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Don’t count on “administrative resources” this Russian presidential election

Public sector workers usually vote how they’re told in Russia’s highly-managed elections. A message from the northern Komi republic hints at changes under the radar.

“We refused everything France wanted to give us”: Oksana Shalygina’s first post-prison interview

This time last year, performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky and Oksana Shalygina fled Russia under threat of prosecution. Now they’re facing arson charges in Paris. RU

“I got called in by the KGB. They said there were no LGBT people in Transnistria”

In Transnistria, an unrecognised territory between Moldova and Ukraine, documentary photography is becoming one of the most effective tools for talking about taboo and controversial subjects. RU

Who killed Iryna Nozdrovska?

The murder of a prominent female lawyer in Ukraine questions the progress of reform and revolution.

“Putin is your God!”

The conflict between the Orthodox Church and patriotically-minded Ukrainians is becoming ever more pronounced, as priests preach ideology from the pulpit. RU

 

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

What I didn’t write about Zhanaozen

In 2011, a seven-month-long strike in a Kazakh oil town came to tragic end. Six months after I reported on the Zhanaozen massacre, I returned to a city where silence had won.

Union-busting, Russian style

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

Chechnya's repressive machine keeps spinning

This week, Chechen human rights defender Oyub Titiev was arrested on trumped-up possession charges. 

Why we should write about the Crimean Tatars

Russian authorities’ detentions of Crimean Tatars continue. But as the annexation becomes the new normal for international audiences, how can the press raise awareness of the community’s plight?

Fighting impunity in Moldova and Transnistria

Moldova's human rights defenders are upping their game. But there's more that unites Transnistria, an unrecognised state on the country's eastern border, and Moldova than meets the eye. RU

“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.

Tough lessons in Transnistria

Poorly-funded state education is common enough in post-Soviet countries. But how do schoolchildren fare in a state that has gone unrecognised for 27 years? RU

Amnesia: a key feature of Belarusian memory

There isn’t much space in Belarus for public discussion about the country’s traumatic past (or authoritarian present). This theatre in Brest is doing what it can to involve people in public debate. RU

Preparing for and working towards a democratic Russia

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

Anioł stróż Czeczenów

Przy białorusko-polskiej granicy utknęły setki zdesperowanych uchodźców z Czeczenii, którzy próbują przedostać się do Unii Europejskiej. Wielu miejscowych podchodzi do przybyszów z niechęcią – choć część decyduje się pomagać. English, RU

Azerbaijan’s unlucky lawyers

Baku-based lawyer Samed Rahimli discusses new changes in Azerbaijan that are set to make life (even more) difficult for the country’s independent lawyers.

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. 

A terminal crisis in Turkmenistan?

While Turkmens are told they’re living in a “golden age”, food shortages, labour unrest and unemployment are on the rise. Unless president Berdymukhamedov changes things fast, his days could be numbered.

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

What became of Latvia’s left?

Looking at the state of the country’s politics today, you’d hardly imagine it. But 100 years ago, Latvia was one of the most left-wing corners of the doomed Russian Empire.

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.

Мәскәү Татарстанны телсез калдырды

Татар теленә бәрелү- соңгы ел эчендә Мәскәү ягыннан беренче генә бәрелү түгел. RU, English

Death by disdain: the fate of drug users in Russian-occupied territories

With replacement therapy now illegal, drug users in Russian-occupied Crimea and the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas are finding it hard to survive. RU

Beyond the scandal: what is Ukraine’s new education law really about?

After three years of discussion, Ukraine has adopted a new framework law on education. It’s only caused more debate. RU

Moscow leaves Tatarstan speechless

The recent demotion of the status of the Tatar language is one of a growing number of moves made by Moscow against the wealthy and autonomously-minded republic of Tatarstan. RU, Татарча

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