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.

Going to Russia

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I haven’t written anything for the last several days because I’ve been preparing for my London-Moscow-Washington DC trip. I leave for London tomorrow to attend the conference “The Relaunch of the Soviet Project, 1954-64” at organized by the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University College London. Next I go on to Moscow for a month to work in the libraries and archives. Then I move on to Yaroslavl more of the same. Finally, in mid-November I move on to Washington DC to attend the 38th National Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Blog posts will certainly continue while I’m abroad. I’m hoping that writing in country will add some perspective on the subjects I address. If anyone is in Moscow or Yaroslavl September 19 to November 15, drop me an email. I would love to meet up!