This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

Ukraine: lessons from the Balkans nightmare

One key driver of escalation in the Balkans in the early 1990s also poses a continuing risk as the Ukraine crisis unfolds. That is the contribution of ostensibly 'democratic' processes - elections, referenda, even constitution-making - to inflaming tensions.

Rough justice in Chechnya

Three recent court cases in Chechnya suggest that torture is routinely used to persuade people to confess to trumped up charges.

Russian civil society and the law

Russia’s foreign agents law caused a great deal of controversy when it was introduced late last year. But the woes of Russia’s NGOs don’t end there…

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.

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.

Trusting in Russian civil society

‘We are from the same sector; we want the same things!’ was the result of one discussion at the Salzburg Global Seminar Russian Civil Society Symposium. But how to achieve them?

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)

Hawaii and Crimea

In 1898, Hawaii was officially annexed to the US illegally under a joint resolution of Congress, with the US using the excuse of ‘military necessity’ in the advent of the Spanish-American War.

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?

Последнее стойбище

На территории нефтепромыслов Ханты-Мансийского округа нарушены или уничтожены 90% природных ландшафтов. Но вот семья хантов поставила нефтяным магнатам неслыханные условия. И, похоже, последним придется их принимать. (in English)

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. (на русском языке)

Непереселенцы, или смерть русского села

Почти шесть лет выполняется в Омской области «подпрограмма переселения граждан из аварийного и ветхого жилья», но результаты остаются желать лучшего. (in English)

 

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? (на русском языке)

The new Russian power bloc

A quarter century after Mikhail Gorbachev supervised the collapse of Europe’s cold-war division, a world of new dividing lines is emerging—with Vladimir Putin playing an active part in inscribing them.

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

Ukraine and Eurasia's imperial fault-lines

The current conflict has been brewing for a long time and is the result of two asymmetrical imperialisms: Russia's outdated, and rather formal, imperialism, on the one hand, and the west's smart, informal route to empire on the other. We must come to grips with these fault-lines in Eurasia's vast plateau.

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)

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.

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.

Challenging annexation: in Crimea, the referendum that wasn’t

The time has come – unfortunately in the midst of another political and human crisis – for the international community to develop a rapid assistance framework for nonviolent activists and dissidents who risk their lives to preserve their right to self-rule. Yesterday it was Ukraine. Today it is Crimea.

A tale of two speeches

Vladimir Putin's vision of Russia's destiny has parallels with George W Bush's of the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. This makes the existing crisis over Ukraine even more acute.

Dangerous acts starring the unstable elements of Belarus

A film by Madeleine Sackler, about the Belarus Free Theatre, an acclaimed group of brave, imaginative and subversive performers. 'Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus' is a daring and entertaining film, and we encourage you to show your support.

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? (на русском языке)

Resisting our cold war instincts

Recent events in Ukraine have led some to question if it might have benefited from a nuclear deterrent. Rather than rethinking the country's disarmament, we must question why we continue to invest in nuclear deterrence strategies. 

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