Staunton, April 29 – This is the 10,000th Window on Eurasia in the new series I launched seven years ago after our house burned and I was diagnosed with leukemia. I did not expect to reach this milestone; in fact, I did not even expect to reach the number of roughly 5,000 WOEs I prepared in the first series between 2004 and 2011.
But as I often say to myself, better preparing WOEs than feeling woes.-- not an especially clever observation but one that is very much heartfelt. And I want to say thank you to all of you who have sent me comments, corrections, and suggestions. I have learned an enormous amount from you. I only hope I have been able to return the favor.
I began the Windows project 15 years ago for two reasons. On the one hand, I wanted to keep myself up to date with social and political developments in the former Soviet space, especially with regard to ethnic, regional and religious issues that all too often attract less attention than they deserve.
And on the other, because I had the time in retirement, I wanted to share what I could with others in ways that would allow them to learn about what sources from the entire region are saying and particularly how one can learn about developments beyond the ring road around Moscow that often serves as a higher barrier than it should.
Each day, I go through roughly 250 web pages; and each week, I look at about 200 more in a more cursory fashion. Writing up what I find is the easier and briefer task. Many of the websites I relied on a decade ago have shut down – or been shut down -- but many exciting new ones have emerged in their place. I am always amazed by what one can learn from them.
Most of the time, I try to pick out an assortment of various stories to share. Sometimes, I track an issue in a more serial fashion be it the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Sochi Olympics, or just now the ongoing events in Ingushetia; and I have experimented with summary reports including “baker’s dozens” of stories.
As my oncologist says, I must face the fact that I have leukemia, take chemotherapy every day, and am getting older. But I hope to continue to produce Windows for many years yet. And I especially hope to hear from readers, again with comments, corrections, and suggestions for new avenues of exploration.
Let me end this note by agaain saying thank you to all of you – and also to invite you to be in further contact via email. My address remains firstname.lastname@example.org