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Best of openDemocracy Russia 2011

4 January 2012
openDemocracy Russia selects its highlights from 2011:

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The last prisoner

Ekaterina Loushnikova
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Pavel Galitsky spent 15 years in the brutal labour camps of Kolyma, Siberia. Against the odds, the 100-year old dissident is still alive and Skype'ing, having outlived both contemporaries and tormentors.

The dog days of the USSR

Rodric Braithwaite
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An ambassador's diary covering five days before, during and after the unsuccessful August 1991 coup, which ushered in the end of the USSR. Fascinating reading published in three parts.

On Putin, Berlusconi and chimpanzees

Augusto Come
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Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi constructed their careers on an idea of virility, just at a time when the concept seemed to many to be outdated. An even closer investigation of their strategies reveals a striking association with images from the fascist past.

The men who knew too little

Nick Fielding
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The FBI’s investigation into the US sleeper spy ring was an impressive intelligence operation, producing detailed, irrefutable evidence for the public record. The MI5 investigation into British parliamentary aide Katia Zatuliveter was quite different — superficial, speculative and secretive.

Death and cover-up in the Russian army

Various
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Hazing of new recruits is infamously widespread in the Russian army and families of men who have died find their struggle for closure hindered by military cover-ups and ineptitude. The campaigning organisation Mother's Right Foundation has been keeping records of these incidents for many years. Here we detail the stories behind six tragic cases.

In the backyard of Russia’s oil paradise

Roman Yushkov
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Hazing of new recruits is infamously widespread in the Russian army and families of men who have died find their struggle for closure hindered by military cover-ups and ineptitude. The campaigning organisation Mother's Right Foundation has been keeping records of these incidents for many years. Here we detail the stories behind six tragic cases.

+ Svetlana Reiter and Igor Kalyapin: behind the scenes at the death squads of Chechnya

+ Elena Strelnikova: mangoes can't buy you love

+ Yelena Fedotova: in praise of the little red men

+ Roman Yuskhkov: at war with the little red men

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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