The Best of the ASEEES 2012 Conference for Russia Watchers

Dear readers, though my Russia blogging has moved to Global Voices, I’m always looking for things worth posting to AGT, which I haven’t abandoned, and will one day undoubtedly return to.

This Friday thru Sunday, I’ll be attending the 44th annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in New Orleans. This is the third year in a row that I’ll be going, and I went ahead and searched the convention program for panels and roundtables of interest to scholars and watchers of Russian contemporary politics. I hope to attend as many of these as possible, and I thought I’d share my list, as my interests likely overlap with people out there who study all things Russian and newsy. Hopefully this will be of use to those who want to know who’s up to what in the field, and better yet maybe some of you will also be in New Orleans, and will look me up.

Hope to see some of you there!

Best wishes,
Kevin Continue reading ‘The Best of the ASEEES 2012 Conference for Russia Watchers’ »

Catherine Fitzpatrick: Hero Blogger

Everyone enjoys reading about himself. This wretched egomania fuels the celebrity phenomenon that is the lifeblood of modern society, and why not! So you can imagine my delight to awake this morning to Catherine Fitzpatrick’s latest four-thousand-word-long masterpiece — an attack on me, my sinister Kremlin sympathies, and the outfit (Global Voices) where I recently signed on as a project editor. Her post, “Global Voices’ ‘Nuanced’ Coverage of the Troubling New Russian Internet Law,” targets a GV piece I published yesterday on Russian draft Law 89417-6, the legislation that many describe as a “Great Firewall” clone.

Catherine Fitzpatrick, an hero of our tiem. (Twitter avatar.)

Upon actually reading Fitzpatrick’s opus, I was less than thrilled to learn that she picked all the wrong reasons to assault my work. In less than 4,000 words, let’s right those wrongs and explore some actually justified assassinations of my stuff! Continue reading ‘Catherine Fitzpatrick: Hero Blogger’ »

April & May Updates

Yours truly has been very busy at Global Voices over the past month. Since my last AGT post, I have authored six new pieces at RuNet Echo:

For the New Books Network, I’ll soon be publishing a new NBN interview with Richard Sakwa, author of the recent book The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession.

Stay tuned for more updates. Once I’ve settled more at Global Voices, I intend to restart my AGT activity, publishing more op-ed style pieces here.

New Books Network Interview with Stephen White

Another of my New Books Network interviews has gone live. Stephen White‘s Understanding Russian Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2011) begins simply enough: “Russia is no longer the Soviet Union.” While this is a well-known fact, the details of Russia’s postcommunist transition — the emergence of a party system and presidential government, as well as the dismantling of the planned economy and construction of modern political communication — have rarely been as consciously and seamlessly fit into the setting of Russia’s immediate present. Stephen White’s ambitious text tracks the most significant developments in Russia’s post-Soviet formation, and more importantly plugs those events back into the framework of today, equipping readers with the context required for a deeper reading of contemporary Russian politics.

Understanding Russian Politics tackles all the biggest components of Russian statecraft and social transformation over the past twenty-five years. In my interview with Professor White, we discussed topics as current as President Medvedev’s 2012 legal initiative to liberalize political party registration in Russia, as well as the role the previous winter’s street demonstrations played in prompting such reforms offered by the Kremlin. In this context, White addressed the constitutional legacy of Yeltsin’s super presidential state, and explained why Putin’s economic policies have deviated from the extreme market liberalism of Russia in the early 1990s. Our conversation finished on the subject of Russian foreign policy and domestic interest groups, highlighting the roles that competing schools of thought play in policymaking today.

You can listen to the interview at NBN here.

Subscribe to NBN via iTunes.

New Global Voices Post: Blogger D.Shipilov Convicted of “Insulting a State Official”

I’ve posted a new article to RuNet Echo at Global Voices. Here’s the introduction:

Earlier this week, on April 3, 2012, a Kemerovo court convicted blogger Dmitri Shipilov of violating Article 319 of the Criminal Code, “insulting a state official in public.” As a result, he was sentenced to eleven months of community service, with ten percent of his earnings earmarked for the government’s treasury. Shipilov’s crime was authoring two blog posts in November 2011 that each lampooned the region’s governor, Aman Tuleyev, as well as members of his staff, often in colorful language.

Read the rest at the Global Voices website, found here.

AGT is dead. Long live AGT!

Today marks my first day as Global Voices RuNet Echo Project Editor. My inaugural post went live this morning: a report on an online petition that emerged last week advocating expanded controls on foreign-funded Russian NGOs. You can read it here at GV’s site.

Only the good die young ... and are reborn!

‘A Good Treaty’ has been my primary blogging platform for more than two years now. As of today, that is no longer the case. For the most part, my research will now appear at Global Voices. (I’ll continue to repost my GV reports to AGT, as well as my New Books Network interviews.) To the readers who have stuck with this blog since I started it back in 2010, I extend my warm thanks!

While my research-based reportage is relocating to RuNet Echo, AGT is by no means kaput! In the coming weeks, I’ll be exploring new styles and modi operandi for the blog, and I welcome any constructive feedback. Is there any type of blogging that you’d like to see implemented in the ‘new’ AGT? As my future work at GV is dedicated to monitoring the Russian Internet (mainly the RuNet blogosphere), I am considering returning AGT to its original emphasis on U.S.-Russian relations.

That’s just one idea, anyway! I’m inclined to restore AGT to a more personal voice, so in that spirit please feel free to transmit your thoughts, either in the comments or by email.

Many thanks again,

Tough Choices Facing the Russian Opposition

The following is a short article co-written with Wesleyan University’s Professor Peter Rutland, who blogs about nationalism at NationalismWatch. It was drafted in early March, immediately after the 2012 Russian presidential election.

With Russia’s sixth presidential election having reached its preordained conclusion, what remains unclear is how Moscow’s already seething political opposition will respond to the prospect of six more years of Vladimir Putin.

If the protests continue, will they be met with harsh reprisals? That was the route taken in Belarus when Alexander Lukashenko won a fourth consecutive presidential term in 2010. Police intervened as soon as demonstrators assembled the night after the election, and hundreds of protesters along with seven presidential candidates were jailed. Continue reading ‘Tough Choices Facing the Russian Opposition’ »