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They're making a list checking it twice...

For the cat and free speech lover in your life are these fabulous Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un scratching posts. Also a variety of more affordable litter trays.
posted by brookeb on Sep 22, 2014 - 11 comments

Neocons are alive and well and playing with Ukraine.

Whats and whys of the of the Ukraine crisis. Some of what the MSM is ignoring.
What do Neocons want from the Ukraine Crisis?
Juan Cole - The Neocon comeback.
Did you know about America's Dirty Little Ukraine Secret which has Republican overtones?
Putin, for all his authoritarianism, is not the cause of the Ukrainian conundrum (though he is certainly exploiting it).
There is a genuine divide in Ukraine between a nationalist-dominated west and a Russian-speaking east.
posted by adamvasco on Sep 7, 2014 - 108 comments

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

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 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

Sochi is the Florida of Russia

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 - 89 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

Bruce Sterling on Manning and the blast shack.

"This scene is straight outta Nikolai Gogol." Chairman Bruce reflects on Manning, surveillance, the history of computing, the character of cypherpunks, the Russian and American states, and more.
posted by doctornemo on Aug 4, 2013 - 51 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

Putin and the Cranes

President Putin leads a flock of rare cranes in hang glider
posted by Cloud King on Sep 5, 2012 - 87 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

Vladimir "Fats" Putin

Vladimir Putin sings "Blueberry Hill" - SLYT
posted by Huplescat on Dec 11, 2010 - 49 comments

You're going to be very popular in the corrective labor camp.

Vladimir Putin Action Comics
posted by lullaby on Oct 24, 2010 - 27 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

Multilateral Mahjong Madness

George Bush's Mahjong Secrets: Revealed! The Legend of Koizumi manga, featuring both Georges Bush, Putin, Pope Benedict XVI, Thatcher, et al, has had its first chapter translated into English.
posted by HotPants on Jun 2, 2009 - 7 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

A Tsar Is Born

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 are runners-up.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Dec 19, 2007 - 70 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

High spirits in Heiligendamm

The Heiligendamm G8 summit just ended. While some stuck to alcohol-free beer, fresh French President Nicolas Sarkozy clearly had something a bit stronger before his press conference.
posted by Skeptic on Jun 9, 2007 - 49 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

Putin's harsh criticism of U.S.

The United States has overstepped its borders in all spheres - economic, political and humanitarian, and has imposed itself on other states. That was a remark by Russian President Vladimir Putin at Munich Security Conference.
posted by elpapacito on Feb 10, 2007 - 98 comments

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