‘Politics’ Category

  1. By the way, which one’s the Great One?

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    March 23, 2017 by AK

    Reviewing five recent books on the Russian Revolution of 1917 for the LRB, Sheila Fitzpatrick quotes S. A. [Stephen Anthony] Smith, professor of history at All Souls College, Oxford: The Soviet Union proved capable of generating extensive growth in industrial production and of building up a defence sector, but much less capable of competing with …
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  2. “Far right news sites entirely in Cyrillic script”

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    February 27, 2017 by AK

    About two weeks ago, Mark Townsend wrote in The Guardian: Another Briton said to have had an influential intervention in the US elections is 52-year-old Jim Dowson, a Scottish Calvinist who founded the far right, anti-Muslim party Britain First. Dowson, from a hub in Hungary, set up a network of US-focused websites and Facebook groups with …
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  3. Who should have the last word?

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    February 26, 2017 by AK

    The Economist‘s Erasmus wrote last Sunday about the “row” concerning Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg: After the Bolshevik revolution a century ago, [the building] became a museum, dedicated at various times to science, atheism or simply its own history. Services have been held there since the fall of communism, but it continued to be …
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  4. This time it’s different, I promise

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    February 14, 2017 by AK

    This Russian official is, technically speaking, the third in the line of presidential succession: Vyacheslav Volodin, Putin’s former deputy chief of staff and current chairman of the state Duma, would support a law that protects the honor and dignity of the Russian president. During a speech at a university in Tatarstan, Volodin said the laws …
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  5. The ECHR on disjointed trials and res judicata

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    February 11, 2017 by AK

    Wednesday’s predictable but nevertheless bizarre re-conviction of Navalny and Ofitserov makes one wonder how the court managed the seemingly insurmountable barriers such as the absence of the corpus delicti and the ECHR’s ruling. It’s especially puzzling if, as Navalny has observed, at least some of the ruling was pasted straight from the 2013 original, complete with the …
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  6. What did the groundhog see?

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    February 8, 2017 by AK

    It’s Groundhog Day for the Russian opposition and its informal leader: Alexei Navalny said the verdict at the retrial was copied word for word from his first conviction… As the judge read out the guilty verdict on Wednesday, Navalny tweeted out pages from the original verdict to support his claim that it had been copied word for …
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  7. Michael McFaul’s easy, broken parallel

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    February 5, 2017 by AK

    Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, has a blog on the site of Ekho Moskvy, the independent radio station based in Moscow. Commenting on the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, he wrote: It’s the equivalent of Putin appointing Alexander Dugin to the [Russian] Security Council and telling generals Bortnikov [head …
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  8. Olga Khazan on the long wait in Santa Marinella

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    February 3, 2017 by AK

    Olga Khazan writes of her quest for asylum in The Atlantic: In 1989, my family and I were living in a small shared apartment in Santa Marinella, Italy, just northwest of Rome, waiting to find out if the United States would accept our application for asylum. Jewish families leaving the USSR typically took an Aeroflot flight …
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  9. The model refugees

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    February 2, 2017 by AK

    ​I’m not sure what point Julia Ioffe tried to make with her latest piece in The Atlantic, other than to recall the limbo of being a prospective immigrant and, later, one in transit. I have no doubt her family have been upstanding and productive citizens since arriving in the US in 1990. I am less sure they were refugees in the proper sense, …
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  10. The flip side

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    January 31, 2017 by AK

    “The witch has lost: now everything is permitted” seems to be the operative motto of the day in the Kremlin and its environs. Thus, the de-facto leader of the opposition – the only opposition politician with presidential potential – is to be further harassed and, possibly, imprisoned on transparently bogus charges. Russia’s long slide to misery has …
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