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.

A New Look

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If you’ve been here before, you’ll notice that I changed the look of the blog. If this is your first visit, this won’t matter to you much. I got tired of all the green and the open space on the left and right sides of the template. So thanks to Blogger Templates, I found something with more space and, what I think is a much better look. There are still some small changes I look to make. I want to get a good banner image to put at the top, and perhaps eliminate some of the stuff on the right column so things won’t look so crowded.

Strangely, the layout doesn’t come out correctly with Firefox. Usually viewing problems come with Internet Explorer. If you want to see some of the slight differences, try looking at the site with both browsers.

At any rate, if anyone has any suggestions on how I can improve the site, please let me know. I’m always willing to consider reader suggestions. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .