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.

“A war is going on now and we all must participate in it”

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Those Nashi kids really, really want to go to Estonia.  So bad that they’re protests are beginning to sound more and more deranged.  Leave it Nashi to push a campaign to the brink of absurdity.  Is Estonia bashing all they have left?  I guess they “10=5” campaign just doesn’t provide that populist umph.  If this is Nashi’s future, then the greatest threat to Nashi is not a fed up Russian government, Garry Kasparov, or their imagined fascists.  It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Nashi’s greatest enemy might just be themselves.

Take for example Nashi’s new virtual campaign  That’s right you too can “be active” in Nashi’s quest for victimhood.  Perhaps the most egregious aspect to this site is not so much the 30 minute film which makes a pathetic attempt to paint the Estonians and the West as fascists.  It’s that in order to do so Nashi portrays itself as victims of the fascism of WWII.  “These people were killed by fascists in 1942,” begins the film with ominous music playing the background.  “Dmitrii Ganin was also killed by fascists, not in the 1940s, but in April 2007.  The war is not over.  It has been going on all these years.  A war is going on today and we all must participate in it.” That’s laying things on thick.  Poor Ganin this is what he was stabbed to death for?  To have his corpse become the symbol of Nashi’s imagined victimhood?

The real sad thing is that this farce seems to be working on some level.  Over 10,000 people have joined Nashi’s “black list” campaign since it was announced on February 2.