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.

AAASS Convention

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This past weekend, I attended the 38th National Convention for the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) in Washington DC. It was a wonderful and exciting conference packed with hundreds of panels. Attending all the panels I marked in my program proved to be impossible. There were simply too many overlapping panels and going to four sessions a day was truly exhausting. The amount of brain power needed to listen, process, and participate in the discussion was daunting.

The roundtable I participated on, “What is Soviet?” was well attended for its 8 am time slot. The discussion was lively and provocative, causing me to continue to consider and reconsider my thoughts on the issue. It was quite a success.

But like always, conferences are more about seeing friends and networking. I got to see several friends as well as meet more. To my surprise, I was happy to learn that many of them read this blog and actually enjoy it.

Therefore I want to express my gratitude and regards to many people I met, talked, and drank with. Here are some shout outs in no particular order of importance:

Maya, Brigid, Mike, David Hoffmann, Steve Maddox, Christoph, Dave Reeves, Alex, Tim Johnson, Matthias, Andy, Josh, Oscar, Erica, Margaret, Susan, Georg, Brigitte, Wilson, Martha, Tim Paynich, Christian, and Ed. I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone.

Special thanks to Claudia and Stas for their hospitality.

See you all next year in New Orleans!