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It's time to get serious about Ilgar Mammadov

As Azerbaijan votes on constitutional amendments today, let’s not forget the country’s political prisoners. - free thinking for the world

It's time to get serious about Ilgar Mammadov

As Azerbaijan votes on constitutional amendments today, let’s not forget the country’s political prisoners. - 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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Release Ilgar Mammadov

As Azerbaijan votes on constitutional amendments today, let’s not forget the country’s political prisoners.

Russia’s security services are trying to reform their way out of the shadows

10838229_1015976098430355_7234058766256563378_o.jpgSweeping reforms to Russia’s power ministries show that the FSB has the country’s security monopoly in its sights.


Битва за место под санкциями

Первые российские «выборы» в Крыму: массовое голосование военных и пустые «гражданские» участки, бойкот со стороны крымских татар и украинцев.

In Russia, some men want to watch the world burn

2017 is set to be Russia’s Year of Ecology. But in the south of the country, environmental activists face corrupt officials and vigilante attacks. Русский

Quiet American: Sophie Pinkham in Ukraine

Black Square is essential reading for anyone struggling to understand the instability on the edge of Europe — with a dizzyingly colourful cast of characters who never come across like clichés.

Пора тушить Кубань

2017 год объявлен в России годом экологии. Тем временем экологи не чувствуют себя в безопасности. Криминал, слившийся с органами власти на Юге России, в очередной раз проявил себя. English

Russia: the tinderbox in the struggle for a safe climate

Bio 2.JPGRussia is at the forefront of the global climate change struggle. We ignore it at our peril.


Russia’s reluctant elections

The results may be predictable, but Russia’s parliamentary elections hint at the next stage of regime mobilisation.

Uzbekistan after Karimov: goodbye to the family business

As Uzbekistan's elite recovers from the shock of Islam Karimov's death, the scrabble for the spoils is only just beginning. 

Who owns women’s bodies in Dagestan?

A recent scandal over female genital mutilation reveals how, for Russia’s Muslims, “universal values” are just another instrument of a repressive regime. Русский

Goodbye, Bastrykin?

Moscow has a new motto: work a little harder, steal a little less. A big name may have just fallen foul of it.


В Україні знов розгорається стара ненависть

Убивство дівчинки в Лощинівці призвело до того, що з села було вигнано місцеві ромські родини. У світлі цих подій спостерігачі задаються питанням: чи в сьогоднішній Україні є місце для ромів? English

Дагестан: власть и тело

Дискуссия о женских обрезаниях показала, что универсальные ценности большинством российских мусульман воспринимаются как один из инструментов чуждой для них власти. English

Why Russia needs the Levada Center

Independent sociological research in Russia is under serious threat. The country’s leading non-governmental polling agency has been labelled a “foreign agent” and may have to close. Русский

A stalemate in Belarus

Two new opposition candidates prepare to take their seats after rigged parliamentary elections in Belarus. As ever, the real losers are ordinary citizens.

Почему России нужен Левада-центр

Независимые социологические исследования в России подвергаются серьезной угрозе. Объявленный "иностранным агентом", старейший аналитический центр России может прекратить свое существование. English

Kremlinology: an intervention

Protests and strikes across Russia show that the country’s “silent majority” is becoming louder. But are pundits even listening?

Old hatreds rekindled in Ukraine

The murder of a young girl in a Ukrainian village has led to the expulsion of local Roma families. In the aftermath, observers are asking whether Roma have a place in today’s Ukraine. Українська

The green shoots of Russian grassroots activism (part 2)

Our story on Russia’s grassroots activism continues. From Moscow’s parks to federal highways, ordinary citizens learn the power of protest  and of solidarity.

The green shoots of Russian grassroots activism

What do two Moscow parks and a truck drivers’ trade union have in common? They have been the focus of protests that have shown that the Russian public may be losing its traditional passivity.

Burning doors: a new touring play documents repressions of Russian artists

This new play charts the fate of artists in contemporary Russia. It’s a brave endeavour, and it’s boldly staged — but could it be bolder still?

The terror against Ukraine’s journalists is fuelled by political elites

13640714_1111597985577751_6152925088005036304_o.jpgThe inaction of Ukraine's law-enforcement institutions and unrestricted hate speech by top officials is enabling further violence against the country's journalists.

Book review: Veiled and unveiled in Chechnya and Dagestan

This new book aims to “unveil” society in Chechnya and Dagestan — instead, it’s a perfect guide of how not to write about the North Caucasus.

What would an open Uzbekistan look like?

Nate_schenkkan_tumblr_inline__500_0.jpgAs Uzbekistan prepares for transition from the Karimov era, what room is there for positive, if pragmatic, thinking?


Cuts, cuts, cuts: the life and times of Russia’s university teachers

Russia’s higher education sector is at a crossroads. A few universities are trying to raise their game for international ranking, but most barely survive staff and funding cuts. Русский

Cheap gas for Belarus — what’s the real price?

9.jpgJust as Belarus seems close to ending its gas dispute with Russia, its foreign minister visits Ukraine in a period of significant tension. Belarus' balancing act continues.


Education in Putin’s Russia isn’t about history, but scripture

Russia’s new history is really about today. It is about everything from denigrating the status of Kyiv to shutting down historical debate.

Goodbye Karimov

We don't know whether Uzbekistan's leader is alive or dead. But the system he created will live on.

Взяться за голову: нелегкий путь вузовских преподавателей

Недавняя отставка Дмитрия Ливанова заставила многих предположить, что реформа высшей школы будет остановлена - возможно, в своей инновационной части. Сокращение финансирования, судя по всему, продолжится.

Uzbekistan: after Karimov, what next?

The news that Uzbekistan’s president has suffered a stroke has plunged the region into uncertainty. Central Asian analysts from Fergana News offer their views.

Who do I call if I want to speak to "pro-Russian forces" in Georgia?

In Georgia, whether you're in opposition or in power, you can always call your opponent an agent of the Kremlin.

Ossetians in Georgia, with their backs to the mountains

In the shadow of conflicts past and present, Ossetians and Georgians have found ways to coexist. Twenty-five years after the collapse of the USSR, how do they fit into the post-Soviet story?

Listening to the “voices” in August 1991, or the media we need today


The events of August 1991 weren’t just an unexpected win for democracy. They were a reminder of the role of mass media for people who suddenly lost access to information. Русский

Azerbaijan's Nardaran affair

The Aliyev regime's crackdown on Azerbaijan's Islamic opposition is smoothing the way for further consolidation of power.

Got tagged? Get fined! Russia’s battle against “digital extremism”

In Russia, the fight against online extremism looks good on paper. But look closer and you’ll find many arbitrary and even absurd convictions. Русский

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