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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.

The Litvinenko Bandwagon

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I wonder if the “famous people always die in threes” applies in Russia because it appears that according to some the Litvinenko poisoning is beginning to inspire a rash of mysterious illnesses among Russia’s rich and famous. Or so implies the Financial Times in regard to the “mysterious illness” that has befallen Yegor Gaidar.

One should say that FT didn’t come up with this all on its own. The Litvinenko connection is being fed to the press by Anatoly Chubais. “It is unquestionable for me that a mortal construction of Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Gaidar, which did not come into being by miracle, would have been exceedingly attractive for supporters of unconstitutional scenarios envisioning a change of power in Russia by force,” Chubais noticed.

According to reports, Gaidar fell violently ill after eating breakfast at a Dublin hotel.

“I rushed after him and found him lying on the floor, unconscious. He was vomiting blood and also bleeding from the nose for about 35 minutes,” Ms Genieva [who organized the Dublin conference Gaidar was scheduled to attend] said. Mr Gaidar was taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, where he was treated overnight. The following morning, Mr Gaidar had asked to be discharged and, after a visit to the Russian embassy, was put on a flight back to Moscow.

Gaidar declined to comment on whether his illness is the result of any nefarious wrongdoing.

I’m surprised that Suleiman Kerimov’s, (who happens to be a Russian businessman and the 72nd richest person in the world) wrapping his Ferrari around a tree in Paris hasn’t generated in theories of sabotage.

Update: It seems that the conspiracy laded shit storm is already starting.