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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.