Russian civil society is a 25-year-old work in progress

A summary of the results of the recent Salzburg Global Seminar ‘Russian Civil Society Symposium: Building Bridges to the Future’ is simple: no easy answers, more questions. But that does not mean it was a failure.

Trusting in Russian civil society

‘We are from the same sector; we want the same things!’ was the result of one discussion at the Salzburg Global Seminar Russian Civil Society Symposium. But how to achieve them?

Polite people with guns

For 20 years Russians saw Ukraine as a parody of Russia, because 'Ukraine isn't Russia.' Now, our neighbours are suddenly our enemies; and nobody is laughing. How did we get here?

What next for the Crimean Tatars?

Crimean Tatar leaders are vehemently against a return to Russian rule. But why, when so often they have been at odds with the Ukrainian Government?

Sochi, the Caucasus and Russian Romanticism

Since the 19th century the Caucasus has been Russian’s ‘window on the East,’ its access to another, often very romanticised world. The Sochi Winter Olympics took place in the Caucasus, but they presented a less complex image.

Whose Crimea is it anyway?

On 18 March, Vladimir Putin declared to the Russian parliament that Crimea had always been an inseparable part of Russia. But in fact the peninsula’s history is not so simple.


Putin needs a Polish lesson in Ukraine

There are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made by the USSR in Poland in 1989, and what is happening in Ukraine today. President Putin, however, is repeating the mistake of his Soviet predecessors

When charity should begin at home

Civil society development in Russia has been hampered by restrictive laws and apathy or suspicion on the part of the public. What is needed so it can start again? Salzburg Global Seminar is considering the issues

Educating Orthodoxy

The Russian Orthodox Church has been expanding its educational activities to include not only seminaries but universities offering a wide range of courses. But if you’re a woman, don’t even think about wearing jeans to class.

An American in Maidan

Suspecting that neither Ukrainians nor people elsewhere were being given an accurate portrayal of what has been going on in Kyiv, I felt I had no choice but to travel there and offer an honest portrait of Maidan as I saw it.

The partition of Ukraine

Ukraine has been shorn of Crimea, now there is talk of splitting the rest of the country in two, rather as Czechoslovakia did in 1993. But do the arguments add up?


Putin, Crimea and the legitimacy trap

The Kremlin sees events in Ukraine through the prism of its own domestic politics and is anxious to prevent the type of democrats-and-nationalists alliance that brought down Yanukovych. Its actions in Crimea may be shoring up its nationalist credentials at home but the fall-out could be more dangerous than they anticipate.

Who’s next on Putin’s list?

Crimea is under the control of Russia’s military forces and its Moscow-backed government is voting to secede from Ukraine.  Where might President Vladimir Putin seek territorial expansion next?

Ukraine is stuck in a post-Soviet condition

Stalin created Ukraine as we know it today. That is why the future of the country, East and West, is stuck in its past – a post-Soviet state unable to escape its history.

Is Russia outgunning Ukraine in the ‘information war’?

For both Moscow and Kyiv, TV is the key to winning the hearts and minds of Ukrainians. But who is winning the ‘information war’?

Is Russia’s ‘foreign agent’ law illegal?

On 6 March the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court began hearings on whether a law affecting thousands of NGOs is in fact unconstitutional. But many civil rights campaigners believe that whatever the outcome, it will be too late.

Dagestan: Russia’s hottest spot

Asked to name Russia’s most troublesome region, most people would plump for Chechnya. But its neighbour Dagestan is now officially the most dangerous part of the Federations.

Civil war, secession and the body politic

Working with young people is important in any society. The recent story of an unusual Chechen initiative demonstrates why functional governance has so spectacularly failed to take root during the last 23 years.

The Maidan is alive and well and planning its future

The eyes of the world may be fixed on Crimea, but back in Kyiv the Maidan isn’t going away and is looking forward to a future mission spreading people’s politics around Ukraine.

No real threat to Ukraine’s Russian speakers

What are the ‘legitimate interests’ justifying Putin’s intervention into Ukraine? The most frequently identified interest is the situation of Russians and Russian-speakers. Is the Russian language really under threat?

Crimean Tatars – tragic past and uncertain present

News coverage of the current dramatic situation in Crimea has so far had little to say about the Tatars. Their history has been one of repression and deportation, but they should not be overlooked.

A response to Cas Mudde’s ‘A new (order) Ukraine’

Events in Ukraine have provoked an avalanche of media comment, much of which, though well-intentioned, is not entirely accurate.

TV Rain - the wrong question

A row over a viewer opinion poll has effectively silenced TV Rain, Russia’s most independent TV channel. A pity they asked the wrong question.

Nobody wants Russia’s Turks

Russia’s Meskhetian Turks, exiled from their homeland seventy years ago, have to put up with ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and violence on a regular basis. A travelling exhibition, now in the US, shows pictures of their suffering – past and present.

The importance of not being a 'stan'

What’s in a name? President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan was apparently in earnest when he recently suggested changing the name of ‘his’ country. If he gets his way, the domestic and international implications are very real.

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