Russia

PONARS Eurasia 15 Jan 2021
(RFE/RL) When Vladimir Lenin stepped off a train at St. Petersburg's Finland Station in April 1917, he set in motion events that would transform Russia and ultimately divide the world into opposing camps. Winston Churchill would later compare the first Soviet leader to a "plague bacillus" -- a parasite that enters an organism at the very moment it can do most harm. "The signs in Russia are...
PONARS Eurasia 13 Jan 2021
(Meduza) Allegations that Twitter violated the First Amendment are misguided because the U.S. Constitution only bars state censorship, according to historian Ivan Kurilla. American culture, however, has long endured other means of restricting free speech, like the recent phenomena of “cancel culture” and “extreme political correctness.” Expression today has become tricky...
Vladimir Gelman 13 Jan 2021
(Riddle) At the 2018 Gaidar Forum, an annual gathering of Russian experts and reformist officials, partticipants were asked to vote on their preferred methods of public control over the state. Digital platforms turned out to be the absolute leader, with 57% of votes. Representative democracy, meanwhile, gathered merely 11%. Such low support for democracy here partly reflects how...
Edward Schatz 11 Jan 2021
(National Post) In October 1993, a weak and desperate president ordered a frontal assault on his legislature. Then Russia’s great democratic hero, Boris Yeltsin had become convinced that the country’s parliament — a holdover from the Soviet period — had become an insurmountable impediment to his agenda. It was a one-sided battle. When the dust from the tank-fire settled, some 147 people had...
Pavel Baev 06 Jan 2021
(Eurasia Daily Monitor) Russia’s post-Soviet counter-transition arrived at its logical conclusion in 2020: Starting from a fledgling democracy in the 1990s, the country shifted to an “enlightened authoritarianism” in the 2000s, evolving into a barely disguised autocracy during the 2010s, now having finally settled into a quasi-dictatorship. That trajectory was in no way predetermined 20...
Tags: Baev, Russia
Andrey Makarychev 05 Jan 2021
(Sage) This essay attempts to juxtapose mass-scale protest movements that almost simultaneously erupted in summer 2020 in Belarus and Russia’s Far East. In spite of dissimilar root causes of both events, they however share a number of common characteristics, such as spontaneity, lack of well-established leadership, networking/horizontal structure (Paneyakh, 2020) and explicitly non-...
Marlene Laruelle 04 Jan 2021
(Russia in Global Affairs) Abstract: With memory wars between Central and Eastern European states and Russia, the Second World War has become a useable past instrumentalized as a currency for legitimacy on the international scene. These memory wars focus on who was fascist and who colluded with Nazism—the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1941 or the collaborationist forces in Central and Eastern...
PONARS Eurasia 21 Dec 2020
(RFE/RL) As he does, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned to a Soviet-era pop culture reference to get his message across at one point in his 4 1/2-hour annual press conference on December 17, when responding to the only reporter from a Western country that is not Iceland who got to ask a question. [...] His remarks on the dead-serious matter of Navalny’s poisoning with a...

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