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.

Down but Not Out

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It seems that I was led astray. Or I didn’t read the fine print. I was under the impression that the Moscow News had ceased publication. I found out about this from a story in the Toronto Star by Kelly Toughill which Robert Amsterdam posted on his blog. In her article “Free Press Under Siege in Russia,” Toughill wrote:

Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News) shut down this week. Novosti was the most influential newspaper in Russia as the Soviet Union was falling apart. People stood in line for hours to get a copy, amazed to see the truth on paper for the very first time. Its demise seems symbolic.

Symbolic in the sense that print newspapers around the world are feeling the economic crunch. In a press release in December, Daniel Kupsin, MN’s administrative head, said that “we don’t see any commercial value in [the paper’s] continued publication.” There is some speculation that MN might make a return sometime this year. As for when, nobody knows.

I thought that this meant the death to the Moscow News as a whole. Upon a closer look, I realized that MN has only ceasing the publication of its Russian edition. The English edition, which has been published since 1930, will continue as always. I’m glad to see that.