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.

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Since 2005, I’ve provided critical commentary on Russia’s past and present on this blog.

These many years of blogging proved to me that there is general public interest beyond the academy and expert community for critical, nuanced, and thoughtful commentary on Russia. In 2015, I decided to take advantage of this hunger and start the SRB Podcast that features academics, journalists, policy makers, and pundits on Eurasia’s past and present.

The mission for the SRB Podcast is simple:

  • To provide a space for the many, many interesting thinkers who do amazing work to express their views, discuss their work, and contribute to the larger public discussion on the region.
  • To give the public access to the wonderful and growing body of research that is crucially important, especially as tensions in the region flare, for painting a picture of Eurasia in all its complexity.

It is my hope that the SRB Podcast will make a modest contribution to the spread of this knowledge to an interested public.

The podcast has been more successful than I’ve anticipated. So far I’ve conducted 40 interviews which have garnered over 100,000 listens. Monthly listens surpassed 10,000 in April and May. Once again this proves there is an audience for this knowledge.

I’m convinced that getting people access to this knowledge is not a problem of content, but of form.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Many listeners have told me that they appreciate the diversity of guests, views, and topics on the show.

The success of the SRB Podcast has reached a point where I must ask listeners for their financial support.

I have created a donation page on Patreon. You can go there to make a contribution or click on the buttons above and below this post.

The SRB Podcast is produced at a low cost. But a cost nonetheless. Expenses include equipment, server hosting, and subscriptions to various social media platforms. In addition to these direct monetary costs, the podcast takes time to prepare and produce. I do everything myself: contact with publishers and guests, interview preparation, conducting the show, recording, editing, and production, and promotion and social media (though this last part is also done with the much appreciated help of listeners, for which I am extremely grateful). Any other labor that goes into making the SRB Podcast possible is thanks to guests devoting their precious time to talk to me and the great amounts of time they devote to producing their knowledge.

Given its mission, the SRB Podcast will always remain free and open access.

So if you enjoy the SRB Podcast and want to help realize it its mission, I ask that you make a financial contribution to help support, expand and sustain its ongoing work.