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.

Russian Homophobia

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If you want a sense of the extent homophobia is entering Russian public life, here is what Dmitrii Kiselev, who’s wikipedia page describes him as a “Russian journalist and fascist” said on his show “Historical Process,” which airs on Russia state channel Rossiia. Keep in mind, these comments were made back in April 2012 a year before the law against “gay propaganda” was passed. The clip is only now making the rounds in Russian blogsphere. Given statements like this on state television, its no surprise violence against homosexuals in Russia is on the rise.

“For my mind, penalizing gays for homosexual propaganda among teenagers is not enough. We need to ban blood donation from them – and sperm donations too. And in case of a car accident, we should burn or bury the heart of the deceased seeing that it is unfit to continue the existence of anyone’s life.”