The rehousing scam in Omsk

Six years ago the Omsk regional authorities embarked on a programme aimed at rehousing people living in unsafe and dilapidated accommodation. But the results are far from satisfactory. (на русском языке)

The last camping ground

Russia’s oil goliaths have been devastating vast areas of natural landscape, and indigenous people’s lives, in their rush to extract the black gold that lies beneath. But a family of reindeer herders has taken them on. (на русском языке)

The mistake that is Sochi

The Russian Government has a lot riding on the Sochi Olympics – prestige, glory, credibility, and an enormous amount of money. But why choose Sochi in the first place?

The Siberian archipelago

There’s a popular misconception about Russian politics that ‘everything happens in Moscow.’ But sometimes it’s the capital that has to catch up with the regions (or with Siberia at least).

Chemfest in Russia’s ‘chemical capital’

Russia’s industrial cities are more than a blot on the landscape. They are the source of appalling chemical pollution, a problem that neither the authorities nor the oligarch owners seem to have any interest in addressing. But people still have to live there.

Has Siberia had enough of Russia?

With Siberia’s enormous natural resources being mercilessly exploited by Russia, and now China as well, Aleksei Tarasov wonders if the region might some day amount to more than someone else’s colony.

A father’s last dream

PimkinIn July 2012, a mix of flash flooding and gross negligence conspired to kill nearly 200 in Southern Russia. One man has been fighting since then to get justice for his dead son. Lyolya Vlasenko reports. 

Where there’s muck, there’s brass

Protests against the proposed mining of nickel and copper in the heart of Russia’s Black Earth belt have been escalating, and so has the media smear campaign against the protesters. Konstantin Rubakhin, an activist himself, sees this as a positive sign. 

Sold down the river

The Angara, the only river draining Lake Baikal, might disappear by 2020, as it is progressively dammed for massive hydroelectric schemes designed to aid the development of … China.

Licence to kill on Lake Baikal

The unique Baikal seal has a beautiful coat, which is its undoing. Poachers make good money by killing the babies and selling the furs in China. Despite a government ban, the seal’s numbers are declining dramatically. Gayane Petrosyan asks,“what is to be done?”

A storm in a paint pot

The Russian Orthodox Church has, since the late 1990s, become an increasingly powerful force in Ukrainian politics and society. But the violent desecration of a piece of modern art shows it is also increasingly intolerant of different viewpoints.

‘Delai Sam’ - Russian community DIY

‘Delai Sam’ is Russian for ‘Do it yourself,’ a concept supposedly alien to the average Russian, who is used to having other people take decisions for him or her. But, as Tatyana Kargina reports, herself a ‘Delia Sam’ believer, more and more people are becoming civic grassroots activists.

Taken from Chita, Made in China

Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, is part of Russia’s DNA, and many romantic ballads sing of its size and beauty. Beyond the lake is a different story. Do Trans-Baikal Territory and its capital Chita have a future or is this a godforsaken backwater? Mikhail Loginov investigates

Aleksei Navalny takes on ‘the fools and the roads’

As the saying goes: ‘Russia has two misfortunes: the fools and the roads.’ Aleksei Navalny is just about still standing for election as Mayor of Moscow, but, in the proverbial way, he is also raising his profile in the provinces by offering people practical help with everyday problems.


Nickel and dimes

The fertile territories around Voronezh have long been referred to as Russia’s ‘breadbasket’. They also hold the last major nickel reserves in Europe, and the mining companies are about to move in...

The tragedy of Russia's abandoned wooden churches

Russia’s wooden architecture, especially its churches, was hardly a priority during Soviet times and now many of the unique old buildings are very close to total ruin.  A new book documents the tragedy in some of the most inaccessible parts of Russia’s north.  The numbers are daunting, but a tiny ray of hope has appeared on the horizon, which could rescue one or two of the near-ruins, says Alexander Mozhayev 

Fishing: Russia’s other civil battlefront

The recent wave of demonstrations against election fraud across Russia were preceded in the spring and autumn by protests from grassroots fishermen’s organisations, who marched to defend their right to fish for free. Authorities soon climbed down from their controversial plans to privatise rivers and lakes, but not before radicalising an estimated 15-20 million amateur fishermen, writes Oleg Pavlov.

In the backyard of Russia’s oil paradise

Pavlovo village was once a quiet backwater in the forest-steppe of Perm Region. In 1997, however, ecological disaster struck, with oil and chemicals entering the local river and food chain. The culprits of the catastrophe were both rich and obvious, but justice was a long while in coming, writes Roman Yushkov

In the land of the forests: dispatch from Perm

The Perm region once boasted well-managed forests, protected and processed for the common good. Today those forests lie abandoned or looted in the name of progress. The locals aren’t happy, but what can they do, asks Roman Yushkov?

Chernobyl: the first month

Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster, Barys Piatrovich recalls the tension of unknowing that gripped him and those around him during the days that followed. Today, barely any of the Chernobyl evacuees are still alive. Spread throughout the country, they died alone and unnoticed, statistically insignificant.

A co-publication with Eurozine

Alaska-Chukotka: when cousins reunite

Soviet times were hard for the indigenous people of the Russian Far East, but perestroika allowed them to reunite with their Alaskan cousins. The ensuing cooperation started with culture, and expanded to scientific research and mapping the bowhead whale. Sarah Hurst tells the story.

The EU forgets Chernobyl as it encourages Ukraine to become major nuclear-generated electricity exporter

Ukraine has an energy strategy that sees significant new nuclear build. The European Investment Bank's "Trans-European Networks" initiative encourages this new build by increasing the capacity for power exports to the West

BP, Rosneft and Russia's open secrets

Business is rarely just business in Russia, and the recent deal between Rosneft and BP is surely a case in point, says Mikhail Zakharov. The reason why it is happening is a combination of pragmatism, opportunism and national pride.

With friends in high places, is there hope for the tigers?

Where the world's tiger population once numbered 100,000, it now stands at 3,500, with several species facing extinction. Stanley Johnson was an attendee of the first Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg last month. He was surprised at the level of agreement among the world elite.

The Battle for Khimki Forest

The plan to construct a section of the new Moscow-St.Petersburg motorway through the legally-protected Khimki Forest Park will destroy a rare eco-system. Dogged local resistance has turned this into a national, even international issue. But it has not derailed the plan The article was first published on March 17, 2010
Syndicate content