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.

Grabovoi Busted

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Well, well, well. It looks like Grigory Grabovoi might get his due. The cult leader who has seduced mothers of Beslan and others with promises to resurrect their children, claims to finding a cure for AIDS, immortality, and predictions of the future has been detained for “fraudulently obtaining money from parents of the [Beslan] victims,” reports the St. Petersburg Times. For Russian readers, you can read all about it in Kommersant, complete with photos of his arrest. Prsecutors opened a criminal investigation of Grabovoi after several Beslan residents filed complaints that he swindled them.

According to Moscow prosecutors, police detained Grabovoi during a s?ance at the Komos Hotel in Moscow. He will probably be charged with fraud in the coming days. I hope they send this charlatan up the river.