Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive to retake Kherson, the largest city captured by Russia in this year's invasion. But the occupiers are redoubling their efforts to integrate the city and surrounding region into Russia - and they need the help of local collaborators. A few Ukrainians are eagerly serving the invaders. But many key workers - teachers, doctors and other state employees - are forced into a cruel choice. They must agree to work according to Russian rules, betraying their country - or else lose their jobs. Tim Whewell reports on life behind Russian lines in Kherson - and talks to some of those who've thrown in their lot with the occupiers, including the eccentric former journalist and fish inspector who's now deputy head of the region's Russian-backed administration.
The Return of the Tigers
Tigers are making a remarkable comeback in Nepal. The small Himalayan nation is on track to become the first country to double its wild tiger population in the last decade. A new census will be released on International Tiger Day (29th of July). The recovery is the result of tough anti-poaching measures that have involved the military and the local community. Other iconic species including rhinos and elephant populations have also increased. But this has come at a cost, there has been an increase in tiger attacks on humans. Rebecca Henschke travels to Bardia national park, to find out what’s behind the conservation success and what it means for the community living with the Tigers.
(Photo Credit: Deepak Rajbanshi)
Presented by Rebecca Henschke
Produced by Kevin Kim and Rajan Parajuli, with the BBC Nepali team
Studio mix by Neil Churchill
Production coordinators Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond
Editor Penny Murphy
Love-bombing Estonia’s Russian Speakers
Can music and culture help unite Estonia? Guitar riffs lilt through the air and over the narrow river that marks the border between Estonia and Russia. It’s the first time Estonia’s annual festival Tallinn Music Week has been held in Narva, bringing coach loads of musicians from 30 countries around the world to a normally sleepy city. The organiser moved the festival when the war in Ukraine broke out in order to send a message of unity and to encourage Estonians from the capital to mix with people in Narva, where 97% of Estonians have Russian as their mother tongue. Many can barely speak Estonian at all. Across Estonia, one quarter of the population are Russian speakers, prompting many to describe this as a threat. When Putin invaded Ukraine on the premise of liberating Russian speakers there, it lead to many in the press to ask ‘is Narva next?’ but a new generation of Russian speaking Estonians are increasingly frustrated by this rhetoric and say it simply isn’t true. Russian speakers are even signing up to Estonia’s volunteer defence force, ready to fight to defend Estonia should the worst happen. Their allegiance is clear. But is music and culture enough to unite Estonia’s Russian speakers?
Presenter: Lucy Ash
Producer: Phoebe Keane
Artist: Trad Attack!
Writers: Jalmar Vabarna, Sandra Vabarna, Tõnu Tubli
Artist: Gameboy Tetris and Nublu
Track: Für Oksana
Writers: Pavel Botsarov, Markkus Pulk, Fabry El Androide, Ago Teppand
Artist: Pale Alison
Writers: Evelina Koop, Nikolay Rudakov
Sound Installation: On the Border / Rajalla
Cambodia: Returning the Gods
While some countries fight to reclaim antiquities that were stolen centuries ago, Cambodian investigators are dealing with far more recent thefts. Many of the country’s prized treasures were taken by looters in the 1980s and 1990s and then sold on to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert museum. At the centre of many of the sales was a rogue British art dealer.
Celia Hatton joins the Cambodian investigative team and gains unprecedented access to looters who have become government witnesses. The Phnom Penh government has now launched a legal campaign in the UK to get some of its most prized statues back. For many Cambodians these are not simply blocks of stone or pieces of metal, they are living spirits and integral to the Khmer identity. The Gods, they say, are cold and lonely in foreign collections and they want to come home.
Producer: John Murphy
Producer in Cambodia: Eva Krysiak
Mexico: The Yaqui Fight Back
Resistance and division among Mexico’s indigenous Yaqui people. Anabela Carlon is a legal advocate for the indigenous Yaqui of Sonora – a fierce defender of her people’s land. She is no stranger to the immense dangers that face her in northern Mexico, a region dominated by organised crime. In 2016, she and her husband were kidnapped at gunpoint by masked men. And now one of her biggest cases is representing the families of ten men from her community who disappeared last year.
In Mexico, the Yaqui of Sonora are known as, ‘the undefeated’. In spite of being hunted, enslaved and exiled, they are the only indigenous group never to have surrendered to Spanish colonial forces or the Mexican government. Somehow, eight communities survived along the River Yaqui. But there are deep divisions. Most of all, over whether a gas pipeline should be allowed on their land. Anabela Carlon is adamant it will not happen.
Presenter: Linda Pressly
Producer: Phoebe Keane
Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla