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?

You’re a Russian reporter – stay out of Ukraine!

Ukraine's border and security officials are applying a restrictive policy on Russians entering the country, particularly male Russians of military age, and reporters....

 

What next for the Crimean Tatars?

Crimean Tatar leaders are vehemently against a return to Russian rule. But why, when so often they have been at odds with the Ukrainian Government?

Elections (or war) in Ukraine

Ukraine has never seen such an unusual election campaign; part of it – Crimea – is no longer Ukrainian; there are Russian tanks on its eastern frontiers, and separatism is rampant in the eastern regions.

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.

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?

Putin needs a Polish lesson in Ukraine

There are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made by the USSR in Poland in 1989, and what is happening in Ukraine today. President Putin, however, is repeating the mistake of his Soviet predecessors

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

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.

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.

Ukraine – hoping for peace but preparing for war

Ukrainians have accepted the loss of Crimea, but discrimination against dissenters has already started and partial mobilisation makes them very apprehensive that they may be called on to defend their future in more traditional ways.

Crimea and Kosovo – the delusions of western military interventionism

Vladimir Putin says that Crimea is another Kosovo. Angela Merkel says that they are completely different. Who’s right?

 

An American in Maidan

Suspecting that neither Ukrainians nor people elsewhere were being given an accurate portrayal of what has been going on in Kyiv, I felt I had no choice but to travel there and offer an honest portrait of Maidan as I saw it.

The partition of Ukraine

Ukraine has been shorn of Crimea, now there is talk of splitting the rest of the country in two, rather as Czechoslovakia did in 1993. But do the arguments add up?

 

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?

Why Crimea is not Kosovo, and why it matters

In his 18 March speech, Vladimir Putin cited the International Court of Justice 2010 opinion allowing Kosovo to declare independence as justification for Crimean separation. The cases are, however, very different.

Crime without punishment

The Highway Code does little to protect Russian citizens, especially pedestrians. High-ranking officials or people with connections get away, sometimes literally, with murder in today’s Russia and there is no redress for them under the law.

Mr Putin's mercenaries

The Kremlin claims that its every step in Crimea fully complies with international law. But does President Putin understand that, under international law, Ukraine could either arrest or shoot those unmarked troops, as mercenaries or common criminals?

Is Russia’s ‘foreign agent’ law illegal?

On 6 March the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court began hearings on whether a law affecting thousands of NGOs is in fact unconstitutional. But many civil rights campaigners believe that whatever the outcome, it will be too late.

Dagestan: Russia’s hottest spot

Asked to name Russia’s most troublesome region, most people would plump for Chechnya. But its neighbour Dagestan is now officially the most dangerous part of the Federations.

Civil war, secession and the body politic

Working with young people is important in any society. The recent story of an unusual Chechen initiative demonstrates why functional governance has so spectacularly failed to take root during the last 23 years.

The Maidan is alive and well and planning its future

The eyes of the world may be fixed on Crimea, but back in Kyiv the Maidan isn’t going away and is looking forward to a future mission spreading people’s politics around Ukraine.

No real threat to Ukraine’s Russian speakers

What are the ‘legitimate interests’ justifying Putin’s intervention into Ukraine? The most frequently identified interest is the situation of Russians and Russian-speakers. Is the Russian language really under threat?

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