Building bridges in Russian civil society

Direct aid givers, civic activists, and political activists spend as much time arguing amongst themselves as they do building civil society. With such divisions, it is clear that bridges need to be built not only between civil society and the state.

Little green men

Events in Ukraine may develop with lightning speed, but the fear of war is ever present – a new kind of war. (на русском языке)


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? (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 challenges for Ukraine’s presidential election

On Sunday 25 May, President Putin permitting, 36.5 million voters will go to the polls in Ukraine to vote for a successor to President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted after three months of protests, and over 100 dead

Crime without punishment

The Highway Code does little to protect Russian citizens, especially pedestrians. High-ranking officials or people with connections get away, sometimes literally, with murder in today’s Russia and there is no redress for them under the law.

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’?

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.

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?

The three ages of Putinism

Two years ago, on 4 March 2012, Russians went to the polls to elect a new president, and returned Vladimir Putin for his third term in office. Since then he has been putting the finishing touches to his personal ideology. (на русском языке)

End of the road for populism in Ukraine

Ukrainians are having to pay a high price for the success of their revolution, and it is as yet by no means clear what exactly that victory will bring them. The problems in Crimea must be resolved and economic collapse must be averted – two very tall orders.

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. (на русском языке)

The myth of the black widow

Fears of terrorism surrounding the Sochi Olympics have seen much talk of ‘Black Widows’ and the 'Caucasus Emirate,' but do these headline-grabbing terms obscure the real nature and origins of terrorism in the North Caucasus? 

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 heavyweight guide to Ukraine

Don't know your Klitschko from your Titushki? Can’t remember which oligarch is which? What or who is a ‘Maidan?’ With our heavyweight guide, you won’t have to buy the next round…

The face of a tyrant

On 16 January the Ukrainian parliament passed emergency amendments to a series of laws on the judiciary and the status of the courts, which have transformed the country into a police state.

The blank poster: Russia heading into 2014

Experts agree modernisation and liberalisation present Russia's only chance of enjoying continued economic growth. There is little indication such a programme should be expected in 2014 as Russia's elites value self-preservation above all else.

Nailing things down…

Pyotr Pavlensky is the performance artist who nailed his scrotum to the cobblestones of Red Square. Pained, the government reaction was to institute criminal proceedings against him. Yelena Kostyleva talked to Pavlensky the night before his first interrogation.

Publish and be decapitated

In the West we talk metaphorically about ‘losing our heads;’ in Ukraine, it has been a state-ordained punishment. How have Ukrainians been denied the free journalism that the end of Soviet imperialism was meant to bring about?

From a #euromaidan in Ukraine

How do we (and Ukrainians) make sense of what is happening in Ukraine? Is the hashtag #euromaidan of any help in understanding the choice being made between the EU and Russia, or yet another symbol of a general failure to understand anything?

Georgia through a glass, darkly

Since the break-up of the USSR, the South Caucasus has trodden a chequered path, both political and economic. Is democracy really what the people want? Or just what Western donors and investors think they should have? Stephen F Jones reflects

The transnational lone-wolf terrorist

When Ukrainian postgraduate Pavlo Lapshyn was sentenced for racially-motivated murder and terrorism in the West Midlands, the response from Ukrainian media was to distort facts; from authorities to remain silent; and from British journalists to pin blame on UK society. These approaches obscure the uniqueness of the case, says Anton Shekhovtsov

The writing on the wall?

On Friday, a Russian news agency had its publishing licence revoked, supposedly for publishing two ‘profane’ Youtube clips. For Daniil Kotsyubinsky, however, the episode was but the latest example of a 'summary execution' — intended as a warning to any would-be political independents.

The polyphonic president

Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-president of Georgia, was once hailed as the very archetype of a model post-Soviet leader – smooth-tongued and sharp-suited. But was the fluency with which he promoted himself as a modern messiah merely a case of pouring old Georgian wine into new bottles?

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