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.

Streamlining Nashi

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Yesterday, fellow Blogger-in-arms Kevin Rothrock of the a unparalleled A Good Treaty and I were on Al Jazeera‘s The Steam talking about Nashi and Navalny.

When the show approached me (as a result of Kevin’s recommendation) I was wary of being on the boob tube. Having my mug plastered across the airwaves has never been a desire, and having to speak off the cuff is always intimidating. But I acquiesced when they offered to have me on via Skype. Plus the fact that Kevin was in studio was certainly an incentive since he has my mad respect.

Still I was a bit uneasy and became more so when I saw the Stream’s post about the upcoming show: “Russia’s Seliger 2011: Fueling Fascism?” I have no problem with the wanton use of the F-word, unless it ends with -ism.  I was so worried that I would be asked “Is Nashi fascist?” that I did a quick review of Robert Paxton’s essay, “The Five Stages of Fascism” to make sure my conceptual Ps and Qs were straight to explain my reply of an emphatic “No.” Thankfully, the question never came.  And when the issue of Nashi and nationalism came up, Kevin handled it superbly.

All in all, I though it was quite a good show.  The questions were good and there was space for adding complexity. It was definitely a pleasure to participate, and I would do it again if asked.

For those who didn’t catch the broadcast here are the show in two segments: