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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.

Medvedev Little Cash and No Ride

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Medvedev's Ride Pimped!Last week, the Central Electoral Commission released information on the wealth of Gennady Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Today we got a glimpse at how high presidential favorite Dmitri Medvedev’s paper stack is. According to papers Medvedev filed for his candidacy, in the last four years he earned $71,000, owns a 367.8 sq. meter apartment, and has $111,200 stashed away in a bank. If you think Dmitri’s thug appeal wasn’t bad enough, check out his ride, or really his lady’s ride. Medvedev has no car, and if he wanted cruise Moscow he would have to do so in his wife 1999 Volkswagen Golf. Literally, a car for the people. How great would it be if we found Medvedev on Pimp my Ride? I’m sure Xzibit and Mad Mike could help a brotha’ out.

But wait. Medvedev is chairman of Gazprom. For some reason whatever he makes from that wasn’t included in his income declaration. Gazprom made a profit of $13 billion in 2006. How much scratch he’s getting from that is unknown. I know one thing, he didn’t squander it all on limited edition pink marble vinyl prints of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.