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Patriotism as a diagnosis

Nine years ago today, Russian activist lawyer Stanislav Markelov was shot dead in central Moscow. We republish the last article he wrote before his death.

Hope for Russia’s hopeless elections

“I’m not participating in this shit” could become the main political slogan at Russia’s upcoming presidential elections. RU

No future in Karabash, one of Russia’s most polluted towns

With its population dropping, this choking copper town in Russia’s Urals is struggling to survive. RU

Union-busting, Russian style

The Russian authorities are using “foreign agent” legislation against MPRA, the closest thing Russia has to an independent trade union. 

“I don’t remember who I am”: diary of detained journalist facing deportation from Russia

For people held in immigration detention, life can quickly turn into despair.

Preparing for and working towards a democratic Russia

How the west should prepare and promote a different future for Russia.

Wake up and smell the ruthenium

Russia’s recent ruthenium scare, which went viral around the globe, brought a serious problem to light: the absence in Russia of proper and transparent monitoring of its environment. 

Arseny Roginsky: Giving Russia its history back

On 18 December, Arseny Roginsky, historian, dissident and one of the founders of Russia’s Memorial society, passed away. He will be sorely missed. RU

Toxic cash: the risks of Russia’s “sovereign civil society” programme

By banning NGOs from receiving foreign funding, the Russian government has forced them to seek financial support at home. But state grants undermine civil society’s independence. RU

The 26 March case: how Russia is cracking down on freedom of assembly

In March 2017, Russia witnessed its largest public protests in years. But investigations into the events of that day are being used to punish participants. RU

The inner lives of queer comrades in early Soviet Russia

At the dawn of Soviet power, LGBT people found a language to express their identity. 

Dollars and desperation: how Russia’s financial crisis hit foreign currency mortgage-holders

Three years on from Russia’s 2014 financial meltdown, people with foreign currency mortgages are still suffering — and are only getting more radical in their struggle. RU

“We have plenty of reasons to protest apart from Platon”

Still angry at a new road tax collection system, Russia’s truck drivers have now been forced to register as a “foreign agent”. So they’re going on strike, again. RU

Igor Yasin: “If there’s no freedom of assembly for LGBT, there’s none for anyone else”

Russian activist Igor Yasin on attitudes towards LGBT in Russia’s regions, why the opposition has a homophobia problem, and how to assert your rights — and still be heard. RU

Free Russia Forum: sanctions and boycotts

Russia’s opposition remains weak and divided — but the latest forum in Vilnius could hint at consolidation down the road. RU

Debt and poverty: the thriving business of high-risk moneylenders in Russia

In Russia, loansharks and payday lenders masquerade as “microfinance” organisations to attract clients. But for many people, short-term loans are a way of life.

Six years of OVD-Info

Hundreds of hours spent on the phone, online and in court — this is what it means to monitor politically-motivated arrests in Russia. 

Humanism is out of fashion

In today’s Russia, why is anti-militaristic speech perceived as a call for historical revisionism? RU

Russian soldiers in Damascus: politics isn’t everything

While politics is the reason for Russian military presence in Syria, the relationship between Russian soldiers and Syrian civilians is not fundamentally about politics. RU

Experts for hire: how independent analysts create crimes for Russian law enforcement

Russian courts’ lack of independent expert evaluations isn’t a localised problem. It represents one of the most important factors in the country’s “conservative turn”. RU

Who’s left to fight for Russian academia?

While Russia’s authorities are obsessed with the imaginary threat of “foreign agents”, a real danger is growing from within — there’s nobody left to halt the collapse of the country’s education system. RU

Russian soldiers in Homs: unwelcome guests?

Locals in Homs are divided on the Russian military presence in this Syrian city: for some, they’re the lesser of many evils — for others, hated intruders.

Russia’s new media law: expanding the field of uncertainty

Russia’s new legislation is not only aimed at foreign media. It’s another step in the process of blurring legal definitions — until they’re useless. RU

Could Russia’s presidential elections wake up Kalmykia?

In the Russian republic of Kalmykia, where the opposition is small and fractious, Alexey Navalny could become a unifying figure ahead of next year's presidential election. RU

Расширение пространства произвола

Новые законодательные инициативы направлены не только против иностранных СМИ. Это еще один шаг в процессе размывания правовой определенности. English

Russia’s new foreign agent legislation will further silence independent media

New legislation targeting foreign media operating in Russia has evoked parallels with the US. Here’s why they’re wrong. 

Russia’s Kuzbass coal region is on the verge of an ecological catastrophe

This corner of Siberia is famous for coal production and its local kingpin. Ecologists believe there are dark days ahead for the centre of Russia’s export coal industry.

Reading other people’s diaries in Russia

Historian Mikhail Melnichenko runs a digital archive of personal diaries from Russia's 20th century. The result is both an alternative to tightly guarded government archives and an important artistic resource. RU

How did 1917 change the west?

Failed utopias lead to the death of idealism, and the likes of Putin and Trump are symbols of this process. As we watch Russia struggle with history, the US and UK cannot afford to pretend that this history doesn’t affect us too.


The inside story of Russia’s failed social media revolution

A nationalist populist promised a new Russian revolution in November 2017. But despite intense plotting online, the revolution failed to materialise. RU

A Cold War youth festival ages well, but leaves too much unsaid

This year, Russia hosted the World Festival of Youth and Students — with a mix of Cold War slogans and modern realpolitik.

Антология неудавшейся революции Мальцева

Поджоги административных зданий, захват Кремля и полная кредитная амнистия - именно к этому в Telegram чатах готовились сторонники "Артподготовки". Но в день Х, 5 ноября, они не смогли организовать даже масштабный мирный протест. English

Karelia: a story of autocracy and resistance

For years, Karelia was a last holdout for Russia’s liberal Yabloko party. But a series of arrests has seen its supporters drummed out of this northern province.

A hyperlink to absurdity

The implementation of the Kremlin’s law on “undesirable organisations” is reaching farcical proportions.

Рабочий инструмент "Прожито"

Историк Михаил Мельниченко об альтернативной архивной работе, волонтерах и лабораториях, где читают чужие дневники. English

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