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.

Most Popular SRB Podcasts of 2016

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The SRB Podcast had an amazing year. More amazing than I had anticipated. I managed to put out 43 interviews in 2016 on a wide variety of topics concerning Eurasian politics, culture and history.

Feedback on the show’s content and quality has been overwhelmingly positive and criticisms and suggestions have been constructive and helpful. I’ve done my best to address them, especially in the area of production quality. I’ve spent a lot of time being attentive to the show’s sound quality, and I think it has improved greatly over the last several months. I hope many of you listeners agree.

Most incredible is the growth in the podcast’s listenership and popularity. The SRB Podcast had 56,000 downloads in December 2015. As of today, it has surpassed 200,000!

In my opinion, this reception is a wonderful thing for a show that caters to a niche audience. It is also welcomed. One of my goals is to add variety and complexity to the public knowledge and discourse on Eurasia in general, and Russia in particular. Given the utter shallowness and often sheer inane public commentary on Russia today, it’s encouraging to find out that there is a hunger out there for substantive discussion. I think the SRB podcast provides that. At least, I hope it does.

Thanks to everyone for their support. It’s greatly appreciated and humbling. Remember, the SRB Podcast is free, but not free to make. If you like what you hear and find it valuable, please consider becoming a monthly sustainer or making a one-time donation.

Finally, the gods didn’t create all interviews equal. Some topics and guests are naturally more popular than others. I leave you with the top ten most downloaded interviews of 2016.

Onward to 2017!

  1. Love, Sex, and Porn in Russia

2. Ossified Putinism

3. The Origins of the Donbas War from Below

4. Siberian Merchants in Early Modern Russia

5. The US Pledge on NATO Expansion

6. Stalin, Clans and Terror

7. The State of Russia

8. Lev Gumilev’s Eurasianism

9. The American Mission to Save Russia

10. From the Great Fear to the Great Terror