yastrzhembsky has taken over the last five years, concentrating on recording ways of life there that are now under threat.

  • Street art is one of the most powerful modern art movements and London is lucky to find itself in the middle of it. Blogger and marketer Konstantin Pinaev runs a walking tour of East End, talking about how street art emerged in London, how techniques of street art differ from each other, and how, previously thought of as vandalism, street art now is sought after by the capital’s auction houses.

  • The world's largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas sailed into the UK, stopping off at Southampton, before departing to the US. The Oasis of the Seas is longer than The Shard in London and wider than the wingspan of a Boeing 747.

All programmes
  • The gun attack in the Canadian capital Ottawa, the US mid-term elections, ructions in the European Union and the death of the legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradley are among the topics tackled in Telling it Like it Is. Joining political analyst Alexander Nekrassov is the Independent journalist Maggie Pagano and on the line is the writer and broadcaster Jeffrey Robinson. Asking the questions is VoR’s Brendan Cole.

  • The West, notably the United States, has been putting an enormous amount of pressure on Russia, most recently over Ukraine. But it all began much earlier. What exactly is Washington’s goal - is it to bring some sort of positive change to Russia, or is it to cast Russia as an ‘evil empire’, to mould Russia as the perfect enemy? VoR's Dmitry Linnik hosts a discussion.

  • London remains one of the world's top tourism destinations - not least of all for Russian visitors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a market for tour guides who are native Russian speakers. One of them is a former Muscovite, Konstnatin Pinaev who takes groups of Russian visitors around the capital on foot - using themed itineraries based loosely on the destinations familiar to anyone who's ever played the game of Monopoly. Around London in 40 Steps is his company. He explained what sort of Russian visitors went on his tours.

Featured
World

People from 83 countries around the world, including those from Russia and the North Caucasus republics are fighting against government forces in Syria, according to the country’s supreme mufti.

British bank Barclays has set aside £500 million ($800 million) linked to global investigations into allegations of price-rigging in foreign exchange markets, cutting quarterly net profits, it said on Thursday.

Conditions have not yet been met for France to hand over to Russia a Mistral-class warship, the French finance minister said on Thursday. "Today the conditions have not been met," Michel Sapin told French radio. However, Russia's chairman of the Duma defence committee Vladimir Komoedov retorted that Russia should ask for its money back if the ship is not delivered.

Tough drug laws have little effect on adult drug taking, Britain's Home Office has admitted for the first time. A report examining drug policies across various countries found no evidence that drug use was affected by either tough or soft drug policies and the severity of penalties had little impact on drug use. Its findings undermine a long-standing Home Office position that tough law enforcement by the police curbs drug use. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to Danny Kushlick from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation to get his reaction to the report's findings.

British actor and columnist Maureen Lipman - famed for her roles in The Pianist and Run for your Wife - has hit out at Labour leader Ed Miliband for supporting a parliamentary motion recognising the state of Palestine at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

British MPs have said that the Home Office has failed to deal with the UK's backlog of asylum cases, with 29,000 applications dating back at least seven years still waiting to be resolved. It shows how immigration, both within the EU and beyond, is proving a tough challenge for the government, as VoR's Brendan Cole reports.