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.

National Bolsheviks Deemed Extremist

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Moscow courts have moved one step closer to banning the National Bolshevik Party. According to Kommersant,


The group was engaged in activities that violate Russia’s anti-extremism laws, the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Officer said in statement on its official web-site on Thursday. National Bolsheviks are now barred from staging rallies, demonstrations, or any other public gatherings.

This is the second time the Natsbols have been banned. A Moscow District Court ruled in July 2005 that the organization didn’t qualify for registration as a political party. This decision was overturned, but then reinstated in April 2006.

But those previous rulings were based on political party registration law. Today’s ruling deemed the Natbols an extremist organization. The Putin government alluded to this possibility in October last year when the Federal Council met to discuss youth extremism. The National Bolshevik Party was named one of the organizations that was of chief concern.

The ban is a serious blow to Other Russia. The Natsbols are in that coalition and are the most radical and visible members of the movement. Today’s ruling makes any Natsbol appearance at the upcoming Other Russia protest in Nizhni Novgorod subject to arrest and up to four years imprisonment under the extremism law.