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.

Badware Nowhere

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Several days ago someone or something hacked SRB, delivering a nice Christmas present of badware.  I guess this was ol’St. Nick’s way of telling me I’ve been more naughty than nice over the last year.

To my surprise/horror/confusion, this site was flagged by Google as “reported attack site.”  I, of course, didn’t discover the flag.  Andy Young of Siberian Light did, and my thanks goes out to him for alerting me.

You probably already know this if you’ve visited this site over the last several days using Chrome or Firefox.  The big red warning screen telling you to head for the virtual hills is kinda hard to ignore.

Like any paranoid Russia-watching hack, I blame Putin or at least his army of misfits, Nashi.  Clearly I’m THAT important to attract the vozhd‘s ire! [Insert Russia blogger’s idiotic self-aggrandizement.] I’m just glad Putin didn’t steal my wallet.

I’m happy to announce that after much fretting, web searches, consults, and a crash course in badware code, the site is now clean and the warning has been lifted.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .