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.

And Then There Were Nine . . .

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Scratch two off the list of suspects in the Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.  Yesterday, authorities released Alexei Berkin from police custody for lack of evidence.  Prosecutors initially believed that Berkin was in league with the Chechen based Lasagna criminal gang (no really that’s what the article says ‘lasagna”  Man, these guys really need to lay off the Italian mob flicks).  Berkin couldn’t be reached for comment.  His wife told Kommersant that he was out walking the baby.  But she told reporters this, “We don’t want to relive this nightmare.  He won’t tell you anything because he made a non-disclosure agreement [with the police].”  Calls to Berkin’s mobile also went unanswered.  Apparently, it is still in police custody.

Prosecutors also discovered that the alibi for another one of its suspects, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, was true.  At the time of Politkovskaya’s murder, Khadzhikurbanov was in jail.

Way to go boys. Way to go.