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.

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?

You’re a Russian reporter – stay out of Ukraine!

Ukraine's border and security officials are applying a restrictive policy on Russians entering the country, particularly male Russians of military age, and reporters....

 

Can Russia afford to be an outcast in world politics?

What President Putin has been pursuing during his months-long battle against Ukraine’s economy and society is the semi-collapse and semi-implosion of the Ukrainian state. But at what cost?

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?

Elections (or war) in Ukraine

Ukraine has never seen such an unusual election campaign; part of it – Crimea – is no longer Ukrainian; there are Russian tanks on its eastern frontiers, and separatism is rampant in the eastern regions.

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.

Europe is (still) failing to understand Russia’s actions in Crimea

The EU has been right to interpret Russia’s foreign policy as both chaotic and driven by short-sighted or temperamental interests. However, the EU is wrong to view Russia’s foreign policy as a monolithic bloc in the hands of President Putin.

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.

Sorting out the opposition in Samara

People protesting against the Russian annexation of Crimea in the Russian city of Samara have been subjected to harassment and death threats from ultra-nationalist thugs – a sign of things to come?

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

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.

Out of the Guantanamo frying pan into the Russian fire

While Russia steps up calls for the US to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, its own abuse and mistreatment of Russian nationals who returned to the country from Guantánamo a decade ago is less well publicised.

Ukraine – hoping for peace but preparing for war

Ukrainians have accepted the loss of Crimea, but discrimination against dissenters has already started and partial mobilisation makes them very apprehensive that they may be called on to defend their future in more traditional ways.

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.

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

Crimea and Kosovo – the delusions of western military interventionism

Vladimir Putin says that Crimea is another Kosovo. Angela Merkel says that they are completely different. Who’s right?

 

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?

 

The serfs of the Volga Car Factory

The Volga Car Factory in Togliatti is the biggest in Russia. The management recently announced 7,500 redundancies, all before the end of the year. How are the city and its inhabitants coping?

Why Crimea is not Kosovo, and why it matters

In his 18 March speech, Vladimir Putin cited the International Court of Justice 2010 opinion allowing Kosovo to declare independence as justification for Crimean separation. The cases are, however, very different.

Crime and politics in Crimea

The link between crime and politics in Crimea has been evident for some time. Now, crime boss Sergei Aksyonov – the ‘Goblin’ – has become its self-declared leader…

Could Crimea be another Bosnia?

As Crimea prepares for its referendum on Sunday, a lesson should perhaps be learned from an earlier, Balkan carve-up.


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