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.

Lugovoi Charged with Murder

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Finally the news we’ve all been waiting for. The British have formerly charged Andrei Lugovoi with the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko. Reports Kommersant:

KGB former officer Andrey Lugovoy will be charged with intentional murder of FSB former officer and then exiled dissident Alexander Litvinenko, Sky News reported referring to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Britain will seek to extradite Lugovoy.

There was one more suspect in Litvinenko’s case, his business partner Dmitry Kovtun, who had also met with Litvinenko on the day of polonium poisoning in Millennium hotel. But no charges against Kovtun have been presented yet.

FSB former officer Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital on November 23. The doctors diagnosed polonium poisoning. Britain’s detectives visited Russia past year and interrogated Kovtun and Logovoy, who denied the involvement.

Boris Berezovsky, the exiled tycoon of Russia, was also questioned in the course of investigation. Berezovsky predictably blamed the murder on Moscow and said the Kremlin wants to poison him as well.

More later . . .