Writing

Pussy Riot’s Passion

My review, “Demystifying the media caricatures of Pussy Riot” of Masha Gessen’s Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot has been published in The World Today. Here’s an excerpt: Pussy Riot are now global celebrities. Their cause has been featured in articles, profiles, books and films. Since...

The Titushki Generation

by Lesia Mazanik, 1 February 2014 Original in Russian Translated by William Risch Titushki is a new word from Ukrainians’ lexicon that the whole world is now learning. This is the name for strong, athletic young men hired for money to cause trouble at public gatherings, who start up...

Gay Propaganda Uptick

As I noted in my Nation article on the gay propaganda law (which, by the way, has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award), there have only been few instances where the law has been enforced. This seems to be changing. Last week, Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia’s most well known...

The Day Kyiv Blew Up

Guest post by William Risch On January 19, 2014, Kyiv exploded.  It started with a peaceful mass rally of over 100,000 people at Independence Square (commonly referred to as the Maidan).  Organizers had talked of this being a chance to protest laws limiting freedom of speech and assembly that...

Review: Putin’s Games

http://english.share.rferl.org/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&id=25191947&w=640&h=363&skin=embeded My column for Russia Magazine, “Palaces in Sochi on Monday,” Until recently, Sochi was mostly viewed in the context of Russia’s anti-homosexuality laws. No more. Stories of corruption and rights abuses in the preparation of the Olympics are all the rage. Joshua Yaffa’s recent article in Business Week...

Bandera’s Ghost in Kyiv

Guest post by William Risch Last week January 1 marked more than the start of a new year in Ukraine.  It marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera, onetime leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).  About 15,000 people in Kyiv took part in a...

Battlefield Volgograd

My article for Next City, “Why the Terrorists Chose Volgograd,” Volgograd has a long history of violence. Originally Tsaritsyn, it was a key southern outpost founded in the 16th century to serve as the guardian of the Volga River and a gateway to the Caucasus. It location at the...