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It could happen anywhere

A sketch of the modern strongman. - free thinking for the world

It could happen anywhere

A sketch of the modern strongman. - free thinking for the world

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It could happen anywhere

A sketch of the modern strongman.

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.

A letter from an inmate of the Southern Gas Corridor

Ilgar_Mammadov.jpgInternational investment in fossil fuel extraction is making me and other Azerbaijani political prisoners hostages to the Aliyev regime.


The whole pravda about Russian propaganda

Are articles about Russian propaganda now more widely read than Russian propaganda itself? A roundtable discussion. Русский

Putin Country

As authoritarian control and renewed superpower tension dominate headlines, telling stories of Russia’s everyday heroes can reveal lost alternatives.

What does the future hold for Ukraine's children in care?

Kyiv wants $2 billion from the EU to scrap its Soviet-era orphanages. Русский

The women of Brest Station

These Chechen women are falling foul of changing attitudes on the EU’s eastern border, but they have made the railway station in Brest an unlikely piece of home in Belarus. 

In Uzbekistan’s jails, torture is an everyday occurrence

Trumped up charges, persecution of foreign citizens and extended sentences — this is the face of justice in Uzbekistan. 

One Facebook post which shook Russia

Some called for me to be stripped of citizenship, others are making an online game where you can beat me to death. In Russia, dissidents like me are harassed with impunity.

Writers against Russia’s PEN-center

Russian writers are leaving the PEN-centre en masse — the international writers’ club has never before seen a conflict on this scale. Русский

Turkmenistan is using anti-smoking laws to crack down on the media

ac.jpgTurkmenistan's strong anti-tobacco position may have met with praise from international health organisations, but they are yet to speak out about the persecution of journalists under the regime. 

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

Ukraine’s corrupt counter-revolution

In Ukraine, revolution and reform has given way to reaction, with vested interests entrenching themselves even further. Русский


This is Karelia: tortured voices from Russia’s prison system

Evidence of how prison officers cooperate with inmates to effect torture and humiliation inside Karelia’s prison system continues to emerge.

Kalmykia’s long goodbye

Seventy years after their horrific mass deportation by Stalin, the Kalmyk people still live with its traumas. Русский

The murder in Ankara is vultures coming home to roost

Russia’s “wins” have largely been destructive and destabilising. The assassination of its ambassador to Turkey shows consequences are never far behind.

Principles down the pipeline

News of fresh fossil fuel loans and corruption confirm a harsh truth — European and international institutions continue to actively support the Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan.

The tyrants bring the invaders

Russian’s bombing campaign in Syria has helped put an end to Aleppo’s civil democratic experiment, once a beacon of hope. What next?

We’re all strangers here

On fear, which binds and bounds Russian society today. Русский

Undermined: how the state is selling out Ukraine’s coal workers

Ukraine’s miners were once heroes of socialist labour. Today, after years of sector-wide neglect and corruption, there are new plans for further mine closures, leaving thousands of people without work. Русский

The Roma homeland that never was

Roma remain one of Europe’s — and Russia’s — most marginalised communities. But in the 1930s, the USSR considered creating for the Roma their very own republic. 

Birobidzhan - the worst good idea ever?

“When should the Jews stay put and when should the Jews run?” A new history tells the strange story of a homeland for Soviet Jews.

Kazakhstan: state threat to shut down independent trade unions

Five years ago today, Kazakhstan's security forces clashed with protesting workers in the oil town of Zhanaozen, killing 14. Now the authorities are going after independent trade unions.

Fighting back against Georgia’s war on drugs

Georgia’s draconian laws against narcotics are in the spotlight, as activists take to the streets and demand an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

Stop saying “we can do nothing” about Aleppo

We can’t bring back the dead, or repair the lives that have been destroyed. But in convincing others of the value of individual life, we can honour those who have been sacrificed.

Why aren’t Russians protesting against war crimes in Syria?

11036593_909296499126079_958552121689563642_n.jpgAcross the world, the tragedy in Aleppo has brought thousands of protesters onto the streets. As usual, in Russia, nobody is taking a stand. Русский


European University at St Petersburg: a survival guide

One of Russia’s foremost research and education institutions is under threat of closure. The solidarity of its staff and students gives hope for the future.

“What kind of terrorist am I?”

Even in exile, dissidents from Tajikistan live in fear for their lives. Activist Shabnam Khudoydodova shares her story.

Kazakhstan’s thin red line

How the trial of veteran journalist Seitkazy Mataev heralds an even bleaker future for freedom of speech in Kazakhstan. Русский

Putin’s regimes

Five years ago today, the first mass demonstration of Russia's 2011-2013 protest cycle took place. To mark this, we publish an excerpt from Protest in Putin's Russia, a new book that digs into the details of civic action and regime transformation in the Putin era. 

Tyranny versus a village man in Chechnya

After exposing the truth behind Chechnya's reconstruction in his home village, Ramazan Dzhalaldinov has found himself on the run in Russia.

Words and war: Russian and Ukrainian linguists struggle to find common ground

The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has affected all aspects of relations between the two countries – even the way they talk (or don’t talk) about it. Русский

Inside Russia’s new Gulag

My husband was humiliated, beaten and tortured in Russia's penitentiary system. Here are the stories that I’ve collected from his prison. Русский

Հայ կնոջ տեղը ցույցերում է

Հայաստանի կին ակտիվիստները հասարակական կյանքում տարածք են պահանջում: Կարո՞ղ են արդյոք ցուցարարների կանայք, քույրերն ու մուսաները երբևէ ընկալվել հենց որպես ցուցարարներ. English

Dissecting Russia’s winter of protest, five years on

Five years ago, thousands took to Russia’s streets to protest electoral fraud in what became a push against Putin’s status quo. Researchers discuss the significance of this moment and the movements it spawned.

Racist newspapers whipping up fear, fake news slanting elections – had enough? Join openDemocracy and hear from Brian Eno, Caroline Lucas, Peter Oborne, Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Mason & many more on what happens next.

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