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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Красная Армия Ростовской области

Борьба с терроризмом является одной из важнейших обязанностей современного государства. В недемократических государствах, однако, борьба с терроризмом зачастую приобретает причудливые формы. English

Syrian civil society

The third annual meeting of the Syrian Civil Coalition was held in Beirut on January 27-30 2017. Could a new understanding have come too late?

Принять ислам и полюбить

Женщины в России принимают ислам и выходят замуж за мусульман с уверенностью, что общая религия укрепит их семью. Но нередко их надежды не оправдываются: для посторонних мир российских мусульман закрыт. English

Политика и прагматика Дня Защитника Отечества

Имея громадную символическую власть, в Росси армия пракически не имеет власти политической. За праздником Дня Защитника Отечества не стоит ни сильной профессональной группы, ни внятного значения. English

Холодная война или горячая любовь? О столкновении романтических цивилизаций

С распадом Советского Союза произошла революция интимного. Сменился не только политический и экономический режим - сменился режим эмоциональный. English

Cold war, hot love

The collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in a revolution of the intimate. To open our series on Romantic regimes, we discuss the trajectories of emotional socialism and emotional capitalism in the post-Soviet context. Русский

Тучи над Куполом: Почему Cанкт-Петербург защищает Исаакиевский собор от Церкви

Выступления против передачи Исаакиевского собора Русской Православной церкви называются акцией «в защиту» собора. Никакого парадокса, если внимательно разобраться, в столь странной формулировке нет.

Finally, an end to the cold war?

The much-needed new relationship with the citizenry must involve an end to the conjuring up of an external enemy and the promotion of a “new cold war”.

Северный Кавказ: декоративные депутаты

На Северном Кавказе депутаты - это декорация. На местах в своих интересах работают князьки – клановые наместники глав республик. Это противоречит Конституции, но за тех, кто пытается выступать в защиту закона, не вступается и ФСБ.

With a more enterprising Russia, cards are reshuffled in the Arab world

A new power structure is emerging in the Middle East as Russia uses its intervention in Syria to position itself as an important partner for regional powers as diverse and opposed to each other as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and Iran.

Российская пропаганда: чистая "Правда"

Статьи про опасность русской пропаганды читает больше людей, чем саму русскую пропаганду. Читайте наш круглый стол с экспертами по сниманию лапши. English

You’re better than you think

The events of the the past year have convinced many that Russians have lost their capacity for empathy. As though we believe there’s nobody worse than us: cynically and ruthlessly indifferent. Русский

Make Russia great again? Aleppo and a plea from another world

During the last days of December, Russia will host a round of diplomatic talks with Iran and Turkey.

The regional implications of the fall of Aleppo

The lesson Arab autocrats are likely to learn from Syria is simple: under the current international climate the use of severe repression is effective.

Trump, Putin, and the new Middle East

The election of Trump will give second wind to autocrats in the region as well as create space for the growth of Russian influence.

Who broke the Syria ceasefire?

Rely on the UK media for your information about Syria, and you probably think it was Russia and Assad. Here is what goes unreported.

Erdogan’s unexpected ally

By failing to condemn ongoing human rights violations in Turkey, the Council of Europe Secretary General betrays the regional human rights system he is supposed to promote. Originally published on 1 September 2016, updated September 6.

Putin’s opposition in Hungary

Activism and the retreat to digital niches actually increases the system-conformity of Orbán’s opposition, just as it does in Putin’s Russia.

Fighting the politics of confusion

Post-factualism and incoherent political narratives are the right's new anti-opposition strategy — here’s what we must do.

Iran’s military objectives in Syria and Russia’s contradictory positions

As the US and Russia speak of a mutual agreement over Syria, Iran and Assad are continuing their ruthless slaughtering of the Syrian people.

The role of the EU in the Syrian conflict

As a new round of Geneva talks is under way, the EU should ensure that the outcome is not merely the result of US and Russian talks.

Dutch popular rejection of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement: a self-inflicted wound

For everybody who knows a bit about the EU, the nationwide, expensive and low-turnout Dutch plebiscite on this EU-Ukraine contract looks in itself rather odd.

Ending impunity in Europe?

The International Criminal Court needs support in order to succeed with its investigation of Georgia and Russia.

Silence – the EU’s strategy for human rights abuses in its neighbourhood

Talk in Brussels among non-governmental organisations and parliamentarians is that the EU lacks a strategy to address human rights violations in the European neighbourhood. However, what if the EU has a strategy?

Book Review: Sasha Sokolov’s ‘A School for Fools’

A Soviet underground classic is back in print. In a school for fools, fighting conformity requires confronting the Soviet system—and our inner demons.



Hans Blix – a diplomatic life

Hans Blix ponders his long career in international politics and diplomacy, the state of the Middle East, and why he is an advocate for nuclear power. Interview.

Russia's politics of paranoia

Russian society tries to keep its nerve. The Kremlin thrives on it, the papers amplify it—but nobody can quite control this profound paranoia.

Four points from Putin's press conference

Putin's latest press conference saw a tacit admission of Russian forces in Ukraine and a denial that their presence was ever denied. Here are a few other points you may have missed.

These hills are ours

In Bashkortostan, the hills are alive with the sound of limestone quarrying. Now local civil society is taking on one of Russia’s largest chemical consortia. Русский

Conflicting interests in crowded skies prolong Syria’s agony

Turkey-Russia spat is a symptom of different, often incompatible agendas.

Russia’s policy in the Middle East imperilled by the Syrian intervention

This risky experiment in power projection continues traditional Russian policy in the region, but also departs from the careful manoeuvring aimed at exploiting confusion in US and European policies.  

Erdoğan and Putin: unalike likeness

The leaders of Turkey and Russia are often compared. But their differences are more instructive than their similarities.

(This article was first published on 22 November 2014)

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

If ISIS uses chemical weapons, the west will be partly responsible

How can the international community respond effectively and promptly to this growing threat, not just to the Middle East region, but to the world?

Women, peace and security: the UN's rhetoric-reality gap

UN Security Council resolution 2242 passed with overwhelming support. but effective implementation was immediately called into question when the Russian Ambassador then spoke out against the resolution’s key provisions.

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