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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.

Scaling back on healthcare may start with Russia’s migrants. But it won’t end there

The Russian state has absolved itself from providing social services to migrant workers. Are its own citizens next? RU

Natural birth in Russia: the costs of “keeping it real”

Natural femininity, natural birth, natural products – Russians are increasingly drawn to the concept of “naturalness” in their daily lives. But not many can afford to live by the laws of nature, rather than the laws of the state. Русский

Kicking habits, kicking back

In Russia, a punitive Soviet approach to drug users is still in place. But a new generation of activists is ready to challenge it. Русский

The victims of Russia’s ultra-conservatism are the Russian people themselves

Russia has decriminalised domestic violence: one step towards “traditional values” means two steps back from international human rights standards


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.

We’ll be living with this for a long time

In Ekaterinburg, one person in every 50 is HIV positive. A report from the frontline of what some people are calling Russia’s HIV epidemic. Русский

Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. Русский

We’re right here

Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

Лекарственный предел

Самолечение, перебои с лекарствами, приборами и врачами – таким выглядит здравоохранение сегодняшнего Крыма. English

Crimea needs a cure

DIY diagnoses, shortages of basic medical supplies, drugs and doctors. This is healthcare in annexation Crimea. Русский


Почему закрылось «окно жизни»?

В Кирове власти закрыли первый в федеральном районе бэби-бокс, существовавший всего несколько дней. in English 


The ‘window of life’ in Kirov

In the Russian city of Kirov, local authorities recently closed down a scheme to rescue unwanted newborn babies after just four days. We speak to the women and priest involved. на русском языке

Georgia’s healthcare privatisation stands as a warning to Ukrainian reformers

Ukraine's government is eager to overhaul the country's ageing healthcare system. Following Georgia's example may be tempting, but is not without risk.

Can feminist art free women from patriarchy in Eastern Europe?

Pic 2.jpgAs post-Soviet states continue their 'conservative turn', feminist artists stand up to address gender injustice in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.


Looking after yourself in Siberia

Kurganka.jpg The ‘rationalisation’ of medical and social services in rural Russia has compelled people to acquire new skills in order to survive, but life for the weakest is very hard – and very expensive.


Psychiatric abuse of transgender people in Russia

shutterstock_175109303.jpgThe existence of the diagnosis ‘Transsexualism’ in any form leads to psychiatric abuse, and negatively impacts the lives of transgender people in Russia.

Russian defence before Russian health

Petersburg hospital 2013 (demotix - Roma Yandolin).jpg In 2012, President Putin promised to increase the healthcare budget. Two years later, the Russian government is cutting back. But not on the defence budget… на русском языке

The Spice of life – and death

The drug of choice for young people in Russia has the innocent name ‘Spice,’ but its effects can be fatal.


The sex change commission in Ukraine

Transgender citizens in Ukraine have good reason to think that they are all but invisible. Even the EU is not pushing for inclusiveness; and then there is the sex change commission… на русском языке

Human capital and the Ukraine crisis

Human capital – demography, health, and migration – will be significantly influencing and determining the future of Ukraine for decades to come.



Drowning their sorrows in Belarus

Belarus is now officially the world’s heaviest drinking nation; and the socio-economic consequences are enormous.


Ломка в России

Некоторые практики екатеринбургского фонда «Город без наркотиков» Евгения Ройзмана считаются сомнительными, но они вообще мало обсуждались. Как же так? in English

Cold turkey in Russia

In Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman’s City Without Drugs Foundation has been engaged in some very questionable practices. But why has there been so little discussion?
на русском языке 

Legal limbo in Crimea

Judges, prisoners and drug addicts are all in legal limbo in Crimea because the judicial status of Russia’s new territory is still far from clear.

The collapse of the USSR and the illusion of progress

The collapse of the USSR was the occasion for much rejoicing. But 25 years later, there is not much to cheer about.


The serfs of the Volga Car Factory

The Volga Car Factory in Togliatti is the biggest in Russia. The management recently announced 7,500 redundancies, all before the end of the year. How are the city and its inhabitants coping? на русском языке

Russia’s orphan outcasts

Many young Russians brought up in institutional care have ended up homeless because regional authorities are ignoring their responsibility to house them. Georgy Borodyansky reports from Omsk.

Chemfest in Russia’s ‘chemical capital’

Russia’s industrial cities are more than a blot on the landscape. They are the source of appalling chemical pollution, a problem that neither the authorities nor the oligarch owners seem to have any interest in addressing. But people still have to live there.

Prayers for the dead

In Kyiv, Metropolitan Pavel – aka ‘Pasha the Merc’ – has succeeded in closing down Ukraine’s only specialist HIV/AIDS clinic, which was inconveniently located in the grounds of the Pecherskaya Lavra. A new clinic has yet to open, and now all the patients can do is pray…

Where there’s muck, there’s brass

Protests against the proposed mining of nickel and copper in the heart of Russia’s Black Earth belt have been escalating, and so has the media smear campaign against the protesters. Konstantin Rubakhin, an activist himself, sees this as a positive sign. 

Has punitive psychiatry returned to Russia?

Harsh sentences have been meted out to Russians who took part in last year’s political demonstrations on Bolotnaya Square. But possibly none more chilling that the compulsory treatment in a mental hospital ordained recently for Mikhail Kosenko. Our regular contributor, Daniil Kotsyubinsky, discussed the matter with his psychiatrist father.

What chance of going gently into that good night?

Russia has an ageing population, a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and an inadequate system of palliative care for terminally ill patients that leaves Russians feeling betrayed. The failure of authorities to tackle the problems makes a bad situation worse, says Olga Usenko.

A storm in a paint pot

The Russian Orthodox Church has, since the late 1990s, become an increasingly powerful force in Ukrainian politics and society. But the violent desecration of a piece of modern art shows it is also increasingly intolerant of different viewpoints.

HIV positive? Russia’s reaction is negative.

In most parts of the world the incidence of HIV/AIDS is falling, but official figures for Russia show 200 new cases being recorded every day. And as Grigory Tumanov reports, if you’re a migrant worker or immigrant, you face not only discrimination and stigma, but deportation as well.  

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