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: Latvia Allows Double Citizenship… Except for Russians

The Latvian President has signed a law allowing Latvians to have double citizenship with other countries… except Russia. Moscow cries foul and calls on the EU to take action. Maria Efimova has the story. Latvia Signs a Citizenship Law Latvian President Andris Bērziņš signed the law “On Citizenship,” adopted by the Sejm on 9 May. This […]

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: Why was Ryan Fogle such a Dunce?

Russian blogger Anton Nossik speculates on why Ryan Fogle’s attempts to recruit Russian intelligence officers seemed to be so amateurish. Why was the American Spy such a Dunce? In Soviet times, there was the following anecdote: An American spends 15 years at spying school getting ready to infiltrate the deep Soviet rear. He studies the […]

Translation: FEMEN vs. Barbie: Life in Plastic ain’t Fantastic

The Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN organize yet another topless action. Life in plastic ain’t fantastic – and they will try to prove it through the power of their boobs. Sasha Pyatnitskaya covers the story for Komsomolskaya Pravda. Topless FEMEN protest against Barbie Dreamhouse in Berlin The restless maidens of FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist group, staged yet […]

No Rainbow in Russia – Opinion Polls on Homosexuality

More than 20 years after the fall of the USSR, Russia – and the other republics, too – remain deeply averse to the public expression of homosexuality. The Russian Spectrum makes available the results of two Levada polls, from March and May of this year, in an attempt to quantify this “homophobia” over the years. Public Opinion […]

Translation: Demographics in Russia and Germany

In a graphs-heavy blog post, German-Russian blogger A.S. Schmidt argues that with its far higher emigration rates and lower birth rates, Germany is now in a much bigger demographic crisis than Russia. Demographics in Russia and Germany I have long wanted to compare some of the demographic trends in Russia and Germany but, to be honest, […]

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: One Day in the Life of the Syrian Opposition

Komsomolskaya Pravda’s Alexander Kots writes about the mounting savagery of the Syrian civil war, citing the now infamous video of the Free Syrian Army fighter eating the heart of a government soldier as a case in point. Weekdays of the Syrian Opposition: Cut out the Heart, and Eat It More and more videos from combat zones […]

Translation: A Pity the Nazis didn’t Make Lampshades out of Today’s Liberals

In one of the most scandalous op-eds of the year, KP’s Ulyana Skoybeda takes the liberal Leonid Gozman to task for equating SMERSH with the SS. The original byline was later toned down, and the author offered a partial – and some insist, halfhearted – apology. The Politician Leonid Gozman Says: “A Nice Uniform is the […]

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 […]

Translation: Patriarch Kirill in China

As the Russian Patriarch embarks on a five-day visit to China, Kommersant’s Pavel Korobov takes a look at the history, current reality, and future prospects of Orthodoxy in China. The ROC Acquires Chinese Literacy Patriarch Kirill arrived in China on a five-day official visit. The leadership of the PRC has already called the First Hierarch’s visit […]

Translation: The Sacrificial Victim and the End of Russian Homophobia

Analogizing to the Pussy Riot affair, journalist Oleg Kashin argues that the grisly murder of a gay man in Volgograd may soon shame – or rather, frighten – the Kremlin into dropping its gay-baiting campaign. The Sacrificial Victim and the End of Russian Homophobia This question is either for the intellect, or for general erudition: […]

Translation: It’s All Personal

Russians don’t trust their friends much. But they trust strangers and the state even less, so personal relations predominate in the economy at the expense of clubs, communities, and institutions. Sociologist Pavel Stepantsov paints a bleak picture of Russian society for Vedomosti. Everything Revolves around Personal Relations Many of the games we play, and that […]

Translation: The Red Army “Rape of Germany” was Invented by Goebbels

In an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian history professor Elena Sinyavskaya in a discussion with Alexey Ovchinnikov disputes the factual provenance of the Red Army rape of Germany. The Myth of the “Rape of Germany” was Invented by Goebbels In recent years, Victory Day has unfortunately acquired a not very pleasant tradition: the closer the holiday comes, […]

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? […]

Translation: Vladimir Kolokoltsev – “The Death Penalty is Society’s Normal Reaction”

In an interview with Dmitry Nadezhdin, Russia’s chief police officer says that he, as a citizen – if not as a government Minister – supports the return of the death penalty for the worst crimes. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that it ain’t happening. Vladimir Kolokoltsev: “The Death Penalty is Society’s Normal Reaction” The Interior […]

Translation: Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations

On 9 February, 2013 the Deputy Minister for Communications schooled Moscow State journalism students in the “propaganda model.” They were none too thrilled about the lesson, as Natalia Romashkova writes. Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations The Deputy Minister for Communications and Mass Media Alexey Volin explained the heated reactions to his speech […]

What Political System do Russians Prefer?

A new Levada poll indicates that after a brief infatuation with markets and “Western-style democracy” in the early 1990s, Russians more or less consistently consider the Soviet system to be the best one out there. Russians on the Country’s Political and Economic System Which of these political systems do you think is best: The Soviet […]

Translation: Up And Down The Freedom Rating

In a comment for popular Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Anatoly Karlin compares media freedoms – or the lack thereof – in Russia and the “free” West. There is a longer version of this article at Da Russophile. Recently the French human rights organization Reporters Without Borders unveiled new press freedom ratings, which showed Russia sinking to […]