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A sudden warning in Dagestan

On 27 July, Russian special forces abducted a senior Dagestan official from his home and transported him to Moscow for investigation. The Dagestani authorities knew nothing about it.

A house in the country

With Russia’s housing stock in trouble, many people struggle to find a suitable home. For the people of Koltyshevo just outside Moscow, it’s a crumbling manor house.


Kadyrov and Putin: parallel lives

RIA Kadyrov Putin 2 (c) Aleskei Nikolsku.jpgWhile Vladimir Putin has given Ramzan Kadyrov a free hand in Chechnya, the relationship between Moscow and Grozny is far more complicated than it first appears.


The ‘parasite law’ in Belarus

parasite.jpgIn the Soviet Union, anyone without an official job could be charged with ‘parasitism’ and sentenced to internal exile. Now Belarus has revived the idea. на русском языке

Kyrgyzstan's conservatives hold their anti-LGBT rally

Against a background of possible legislation against 'foreign agents' and 'gay propaganda', Sunday's anti-LGBT rally in Bishkek does not bode well for the small Central Asian state.

From emancipation to restraint: violence and gender inequality in Azerbaijan

Passing laws against gender-motivated violence and gender inequality is not the same as putting them into practice.


Ukraine’s labour reforms threaten workers' rights

7410485.jpgThe oligarchs have joined forces to railroad a new labour code that strips Ukrainian workers of their already modest rights.


Transnistria: West Berlin of the post-Soviet world

How to play hardball: Ukraine's parliament has revoked the agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the movement of Russian troops through Ukrainian territory to Transnistria.

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.


The Russian politics of multiculturalism

RIA Aleksei Druzhinin Putin Abkhazia.jpgThe relationship between religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and civic assimilation on the other, is far less harmonious than Putin’s magniloquence asserts.

Interview with a murderer

There are currently 59,000 women in Russian penal establishments. For many of them prison is not so much a punishment, more a way of life.

Ukraine’s European integration

If the EU is serious about helping Ukraine, both parties should focus on the country’s most glaring problem, and the Maidan’s principal demands – justice and the rule of law.

Outsourcing sovereignty from Russia to Chechnya

Markedonov pic.jpgJust like in business, the centre of Russia has transferred a range of its functions to a regional political ‘contractor’. But now the tail is starting to wag the dog.


A guide to political persecution in Russia

Andrey Stenin - VisualRIAN - Dissident.jpgA raft of new criminal offences allows the government’s opponents to be arrested for just about anything – or nothing.


Detaining the president’s daughter

Karimova under house arrest Dore Ryan.jpgA year on from her disappearance from public life, what does the treatment of Gulnara Karimova reveal about Uzbekistan’s rights crisis?

Spymania returns to Russia

Spy cartoon - Shutterstock - Tomacco_0.jpgUnder the ‘new and improved’ law against spying, anyone can be suspected of espionage or treason in Russia. And that's the point. на русском языке

Ukrainian journalist faces 15 years in jail after calls to boycott the draft

ruslan kotsaba jpg via youtube crop.jpg

A Ukrainian journalist has been arrested for publishing a video calling on his fellow citizens to boycott mobilisation. He is being charged with treason and espionage.

Speaking to the Russophones

ragozin_picture.jpgWhether the EU likes it or not, millions of its residents belong to the Russophone cultural sphere. But how should we speak to them?


Farewell to Florida

1037907.jpgRichard Florida's 2002 book on the ‘creative class’ has had an unexpectedly fervent following in Russia, but did that class ever really exist in Russia? на русском языке


Working in the Gulag


Russia’s Prison Service, the FSIN, wants to put inmates’ employment on a more businesslike footing, but their working conditions are still more like slave labour.


‘Russian passport, please’

Zeveleva pic - rus:us passport.jpgIt is now a criminal offence for Russian citizens not to declare their foreign passports or permanent residence permits. 


Educating Russians abroad

 - wiki.jpgIn 2014, the Russian government launched the ‘Global Education’ programme of postgraduate education abroad. But the reaction in Russia has been obstructive and hostile. На русском языке

Journalism has become a form of ‘prostitution’ in Russia

Ria Novosti C Ruslan Krivobok.jpgThe Samara region has one of the highest numbers of media outlets in Russia, but local journalists find it hard to write the truth.


Высокая цена демократии в Украине

Logo_of_the_Verkhovna_Rada_of_Ukraine_1.pngУкраина находится на пороге банкротства. Выполнить бюджет на 2015 год практически нереально. Радикальные реформы затягиваются. Война на востоке страны продолжается. Что ожидает Украину в 2015 году? In English

The buckwheat crisis in Russia

buckwheat on shelves.jpgBuckwheat prices in Russian shops are soaring without any apparent reason. Russians are stocking up on this nutritious and usually cheap foodstuff, anticipating the worst is yet to come.

Power struggles inside the Kremlin

Kremlin clock tower_wiki.jpgA behind-the-scenes look at power struggles inside the Kremlin reveals potential scenarios for the future. And a possible new president.



The ‘Muslim radicalisation of Central Asia’ is a dangerous myth

RIA:R Mangarasyan Tajikistan 96.jpg Security think-tanks and expert communities in the Western world are perpetuating the dangerous myth that Muslim radicalisation is rife in Central Asia.

The kidnap trail to Central Asia

kidnapped activist crop.jpgCentral Asian security services have been abducting their countries’ citizens from Russia to stand trial on trumped-up charges. And the Russian police have been helping them.

Putin goes

Morozov-Aleksandr_medium russ.ru_.jpgUntil Black Tuesday on 16 December 2014, 15 years after Vladimir Putin first took power, there were no grounds to suggest he might resign or call snap elections. Now there are. На русском языке


Russians do not want to adopt Russian children

Orphans photo wikipedia.jpgAmericans can no longer adopt Russian children, so now the government is encouraging more Russians to adopt. But without much success.


Stepford Wives in Chechnya

RIA Tsarnayev Model Crop.jpgChechen women have to be very careful about what they wear because of Ramzan Kadyrov’s ‘virtue campaign.’


Reporting on Russian television

schimpfossl_0.jpgMost talk about censorship on Russian television misses the point. When it comes to reporting, loyalty takes precedence.


Teaching orthodoxy in Russian schools

Icon CC Denis Dmitrievich Leontyev crop_0.jpgOrthodox ideology is being rushed into the Russian school curriculum – in the interests of nationalism.


Book review: Samuel Greene, 'Moscow in Movement: Power and Opposition in Putin’s Russia'

Cover_Greene_Russia_0.pngRussians pride themselves on their capacity for state-building, but their idea of the state is not one that the West would recognise, or was hoping for…



The ‘return’ of nuclear weapons

sokov_nikolai_crop 65x80.jpgThe current crisis unfolding in Ukraine has brought the issue of nuclear weapons back into sharp focus.


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