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 Hammer and Sickle Stays

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

United Russia and Putin disagree? Sure it’s nothing major, but Putin shot down the proposal to eliminate the hammer and sickle from Russia’s WWII Victory Banner. As Kommersant reports:

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of veteran organizations in the Kremlin on Friday to discuss the implementation of his decree on preparation to celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov attended the meeting as well. After the meeting was over, he claimed that it was he who suggested that the president should send the notorious law “About the Victory Banner” to the State Duma to be revised.

The scandal was triggered by the law allowing to use the Victory Banner’s symbol during victory celebrations in May, instead of a copy of the real banner placed above Reichstag on May 1, 1945. The symbol differs significantly from the banner. The symbol is a red rectangle with a white five-pointed star on both sides, but it does not have the sickle and hammer on it.

Veterans demanded to use the copy, and not the symbol, of the Victory Banner during this anniversary. Thus, the president had the last say in the argument, and he sent the law back to the State Duma for revision.