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.

Antifa Activist’s Muderers Convicted for “Hooliganism”

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Duat, who runs Ufa Blog (which seems to have mysteriously disappeared), sent me an email last week with the story about the how the murderers of Aleksandr Riukhin, an anti-fascist activist who was murdered in Moscow earlier this year, were convicted of “hooliganism.”

On 16 April, Riukhin and a friend, one T., were leaving an anti-fascist concert, when six skinheads attacked them near the Domodedovo metro. Riukhin died from several stabs to the chest and head, while T. received wounds to the legs and arms. The police arrested three of the skins in the summer, while the others became the subjects of an “international search.” It is suspected that the three fled to Kiev by train. According to the case, which was elaborated in a Live Journal post, the investigator “decided to ignore the majority of facts that confirm intentional character of the murder and its ideological motivation.” These facts include the discovery of racist and nationalist literature and weapons in the murders’ apartment which point to the perpetrators relations with racist groups like Format 18, the Slavic League, Anti-Antifa, and other groups known for attacks on members of the anti-fascist movement in Moscow region.

The story was also reported in this week’s Novaya gazeta.