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.

Russia Ranks Behind Iraq in Journalist Deaths

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on reddit

Here is a sad statistic. As reported in Kommersant,

According to INSI [International News Safety Institute] , Iraq leads with 138 murders and unexplained deaths of reporters occurred from 1996 to 2006, 88 reporters perished in Russia and 72 in Columbia over the period. The global news media toll exceeded 1,000.

The alarming trend is the rising number of news media deaths. The death toll was 103 in 2001, but it widened to 117 in 2004 and to 167 in 2006.

In Russia, the problem of reporters’ safety is really grave, said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. Another incident of this kind happened in Moscow one of these days, Pinder said, reminding about the unexplained death of Kommersant journalist Ivan Safronov. The INSI director also mentioned the recent murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Unfortunately, Russia is not the only country that has a deplorable record when it comes to journalists. The survey, “Killing the Messenger,” demonstrates the global disregard for journalists. Some of its overall finding are

  • One thousand news media personnel have died trying to cover the news around the world in the past 10 years*.
  • Only one in four died in war and other armed conflicts.
  • The great majority died in peacetime, covering the news in their own countries.
  • Most of those killed were murdered because of their jobs; eliminated by hostile authorities or criminals.
  • Nine out of 10 murderers in the past decade have never been prosecuted.
  • The news media death toll has increased steadily since 2000. The last full year covered by the report, 2005, was a record with 147 dead. It has since emerged that 2006 was even worse, with 167 fatalities, according to INSI’s annual tally.
  • The Top 21 bloodiest countries over the past 10 years have been Iraq (138), Russia (88), Colombia (72), Philippines (55), Iran ** (54), India (45), Algeria (32), the former republic of Yugoslavia (32), Mexico (31), Pakistan (29), Brazil (27), USA (21), Bangladesh (19), Ukraine (17), Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone & Sri Lanka (16), Afghanistan, Indonesia & Thailand (13)
  • Shooting was by far the greatest cause of death, accounting for almost half the total. Bombing, stabbing, beating, torture, strangulation and decapitation were also used to silence reporting. Some men and women disappeared, their fate unknown.
  • In war, it was much safer to be embedded with an army than not – independent news reporters, so-called unilaterals, accounted for 92 per cent of the dead.
  • Overall, armed forces – regular or irregular – police and officials accounted for 22 per cent of killings.
  • The death toll was evenly split between press and broadcast. But news agencies, which are fewer in number, were relatively badly hit with six per cent of the total.
  • Most of those who died were on staff — 91 per cent against 9 per cent freelance — and one-third fell near their home, office or hotel.

*INSI’s researchers counted all news media personnel — journalists as well as support workers such as drivers, translators and office personnel, whether staff or freelance — provided they died because of their work gathering or distributing the news. All causes of death were included, from murder through accidents to health-related.

** Iran’s figures were swollen by one air accident in December, 2005. A military aircraft carrying news teams to cover exercises in the Gulf crashed in Tehran, killing 48 journalists and media technicians aboard.