The unofficial pact between Russias parliament and its business oligarchs has been an important element in the countrys recent political stability and economic progress. Now, Russias president Vladimir Putin is targeting executives of the giant Yukos oil corporation including its ambitious head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, interviewed here. Are both pact and progress now at risk?
He was born rich, raised hell, and found the Lord. Now, between endless vacations, he saves the world. An awestruck tribute from the other side of the tracks.
Marginal farmers in India find it difficult enough to ensure a modestly sustainable life on existing patterns of land ownership and seed availability. But when manipulative marketing strategies introduce GM seeds, cash dependency and debt, their poverty becomes a cruel trap.
Why has the Japanese government decided to send armed forces to Iraq to assist in its economic recovery? A leading scholar of Japanese politics places the decision within the context of the countrys search for a self-defined global role over the past generation.
The Palestine-Israel Journal is a remarkable experiment in cooperation across the bitter divides of the Middle East conflict. In the face of financial pressures, a Kafkaesque transport system, and the reality of two distinct national narratives, its Israeli co-editor describes his colleagues efforts to remain true to their core purpose: good professional work.
The end of the cold war made a unified Germany the favoured destination for large numbers of migrants from farther east including ethnic Germans from Romania and the former Soviet Union. How has the country managed these huge inflows, and what lessons does German experience offer to a possible Europe-wide migration model?
United States planners are undeterred by the casualties and setbacks of their Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. Indeed, with proposed new global reach and nuclear weapons systems the Pentagon is sending a clear message to the world: business as usual.
The catastrophic HIV/Aids pandemic in southern Africa threatens even its most vigorous economy, Botswana. But it is displacement and dispossession that create the greatest vulnerability to HIV. And it may be that rights to land and a people's level of confidence in their own identity are a central means of protection against ravaging illness. Is this what we can learn from the Botswana margins?
Chinese changes, North Korean democracy, Silvios latest
The fiercely partisan memoirs of the Clinton presidency by Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal, and their public reception, illuminate the passionate contest over the meaning of these years of trial and bile in American life. In a major review, openDemocracys North America editor examines how the destructive impulses of American journalism and politics corrupt historical memory and the rational interrogation of power.
Two award-winning Iranian directors met up with Tony Fegan of Lift and Rosemary Bechler of openDemocracy a couple of days after the International debate: The Rights and Roles of Young People as Artsmakers to discuss making theatre in Iran and what should be cherished from the exchange between young artsmakers.
Roma in the Czech Republic have been hit hard by post-communist industrial decline and social prejudice. In the eastern city of Ostrava, they display a survivalist spirit amidst grinding poverty. But how can Roma children succeed in an educational system based on institutional exclusion and contempt?
The search for equality and respect by Roma people in Romania has produced a new generation of activists using creative, confident methods of expressing their identity. The leader of a Bucharest-based NGO, Florin Botonogu, talks to Julian Kramer of openDemocracy about the impact of social activism on Romas sense of their direction in modern Romania.
The BBC, under intense pressure in Britain itself over its coverage of the Iraq war, faces challenges to its professionalism and impartiality in an equally controversial political arena: Israel and Palestine. Sarah McGregor-Wood and Hillel Schenker of the Palestine-Israel Journal interview the BBCs Middle East bureau chief, Andrew Steele, about the dangers and satisfactions of getting the story, telling the truth and taking the rap from both sides.
The cold war, neo-liberal triumph and 9/11 have ushered in the assertive global hegemony of the United States and its British and Australian satraps. But the millennial project of imperial nationalism conceals a labyrinth of fear of ordinariness, lost greatness, multiculturalism, globalisation itself.
America and the world, God and man, Quotes and campaign of the week
The issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was crucial in the justification for war offered by the United States and its British ally. Their subsequent failure to find evidence of an active WMD programme is now raising serious questions of trust for governments in Washington and London.
What happens if a child or a teenager suddenly loses home, family, schoolmates everything that he or she is about? A multi-faceted identity is replaced by one word: refugee. Here, two young journalists from Childrens Express report on how art can help people to see past the word to the rich human reality beyond.
It is rare to find the latest Latvian, Chilean or Vietnamese novels made into English. As the translation of foreign novels withers into decorative star-gazing or random exoticism, a translator of Franz Kafka and Joseph Roth registers the intimate bond between a healthy writing culture and the enlarging experience of literary otherness. What happens when it is lost?
If the nature of a revolution can be established by the manner of its dress, then the one led by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela must rate as one of history’s more ambiguous upheavals. Chávez has had three standard outfits during his five-year presidency – baseball kit, military fatigues, Italian suit and silk tie – and he has generated an ideological froth to match. On returning from the Middle East, he proclaimed that his country should turn to Islam; when back from Cuba, his preferences turned to the rigours of communism. Like a compass surrounded by attractions, his heroes and sacred texts pull the president in as many different directions as there are forms of punishing the rich.