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I've turned 25, uh-huh. Wish me luck…

A year ago Anastasia Baburova and the human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov were gunned down by a neo-Nazi contract killer in a Moscow street. On the anniversary Moscow human rights groups are planning a demo to say no to race-motivated crime and the permissive attitude of the authorities towards right-wing radical activities. At openDemocracy Russia we share their concern and are bringing back Anastasia Baburova's blog, which we originally published immediately after her death.

EU-Belarus: can the thaw be for real?

Lukashenka in VilniusBelarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenka has just paid his second visit to an EU country after more than a decade of ostracism by the international community.  Lithuania is Belarus' "window on Europe", but is this what Lukashenka wants? The EU requires more democracy and economic liberalisation, but only Russia can offer his regime any hope of survival, say Laurynas Kasciunas and Živile Dambrauskaite

Forward, Mr President!

Three former Western ambassadors to countries in the post-Soviet space applaud President Medvedev's call for sweeping reform on gazeta.ru last week and suggest some ways Russia might modernise that build on experience

Do Gorbachev’s clothes fit Medvedev?

The sensational appearance of an article by President Medvedev on the oppositional online site gazeta.ru prompts Dmitri Travin to reflect on the parallel with Gorbachev's first moves towards reform of the Soviet system. Yes, but there's one small problem...

Freedom for Sale

Round the world, people appear willing to give up their freedoms in return for the promise of prosperity or security. But why?  John Kampfner explores this in his  new book Freedom for Sale. One of the countries he studied was Russia

Russia's economic crisis – no cue for ‘Perestroika 2.0’

Haunted by memories of chaos, a weakly governed Russia is resisting the opportunity for reform presented by today's global economic crisis, reports Andrew Wilson.

The wheels have come off the Putin model

10 years ago this month the State Duma approved Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister.  He created a corrupt vertical of power, which once seemed to work, but now with the economic crisis, he has lost control of it, says Dmitri Oreshkin

Ingushetia abandoned

The attack on a police station in Ingushetia on 17 August which killed or wounded 100 people follows a spate of recent incidents, including the assassination of Ingushetia's construction minister. In this recent overview of the post-Soviet history of Russia's smallest republic, Varvara Pakomenko examines the Kremlin's Caucasus policy and asks what the future holds for Ingushetia


This article was first published on 22 July 2009

Russian public opinion and the Georgia war

A reading of public opinion suggests that the key motive of Russian policymakers in last year's Georgia war was to kill liberal expectations of the new President Medvedev, the Levada Centre's Alexei Levinson proposes.

Life in Nizhny Novgorod doesn’t stand still

Niyhnz Novgorod Kremlin

Nizhny Novgorod's Kremlin

Nizhny Novgorod is one of the largest cities in Russia. It is currently enjoying its first baby boom for many years, thus demonstrating a determination not to be cowed by the economic crisis, and the future no longer holds the fears it used to, reports Lira Valeyeva

Notes from Samara

Samara's panorama 

Each region has its own problems and ways of dealing with the economic crisis. The response of Samara's residents has been to sink back into overwhelming apathy, Sergei Khazov observes

Moldova: new generation, new politics?

Two young reformist politicians on either side of the separatist conflict in Moldova have made bold moves to assert their independence from ossified leadership, Will the new generation manage to free their country from the spell of the past, wonders Louis O'Neill

Life in Kazan: defying the crisis

The economic crisis has reached Tatarstan, and in a land like Russia where the rich are free to act solely in their own interests, the effects are harsh. Still, regional identity remains cohesive, so in many ways life goes on as always, writes Oleg Pavlov

Kazan-Qolsharif Mosque

The impressive Qolsharif Mosque in Kazan's Kremlin attracts the faithful and tourists

Sakhalin, the Island of Cyclones and Abundant Snow

Sakhalin scenery

Ksenya Semenova comes from Sakhalin Island, on Russia's far eastern coast. She is 23, has never been to the Russia mainland, and loves the island, with its exotic natural beauty. Wryly, she describes how ‘the crisis' is hitting them, why President Medvedev came to visit and why the islanders are cross with him.

Far East is still far away

Khabarovsk panorama

The Kremlin's choice to hold the latest EU-Russia summit in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, right by China, may have been political - China wants Russia's gas too. But for the residents of Khabarovsk, the summit just meant traffic jams, and China's proximity just means industrial pollution

‘Wahhabi’ village in Dagestan

As human rights violations escalate in the North Caucasus, Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch visits Dagestan, supposedly riven by the struggle between ‘Wahhabis' and the authorities. She visits the so-called ‘Wahhabi' village of Gudben. 

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev on trial - again

Khodorkovski-courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few believed that a second Khodorkovsky trial would actually happen, but it is. Maryana Torocheshnikova is sitting through the surreal twists and turns

Mikhail Saakashvili – etymology of a crisis

Civil society is playing an impressive role in Georgia's present crisis, argues Tbilisi's last ambassador to Russia. Saakashvili's government has reached an impasse. There is a way forward, but Georgia will need the help of its friends abroad

Unlocking the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Reviewing the roots of the roots of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Alexander Goryanin concludes that Armenia's victory has cost it too much. A more lasting solution will take time

Russian anti-Nazi film v Kremlin bulldogs

Pavel Bardin's film Russia 88, about Russian Nazis, has incurred official displeasure even before its release. Bardin says he wants to help government fight Russian fascism. Critics say the film's good. So what's the problem?The blogosphere is buzzing with answers

Rossiya 88 film

(Photo: Rossiya 88 film)

Moldova: the Twitter Revolution that wasn’t

The protest that greeted Moldova's recent election represented domestic frustrations, not an abortive colour revolution. Addressing Moldova's deep-seated problems of poverty, criminality and national identity will require constructive input from Western powers

Lukashenko plays with Europe

Europe should not be deceived by recent concessions to the media, comments Irada Huseinova. Lukashenko's Belarus will remain a bastion of totalitarianism

Crunch time in the Southern Caucasus

Moscow has reacted hysterically to NATO's military exercises in Georgia. Turkey's rapprochement with Armenia worries it too. As things hot up, Russia may well intervene to grab Georgia's pipelines, warns Ivan Sukhov.

Russia's creeping fascism

Alexander Dugin's Eurasian movement has moved to centre stage politically, having dropped its tactless fascist rhetoric. Andreas Umland charts its inroads

A Georgian chalk circle: open letter to the west

An authoritarian president, an ineffective opposition, an unbalanced polity, and a country once again regarded in the west as a small component of the “Russia problem” - all this equals a political impasse in Tbilisi. Tedo Japaridze, the former foreign minister of Georgia, appeals to the country’s western friends to help resolve a problem that is theirs too. 

(This article was first published on 12 May 2009)

Moldova: recession hits a frozen conflict

With Moldova's horde of guest workers heading home, the effects of global recession will hit Europe's poorest country hard. This crisis could be used to unlock its frozen conflict with Transnistria, comments Louis O'Neill

Medvedev: goodbye to all that?

Dmitr Travin takes a long hard look at President Medvedev's first year in office and his "idyllic" close relationship with his Prime Minister

Kremlin control v grass-roots modernisation

Nikolai Petrov points out that despite increasingly desperate attempts by the Kremlin to assert top-down control, grassroots modernization still might win out

Russia's new perestroika?

The freeing of Khodorkovsky's lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina is among the events being seen by some as heralding a new perestroika.  Andrei Piontkovsky does not agree.

Blog for democracy, from the streets of Moldova

This impassioned blog comes from the streets of Moldova's capital. Natalia Morar is one of the young people who sparked the mass demonstrations against recent elections which returned the communists to power.

Transdniestria and Moldova: unloved, unresolved

There is no resolution in sight for the conflict between ‘pro-European' Moldova and its pro-Russian breakaway region Transdniestria. Europe cares little about Moldova, and Transdniestria's passion for Putin's Russia is barely reciprocated either

 

Re-setting Georgia's relationship with Russia

It is time to restore relations between Russia and Georgia, argues Ambassador Kitsmarishvili, Georgia's ambassador in Moscow until the war in August 2008.

Azerbaijan: from bad to worse

 A recent referendum has given Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev almost unlimited power. The people's vote for stability makes an undemocratic situation even worse

Protect Yuntolovo! Money v nature in St Petersburg

This tale of legal skulduggery sees money pitted against the preservation of a nature reserve on the outskirts of St Petersburg in a local election. 

Khodorkovsky: blood or cash?

New charges are being brought against ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose trial and the destruction of his company Yukos in 2003-5 were a cause celebre. Andrei Piontkovsky puts the new trial in context. 

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