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.

Klebnikov Murder Five Years On

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Five years ago, Paul Klebnikov was murdered as he left his office in Moscow.  Shot nine times. See the Russia Today video above for the details of the case.  Since Klebnikov’s murder in 2004, the number of journalists killed in Russia ranges from tens to 44 depending on how you categorize them. The number of journalists attacked is even higher.  According to the Glasnost Defense Foundation, since 2004 the number of journalists who’ve been attacked because of their work is in the hundreds. Sadly, the frequency in which reporters are attacked and killed in Russia makes Klebnikov’s death a grim statistic.

I was fortunate enough to meet the Klebnikov family last November when Paul’s widow, Musa, invited me to speak at their annual event to honor Mikhail Fishman, the recipient for the Paul Klebnikov Prize for Excellence in Journalism. Musa, and Paul’s brothers Peter and Michael were very gracious.  And they have created a wonderful community of friends, family, and colleagues to commemorate Klebnikov’s work.  It was an honor to be invited and to meet them.  My thoughts go out to them this day.

It is also thanks to them that Klebnikov’s death is not simply a grim statistic.  His memory is constantly evoked thanks to their tenacity in putting pressure on American and Russian officials to find Klebnikov’s killers.  One can only hope that the announcement that officials from the US Justice Department will join the case will bear fruit.

His memory is also kept alive by his colleagues at Forbes, who have published a special report “Remembering Paul Klebnikov” to commemorate the five years since his death.

There isn’t much more to say.  The dangers of exposing the malfeasance of rich and powerful in Russia are well known. Too well known.

All I can say is, fight on Musa, fight on . . .