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.

Kremlin to Fund Youth, Komsomolets Arrested

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

It seems that soon Vassily Yakemenko will no longer have to deny that Nashi gets its funding from the Kremlin. He has repeatedly stated that the now over $250 million that has gone to youth organization comes from large, nationally oriented companies” and business men who want to “ingratiate themselves with the Kremlin.” A bill United Russia has introduced called “On the State’s Youth Policy” seeks to make legal what many suspect the Kremlin is already doing: funding pro-Kremlin youth groups that focus on rearing “youth in a patriotic environment” and prevents “extremism about young people”. In addition, the bill looks to focus on developing “potential cadres” in the area of youth politics. As Yabloko youth leader, Ilya Yashin, told Kommersant, “The state is giving a signal to youth: if you want to have a career, we will give you the possibility to join a youth organization or organize governments. In return, you must swear loyalty to the state. If not you will be called marginal and extremist.” Yashin also contends that this is a move on the Kremlin’s part to secure youths ahead of the Duma elections in December. Anyone familiar with the Komsomol will not be surprised.

Unfortunately for the RKSM, it doesn’t have the current government’s blessing. Kommersant is also reporting that on Monday one of the Komsomol’s leaders, Andrei Sokolov, was arrested for weapons possession. Police found Sokolov had 28 kilograms of explosives, 13 WWII rifles, two anti-tank mines and 5.6 mm revolvers and ammunition in his car. A search of his house and garage by the FSB didn’t turn up anything else.

This isn’t Sokolov’s first run in with the police. In 1999 he was sentenced to four years in prison for a bombing of a monument to the Romanovs. An upper court reduced his sentence to 2 ? years and two years of probation. He was arrested again in the summer of 2000 for possession of 60 cartridges of gun ammo and a revolver. When the police searched his apartment that time, they found explosive materials and instructions on bomb making. For that he was sentenced to five years in the slammer. He ended up serving only half his sentence. “Nothing was heard from him since his release,” Sokolov’s lawyer Dmitirii Agranovskii told Kommersant, “I know the atmosphere of leftwing youth very well and after his release, Andrei severed ties with them. I’m surprised that they found him with such a cache of explosives. The thing is after the terrorist attacks by Chechen fighters, leftwing youth gave up on violence as a method of struggle.”

Sounds like Agranovskii doesn’t know leftwing youth that well.