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.

Top 10 Commentators on SRB

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I haven’t had the time to write anything substantial about Russia thanks to my chapter deadline (which is tomorrow). In a moment of boredom, I decided to add the “Top Commentators” widget to the site. The widget displays the top ten commentators since I started the site in October 2004.

And the winner is (drum roll please) . . . Mike Averko! Of course it is.  Mike never rests when there are not so Russia friendlies to expose as, well, not so Russia friendlies.  As of this post, Mike has a whopping 1885 comments. Second is Mike’s arch enemy, Chrisius Maximus with 1018. Even if we add his pre-Roman transformation quips, which stand at 330, he still doesn’t come close to Averko. Following Chrisius is Tim, the Irishman, Lyndon, ivanov, Shedd, me, and mab.

Now none of you should take this as an invitation to engage in a commenting frenzy in an attempt to beat Mike. I don’t think, or should I say hope, that none of us has enough time, let alone the carpels, to surpass him. As to what these numbers signify about each individual commentator, I’ll leave that you all.