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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.


The battle for the Siberian harvest

Sov Agriculture Propagnda .jpgPresident Putin’s special envoy to the Urals, recently praised the region’s farmers for their heroic efforts to save the harvest. But it won’t save them.


Russia's new media law

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Amendments to Russia’s new media law limiting foreign ownership to 20% show there is no free market in the country.


The split widens in the ruling family of Uzbekistan

Karimova under house arrest Dore Ryan.jpgHaving been accused of misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars, Gulnara Karimova is now under house arrest in Tashkent; one more indication of the schism that is splitting the ruling family.

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

Where now for Armenia’s opposition?

Public protests are mounting in Armenia over economic and political issues. But where is the Armenian opposition in all this?

What are Russians celebrating when they celebrate National Unity Day?

Russians celebrate National Unity Day on 4 November, but the name masks Russian anxieties about disunity and disintegration.


Book review: Peter Pomerantsev, ‘Nothing is true and everything is possible’


Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing Is True and Everything is Possible presents a Russia with no rules and no certainty in tomorrow, a place where you must live in the moment, because the moment is all you have.


Putin's new foreign policy rulebook

Valdai Putin 2014 kremlin.ru_.jpegPutin’s speech to the Valdai Club on 24 October shows he no longer believes in the old international rules.


What is really going on with Russia's new internet laws

CC Derzsi Elekes Andor..JPGOn paper, Russia’s new laws on data storage seem to make business impossible for big internet companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a wider range of online businesses.


Post-election, Ukrainians and Russians face an uncertain future

RIA Pavel Palamarchuk. Vote ru.jpgUkraine’s snap parliamentary elections have once again proved that the mainstream of society rejects the far right – not that the Russian government or media will care.


Russians are not bothered by Western sanctions

pic_vaso_crop.jpgSanctions have had a limited effect on the Russian population whose support towards the government’s Ukrainian policy does not seem to be eroding.


Moscow’s young Muslims might be tomorrow’s militants

RIA Vladimir Astapkovich.LR_.ru_.jpg

A recent clash with the police is a sign of the alienation felt by some young men from Moscow’s Muslim community. на русском языке


For Generation P, Putin is Russia

RIA Maksim Blinov.jpg

Putin has successfully managed to persuade his fellow citizens that he and Russia are one and the same. на русском языке


Azerbaijan and the Ukraine crisis

The crisis in Ukraine put the Azerbaijani government in an uncomfortable position.



Book review: Zakhar Prilepin, 'Sankya'


A cult novel by one of Russia’s most provocative and original writers has just come out in English translation.



When peace means war

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Moscow's peace march was a demonstration against war, and a declaration of a tacit middle-class war with the Kremlin.


The metamorphoses of Nikita Belykh


In the recent regional elections, Governor Nikita Belykh of Kirov Region – the man who used to call Aleksei Navalny his friend – was again running for office.

Making work easier for Kazakhstan’s migrant workers

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Astana has introduced a new patent system for its guest workers, the ‘gastarbaitery.’ But does the new system work for Kazakhstan’s guest workers?

Crimean elections Russian style

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This Sunday, 14 September, Crimeans go to the polls to confirm Russian sovereignty over their region.


Samara: ripples from the Ukrainian storm

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Some 5000 people have fled to Samara, from the fighting in Ukraine, but many say they have been victims of Kremlin propaganda.


Praying to Putin

FederalPressWorldNewsPutin_0.jpgA recent lecture in Moscow asked, ‘Will Putin become God through grace?'


Georgia looks west, Armenia east

Arm-Geo flags [courtesy of Armradio] crop.jpg

This summer, Georgia signed an Association Agreement with the EU, but its southern neighbour, Armenia, has opted for the rival Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

What the FSB is doing in Russian universities

In Soviet times, the KGB kept a close watch on intellectuals – they might turn out to be dissidents. Today, the FSB still skulks on university corridors…

The spillover effects of Western sanctions, in Kazakhstan

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There is anxiety in Kazakhstan about the spillover effects of Western sanctions


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