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About Mikhail Loginov

Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller "Battle for Kremlin".

Articles by Mikhail Loginov

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Eat, drink and be merry – but at your own expense!

New Year is by far Russia’s most important and lavishly celebrated public holiday.  But as Russians prepare to celebrate it, Putin is trying to impose austerity on the public sector. With mixed results, reports Mikhail Loginov.

Russia’s intimate salons

It’s well known that in Soviet times prostitution, and any sex for that matter, didn’t exist – officially, at any rate. But times have changed. Mikhail Loginov looks at Russia’s oldest profession.  

A villa abroad is fine, but close your bank account

Well-off Russian bureaucrats have got used to having a second home abroad, whether it’s a cottage in Ukraine or a castle in Spain. But these are now under threat from Vladimir Putin’s latest intervention – a ban on foreign bank accounts. Mikhail Loginov reports.

Canvassing for the vegetable vote

While Muscovites decide whether Aleksei Navalny or Sergei Sobyanin will be their next mayor, their compatriots will largely be denied a choice in Sunday’s local elections. A rigged system means ruling party United Russia has little to fear — though, as Mikhail Loginov reports, that isn't stopping them using a variety of carrots and sticks, just in case …

Taken from Chita, Made in China

Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, is part of Russia’s DNA, and many romantic ballads sing of its size and beauty. Beyond the lake is a different story. Do Trans-Baikal Territory and its capital Chita have a future or is this a godforsaken backwater? Mikhail Loginov investigates

Aleksei Navalny takes on ‘the fools and the roads’

As the saying goes: ‘Russia has two misfortunes: the fools and the roads.’ Aleksei Navalny is just about still standing for election as Mayor of Moscow, but, in the proverbial way, he is also raising his profile in the provinces by offering people practical help with everyday problems.


The disappearing entrepreneur

Russia’s small businesses are officially disappearing. Perestroika was supposed to give everyone the chance to be his own boss. Things, however, turned out rather differently.  Mikhail Loginov charts the rise and fall of small business in Russia. 

Russia's paedophile hunters

Combatting child sexual abuse in Russia involves some unexpected players – on the one hand, vigilantes who hunt down online child abusers, and on the other, the Kremlin, anxious to discredit the opposition. Mikhail Loginov reports.


From shadows to darkness

After being sidelined since December 2011, the Kremlin's once-mighty propagandist Vladislav Surkov was today ousted from government. Mikhail Loginov looks back at the career of the former 'grey cardinal', and defines the man who has replaced him, Vyacheslav Volodin.

Down, boy!

Broadcaster Vladimir Posner’s ‘slip of the tongue’, calling Russia’s parliament the Dura (fool) instead of the Duma, added yet another slur to the already emasculated body. A lapdog parliament is exactly what Putin wants running behind him, writes Mikhail Loginov. 

New Russian laws: no chance of a drink or a smoke

Throughout Russia’s history its rulers have attempted to curtail the consumption of alcohol and/or tobacco. Gorbachev had little success in the 1980s; will this year's new laws have any more success, asks Mikhail Loginov? 

Knock, knock: the return of the propiska?

Reports from Moscow of door-to-door passport checks and a proposed new bill criminalising registration infringements are rekindling uncomfortable memories of the Soviet past. Mikhail Loginov reflects on the history. 

Winter in Russia: cold indoors as well as out

Most radiators in urban Russian homes are fed by hot water transported from heating plants miles away. Ageing pipes frequently burst, causing hardship and even fatalities. Could a return to an older form of heating be the answer? Mikhail Loginov reports from one small town in the provinces. 

The economy-class governor

St Petersburg used to be called Russia’s second capital. As Putin’s home city, it enjoyed popularity and success when he became president in 2000. But not any longer. The distinctly uncharismatic governor, appointed to make cuts and keep order, is both the symbol and cause of that, says Mikhail Loginov

Summer is cancelled for Russia’s bureaucrats – but will they play ball?

October is Russia’s local election month, and some regions have just elected governors for the first time in seven years, part of an electoral reform designed to appease the opposition. But as Mikhail Loginov reports, another aspect of this reform will antagonise the regime’s most loyal supporters – its own bureaucrats.

Dummy candidates, disillusioned voters: ‘United Russia’ in a tight corner

A small city near Moscow is electing a mayor. Not the most startling news, perhaps, but the ruling party seems to have changed places with the opposition. Things are more topsy-turvey than usual and the voters have lost all faith with President and candidates alike, says Mikhail Loginov (photo: Ridus Agency)

Customs and revenue on the Russia-Ukraine border

The break-up of the Soviet Union made foreign travel for Russians much easier, except, paradoxically, over the internal Soviet borders that previously required no passports or visas. The border guards that now patrol these crossings have too little to do and often turn to extortion in an attempt to increase their modest salaries - recounts Mikhail Loginov.

Russian journalists: poor, venal… but (usually) honest

Journalism in Russia has never been easy, but today the complications are many. If you write to order, you may be financially better off but you will be despised. If you are honest, then you can end up risking life and limb. But despite the dangers there are still journalists prepared to stand up and be counted, says Mikhail Loginov.

The end of the line for the Aurora?


One of the iconic sights of Leningrad, and now St Petersburg, has been the cruiser Aurora, permanently moored in the centre of the city. A symbol of the Bolshevik revolution, she has survived several wars, mass tourism and drunken bankers. But will she survive a handover to the civilian authorities? Mikhail Loginov reports.

Russia’s drinking habits today – still hooked on vodka, or do they prefer vino?

Russians and vodka have always been a notorious and combustible combination, but the availability of alcohol has been in a constant change of flux over the last few decades as successive governments have tried to wean the public off the bottle. Mikhail Loginov reports from St Petersburg on changing habits. 

Russia's search for an anti-corruption model – from Sweden to Singapore

Just about everyone in Russia - the Kremlin, the opposition and most Russians in the street – agrees that corruption is one of the country’s most serious problems. Newly re-elected President Putin has promised to fight it, but where should he start, and what models in other parts of the world should he be looking at? Mikhail Loginov considers some of the possible alternatives.

Dangerous allies: when football hooligans and politicans meet

Football hooliganism occurs in societies all over the world - even in the Soviet Union, however much that was officially denied. In today’s Russia, however, football fanaticism has developed clear political undertones, with evidence that some groups have been colluding with the Kremlin against its opponents. Is this a ticking timebomb? wonders Mikhail Loginov

Russia’s Regional Spring

Russia’s regions went to the polls on 4th March not only to elect a new president, but to decide who ruled in their own back yards. Here, results were less predictable: United Russia's support for any candidate was a liability, the local opposition had woken up and support from the authorities was no longer a guarantee of electoral victory. Mikhail Loginov followed the local elections in the Vologda and Pskov regions.

Real life: how the Caucasus is feeding itself

The nationalist-populist leader of Russia's protest movement Aleksey Navalny has made much of a claim that the Kremlin has been 'feeding' unruly citizens in the North Caucasus at the expense of 'ordinary' Russians. Mikhail Loginov visited a small Karachay village to see whether such a view has any reflection in reality.

Fixing Russian elections: manipulation (voters) and massage (results)

Russia will hold a general election in December. ‘United Russia’, the party in power, has to win and will do all it can to ensure that it does. There are many tricks in the book, lawful and unlawful, but the recent Putin-Medvedev announcement has raised levels of discontent and the voter is always unpredictable, says Mikhail Loginov in his probing investigative report.

The legend of servant Medvedev

Occupying power while showing no intent to take possession of it, faithful servant Dmitry Medvedev could not have been more obliging to his master. Yet handing back power in such circumstances will be painful for the still-young president. His embitterment may yet play out in interesting ways, writes Mikhail Loginov

A queen above politics: Alla Pugacheva

Alla Pugacheva has ruled Russian pop for more than 40 years, surviving criticism and change while endearing herself to ordinary Russians. Her recent foray into politics, supporting the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and ‘Just Cause’ was less successful, but she will rise above the problems, just as she always has, writes Mikhail Loginov

Guns, gingerbread, vodka and sobriety

The city of Tula lies 193 kms south of Moscow. The city is proud of its past, celebrating its links with Lev Tolstoy. The main industry is small arms manufacture, but many people commute weekly to Moscow, where the salaries are considerably higher.

Sevastopol: past memories, future hopes

In the past Soviet citizens would flock to Crimea for their summer holidays. In 1954 Khrushchev handed it over to Ukraine; in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and Crimea suddenly became ‘abroad,’ a tricky situation for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Feelings ran high, but have calmed down recently, though memories of the past continue to be hugely important, says Mikhail Loginov

Unwritten loyalties: journalism in the Russian regions

Self-censorship was an important feature of Soviet life, but old habits, it seems, die hard. Mikhail Loginov reports on the return of “unwritten rules” to the Russian regional press

Mikhail Prokhorov: gilt-edged whipping boy for the Russian elections?

The recent appointment of Mikhail Prokhorov as leader of the liberal party Right Cause is puzzling. He’s the third richest man in Russia, so why should he bother? He has no choice, argues Mikhail Loginov. The Kremlin wants a hate figure on the scene to shore up support for Putin’s United Russia ahead of the parliamentary election. And you don’t disobey the Kremlin.

Russian elections: it’s a long, long while from May to December

The outcome of the 2012 Russian presidential race — i.e. which of the tandem will stand — may only be determined once the results of December's parliamentary elections are in. Putin has started his campaign early, and is showering largesse on potential voters, but for various reasons this could prove to be a serious mistake, explains Mikhail Loginov

The Navalny effect

Combining a patriotic appeal with new technology and Obama-style presentation, Alexei Navalny has emerged as the unifying figure for anti-government sentiment in Russia. His imaginative campaigning is unlikely to land him in the Kremlin, but it has transformed the country’s political landscape forever and for the better, writes Mikhail Loginov

Sprinting for votes: Russia prepares for a year of elections

Russia is on the verge of election season. While simmering social tensions and a nervous elite make these interesting times, no-one really doubts United Russia will sweep a national victory. The interesting battles will be in local and city elections, writes Mikhail Loginov.

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