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.

Soviet Intelligence and African National Liberation

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Guest:

Natalia Telepneva is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Warwick specializing the history of Soviet foreign policy with a particular interest in Warsaw Pact interactions with African elites. She’s finishing a book tentatively titled “Cold War Liberation: The Soviet Union and the End of the Portuguese Empire in Africa, 1961-1976.” Her most recent articles are ‘Saving Ghana’s Revolution: The Demise of Kwame Nkrumah and The Evolution of Soviet Policy in Africa, 1966-1970’, Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 20, No. 4, Fall 2018 and “Mediators of Liberation: Eastern Bloc Officials, Mozambican Diplomacy and the Origins of Soviet Support for FRELIMO 1958-1965,” Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 43, Issue 1, 2017.

Partial transcript.

Music:

Public Enemy, “Fight the Power,” Fear of a Black Planet, 1989.