Armenia: In the Icy Grip of Death

Life is becoming nasty, brutish and short for 3.5 million people trapped in an undeclared war with Azerbaijan

As the wintry sun sinks, Armenia's capital takes on the eerie cast of a medieval town under siege. Life in Yerevan has reeled backward, like a grainy black-and-white film, toward a barbaric era of ethnic and religious war -- an apocalyptic time when death becomes humdrum, the threat of disease is ever present, and nothing matters but daily, primal survival.

Along empty, unlit streets in the gathering gloom, sleighs rasp over the ice. They carry branches lopped off trees that now stand like amputees in mute supplication to the heavens. Soon this last source of fuel for the city's l.5 million...

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