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.

Comments Policy

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Well, there is none. Just a few statements on the issue.

My internet connection was down since Saturday. When I was able to connect last night, a whopping 160+ comments were posted to SRB. As one can see, I’ve given up trying to moderate the comments. First, there are too many to monitor and I don’t have the time or desire to read through them. Second, it seems that the several people who do regularly comment seem to be enjoying themselves. I figure, why spoil the fun. Third, I want to keep things as open as possible. This requires that I don’t make any judgments about who crosses the line and when. Plus the rhetorical response seems to be accusations of bias and favoritism. However true they latter may be (I’ve never claimed nor would I ever claim to be objective. I find “objectivity” meaningless anyway.), I don’t want to play schoolyard monitor. If someone kicks sand in your face, either kick back or walk away. I will of course give my view at times.

With all that said, I do want to make a few statements to new and reoccurring commenters.

  1. Since I’m not moderating comments and it has become a free for all, any comments made are the opinion of the commenter alone and not that of Sean’s Russia Blog.
  2. If you comment, you do so at your own risk. If people verbally jump all over you like rabid dogs, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  3. As one can see, flame wars are ablaze in the comment’s section. The best way to avoid getting burnt is don’t respond to provocation. There are several sensible people who comment on SRB. There are also flat out provocateurs who apparently hide behind “anonymous” and a variety of sockpuppets. The best thing to do is ignore these maniacal egoists. Just remember sticks and stones . . .
  4. And please, please try not to make SRB too hostile of a place. I appreciate that many of you have turned SRB into a virtual meeting place. It would be unfortunate if a few made the place so poisonous that people are just turned off.
  5. Have fun!