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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.

Putinisms to Remember Putin By

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“What a mighty man he turns out to be! He raped 10 women; I’d never have expected that from him. He surprised us all — we all envy him!” Few Russia watchers will forget this quip Putin in 2006 in reference to Israeli President Moshe Katsav’s rapist proclivities. Nor will his “If they’re in the airport, we’ll kill them there … and excuse me, but if we find them in the toilet, we’ll exterminate them in their outhouses,” in response to Chechen terrorists. That one tops Bush’s “smoke them out of their holes” quip. With Putin leaving office, NPR has compiled a short list and a story to remember him by. Scraps of Moscow has more on the subject. Can we expect Medvedev to top his patron?