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.

The Community Strikes Back

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English and Russian language blogs unite! LJ users calling for a content strike! I recommend checking out Veronica Khokhlova’s “LiveJournal: Bloggers Protest Basic Account Cancellation” for the whole story. I love the Russian’s “radical path.” Khokhlova tells us:

Some Russian-language bloggers have chosen to take a more radical path, proposed (RUS) by LJ user lleo (Leonid Kaganov), who is highly critical of LJ user beckyzoole‘s initiative:

[…] The American thinks that the whole world will support her. In fact, 3 percent will join in. Sup will notice a 3-percent drop in traffic. And then what? […]

On March 21, I’ll go to this page:

http://www.livejournal.com/accountstatus.bml

and will change my status to “deleted.” That is, I’ll delete my journal. A wonderful form will appear on the screen then: ay, oy, […] let us know what has made you delete your journal, and what we have to do to improve our service? In this line I’ll write: “Return Basic Accounts.” That’s the real statistics that Sup is going to get. It is well-known that deleting a journal this way is pure formality, because it is possible to restore the journal in a second in the next 30 days, losing absolutely nothing. And so the following day, I’ll go back to that page and change status to “active” (or not, I’ll think abut it). But while my journal stays in the “deleted” mode for a day, it will not only keep me from writing in it (or comment on its behalf), but everyone around will also see that my journal has been deleted. Because this (unlike “outraged silence”) is highly conspicuous and effectual. And if we want to do a protest flash mob, this is the only way to do it. […]

If you try accessing LJ user lleo‘s blog now, you’ll will not succeed: it has indeed been deleted.

I wish them the best of struggles.