The Decline Of Russian Skinheads

It’s not just the gopniks who are withering away; so are racist skinheads. According to the SOVA Center – an NGO which is about as anti-Kremlin as it gets, so no point in speculating that it cooks the figures for PR purposes – racist attacks in Russia have plummeted from their peak levels in 2007-2008, back […]

My Article For Komsomolskaya Pravda On Press Freedoms In Russia And The West

Here it is in Russian: Вверх-вниз по рейтингу свободы. This translation here is of a longer version at my Russian language blog. A version of it also appears on Voice of Russia: Press freedom – on both sides of the Information Curtain. Thanks to Alexei Pankin (who is a regular at Komsomolskaya) for making it happen – and […]

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 […]

Translation: Sergey Magnitsky: Act Two

Maxim Kononenko, the gadfly of Runet, on how the hunters may become the hunted in the Magnitsky saga. The representatives of the founder of Hermitage Capital, William Browder, have informed the High Court of London that their client sees no reason to respond to respond to the lawsuit against him by Major Pavel Karpov, the […]

Translation: “Either We Convert, Or They Kill Us”

Yuri Matsarsky meets up with Egyptian Christians who fled to Russia from the persecution of Islamist extremists. “Late one evening I was walking home after a meeting with friends, when I stopped to have a cigarette at the Domodedovskaya metro station and saw a crowd of people with small children at the entrance. By their appearance, […]

A Chess Game To The Death

I am back to writing for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel, which since my hiatus has found an additional home at Voice of Russia. The latest topic was on whether Russia, China, and the West could find a common approach to the challenges of the Arab Spring. My response is pessimistic, as in my view Western […]

So Who’s The New Clown At The Economist’s Russia Desk?

I really did think it was getting better there under Joshu Yaffa, certainly it’s not typical of him to write such vitriolic but more importantly factually inaccurate articles. Let’s hope the world’s sleaziest magazine was getting one of their old-timers to file for him that day, instead of representing the start of a new descent into Lucasian raving. […]

Translation: Gleb Razdolnov – Please Answer, Gérard!… (An Open Letter To Depardieu)

In the wake of Gérard Depardieu’s scandalous “defection” to Russia to escape high French income taxes, liberal Russian journalist Gleb Razdolnov yearns to know what the hell he was thinking. Dear Gérard! You’ve taken the decision to abandon your homeland, France. We will not talk of the reasons that prompted you to take this step. Such a […]

Major Misconceptions About The Dima Yakovlev Law

1. For Russian orphans life is much more dangerous in Russia than in America. Let’s agree to disregard the hidden subtext which implies that any country ought to give over its orphans to foreign nationals should it be ranked safer for children. Let’s first examine if the claim that Russia is 39 times more dangerous […]

Translation: Russia Today Hired You To Talk About The Cynicism And Wickedness Of The West (Konstantin von Eggert)

This post is a continuation of the last, and can otherwise be called “Konstantin von Eggert: A Case Study In Democratic Journalism (part 2).” Alternatively, one might view it as a refutation of claims that the Kremlin controls or censors the Russian media (Eggert’s own protestations, hilarious and Orwellian in the context of what follows, to […]

In Which I Become A Liberast: Criticism Of Russia’s Expulsion Of USAID

The latest US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel focuses on whether Russia was correct to expel USAID on the grounds that it interfered in domestic Russian politics to an acceptable degree. Here is my contribution: I have no connection to USAID, or indeed to any American NGO operating in Russia or anywhere else. I do not pretend to have […]

So Apparently Germany Is A Christian Theocracy

At least if you take Michael Bohm’s arguments in his latest Moscow Times missive on how Russia Is Turning Into Iran to its logical conclusion. Look, I’m not a fan of blasphemy laws. The First Amendment is a wonderful thing and something that makes the US truly great… even exceptional, to an extent. Although it should […]

Authoritarian Parallels

One of the main theses of this blog is that in many respects, Russia is far more similar to the the “West” (and vice versa) than various democratists would have you believe. Case in point (h/t Jon Hellevig): When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the […]

A Genuine Case Of Miscarried Justice

Taisiya Osipova was sentenced to 8 eight years in jail for selling and possessing heroin. This was twice more even than what the prosecution requested. Even if the case was rock solid it would still be wildly disproportionate as she suffers from diabetes. But it’s not; to the contrary, there are reasonable suspicions that the drugs […]

Assange Should Have Picked The Russian Embassy

UK police descend on Assange’s embassy refuge. According to the Ecuadorians, their Embassy was threatened with a revocation of its status as Ecuadorian sovereign territory in the case that President Rafael Correa offers Julian Assange political asylum. This would clear the way for PC Plod could go in and fish out Assange. Presumably this is to avoid breaking […]

Legal Analysis Of The Pussy Riot Case

Alex Mercouris has penned a long and extremely erudite analysis of the case against Pussy Riot. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Go, read. There are just a few things I would add: (1) I think one of the closest historical analogues to this case in Anglo world is the 2 month imprisonment of Nicolas […]

The Guardian’s Pussy Worship

From their latest Editorial / anti-Putin rant, via Mercouris. It is not with the ideological rhetoric that I have an issue with; it’s The Guardian, after all. Nor am I especially interested in defending Pussy Riot’s prosecution (my own views on the matter jive with Kononenko’s). I do however have an issue with the The Guardian […]

Last Word On Jews In Russia

At least until the issue arises again. Over to Alex Mercouris: … I do not agree that the two big revolutionary parties in tsarist Russia, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats were under Jewish ideological influence. I do not know what “Jewish ideology” is. Anyway the Socialist Revolutionaries had their origins in the far […]

Modern Britain In Four Extradition Cases

Imagine you’re a British extraditions judge and you are asked to rule on the following cases. (1) An oligarch exile who came from a country where he might well have ordered contract murders and is now loudly and implacably opposed to its new President who dispossessed him of his political influence. Although the British establishment considers said country, […]

Will Ecuador Protect Assange From The Empire?

So Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in scenes reminiscent of what happens to dissidents in truly authoritarian countries. (The parallels keep adding up don’t they). Let’s recap. His site kept releasing classified documents, from secretive and typically nasty organizations. Too bad that some of them belonged to the Pentagon and the […]