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.

Race Brawl at Kitai-Gorod

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A street brawl broke out near Slavyanskaya Ploshchad in Moscow on Friday night when Russian nationalist youth “armed with metal poles and broken bottles” attacked Caucasians reports the Moscow Times. One Armenian youth was hospitalized with stab wounds and 42 persons were arrested. Estimates suggest that 50 Russian nationalists, some of which are members of Alexandr Belov’s Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) participated in the fight. In a statement Belov denied that DPNI did not have any kind of relations with organizers of the brawl. Further, Belov was quoted in the Moscow Times that DPNI members were there “peacefully guarding Moscow from gay prostitutes when groups of people from the Caucasus approached and provoked a reaction.”

The DPNI TV (which I must say is disturbing in and of itself) has posted footage of the incident on its website. Click here to view: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

In a statement to the press, Yuri Luzhkov, who Putin recently renominated as mayor of Moscow, said “Any display of chauvinism, xenophobia or nationalism will be harshly put down in our capital, on the basis of the Constitution … and on the basis of the law.”

Belov cracked back at Luzhkov in the Associated Press, saying that “[he] has been sitting in his chair too long. He has lost control of the city.”