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.

The Russian Monarchy’s Scenarios of Power

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Guest:

Richard Wortman is James Bryce Professor Emeritus of European Legal History, specializing in the history of imperial Russia at Columbia University. His the author of many books on Russian cultural and intellectual history including The Crisis of Russian Populism; The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness; and Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy From Peter the Great to the Abdication of Nicholas II. He has also published two volumes of collected articles: Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule and Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration: Collected Articles on the Representation of Russian Monarchy. His most recent book is The Power of Language and Rhetoric in Russian Political History: Charismatic Words from the 18 to the 21st Centuries published by Bloomsbury Press.

The photo of the Russian translation of Richard Wortman’s book Scenarios of Power on Vladislav Surkov’s bookshelf is here. Photo #22.

Music:

Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer,” 77, 1977.