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.

Sorting Out South Ossetia

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What happened in South Ossetia? The war may be over but questions linger.  Who started the war?  Was there ethnic cleansing of Georgians?  What role did South Ossetian militas play in the conflict.  BBC has made available the first part of Tim Whewell audio documentary on South Ossetia where he uncover more pieces of the puzzle. Here’s BBC’s program description:

This summer’s war in Georgia sparked the biggest crisis in east-west relations for 30 years. When Russia sent its tanks across the border, its intervention was denounced around the world.

Reporting from Moscow and Georgia, and with rare independent access to the disputed territory of South Ossetia, Tim Whewell investigates allegations of ethnic cleansing of Georgian villages, and counter-claims that Georgia’s army was guilty of war-crimes against Ossetian civilians.

I recommend giving it a listen.