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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.

Mr. Garcia Goes to Tbilisi

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Andy Garcia has been cast to play President Mikheil Saakashvili in the upcoming film Georgia.  I just hope that Garcia’s audition required to see how he looked chewing on his tie.

The film, directed by Renny Harlin, will revolve around the last year’s war between the Caucasian nation and Russia.  Though war remains extremely politically charged on both sides, the film promises to “not take sides” reports the Telegraph.  I have no idea how that will be possible considering that its executive producer is Papuna Davitaia, a pro-Saakashvili MP.  Nevertheless, Michael Flannigan, one of the film’s other executive producers, told Georgian TV: “Our main concern was to show war as a bad thing.  We had an opportunity to make a really anti-war film.”  We’ll see about that.  My prediction is that war will be shown to be a “bad thing” only when the Russians are involved.  But who knows?  I do count on one thing, though.  The film will have lots of explosions.  Sadly, it hasn’t been announced who will play Medvedev or Putin.  I’m with FP Passport and second Daniel Craig for the role of Putin.  As for Medvedev, that’s a tough one.  Unless they can somehow resurrect Nicholas II, I’m stumped.

According to the Telegraph, Georgia’s plot will involve an American journalist/do-gooder and his faithful cameraman who find themselves “caught in the thick of the conflict and are forced to make tough ethical choices.”

Well that’s interesting.  This plot sounds similar to Russia’s drama/agitprop action film Olympus Inferno which was broadcast earlier this year.  Olympus Inferno focused on an American insect hunter and a Russian journalist who stumble upon “damning evidence” that Georgia started the war and, surprise, surprise, tough ethical choices ensue.

Not much else has been said about the film, which is to be released next year. But from the little information available, it sounds like it’s going to be nothing short of total crap.

More dashing photos of Garcia as Saak can be found here.