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.

Nashi Hits the Runway

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Patriotic panties for Putin. That is basically the idea behind Nashi wear designed by model, fashion designer, and commissar Anatonia Shapovalova. Shapovalova’s patriotic fashion line for Nashi activists debuted last summer at Camp Seliger and caused a sensation in December when Nashistki strutted the catwalk bearing more than just the slogan “Vova! I’m with you!” at a Nashi rally on Red Square.

Shapovalova’s fashion is part of several of Nashi’s current campaigns. According to internal Nashi documents obtained by Novaya gazeta, Shapovalova’s purpose remains “unclear.” It’s most likely a commercial venture with a Nashi ideological twist. Shapovalova even has a store in Moscow where you can buy t-shirts with Yuri Gagarin, “I want three,” “Vova, I’m with you!” “I love people,” Let’s go!” “1945,” and “Anti-fa”.

Nashi’s backing has certainly shot Antonia Shapovalova up the Russian fashion world. Her “Fall-Winter 2008-09” collection was featured at this week’s “Fashion Week in Moscow.” It also shows how fashion and celebrity have become integrated into the Nashi cause. According to a Nashi press release, Russian pop stars such as Aleksandr Panaiotov, Dom-2 reality show starlet Kseinia Borodina, the boy band Chelsea, and the girl quartet Tutsi have all embraced the Shapovalova design. Score one for “this new look at youth fashion and new method of educating young patriots.”