Pardon My Past: Khodorkovsky & Clemency

  On December 6, 2000, American businessman Edmond Pope was convicted by a Moscow court of espionage and sentenced to twenty years in prison. Even after the verdict, Pope did not confess to being a spy, and he refused to appeal to the Russian President for clemency. Nevertheless, a young President Vladimir Putin pardoned Mr. …

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A Response to Democratist's "Encouraging Liberalization in Russia"

The following post is my response to an article published by the author the Russia & CIS blog, Democratist. The original piece is titled “Encouraging Liberalization in Russia.” Oil dependency and crippling corruption. Yes, these are certainly problems facing Russia’s economic development. (Though I do find it curious that you use military tech as an …

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Russia's Sick Police

The reform of Russia’s Interior Ministry (MVD) produced some news this week in the form of an amusing interview with Rashid Nurgaliev, the ministry’s chief. Nurgaliev called the MVD “the very poorest of current law enforcement agencies” and voiced concerns that many officers are “very deeply sick,” explaining that traffic patrols last 50% longer in …

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Sex, Drugs, & Politics

The Season of Discontent keeps chugging along in Russia this spring. Kaliningrad has attracted every political gadfly and climber around, and next Saturday’s demonstration promises to be the mother of all theatre. Who will win the rallying competition: the Kremlin stooges (like Zhirinovsky), dispatched to rouse the counter-protesting rabble? Or the Muscovite liberal imports, who …

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The Kaliningrad Buzz

In the last week or so, an unusual number of American media outlets have hosted, tweeted, retweeted, and otherwise regurgitated the ramblings and ruminations of Russia’s liberal elite. Boris Nemtsov scored an interview with Time Magazine, Kasparov graced the pages of Radio Free Europe, Nemtsov swung by Washington for a mixer with the Republican foreign …

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What Does Russia's Olympic Defeat Mean?

The Vancouver Olympics has finally ended and, in the coming weeks and months, there are likely to be a great many editorials and op-eds published on the subject of Russia, whose athletes performed rather not well this year. Because Russia will host the next Winter Games in Sochi, its failures this year will be examined …

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