Hipsters And Democratic Journalists Might Not Support Putin, But The Middle Class Does

Yet another oft-repeated Western trope about Russian politics is that Putin has “lost the middle classes” (Brian Whitmore, paging Kudrin), that it is liberals who speak for the middle class (Fred Weir), or even that it is not just the middle class who are against Putin but the masses too (Masha Gessen). Let’s look at some […]

The “Last Hurrah” Of The Liberal Bloggers And Hipsters

For all the hype the “March of Millions” was missing a couple of zeros. (In the video above, the left pane shows the march along the Yakimanka on February 4th, where there were about 56,000-80,000 protesters; the right pane shows the “march of millions”, in reality about 20,000-30,000, along the same street on May 6th). […]

Sex, Scandal, And The Russian Opposition

One of the most interesting new bloggers on the Russia watching scene is Augis Barkov and his Red Hot Russia. Much like chinaSMACK for China, he searches out trending stories on Runet and translates them – with comments from netizens – for a wider English-speaking audience. Some of his topics I found interesting included Chechen fashion, “Naked […]

Liberals Can’t Be Appeased

One thing that an observer of Russian politics can’t help noticing is the sheer impossibility of appeasing the Russian liberals. Here are two recent exhibits from the Moscow Times. First, coming to the end of his Presidency, Medvedev pardoned some people in a list of political prisoners presented by the non-systemic opposition a few months […]

Prokhorov, President Of Londongrad

Once again, a picture that’s worth a thousand words, courtesy of Alex Kireev: A map of how Russians abroad voted in the 2012 elections (see below). Quantitatively, they split into three main groupings, each accounting for about a third of the votes from abroad: (1) Residents of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Pridnestrovie; (2) Other republics […]

Why Golos’ Own Figures Support Only 3%-6% Fraud

Since yesterday, the following image from an article by liberal journalist Evgenya Albats has been making the rounds on the Internet. It shows that whereas Putin’s official tally was 65%, independent observers put it close to or below the 50% marker that would necessitate a second round, such as Golos’ 51% and Citizen Observer’s 45%. Predictably, […]

Al Jazeera On Elections And White Ribbons

Russia’s winter of discontent? from Al Jazeera’s Stream. Overall, fairly balanced. I appear at 8:50 to ask a question about the suspicious timing – two months before the actual elections – of the creation of the website promoting the White Ribbon as the symbol of the anti-Kremlin protests. Generally speaking, I’m skeptical about the more grandiose […]

Maksim Schweiz – It’s Time To Shove Off To Belarus!

In the vein of my recent posts on the myth of Russian emigration, I am now publishing a translation of Уехать в Белоруссию (“Go Off To Belarus”) by Maksim Schweiz writing for Rosbalt news agency. It is a joint effort by Nils van der Vegte, who blogs with Joera Mulders at Russia Watchers and is […]

Time To Shove Off! And What Then?…

If I had a cent for every Russia story from the past week that featured the (conclusively debunked) “sixth wave of emigration” meme… And if wishes were fishes. Still, the coverage of Russian reactions to Putin’s return does demonstrate the venality and general fecklessness of the Western MSM. As Adomanis correctly noted, it is “negative […]

Nikolai Starikov – How Russian Liberals Create Russophobe Myths

Do you remember the growing chorus of voices in the Western media speaking of a “growing wave” of emigration from Putin’s Russia? Those 1.25 million liberal professionals who have fled that neo-Soviet abyss in the past few years? As it turns out, not only are these stories complete fabrications – in a previous post, I […]

How NOT To Be A Whistleblower In Russia: The Case Of Yevgeny Starshov

In 2009, the UK was rocked by lurid revelations about MP’s expenses: home renovations, expensive meals and holidays, and even apartments fraudulently claimed by Parliamentary deputies. Apologies, recriminations, resignations, and even prosecutions followed in the wake of the documented evidence published by The Daily Telegraph. In the past two weeks, an intern at the State Duma incited […]

A Response To Vadim Nikitin’s Arguments For The “Liberation” Of Khodorkovsky And The Kuriles

Over at his Foreign Policy Russia blog, and (provocatively?) a few days before Russia’s Unity Day, Vadim Nikitin penned the post Khodorkovsky = Kurils in which he argued for their mutual liberation from the Russian state. Whereas in their time both the conquest of the Kurils and the destruction of robber oligarch Khodorkovsky had been “effective […]

Exiled Russian Dissident Yury Luzhkov Condemns Putin’s Corrupt, Stalinist Regime

This is a headline in a Western newspaper you might be reading in the not-too-distant future. Back in October 8th, ten days after Luzhkov’s dismissal from the Moscow mayoralty by Medvedev, I predicted that “within the next 3 months Luzhkov is going to get hit with corruption charges and will either go on trial or […]

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, […]

The Boris Bombshell. Two Years Later. Still a Dud.

During the past two years, Russian “dissident” liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called “Independent Expert Reports” (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the “persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda”. The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled “Putin. The Results. 10 […]

Translation: On Liberasts and Liberasty

So I decide to write about Putin’s mistakes to counter my public image as “ein strammer Putin-soldat“, and guess what, the first comment I get denounces me as a “completely naive and/or delusional person” for daring to “take “Russia’s corruption trends” seriously” (I suppose it proves the old dictim that you can’t please everyone all of […]

Russia’s “Abortion Apocalypse”: А был ли мальчик?

Remember the hysterical stories back in winter 2009 about how Russia was going to see soaring abortions that would strip away all the “transient” improvements in its fertility rate over the last few years? Remember the glee this gave to Russophobes who saw it as a vindication of their criticisms / rantings against the Russian […]

Translation: Tatyana Korchevnaya – On Liberal Web Brigades

It is a pity that foreigners are not privy to the wild and wacky world of LiveJournal, Russia’s premier blogging site – many prominent people have accounts there and traditions of opposition and kompromat makes for a lively stream of scandal. One recent case involved Tatyana Korchevnaya, who used to be a prominent member of […]

I Appear on Al-Jazeera

Here‘s the video. My section begins at 8:02. Why was my speech not exactly on-topic?