Contributors / Shaun Walker

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My last meal: Andrey Kurkov

Master of dark comedies and tales of the absurd, Andrey Kurkov is the Ukrainian author of ‘Death And The Penguin’ and ‘A Matter of Death and Life’. For his last meal, he takes us to his local haunt, Jungle Cat, for some…

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Schools of thought

With design playing a more integrated role in government and business strategy around the world, Monocle hunts down the establishments spear-heading new movements and others that are keeping traditional ones alive.

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Rapid relief

Until Russia’s high-speed train, the Sapsan, arrived, the only practical way for business travellers to skip between Moscow and St Petersburg was by plane. In our monthly benchmark test, Monocle hops on board to try out the…

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Pole new world

Relations with Russia are improving, it escaped the economic crisis and young entrepreneurs are returning with new ideas and cash. Monocle reports on how Poland, despite the odds, became the European nation to watch.

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Spin city

It’s the endless tables at the casinos that are attracting millions of Chinese to the former Portuguese colony. But will the authorities of what is now the world’s gambling Mecca take a fresh turn of the wheel and nurture…

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Expo 29: How I Govern

Some live in danger and need armoured protection. Some deal with deep poverty and ongoing provincial wars. Others have ‘noodle’ meetings, tend to high society and take power naps and weekly fasts. from Nagasaki to washin…

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Life on the edge

This remote north-eastern corner of Russia is an inhospitable land of fire, ice and earthquakes but the stunning scenery, hot springs and huge reserves of salmon suggest a seismic shift in fortunes could be about to happen…

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Oblast resort

It’s an isolated chip off the old Russian bloc that’s surrounded by wealthier EU nations. Its future is anyone’s guess – military outpost or beach resort? But with a dynamic leader and wise investment, Kaliningrad could…

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Fresh Minsk

Often referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe, Belarus has woken up to its image problem and has embarked on a PR mission. But, with its strong-armed leadership still in place, are the changes anything more than…

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Deep freeze

Russia’s boom years raised the profiles of its ‘second cities’, nowhere more so than in Ekaterinburg. But even as the cranes fall silent, the city’s entrepreneurs say the good times are not over yet.

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To russia with love

Following this summer’s Georgian war, breakaway territory Abkhazia has been recognised as independent by Russia and Nicaragua. Limited diplomatic credibility hasn’t stopped it wanting the trappings of statehood: it hopes…

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War on truth

During the conflict in South Ossetia, western media were given free access by the Georgian government, while on the Russian side, foreign journalists were being either arrested or herded around by the military. In both…

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New woman

Unlike many other Russian dissidents, veteran broadcaster Irena Lesnevskaya has never considered emigration and, as editor-in-chief since 2007 of opposition weekly news magazine The New Times, has dared to speak out against…

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City editor

Soviet planning and modern speculators have left many Russian cities at crisis point. But senator and property billionaire Sergey Gordeev plans to turn impoverished Perm into a beacon of urban innovation. Is this the start…

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Uphill struggle

Sochi, a Black Sea beach resort popular with Putin and Siberian retirees, was the surprise choice to host the 2014 Winter Olympics – it lacks proper sewers for a start. So before it can cater for an expected one million…

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Presenting the nation

An explosion of state-funded English-language news channels are attempting to transmit not just the news but their country’s brand. From Moscow to Mumbai we report on the new broadcast empires and ask if this is just pro…

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Power struggle

Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east, is 6,000km from Moscow, yet a short hop from Japan, its former ruler. Marooned from its Asian neighbours during the Soviet era, the region has so far seen little investment from Japanese…

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High energy

In the third part of our circumpolar tour, we visit Murmansk. Following the break-up of the USSR, the city and its strategic naval base went into decline. But the promise of Arctic riches is reviving the city once again.

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Young rebels

No one – not even its only ally, Russia – recognises Abkhazia as a legitimate state. But 13 years after declaring independence from former Soviet Georgia, the region’s de facto government is determined to put it on the map…

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