An anti-Putin journalist gets her throat slashed by an intruder forcing his way into one of the last bastions of "free, independent journalism" in Russia. As if that wasn't enough, it came on the background of a recent Russian TV geopolitical drama series called "The Sleepers" - sort of a Russian analogue of "The Americans"... Read More
Nossik was an Jewish-Russian journalist who perhaps more than anyone else shaped the contours of the Russian Internet. Apart from having a hand in starting up a huge percentage of the online news leviathans that still dominate the sphere, as an outspoken political personality he was also one of the most popular bloggers in his... Read More
Apostrophes around "opposition" because even something like the Communist Party is far more deserving of the label than the gaggle of discredited 1990s-throwbacks who constitute the Western-approved challengers to Putin's rule in RPR-PARNAS. But I digress. Anyhow, latest news: Mikhail Kasyonov (known as Misha 2 Percent for the percentage he took as kickbacks on government... Read More
RIA Novosti, Russia's main state-run news agency, is going to be dissolved. So is Voice of Russia, a publication that I've written for, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta and its Russia Beyond the Headlines project*. They are to be merged into a new organization confusingly called Rossiya Segodnya ("Russia Today"), which is NOT the same as the... Read More
This June I had the pleasure of once again attending and speaking at the World Russia Forum. The event now happens twice a year, in Washington DC and Moscow, and is intended to draw together Russian and American experts, academics, journalists, and policy-makers in an effort to improve relations between these two nations. An account... Read More
My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel: I think we have to make a distinction here between "soft" soft power and "hard" soft power. The US' "soft" soft power is, of course, overwhelming. By "soft" soft power, I mean its accumulated cultural capital: The popularity of the English language, Hollywood, the Ivy League, Apple and American... Read More
Another day, another Internet project. Or more specifically, reviving an old project - the "English Inosmi" concept of translating articles and blog posts from the Russian media for a Western audience. The only problem was that I was perpetually dissatisfied, even if at a subconscious level, with the name: RossPress*. An elementary problem which I... Read More
Here it is in Russian: Вверх-вниз по рейтингу свободы. This translation here is of a longer version at my Russian language blog. A version of it also appears on Voice of Russia: Press freedom - on both sides of the Information Curtain.
For background see here, here. Russia Voices is good because it powerfully hints at what the project is all about: Giving the Anglo-sphere some sense of what Russians from all sides of the political spectrum are saying. But downside is it's similar to Voice of Russia (a radio station), and besides, the more "intuitive" RussianVoices.com... Read More
As long-term readers will be aware, I am working on two big projects: A book on myths about Russia, and a website specializing in translating articles from the Russian press into English. (The idea being that even if it does nothing else, Western institutions will no longer be able to credibly say Russia's level of... Read More
1. For Russian orphans life is much more dangerous in Russia than in America. Let's agree to disregard the hidden subtext which implies that any country ought to give over its orphans to foreign nationals should it be ranked safer for children. Let's first examine if the claim that Russia is 39 times more dangerous... Read More
In one of his regular columns for mafia state news agency RIA Novosti he wrote (h/t Mercouris): But wait! This sounds... remarkably similar to a Facebook conversation with one Valentina Filippenko on Eggert's wall. (She is a student at the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University, presumably another democratic journalist in the making). Except that... Read More
This post is a continuation of the last, and can otherwise be called "Konstantin von Eggert: A Case Study In Democratic Journalism (part 2)." Alternatively, one might view it as a refutation of claims that the Kremlin controls or censors the Russian media (Eggert's own protestations, hilarious and Orwellian in the context of what follows,... Read More
There is a term on Runet, popularized by the satirical "dissident" Lev Sharansky, called "democratic journalist." Of course, this term is every bit as satirical as its main propagator. In the Russian context, it denotes a journalist who is obsessed with free speech, human rights, democracy, the whole turkey. But they are "obsessed" with them... Read More
It's been a few months in the building, since the decision to launch it at the WRF 2012, and I feel it is now developed enough to make it more widely known. I hope it will become as prominent as the current best specialized English-language Russian politics resource on the Internet, Russia: Other Points of... Read More
Natalia Zubarevich's concept of "The Four Russias" is one of the most reasoned and perceptive political analysis from the liberals, and as such I think it important enough to translate it (mostly I disagree with its core assumptions and conclusions though I do think it is a useful way of envisioning Russian politics). As such... Read More
One of the most common arguments made to explain why Russians don't finally overthrow the evil Putin in a bloody bunt is that they are brainwashed by the regime's TV propaganda stations. This isn't actually very accurate at all. Russian TV isn't any more propagandistic than in the West, and on some issues, less so;... Read More
Typically when Westerners write about Chinese and Russians they stress the negative aspects of the relationship. Russians are invariably racist towards the Chinese and fear them in xenophobic reaction to their (non-existent) swamping of Siberia. The Chinese for their part laugh at the alcoholic, non-productive Russkies. And quite likely they will soon invade and take... Read More
According to the press release (PDF) regarding the recent judgment, the issues considered by the ECHR as regarding complaints about the 2003 Russian Duma elections were the (1) the opposition's access to an "effective remedy" to complain about media bias in favor of United Russia; and (2) that the media's aforementioned bias prejudged the fairness... Read More
So Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in scenes reminiscent of what happens to dissidents in truly authoritarian countries. (The parallels keep adding up don't they). Let's recap. His site kept releasing classified documents, from secretive and typically nasty organizations. Too bad that some of them belonged to the Pentagon and the... Read More
According to a recent Vzglyad article by Olga Gritsenko titled Universal Stupefaction, no they are not. Here are the cold raw facts: Libraries stock 4% of books published in Ukraine, compared to 18% in Russia and 40% in the US and Canada. The average Ukrainian spends $2.5 on books in one year, compared to $22... Read More
I will be jetting off tomorrow to Washington, but before I do - a translation of Edward Lozansky's interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda (Америка ненавидит Россию, которую сама себе придумала). Lozansky, who used to be a Soviet dissident, is the organizer of the World Russia Forum and has many strong, pertinent views on why it's a... Read More
I'm not a big fan of analyzing Russian politics via "Kremlin clans". Estimating their relative power seems to involve mostly tea leaf reading, and in any case the entire exercise is of dubious predictive value. Even the exact compositions and identities of the various clans differ from analyst to analyst! Besides, clans are hardly unique... Read More
One of the most common tropes against Russia is that critical (independent, democratic, etc) journalists there are dying like flies, presumably because of the "culture of impunity" created by Putin or even on his express orders. It is rarely mentioned that the statistical chances of a Russian journalist dying by homicide is an order of... Read More
As I noted before, the symmetry is amusing to say the least. Anti-regime characters such as Nemtsov and Navalny, who are marginal in Russia (both in popularity and media presence - as is logical, nothing undemocratic about that), are treated as Genuine Voices of the Russian People by the Western media. In its turn, Russia... Read More
Since yesterday, the following image from an article by liberal journalist Evgenya Albats has been making the rounds on the Internet. It shows that whereas Putin's official tally was 65%, independent observers put it close to or below the 50% marker that would necessitate a second round, such as Golos' 51% and Citizen Observer's 45%.... Read More
In the wake of Putin's article on national security for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, there has been renewed interest in Russia's ambitious military modernization plans for the next decade. I am not a specialist in this (unlike Dmitry Gorenberg and Mark Galeotti, whom I highly recommend), but I do think I can bring much-needed facts and good... Read More
Imagine a respected American financial newspaper such as the WSJ writes an article investigating elections fraud in favor of the Democrats. To illustrate the rightness of their point, they include a photo of a ballot for the Republicans that - they allege - wasn't tallied by the dodgy Solyndra machines rolled out for use in... Read More
In the vein of my recent posts on the myth of Russian emigration, I am now publishing a translation of Уехать в Белоруссию ("Go Off To Belarus") by Maksim Schweiz writing for Rosbalt news agency. It is a joint effort by Nils van der Vegte, who blogs with Joera Mulders at Russia Watchers and is... Read More
Do you remember the growing chorus of voices in the Western media speaking of a "growing wave" of emigration from Putin's Russia? Those 1.25 million liberal professionals who have fled that neo-Soviet abyss in the past few years? As it turns out, not only are these stories complete fabrications - in a previous post, I... Read More
I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.
One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.
Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.