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BBC World Service

Israel's New Walls - and Russia's New Warmth

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Seeing the 'separation barrier' which divides Israeli from Palestinian settlements in the West Bank brings back childhood memories of Berlin's Wall for Andreas Gebauer. The two were built for completely different reasons - yet their psychological impact is oddly similar.

And, James Coomarasamy sees in Russia, where he lived for several years during the Soviet period, that the most enduring suspicions of the 'Other' can be dissipated. During his time in what was then the Soviet Union, any sort of public cheerfulness was rare. Amid the crowds of sour faces, a grin was a rare sight - and often considered insincere or servile. But on a recent trip back, he found that even the once-fearsome female border guards on duty at Domodedovo airport are willing to crack a smile these days.

Photo: The Israeli 'separation barrier' under construction near Qalandia in 2006. Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images

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11 minutes

Last on

Mon 4 Nov 2013 02:50 GMT
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