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.


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It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted to this blog. Work and burnout were to blame. I think I needed a bit of time off from Russia in the present (though the Russia of the past never strays to far from my mind) to recharge my batteries. The quarter is ending in a few weeks which means that time will become less of a luxury. Below I present my reflection of Kim Murphy’s article on the continued Russian practice of condemning dissidents to insane asylums. I try to approach the subject from a perspective that I hope will generate a discussion on issues that go beyond the particularity of this practice in Russia.

I still hope to write an article on Amnesty International’s report on race and racism in Russia. There are some ideas about how race is discussed in and in regard to Russia that I think misses some larger, global processes. But that is a discussion for a later date.

In all, I hope to now return to a more consistent blogging schedule.