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.

“Russia is like a tub full of dough”

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I received the Fall 2007 issue of the Slavic Review in the mail yesterday.  While flipping through it, I couldn’t help admiring the accuracy of this quotation from Khrushchev that opens Timothy Frye’s review of Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, Resisting the State: Reform and Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia.

Khrushchev told Castro during the latter’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1963:

You’d think I could change anything in this country.  Like hell I can.  No matter what changes I propose and carry out, everything stays the same.  Russia is like a tub full of dough, you put your hand down in it, down to the bottom, and think you’re master of the situation.  When you first pull out your hand, a little hole remains, but then, before your very eyes, the dough expands into a spongy, puffy mass.  That’s what Russia is like.

Beautifully put Nikita Sergeevich.