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 to Monitor Iraqi Elections

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I don’t even know what to make of this.  Nashi announced on its website that the Iraqi Electoral Commission has recognized it as election monitor.  That’s right Nashi. As the “only Russian organization” granted such a role, Nashists will join the 800 international observers there to oversee Saturday’s vote.  Nashi’s self-designated task will be to make sure Iraq is as democratic as the US says it is. Says Konstantin Goloskokov, who will lead the Nashi delegation,

“The elections in Iraq are a test of real democracy.  We have serious reasons to doubt that America has built a democratic state in Iraq in the last six months. It is important to verify this with one’s own eyes whether Iraq has passed this test of democratization.”

Nashi is well versed in the intricacies of “managed democracy” so I can’t imagine that their standards will be too high.