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GOK-stop: a conflict in Chelyabinsk reaches new (and sad) lows

A copper mining complex in one of Russia’s most polluted regions has been given the go-ahead — and is fraught with intimidation at the local level. RU

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Fighting back, in the back of beyond

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

GOK-stop: a conflict in Chelyabinsk reaches new (and sad) lows

A copper mining complex in one of Russia’s most polluted regions has been given the go-ahead — and is fraught with intimidation at the local level. RU

See also

Fighting back, in the back of beyond

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

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A weekly roundup of political and social developments in the post-Soviet space.

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A metal pipe for your trouble

The Russian authorities’ campaign against Alexey Navalny is getting violent. 

Chelyabinsk copper plant conflict reaches new (and sad) lows

A copper mining complex in one of Russia’s most polluted regions has been given the go-ahead — and is fraught with intimidation at the local level. RU

Not in my classroom: Russia’s refugee children struggle to get to school

Headteachers in Russia’s schools are turning foreign children away — fearing hefty fines and pressure from the migration services. RU

Uzbekistan’s new leader fails his first test

One year after the death of Islam Karimov, the continued use of forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields shows how slow the pace of change really is.

 

Georgian land, Georgian freedom

A proposed amendment to Georgia’s constitution would ban the sale of agricultural land to foreign citizens. Is it a necessary evil, or a hollow gesture?

Georgia’s highlanders against hydropower

As the Georgian government moves ahead with its plans for increasing the country’s hydropower capacity, local communities are being sidelined in the process of compensation payments.

Oops! How Moscow’s municipal election turned into a headache for city hall

The unexpected success of independent candidates in Moscow’s recent council elections may be relative — but it's real enough. RU

Russia’s wild decade: how memories of the 1990s are changing

A time of freedom and survival, memories of Russia’s first post-Soviet decade have come to divide people. The editors of a new collection on the 1990s share their thoughts. RU

Serebrennikov and the attack of the Russian state-security chimera

There’s a chimera coming for Russian theatre – and it’s not corruption, but a bloated state apparatus. RU

The great return of the past

How does working with and through the past define our present? oDR launches a new series of articles: "Practically about memory". RU

Russia’s elections that weren’t

Gubernatorial elections in several Russian regions could have been quite competitive. But with a presidential campaign approaching, the Kremlin can’t even muster the courage for a fair race. RU

Farewell to Kyrgyzstan’s “island of democracy”

In the run-up to presidential elections on 15 October, Kyrgyzstan’s authorities are intensifying their attacks on journalists and independent media outlets. RU

 

Quiz: what kind of Kremlinologist are you?

They come in all shapes and sizes.

The historian who dug too deep

This year isn’t just the centenary of the October Revolution; it also marks 80 years since the start of the Great Terror. In northern Russia, one man is on trial for digging too deep into that Soviet past. RU

In Chechnya, a ruthless strongman orders family reunification

Ramzan Kadyrov wants to reunite Chechnya’s divorced couples. His initiative could only put already vulnerable women at grave risk.

The performance artist

Ever since the detention of Pussy Riot five years ago, arrests of artists for non-sanctioned spontaneous performances have become the norm. Katrin Nenasheva was detained five times over the last two years — in particular for her anti-war protests. RU

Russian court acquits journalist Sergei Vilkov of defamation charges

But don’t worry, there’s plenty more bad news.

“It was like hell in miniature”: how Rostov-on-Don lost a whole neighbourhood in one day

A massive fire in the southern city of Rostov has left hundreds homeless, but brought out the best in both the public and the bureaucrats. RU

Moscow's mercenaries reveal the privatisation of Russian geopolitics

Further revelations regarding the role of Russian private military contractors in Syria exposes how, under Putin, “state” and “private” are often one and the same thing.

 

Russia’s surveillance state is giving us a false sense of security

The Russian state’s mass expansion of surveillance online and offline is not making citizens any safer. 

For once, no one charged in Russia's Bolotnaya Square case is officially in prison

That is, if you don’t count psychiatric hospital or house arrest. 

Underground Belarusian

If you want your kids to grow up speaking Belarusian, you’ll need to fight for it. RU

Mayor or manager? Tbilisi chooses its kingpin

Here in Tbilisi, we’re preparing for mayoral elections in October. The race will be heated, but can the role actually change anything for the better?

Neither here, nor there: Georgian refugees from Abkhazia

Twenty five years have passed since the war in Abkhazia, but ethnic Georgian refugees from the breakaway territory remain in limbo. RU

“I’m not afraid to say” that something’s changing in Ukraine

Last summer, Anastasiya Melnychenko used a single hashtag to start an entire campaign against rape. How is it faring today? RU, Українська

«Я не боюсь сказати»: в Україні щось змінюється

Минулого літа Анастасія Мельниченко за допомогою лише одного хештега почала цілий рух проти зґвалтування. Що відбувається з цим рухом сьогодні? English, RU

Moldova’s civil society braces for another attack

As democracy hollows out in Moldova, a new draft law on NGOs appears designed to keep civil society in check.

 

 

How can Russia’s left work with Navalny?

Across Russia, Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption campaign is gaining an audience. Can Russia’s left benefit from the political opening he has provided?

“We are love”: Russian LGBT and feminist activists attacked

This week, LGBT activists in St Petersburg and feminists in Krasnodar were threatened and attacked.

Why explaining internal strife in the United States through “Russian influence” is lazy and unhelpful

17884104_10155247241944570_384719725072181536_n.jpgWhen you find yourself doing the same thing Putin and his propaganda machine does, you’re doing something wrong.

 

 

To the victors, the ruins: the challenges of Russia’s reconstruction in Syria

From rebuilt mosques to new oil contracts, Russian firms are cashing in as the Assad regime gains the upper hand in Syria. 

Meet the women affected by Abkhazia’s abortion ban

A year and a half ago, the authorities in Abkhazia banned abortions in nearly all circumstances. These women have paid the price.

“Honour killings” in Russia’s North Caucasus

When women in the North Caucasus are murdered by their families for “immoral behaviour”, justice is rarely done.  

Five years of Russia’s Foreign Agent law

Russia’s Foreign Agent law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions. RU

“This trial turned out to be unique and dystopian in the Orwellian sense”

This week, Russia’s anti-extremism legislation took another four casualties.

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