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.

The “Imperial March” Enters the Fray

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A few weeks ago, the Russian body politic heard from the Liberal-Left when about 3000 supporters of Other Russia clashed with police in St. Petersburg. Now the Right is planning a march for April 8th titled, “Imperial March.” The march is being organized by Alexander Dugin. The organizers boast that 1500 participants will attend. This list includes a virtual who’s who of the Russian far right: writers Alexander Prokhanov and Maxim Kalashnikov, television host Mikhail Leontyev, the National Bolshevik Front (a breakaway group from Eduard Limonov’s organization), the Ukrainian party Russian Bloc and the Ukrainian Labor Conference. As Kommersant explains:

“Among the people, there is great disappointment with the Orange, but the Orange are now raising their heads, as the recent March of Those Who Disagree in St. Petersburg showed,” Zarifullin said. “We need an imperial project that supports Putin. We don’t want a Maidan in this country.” Zarifullin made it clear that he considers pro-Kremlin groups such as Our, the Youth Guardian of a United Russia, Young Russia and the Local allies.

“We are also fighting the Orange revolutions,” Youth Guardian organizer for the Central Federal District Alexey Shaposhnikov said, “but they can be fought differently.”

“They, of course, will receive a permit to march,” observed Yulia Malysheva, leader of Mikhail Kasyanov’s People’s Democratic Union of Youth. “They are a completely Kremlin project, Putin-Jugend. I hope they have the brains not to dress up like Santa Claus this time,” she added, referring to an action by government supporters the day after the first March of Those Who Disagree.

National Bolshevik leader Eduard Limonov asked rhetorically “Who needs them? They are corrupt and disgraceful. Three strange men with beards will show up and march together.”

Orange Revolution. That is so 2004. Like the Other Russia march, I’m sure that the Imperial March will be little more than a fart in the wind. Though I won’t be surprised at all if the Western media doesn’t use the it as an opportunity to douse its readers with cries that Russian fascism is right around the corner.