Recent Posts

Russian Socialists in the Struggle for Democracy

For the past few weeks, protests for fair elections in upcoming municipal polls have become weekly in Moscow and St. Petersburg as thousands have defied authorities to attend unsanctioned rallies. The police crackdown has been particularly harsh in Moscow. Protests on July 27 and August 3 resulted in over 2000 detentions. Images of police in riot gear wrestling citizens to the ground and beating peaceful protesters were reminiscent of the mass protests against election fraud in 2011-2012.

Members of the Russian Socialist Movement, a small Marxist, anti-Stalinist organization active in the Russian left, have been participants in local electoral campaigns and in the protests. Two RSM activists, Valeria Kovelishina and Ilya Budraitskis talk about the Russian Socialist Movement, their electoral work, the protests for democracy in Russia and what they might mean for the future.

Witnessing the Collapse of Communism


Roundtable discussion marking the 30th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Participants include Timothy Garton Ash, Bridget Kendall, and Jens Reich.

The Evictors

Around Moscow, there’s a whole industry of so-called “black creditors” — microfinance institutions (or MFOs) that swindle and seize debtors’ homes. Ivan Golunov’s investigation for Meduza has discovered that almost 500 apartments have been seized from their owners over the past five years without so much as a court order. In fact, this scheme involves more than simply “squeezing” people from their homes. It is possibly part of a wider, international money-laundering system. Here’s Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov on the ins and outs of this industry.

Belarus Ruse

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I don’t have time to provide up to the minute coverage of the Belarusian elections. There are many places you can go to get it and they all do a much better job than I can. Robert Mayer at Publius Pundit has updates as well as links to find blog updates. As mentioned before br23 blog is a good place to go. One can always do a Google news search for Belarus. Hundreds of articles are listed there. And to repeat, RFE/RL has special coverage of the elections. I find the NY Times piece on the Belarusian countryside and why Lukashenka is popular there a good perspective since news tends to focus on Minsk.

For my part, I intend to write a piece that reflects on the elections and what they mean after the smoke clears. That is if it does clear.

Suffice to say, with Lukashenka declaring 82% of the vote with 92% voting, it clear that the oppositions claim that the elections are a farce are solid.