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.

An American Physicist in Tuva

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richard-feynmanRichard Feynman, famous American physicist, atom bomb maker, father of nanotechnology, and Tuva lover.  Feynman discovered the remote region and its nomadic people from stamp collecting during the dark days of the Cold War.  Feynman began a long correspondence with one of its residents.  Feynman wanted to visit Tuva, but never did.  The Cold War prevented him from getting a visa which he documented in the book Tuva or Bust.  In pure Soviet bureaucratic fashion, the his visa approval arrived the day after he died.

Feynman didn’t make it to Tuva, but his daughter Michelle did.  BBC Radio’s Ilona Vinogradova chronicled her incredibly emotional journey, Feynman’s fascination with Tuva, and the life, customs, and hospitality of the small province on the Mongolian border.  Never did Michelle think that she would be slaughtering goats in her father’s honor.