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 -
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 -
The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus “Sochi used to be much prettier... These days crooks from Moscow come here to build and sell skyscrapers and apartments, although it used to be such a small, lovely town."
via The New York Review of Books
article on "Why Sochi"
Putin explicitly links the Games to the humiliations of the recent past: “There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it,” he said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude.” The Olympics, he explains, are a necessary part of an effort to “strengthen the morale of the nation.”
posted by spamandkimchi
on Feb 6, 2014 -
A Plea for Caution From Russia
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 -
"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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
A Tsar Is Born.
For his "extraordinary feat of leadership in taking a country that was in chaos and bringing it stability," Time
has announced Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year. Al Gore
and J.K. Rowling
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Dec 19, 2007 -
"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 -
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 -