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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

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. 

Grift, graft, and the Saakashvili show

Anti-corruption intrigue and opposition fanfare are leaving Ukrainians and the west disillusioned with Poroshenko’s politics.

Georgia: Strasbourg’s scrutiny of the misuse of power

A new European Court of Human Rights ruling on the misuse of power in Georgia creates an important precedent in cases of political persecution.

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. 

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

“100 Crimean Tatar kids who lost their fathers”

More than a dozen men disappeared without a trace during Russia's annexation of Crimea. Their families are still waiting for news — and justice.

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

Georgia: another revolution was possible

The turbulent but short-lived history of Georgia's social democratic experiment has much to teach us. 

Explaining the coup in Luhansk

This week, armed men occupied administrative buildings in the “Luhansk People’s Republic” and the territory’s separatist leader fled to Moscow. What does this herald for the conflict in eastern Ukraine?

A birthday in the Urals

Oleksandr Kolchenko, a Crimean anarchist, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Russia. There’s much to learn from his activism. 

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.

The Chechen watcher

Hundreds of desperate Chechen refugees are still stranded on the Belarusian border, waiting to enter the EU. Many locals are sceptical of the newcomers — but some have stood up to help. RU

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.


Letter from the Crimean border

In southern Ukraine, Crimean Tatars from displacements past and present are building a life for themselves.

The paradox of Armenia’s domestic violence law

If passed, Armenia’s draft law against domestic violence will only nurture patriarchy.

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.

This week, Russian citizens have been arrested for intolerance towards Cossacks

Our partners at OVD-Info give us the latest on freedom of assembly and political detentions in Russia. 

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