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.

A Word From Your Sponsor

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Due to the prevalence of “sock puppets” and disingenuous anonymous posters in the comments’ section, I’ve decided to get rid of anonymous posting. Now all commenters must be registered with Blogger. I didn’t want to do this, and I’m sure it will not prevent the sock puppet phenomenon over the long term, (however amusing they might be at times. I personally found the Dark Lord’s intervention quite hilarious.), but I figure this is one “soft” measure I can take. I’ve tried the “no policy on commenting policy” and unfortunately having a free and open forum is too much for some to handle. Sadly meaningful discussion has not been enhanced (though there have been some valiant efforts), it has only degenerated (the recent debate over the grammatical veracity of “ther’re” is just one example).

Also as much as I would like to engage in my own little Seanovshchina and hunt down sock puppet masters through their IP addresses, I just don’t have the time. Playing school yard monitor is just too tiring not to say disillusioning.