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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.

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.

Blacklisted!

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The Moscow Times reports that the Russian government published its blacklist of books, articles, pamphlets, films and records in Rossiiskaya gazeta on Saturday. The list includes 14 works that the Putin government says incites racial and political hatred. Sergei Vasil’ev, the Head of the State Registrar, told the state newspaper that “Russian citizens must know that displays are one of the sources for extremism that are dangerous enemies to society’s stability and well being.”

There are currently two statutes on the Russian Criminal Code that pertain to extremist speech. The first concerns calling out for or verballing inciting “extremist activities.” The other punishes the “agitation of hatred, animosity, or degradation of human dignity”. Conviction of either carries of a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The list consists of the following:

  1. “Music for White People,” The Order.
  2. Book of Monotheism, Muhammed idn Sulaiman al-Tamimi.
  3. Letters of the Kuban Rada of the Spiritual Ancestral Power of Rus’, N. M. Lezinskii, V. M. Gerasev.
  4. For Russian People, newspaper.
  5. The Eternal Jew (1940)
  6. Mother Earth: the Miraculous Miracle, the Marvellous Marvel. An Introduction to Geobiology , A. A. Dobrovol’skii.
  7. “Paganism as Magic,” A. A. Dobrovol’skii.
  8. “Who is Afraid of Russian National Socialism,” A. A. Dobrovol’skii.
  9. “The Judeo-Christian Plague,” A. A. Dobrovol’skii
  10. “Svatoslavie,” A. A. Dobrovol’skii.
  11. One Day We Will Come from Rotten Tomatoes, A. A. Nikolaevnko.
  12. The SS Knocked on Your Door, the Bastards . . ., A. A. Nikolaevnko.
  13. Fulfilling the Wishes of the Lord’s Thought, A. A. Nikolaevnko.
  14. The Most Constructive Party,” A. A. Nikolaevnko.

One can see from the list the targets are Neo-Nazism, Islamic fundamentalism, and radical Russian nationalism. Particularly cited are the works of A. A. Dobrovol’skii and A. A. Nikolaevnko. According to the Russian human rights group, Demos, the latter was convicted in July 2005 for the publication of his article, “The Most Constructive Party” in the newspaper Kurs. He was sentenced six months in a labor colony and deprived of practicing journalism for two years.

Dobrovolskii is an advocate for neo-paganism which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as the wave of “Third Russian Nationalism.” The publication of his articles have led to several convictions in local Russian courts.