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.

Comments Policy

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I’ve tried not having a comments policy so that discussion can remain open. It is clear that it is time to end that experiment. It has come to a point that when you look at the substance of the comments there is nothing free or open about it. For the most part, the comments section has become a playground of childish snipping and constant flame wars by the same individuals. I’ve been concerned that this has turned people off from the site. Now, I’m sure that this is the case. Plus I no longer have any tolerance for it all. Therefore the comments policy is as follows:

  1. Comments that are abusive and are insulting to readers will be removed by me without explanation. Repeat offenders will be banned.
  2. Commentators using “sock puppets” will be banned.
  3. Commentators are encouraged to stay on topic, but going off topic is fine. All political views and thoughts are welcome.
  4. I will periodically close threads if I suspect things are getting out of hand.

I will apply the above policy at my discretion and as my time permits. I don’t read every comment so I’m not interested in who started it and who is to blame. I ask that all readers and commentators stay within the bounds of civility so that we can discuss and perhaps even learn from each other. If a friendly, informative, and collaborative forum doesn’t suit you, then I suggest you go somewhere else.