What’s Good for the Goose is Gaffed by the Gander

I will be going on a “working vacation” this Sunday, so I’m publishing my weekly contribution to VoR/US-Russia experts panel early: Okay, let’s get one thing clear from the get go: The Russian law requiring NGOs to declare themselves “foreign agents” if they engage in political activities and receive financing from abroad, is not illegitimate. […]

On Guriev

Apparently he fled to France after senior “systemic liberal” sources in the government told him he was not safe staying in Russia. So he played it safe. Interpretations about. The return of Stalinism; a new critical phase in the siloviki vs. civiliki clan war; Putin’s vindictiveness against a supporter of Khodorkovsky. The only problem, at […]

Translation: When do Russian Officials become Democrats?

When they are fed to other bureaucrats. Or so argues Mikhail Rostovsky in an op-ed for Moskovskij Komsomolets, in analyzing the resignations of Surkov and Alexei Chesnakov. Surkov for Breakfast, Medvedev for Lunch, and where do Russian Democrats come from? Solve this riddle. What does it mean when you hear the clatter of plates, knives, and […]

The Stupid Witchhunt Against Levada

I think the real situation is somewhere in between the Kremlin’s position and Mark Adomanis’ and the rest of the Western and Russian liberal media’s alarmism. So as far as this is concerned, I really do think Gudkov is exaggerating, not to even speak of the inevitable and hysterical comparisons to Stalinism cropping up in some quarters. So what if Levada registers […]

Translation: The Sociology of Dunces

Writing in Novaya Gazeta, Andrei Vladimirovich Kolesnikov argues that the branding of the opinion pollster Levada Center as a “foreign agent” marks Russia’s return to the bad old days of Lysenkoism. A Sociology of Dvoechniki Levada Center is being destroyed with Stalinist methods. Sociological data is dope for the present-day vlast. She looks at sociological […]

Translation: Lev Gudkov – The Levada Center is not a Foreign Agent

In an interview with Kommersant’s Ksenia Turkova, the director of the Levada Center Lev Gudkov argues that opinion polling isn’t a political activity – and as such, that his organization is not a “foreign agent.” “The Sphere of Public Opinion Cannot Fall under the Rubric of Political Activities” The opinion polling agency Levada Center may […]

Translation: The Anatomy of Context

In which Russian writer Dmitry Bykov compares the Russian opposition to Pugacheva, and God – for that is what most concerns Russians, and not the trivialities they typically discuss. The Anatomy of Context Just about the same thing has happened to the Russian opposition as has happened to the Russian intelligentsia: it has been accused of every […]

Translation: Grigory Yavlinsky Slams the New NGO Laws

Grigory Yavlinsky, head of the liberal Yabloko party and political old-timer, argues in a Vedomosti editorial that the Kremlin’s crackdown on NGOs is not only ethically wrong but ultimately self-crippling. The Exile of Citizens from Politics Unfortunately, the Russian nomenklatura has an exceedingly poor understanding of why we need independent public organizations, and the meaning […]

Translation: Was Surkov Fired for Bolotnaya Sympathies?

Based on multiple interviews with high-placed sources, Vedomosti’s Lilia Biryukova, Maxim Glikin, and Maxim Tovkailo compile four major theories to explain Surkov’s resignation last Wednesday: Was it a simple matter of under-performance, or are there deeper currents to the story? Surkov May have been Fired for his Bolotnaya Sympathies On Wednesday, President Putin acceded to the resignation request of […]

Should I Give Up Already?

From a Freedom House publication:

Translation: Bolotnaya Prisoner tells of Georgian Money and Revolution

Olesya Gerasimenko interviews Konstantin Lebedev, recently convicted of planning riots at the Bolotnaya rally of 6 May, 2012 and given a 2.5 year prison sentence. After his plea bargain and shocking confessions, his former comrades now call him a traitor. Konstantin Lebedev – “I Don’t Consider Myself a Traitor” Were you pleased with the sentence? […]

The Anti-Magnitsky List

Here is the list of US citizens publicly barred from Russia in response to the US Magnitsky List. Are you familiar with any of them? Individuals alleged to be involved in the use and legalization of torture and indefinite confinement of prisoners – the “Guantanamo list”: 1. David Spears Addington – Chief of Staff of […]

Navalny’s Promises To Put Putin In Jail

In a recent interview with the opposition Dozhd TV channel – which is, incidentally, available for public viewing in Russia as part of the NTV Plus satellite TV package – for the first time openly declared he wants to be President. He also speculated about the motivations behind the Kirovles fraud case being brought against […]

Margaret Thatcher, RIP

A friend on Facebook said it best: watches with amusement as people who think history is the result of transpersonal economic forces that determine individual consciousness get hung up on the supposed moral evil of one woman I am personally entirely neutral and indifferent to her. I have British acquaintances who are her fans, as well as […]

And They Say Mark Adomanis Is A Putin Stooge

Anti-corruption efforts have been significantly stepped up in recent months, both in terms of headline making events (e.g. the dismissal of Serdyukov) and the less heralded progress in the introduction of new laws to combat the source. One of these is a ban on Russian bureaucrats holding foreign bank accounts (this represents a watering down of […]

Berezovsky RIP

“I will either return to the Kremlin on a white horse, or in a black limousine to the Mausoleum.” It is customary to say something nice about the recently deceased, so here goes… *ahem.* If not for Berezovsky, Putin probably wouldn’t be President. UPDATE: As expected, the conspiracy theories have inevitably began to crawl out […]

Last Word On Chavez

When I said this post would be “the last post” on the matter, I meant posts written by myself. 🙂 Alexander Mercouris’ was too good to pass up, so it is reprinted here: Any discussion of Chavez must explain why he was (to his detractors) such a terrible man. He was a terrible man because […]

Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s Ambassador In London, Personally Responds To Emails

Not sure you can say that of many national ambassadors! This is what I wrote to this email for expressing condolences on Chavez’s passing: After a heroic battle with cancer, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías has shuffled off this mortal coil, but his dream will endure forever and continue giving hope unto the hearts of men and women all […]

Hugo Chávez Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil, But The Light Of The Bolivarian Revolution He Ignited Will Endure Forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08cD7-MYaJo We all suspected this would come sooner or later. As it happens, Chavez struggled heroically against his cancer, confounding the intensive Schadenfreude and concerted death wishes of his loathsome detractors month after arduous month. But this is what you can expect to get when you look out for your own countrymen and stand up to […]

What I Learned From Freedom House…

My latest for the US-Russia Experts Panel and VoR. In this latest Panel, Vlad Sobell asks us supposed Russia “experts” whether Freedom House’s “alarmist stance” towards Russia is justified. Well, what do YOU think? I don’t think you need to be an expert to answer this; it’s an elementary issue of common sense and face […]