Translation: Why Didn’t Transparency International Reveal Russia’s Bribery Data?

Why was there no bribery incidence data for Russia in Transparency International’s international survey of 2013? Andrey Kamenetsky at Odnako connects the dots to argue that it was simply because the results were too inconvenient to serve as propaganda. A Crisis of Zombification: How Transparency International failed on The Russia Corruption Rating Dear Readers! In July there […]

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. […]

Translation: Why Putin Closed Down Open Government

Liberals think Putin put the Open Government Initiative, advanced by the US, on hold because he is a thief. The blogger Evgeny Super, however, argues that it is a matter of protecting Russia’s sovereignty. On the Fate of “Open Government” in Russia: Why Vladimir Putin Froze the Initiative Vladimir Putin canceled Russia’s joining of the […]

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: 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: 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? […]

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 […]

Boris Berezovsky: Godfather of Strategy-31 Abroad?

In recent months, there has coalesced yet another, fleeting Russian liberal movement, focused on holding (unsanctioned) protests on the last day of the month to draw attention to the 31st article of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly. As is usually the case with other sagas in the (largely illusory & irrelevant) “Kremlin Regime vs Noble Liberals” narrative, […]