openDemocracy Russia at the Perugia International Journalism Festival.

A severed dog’s head and a broom

Ivan the Terrible had the feared Oprichniki to keep the silence. Men in black; their insignia was a severed dog’s head (to sniff out treachery) and a broom (to sweep the traitors away). In today’s Russia, the state has other, more or less, fearsome means to keep the people from talking.

Talking to itself

Kremlin control of the Russian media may not be absolute, though it comes pretty close, and the few independent media have to watch their backs constantly. Aleksey Levinson, Mikhail Sokolov and Zygmunt Dzieciolowski discuss the specifics of the situation in the context of the ever more authoritarian Putin regime

Fair exchange is no robbery

Marina Salye, who died in 2012, was the author of the 1992 Salye report revealing corruption by Vladimir Putin and his officials in St Petersburg City Hall. What happened to that report? 

Life on an Island

Russia may be a huge land mass, but Maksim Trudolyubov believes it is better to think of it as a pattern of islands, divided not by geography but by a host of other factors. Here he looks at the island group he himself inhabits – the independent media – as it battles against the waves.

Don’t be afraid to turn on the TV!

Most Russian TV outlets are kept under tight Kremlin control.  TV Rain, an independent cable channel, has navigated many rapids in its short existence, but is nonetheless still operating.  Natalya Sindeyeva describes her vision to Mumin Shakirov and Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

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