Sergei L. Loiko has covered wars, crises and daily life in Russia and the former Soviet states for the Los Angeles Times since 1991. He reported from northern Afghanistan in 2001 and from Iraq in 2003. In 2005, he contributed to then-Moscow Bureau Chief Kim Murphy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reports. His book, “Shock and Awe, War in Iraq,” published in Russian in 2004, was a regional best-seller. Before joining the Times, he was a television producer, a sergeant in the Strategic Rocket Forces and an English language high school teacher. Loiko graduated from Moscow State Pedagogical University.