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dermokratiya

Watching The Eclipse - "Ambassador Michael McFaul was there when the promise of democracy came to Russia—and when it began to fade."
In the three months between McFaul’s appointment and his arrival in Moscow, a great deal changed. Putin, feeling betrayed by both the urban middle classes and the West, made it plain that he would go on the offensive against any sign of foreign interference, real or imagined. A raw and resentful anti-Americanism, unknown since the seventies, suffused Kremlin policy and the state-run airwaves. As a new Ambassador, McFaul was hardly ignorant of the chill, but he launched into his work with a characteristic earnestness. “Started with a bang,” he wrote in his official blog. During the next two years, McFaul would be America’s primary witness to the rise of an even harsher form of Putinism—and, often enough, he would be its unwitting target.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 11, 2014 - 44 comments

Theater Map of Ukraine

"...it's social media that has helped build the public case against Russia" in Ukraine. One example is liveuamap.com, who "gather information from open sources and put it on the [Google] map" using familiar Google Maps markers for a Reds (Pro-Russian) vs Blues (Pro-Ukraine) theater map. Shaded regions indicate the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR; Red), Lugansk People's Republic (LNR; Purple), the MH17 crash site (Yellow), and the MH17 ceasefire zone (green). The posts linked to by each marker include a link to the source via a chain icon at the bottom of the post.
posted by jwells on Jul 23, 2014 - 11 comments

We all know things are bad for LGBT people in Russia, right?

In fact, we have no idea. "LGBT organizations declared foreign agents in one fell swoop, gays being blacklisted by banks, employers, and landlords—welcome to the new reality of being LGBT under Putin." [more inside]
posted by FlyingMonkey on Jun 10, 2014 - 34 comments

Strangers Among Us

Xenophobic Chill Descends Upon Moscow [NYTimes] “...For now, we have not encountered real aliens. However, the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an incontestable reality.”
posted by the young rope-rider on Apr 13, 2014 - 80 comments

The Cold War Revives, Heats-Up

Dozens of armed men in Russian-marked military uniforms occupied an airport in the capital of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region early Friday, Obama warns Russia against any military intervention in Ukraine. But what is so dangerous about Crimea, and what is 'The Budapest Memorandum?'
posted by rosswald on Feb 28, 2014 - 718 comments

Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland: Pussy Riot's new song

Pussy Riot's new song and video, "Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland", rocks. This video features both Nadia and Masha (just released from jail) performing in public and hugging the Winter Olympics mascot - before being beaten with whips by cossack soldiers. And the song is actually catchy...
posted by colie on Feb 21, 2014 - 34 comments

Pussy Riot

What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
posted by homunculus on Feb 7, 2014 - 57 comments

Russia without Ukraine is a country; Russia with Ukraine is an empire.

9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask.
posted by oceanjesse on Jan 31, 2014 - 68 comments

"To my friends, everything; to my enemies, the law."

When he was arrested in Siberia in 2003, billionaire oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was "the Bad Bad Leroy Brown of Russia...In a nation of mobsters, he is king, a stone-cold ruthless genius." [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Dec 29, 2013 - 30 comments

The Voice of Russia

Via decree, Russian president Vladimir Putin has abolished the country's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti, as well as the state-owned Voice of Russia radio station, effective immediately. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 9, 2013 - 47 comments

Instant Potemkin village

Suzdal awaited the Emperor's arrival... So the ancient Russian town had to acquire a duly imperial lustre, somehow, anyhow. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Nov 22, 2013 - 6 comments

Leave Putin Alone, Says Chief Henchman

"Putin has long kept a veil of secrecy over his personal life. Thus, he startled the world with an abrupt announcement on state television in June that he was divorcing his wife, Lyudmila, after 29 years of marriage. The news revived long-running speculation that the 60-year-old president was seeing another woman, possibly the 30-year-old Kabaeva, a State Duma deputy with United Russia and one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics."
posted by rhombus on Sep 30, 2013 - 42 comments

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Why I have gone on hunger strike

A detailed and shocking open letter.
posted by colie on Sep 23, 2013 - 33 comments

By VLADIMIR V. PUTIN Published: September 11, 2013

A Plea for Caution From Russia (SLNYT) My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
posted by philip-random on Sep 11, 2013 - 316 comments

"Should the poet be with the czar, or against him?"

Poets appeared in Russia in the eighteenth century. They wore officers’ uniforms and mostly wrote odes for the accession of German empresses onto the Russian throne. In a country where life was lived according to the wartime principle of unity of command, everyone including poets served the government, which was personified by the autocracy. But everything changed with Pushkin. Born in a country where serfdom was only the formal expression of a deep internal psychological slavery, he achieved the most important Russian coup, the greatest Russian revolution: in opposition to the pyramid of power, at the head of which the Czar administers the fates of individuals and nations, he created an alternative pyramid, at the head of which stood the poet. The juxtaposition of the czar and the holy fool—the old divided paradigm of authority—was exchanged for the juxtaposition of the czar and the poet.
Poets and Czars — From Pushkin to Putin: the sad tale of democracy in Russia by Russian novelist Mikhail Shishkin, who caused a stir earlier this year when he withdrew from participation in literary events sponsored by the Russian state with a strongly-worded letter. His action was equally strongly criticized by the state and several Russian writers. Shishkin spoke to The American Reader about recent events. He currently lives in Switzerland and recently wrote an essay about being separated from his native language community.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 3, 2013 - 3 comments

"the feminist virus infecting your thoughts"

Pussy Riot aren't just on tour. They're on the run. Laurie Penny meets the Russian punk-protest group. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Jun 26, 2013 - 18 comments

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been found dead

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been found dead [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Mar 23, 2013 - 49 comments

“What you cannot do, a Cossack can.”

The Cossacks Are Back. May the Hills Tremble. [New York Times]
"In his third term, President Vladimir V. Putin has offered one clear new direction for the country: the development of a conservative, nationalist ideology. Cossacks have emerged as a kind of mascot, with growing financial and political support."

posted by Fizz on Mar 17, 2013 - 14 comments

“Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!”

Pussy Riot found guilty of anti-religious ‘hooliganism’ for church protest. [NYTimes.com] Previously Previously.
posted by Fizz on Aug 17, 2012 - 182 comments

closing statement

"I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you." - Yekaterina Samutsevich: Closing Statement at the Pussy Riot Trial
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 9, 2012 - 66 comments

Russia and Syria

"The Western observer tends to split the Russian press into two camps: evil statists and martyrs. But for their part, members of the Russian press are convinced of their superiority over their Western colleagues, at least when it comes to Syria. Russian journalists aren’t under the illusion that they are more objective than their Western counterparts, but they are convinced of their ability to convey a more realistic, complex picture of the events in Syria." - The New Republic: In Russia, Even Putin’s Critics Are OK With His Syria Policy
posted by beisny on Jul 24, 2012 - 34 comments

With him, it will be safe

"You’ll be happy with him. He’ll protect you like a stone wall." First time, only for <3. [more inside]
posted by Mister Fabulous on Feb 28, 2012 - 31 comments

Doll 'protesters' present small problem for Russian police

Lego figurines, Kinder surprises and other toys played the role of 'demonstrators'. Police in Siberian city ask prosecutors to investigate legality of protest involving display of toy figures holding miniature placards. "Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events – using toys with placards at mini-protests," Andrei Mulintsev, the city's deputy police chief, said at a press conference this week, according to local media. "In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event." [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 26, 2012 - 24 comments

Letter from Moscow

David Remnick: How far can the resistance to Vladimir Putin go? (SLNewYorker)
posted by beisny on Dec 12, 2011 - 34 comments

In Plutocratic Russia, Kremlin Tweets You

There were thousands of Russians protesting the widespread ballot stuffing discovered during the elections last sunday. Russian police arrested hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square, including Alexei Navalny. Protestors raised awareness using Twitter hashtags like #триумфальная (Triumfalnaya), but pro-Kremlin spammers were prepared to drown them out using 2000 automated twitterbots they'd created earlier this year. (related, recently)
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 10, 2011 - 27 comments

The Most Interesting Man In The World… Is Russian

He rides with biker gangs! He shoots whales with a crossbow! He does piano recitals for charity! He bends frying pans with his bare hands! It's Vladimir Putin, Action Man. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 13, 2011 - 92 comments

Haven't had a burger in a while. Lunch with Obama at Ray's Hell Burger.

Russian President Medvedev is tweeting his trip to the US (English, Russian). So far, no comment on Putin belittling him to the French press. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jun 24, 2010 - 25 comments

GQ bans Moscow blast article, bloggers catch up

It took spontaneously crowd-sourced translators less than 24 hrs to make an article on the FSB's (former KGB) alleged implication in the Moscow 1999 apartment blasts accessible in Russian. Before, distribution of the issue of GQ in Russia had been banned by the editor himself. The topic (although the allegations are anything else than new) became an instant top in the russian blogosphere today (dynamic listing, will change with time)
posted by megob on Sep 6, 2009 - 22 comments

A New Thaw for Russia?

The global financial crisis has severely affected the Russian economy. The unstable situation in the country has contributed to a growing rift between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. As increasing numbers of Russians become disillusioned with Putin's promise of comfort and security in exchange for authoritarianism, Medvedev has shown some willingness to take the country in a more liberal direction. Some analysts, however, remain unconvinced.
posted by nasreddin on Apr 26, 2009 - 25 comments

Medvedev Sworn in as new Russian President, names Putin as Prime Minister

Meet the new boss... Same as the old boss.
posted by psmealey on May 7, 2008 - 42 comments

Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy?

Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy? Washington Post's Fred Hyatt attempts to refute the conventional wisdom that Putin was responsible for Russia's turnaround from the economic instability of the "disastrous" 90s by offering a thorough counter argument to prove that Putin's effect on the economy was just the reverse. [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Jan 18, 2008 - 26 comments

Kasparov Detained By Russian Police (check)

Garry Kasparov, chess grandmaster, and presidential opponent to Putin, has just been detained on charges of organizing a protest and resisting arrest. [more inside]
posted by mrzarquon on Nov 24, 2007 - 63 comments

Союз нерушимый...

Newsfilter: Someone is clearly nostalgic for the good old days of the Iron Curtain.
posted by Krrrlson on Aug 18, 2007 - 22 comments

Bizarre geopolitical posturing filter

Russians plant flag on North Pole Sea bed. Russia has attempted to assert it's sovereignty over the North Pole by planting a Russian flag 4,200 metres under the ice. Norwegians, Danes react with amusement.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Aug 2, 2007 - 67 comments

Policing Putin's Russia

"OMON knows no mercy and forgives none. This is the way it is, was, and always will be." The Russian OMON (Otryad Militsii Osobovo Naznacheniya), or Special Purpose Police Squad, is one of the most elite police units in the world. Formed in the mid-1980s to combat urban riots, the 20,000-strong OMON now tackles terrorists, protesters, and soccer fans. What drives former soldiers to join the beefy brigade? "Risk," says Major Viktor Kommissarov, "Working in the OMON always involves the risk of death." (in Russian)
posted by nasreddin on Jun 1, 2007 - 22 comments

Putins spy war on the West

Putins spy war on the West White House intelligence advisers believe no other country is as aggressive as Russia in trying to obtain US secrets, with the possible exception of China. In particular the SVR, as the former KGB’s foreign intelligence arm is now known, is using a network of undercover agents in America to gather classified information about sensitive technologies, including military projects under development and high-tech research.
posted by jouke on May 20, 2007 - 30 comments

Worsening relations between Russia and the US

Vladimir Putin: You know who else wanted to dominate the world? Also: Russia suspends compliance with treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. A 2002 analysis of Putin's foreign policy by Clifford Gaddy and Fiona Hill discusses Russia's fear of US unilateralism; a more recent article by Hill notes that high oil prices have made Russia an energy superpower. A 1951 article by George F. Kennan on US policy towards Russia. Previously.
posted by russilwvong on May 9, 2007 - 28 comments

Who's killing Putin's enemies?

A dozen of Putin's critics have been assassinated and Russia's vast natural resources are in the pockets of a chosen few. A 2 part article in The Guardian.
posted by jouke on Feb 24, 2007 - 33 comments

Allofmp3 Battle the World

AllofMP3 gets a copyright lawyer to help with their FAQ but with Russia's entry to the WTO apparently at stake and Putin getting involved their future looks a bit perilous.
posted by rongorongo on Nov 29, 2006 - 47 comments

Anna Politkovskaya 1958 - 7 October 2006

Newsfilter: Chechen war reporter found dead - Anna Politkovskaya. Courageous reporting from the "forgotten" conflicts in Caucasus. I guess she found out the truth too often.
posted by hoskala on Oct 7, 2006 - 26 comments

Straddle the line in discord and rhyme, I'm on the hunt I'm after you...

Hungry like the wolf. In his state-of-the-nation address, Vladamir Putin took a swipe at the Bush administration, saying that Russia should build "a strong, reliable home because we do see what's going on in the world. . . Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat. It's eating without listening to anyone. And by all appearances, it's not going to listen . . . Where is all this pathos about the need to fight for human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here everything is possible. There are no limits."
posted by insomnia_lj on May 10, 2006 - 25 comments

Der Spiegel interview with Surkov (2nd to Putin)

"The West Doesn't Have To Love Us"
Der Spielgel conducts a wide ranging interview with Vladislav Surkov, chief Kremlin strategist and Russia's 2nd most powerful politician behind President Putin. He comments on Chechnya, internal politics and rebellion, Russia's relationship with the west, the disappointment with the failure of progress since the fall of communism in 1991 and his role in establishing the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth organization, who have recently become very vocal and active in a grassroots nationalist campaign.
posted by peacay on Jun 23, 2005 - 6 comments

Ukraine vs. Russia, 2004 style?

The Orange Revolution -- A coup is taking place right now in the streets of several Ukrainian cities. Following the "election" of Viktor Yanukovych, an election that everyone from the Ukrainian man-on-the-street to EU observers and the US and Canada say was marred by serious and obvious fraud, Ukrainians are turning out by the hundreds of thousands to show their support for the opposition candidate, the pro-West reformer Viktor Yushchenko. Individual cities and municipalities, not to mention heads of Ukrainian religious groups, have even announced that they will refuse to recognize Yanukovych as the Prime Minster.

The problem is, Yanukovych is supported by the Kremlin. Russia's state-run TV stations had been broadcasting propaganda on his behalf, they called the election on his behalf before the polls were closed, and their increasingly despotic President Putin even congratulated him on his "win", before backtracking slightly. And now reports are trickling out--from former American congressmen communicating via Blackberry, no less--about Russian soldiers being flown across the border into Ukraine, dressed in Ukrainian militia garb, and set among the protestors. Phones have been cut across much of the country, including at the embassies. A semi-covert Russian-backed military push against the pro-democracy protestors is feared. Will this be another peaceful Rose Revolution, as happened in Georgia one year ago today, or more like Hungary, 1956? Stay tuned to the Ukrainian bloggers and webcams; this could get messy.
posted by Asparagirl on Nov 23, 2004 - 147 comments

Metafilter Presents: A Post That Does Not Focus on America (tm)...

Sept. 7: Righteous indignation. Sept. 13: The million dollar question. Sept: 14: The beginning of the answer?
posted by Krrrlson on Sep 14, 2004 - 39 comments

Psst!

Putin says Iraq planned US attack
posted by terrymiles on Jun 18, 2004 - 64 comments

Putin Fires Russian Government

President Putin fires entire Russian government. Sounds very ... dictatorial. Why so little concern in the media?
posted by yevge on Feb 24, 2004 - 28 comments

The Ultimatum has been delivered to the UN...

The Ultimatum has been delivered to the UN... This conflict, simmering for over ten years is about to erupt. "In strict accordance with international law," unilatteral military action is imminent unless demands are met. Animosity has been mounting steadily for months, and Russia is ready to invade Georgia. "No one can deny today, and for ourselves we are certain, that Georgian territory is sheltering both those who are implicated in the attacks on the United States and a direct operative involved in the attacks on housing units in Russia," Mr. Putin said on Russian television, echoing the logic U.S. President George W. Bush has used to rally international support for a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. The United States said it would not support Mr. Putin if he carried out his threat to attack Chechen rebel bases in Georgia, and slammed him for suggesting he might. "The United States strongly supports Georgia's territorial integrity and would oppose any unilateral military action by Russia inside Georgia," a U.S. State Department spokesman said. This all seems rather hypocritical, business as usual new world order politics: Is the price of getting UN Security Council approval on Iraq going to be public and secret deals, and is this really about the Chechens, or about breakaway republics and Caspian Sea oil? And what about China? Will we rubberstamp their ambitions re: Taiwan, Spratley Islands, Mongolia? And finally, why Georgia? I know they put up a two-bit Olympics and never caught that one terrorist bomber, but really, Georgia?
posted by Mack Twain on Sep 13, 2002 - 25 comments

How to brew up a new cold war: arm up some rivals and burn a treaty in exchange for setting up a global missle defense system. Can anyone find an upside to this story? Why could this be a good thing for the US and the rest of the world?
posted by mathowie on May 28, 2001 - 45 comments

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