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About Mumin Shakirov

Mumin Shakirov is Moscow based, former Liberty Radio journalist. He is also a book writer and film director.

Articles by Mumin Shakirov

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

Holocaust – is that wallpaper paste?

Last year two student sisters appearing on a Russian TV quiz show gained instant notoriety when asked to define the word ‘Holocaust’. A trip to Auschwitz with journalist Mumin Shakirov dispelled their ignorance, but, as he reflects, it was hardly surprising, given the subject is so rarely mentioned in Russia today.

The end of ‘Liberty’

In Soviet days foreign radio stations were a lifeline for people seeking another point of view. They continued broadcasting after the collapse of the USSR, though the BBC Russian Service programmes went online only in 2009. Now US-funded Radio Liberty is closing its doors. Mumin Shakirov, a special correspondent made redundant by the closure, reflects on the passing of an age. 

Khodorkovsky: ballerinas, singers and ice-skaters turn against Putin

In 2005, encouraged by the Kremlin, 50 prominent Russians wrote an open letter supporting the original verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Five years and a second verdict later, Mumin Shakirov interviewed the signatories to see if they had changed their mind.

Who was Mister Putin? An Interview with Boris Nemtsov

Russians can sense that Project Putin has reached its twilight. The prime minister would be well served by retiring before he is forced to. In an exclusive interview for openDemocracy, Mumin Shakirov speaks with former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Drowning everyone but the terrorists: an interview with Boris Nemtsov

Monday’s attacks show that Russia’s counter-terrorist strategy is failing. The bad news for Russia’s leaders is that the public are no longer in the mood for excuses. Mumin Shakirov interviews opposition activist and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. This is an preview of an exclusive and wide-ranging interview, to be published in the coming week.

The buzz, the rattle and getting clean: confessions of a former drug addict

10 years ago former tennis prodigy Viktor Potemkin (not his real name) decided to come off heroin and leave the criminal world. He did this using the detox approach. Now he teaches, and trains future tennis stars. He talked to Mumin Shakirov.

Sticks and stones: the blogs of Oleg Kashin

Oleg Kashin, a journalist for Kommersant newspaper, was brutally beaten in Moscow last weekend. Unknown assailants broke his jaw, legs and bent his fingers. He remains critically ill. Here we publish a selection of Kashin’s blog entries.

Russian documentary film: extinct, or almost. Interview with Vitaly Mansky. Part two

During perestroika Russians flocked to documentary films to find out about their ‘lost’ history. Then they lost interest, which suited the authorities. Now there is just a glimmer of hope that the situation is improving, says the celebrated documentary film maker Vitaly Mansky in conversation with Mumin Shakirov. Part two

Russian documentary film: extinct, or almost. Interview with Vitaly Mansky

In the late 80s Russians flocked to documentary films to find out about their ‘lost’ history. Now they’re becoming extinct. Putin’s regime doesn’t even use them for propaganda purposes. Mumin Shakirov interviews the celebrated documentary film maker Vitaly Mansky. Part one

Gastarbeiters in kino: Russia's invisible class gets its big break

At the recent Kinotavr film festival — "Russia's Cannes" — the main competition featured no less than three films dealing with the hitherto ignored plights of Russia’s migrant workers. For various reasons, all three films fell short of painting a realistic picture of the situation. But their production is just the start: many more Russian gastarbeiter movies are just around the corner.

Saving the Amur tiger

With the Amur tiger population facing extinction, organisations from Russia and abroad have been working to save them. They don’t always agree as to how this should be done. Then there are the politics, Mumin Shakirov observes. Perhaps the Year of the Tiger will be auspicious for the Amur big cats…

Astrakhan’s election drama – the bloggers’ view

After the recent Russian local elections were won by the Kremlin-backed ruling party, United Russia, opposition parties cried foul. A review of blogs and online comments from the Russian southern city of Astrakhan shows quite how bad things got.

Moscow traffic: jam today and more jams tomorrow

Moscow jams 


Moscow, famously, has a traffic problem. But apart from moving the capital, there isn't really an answer, points out Mumin Shakirov

The tears flowed

The great Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky died in May this year.  Mumin Shakirov reviews the career of this outstanding actor and man

  Oleg Yankovsky as Metropolit

Oleg Yankovsky as Metropolit Philip in  Pavel Lungin's film "Tsar".

Russian anti-Nazi film v Kremlin bulldogs

Pavel Bardin's film Russia 88, about Russian Nazis, has incurred official displeasure even before its release. Bardin says he wants to help government fight Russian fascism. Critics say the film's good. So what's the problem?The blogosphere is buzzing with answers

Rossiya 88 film

(Photo: Rossiya 88 film)

Saving baby seals: one woman’s crusade

Russia has banned the hunting of baby harp seals. The victory follows a personal crusade by International Fund for Animal Welfare's Maria Vorontsova.

Diary of an Uzbek Gastarbeiter

Once a physics teacher in Uzbekistan, Shukhrat has to work as a builder in Russia to keep his family alive. He has been robbed, cheated, almost burned to death deliberately. Welcome to the life of a migrant worker..

Dissenting blockbusters

Russian cinema escaped direct state control until recently. Now Putin himself chairs the crucial Committee. Yet the message behind acclaimed new films by Valery Todorovsky and loyalist Fyodor Bondarchuk is defiant
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