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 Bald-Hairy Theory of Russian Leaders

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The Bald-Hairy Theory of Russian Leaders. I guess this is kind of like how every odd numbered Star Trek movie sucks. Anyway, this is courtesy of Veronica Khokhlova’s run down of Russian Live Journal reactions to Medvedev’s inauguration. It also seems that there are good and bad sides to Kremlin Inc. Sure they provide no space for any opposition and forces people to attend useless Dissenters’ Marches, but at least the inauguration briefly cleaned up Moscow traffic. Says LJ user dolboeb (Anton Nossik):

Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich,

Congratulations on assuming your new post. I hope you enjoyed the ceremony as much as I did. I thank you for providing me with a rare opportunity to see daytime Moscow without traffic jams. Please consider holding inaugurations once every week, preferably on Wednesdays. I think this could contribute to solving many traffic problems of the Russian capital.

Perhaps Kremlin Inc. can bring a few to Los Angeles?