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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.

Russia Today: Iran is all a CIA plot

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There is nothing more hilarious when people give wondrous powers to the United States.  It’s no surprise that Russia Today would feast on a the idea that the “Green Revolution” is a US orchestrated plot.  Russia already convinced itself that every colored revolution was cooked up in Langley.

And this makes Craig Roberts a perfect guest (I know nothing about Wayne Madsen, but his wiki entry suggests that he’s a crank).  He argued that the Iranian protests are  “classic CIA destabilization” in an article on Counterpunch.  What a sad convergence of opinion between  some in the American Left, Russia’s conservatives, and the theocrats in Iran.

The idea among some Leftists that every uprising they don’t like is the work of the CIA (or Mossad) always strikes me as orientalist.