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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.

It was MI6 in the Library with the Candlestick

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Andrei Lugovoi promised a “sensation for public opinion in Britain” and delivered. Lugovoi said in a Moscow news conference, “Today I would like to make an announcement, which should shed some light on this dark political story, where the main roles were played by the British secret service and their agents Berezovsky and the late Litvinenko.” He then went on to add that MI6 attempted “to openly recruit me as a British intelligence service agent. The Britons in fact suggested that I collect any information that could compromise President Putin and members of his family.” He then made a litany of accusations. He claimed that he could prove that British intelligence was behind Litvinenko’s murder, that Litvinenko and Berezovsky were British agents, and that Litvinenko had ties to Chechen terrorists, who he met in Istanbul. He offered three theories to Litvinenko’s murder: MI6, the Russian mafia, or Berezovsky, emphasizing “I am very serious about what I am saying, including these accusations.” He then added that he and colleague Dmitry Kovtun were “not only innocent or witnesses, but are victims.”

On the whole, Lugovoi played the ever so overplayed, “the entire affair is to discredit Russia” card.

You can listen to the press conference here (in Russian).

This fiasco is just getting better and better.