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About Ben Judah

Ben Judah is the author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin published by Yale University Press. 

Articles by Ben Judah

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Immigrant hunters, paedophile safaris and drug addict cowboys

Late Putinism – immigrant hunters, paedophile safaris and drug addict cowboys; in 2013, Russia has had no shortage of vigilante groups willing and able to take the law into their own hands.

'Dreams of freedom? They undermine the fortitude of prisoners'

Today, 25th October, marks the tenth anniversary of the arrest of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky, now Russia's most famous political prisoner. A short while ago, Ben Judah wrote to him asking about the circumstances of his imprisonment, and how that experience has changed him. This is what he said. 

A day with the Eurocrats

What do Brussels’ diplomats really think about Russia? Do they know what to ‘do’ with Russia? Ben Judah stepped inside the plate glass fishbowl of the European External Action Service to find out.

Why Russia is not losing Siberia

The Yellow Peril was a feature of life in Soviet times and the demographics on either side of the Russia-China border do little to convince the fearful that Siberia will not be colonised by the Chinese. This is unlikely, says Ben Judah, who has travelled in the region

Russia-China relations: fantasies and reality

Is Russia in control of its relationship with the world's emerging superpower? Ben Judah introduces a new series on openDemocracy Russia. 

Has the Russian opposition lost its way?

From the euphoria of last winter, reality has bitten Russia's opposition. President Putin is resurgent, popular interest in politics is waning and doubts are emerging about the self-styled leader of the protests, Alexei Navalny. Ben Judah wonders if there is an easy way back for Russia's opposition. 

Same Putin, different Russia

Putin could theoretically remain in power until 2024. But his plans could be undermined by the change in generations: with male life expectancy at just 59, society will soon be un-Soviet. Most people will have grown up in a completely different age and will not be content to be stuck with post-Soviet dinosaurs and their system, says Ben Judah

Kyrgyzstan: a political retreat

The central Asian country that seemed in the mid-2000s to be moving towards democracy is now descending into authoritarianism. Opposition activists and human-rights workers are at the sharp end, finds Ben Judah in Bishkek.
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