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David Greene

After a train journey of nearly 6,000 miles from Moscow, the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok can feel like a different country. The people and the language are still Russian, but the strong Asian influence is undeniable. And many residents say the bond to the rest of Russia has been growing weaker, while the ties to Asia have been growing stronger since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. NPR's David Greene has this report as he wraps up his journey on the Trans-Siberian railway.

The last of three stories

Russia had one of the world's most famous revolutions nearly a century ago, in 1917. Yet for centuries, the country has seemed to prefer strong leaders who promised stability rather than revolutionary change. On a trip across Russia today on the Trans-Siberian railroad, NPR's David Greene found many Russians who expressed disappointment with their current government. But most said they wanted changes to be gradual, and were not looking for a major upheaval.

Second of three parts

Seven time zones and thousands of miles separate Russia's capital, Moscow, from the port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. NPR journalists traveled the full length of the Trans-Siberian railroad and report on how Russia's history has shaped its people, and where, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians want their country to go.

First of three parts

Two decades after the collapse of communist rule, just where is Russia headed? Scholars, diplomats and poets are spending careers contemplating the question.

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When it comes to football there are two types of compelling games. One, the most people like, when teams battle back and forth to a dramatic finish. The other, when one team totally dominates to such an extent that all you can do is watch in awe.

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Of all the economic downturns of the past few years, the tiny European nation of Latvia may have suffered as much as any place. Incomes fell and families suffered as the government implemented harsh austerity measures.

Now, the citizens of this former Soviet republic seem more open to what was once unthinkable: backing a social democratic party that's pro-Russian.

Annie Leibovitz has shot some of the world's most famous portraits — from John Lennon to President Obama. And yet she risked losing ownership of her works to pay off a loan. That was 2009. Leibovitz says she's learned her lesson and is on better financial footing. She's opened a new exhibit in Russia.

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Good morning, Cokie.

COKIE ROBERTS: Hi, David.

GREENE: So Congress is already pretty unpopular and David Welna just said the success of the supercommittee is looking increasingly elusive. What happens if they fail to act? Do they get even less popular?

The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from a seven-run deficit Wednesday to beat the New York Yankees and advance to the playoffs. The win shuts out the Boston Red Sox, who lost a close game to the Baltimore Orioles.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Sylvia, good morning.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Good morning.

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Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the Afghan Peace Council and former president of Afghanistan, was killed in a bombing in the nation's capital.

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And Quil, I know you were out on the streets. Tell us what's going on.

Politics In The News

Sep 12, 2011

David Greene talks to NPR's Cokie Roberts about the week in politics.

Libyan rebels continue to search for Moammar Gadhafi. While his whereabouts are unknown, convoys of Gadhafi loyalists left Libya for neighboring Niger.

The novels of Tom Rob Smith are set mostly in the Soviet Union of the 1950s, a time and a place where oppression was palpable and any wrong move could get a person sent to a prison thousands of miles away.

Smith's first thriller, Child 44, was the story of a Soviet security agent whose job was to spy on fellow citizens. While many authors are virtual tour guides in the places where they set their novels, Smith had actually only been to Moscow once before — in 1997, on a high school trip.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepped down Wednesday, in a poignant letter to his board. Jobs has been battling cancer for some years. He will continue as chairman of the board.

TV money is changing the college sports landscape. Lured by bigger and bigger paydays, many conferences and some individual teams, are starting their own television networks. The University of Texas has launched the Longhorn Network.

Most of the Libyan capital Tripoli is controlled by rebels. The rebels, however, are not in control of Moammar Gadhafi's compound. The whereabouts of Gadhafi are unknown. Two of his sons have been arrested.

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One year after the Obama administration pulled the last U.S. combat troops out of Iraq, about 48-thousand forces still remain in that country. Unless the Iraqi government requests them to stay, these troops are scheduled to leave by the end of the year.

Four years ago, Russian researchers made a bold, if unseen, move. From a submarine, deep beneath the icy waters of the North Pole, they planted a Russian flag on the ocean floor.

Russia has the world's longest Arctic border, which stretches more than 10,000 miles. And for Russia, that 2007 research mission was only the beginning of a major drive to claim ownership of vast portions of the Arctic, as well as the oil and gas deposits that are beneath.

In Syria, the navy is being used for the first time against the protest movement there. Gunships have been shelling the coastal city of Latakia, where more than 30 people have been killed over the last four days. Residents say they fear the crackdown could get worse.

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