Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:14:31
20 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Politics and international relations, religion, economics, the environment and social issues.

Becoming Observers
Becoming Observers

I have slept very little the past two weeks, and I have done very little to prepare for my classes. My students have tired of asking when I will correct their papers, and piles of their notebooks are gradually filling up my room. There is nothing to eat in the house; I have no had any time to get to the store. I am completely overcome by my work in “Citizen Observer"...

Tags: election, democracy
Poor Chulpan
Poor Chulpan

Putin is doing everything in his power to guarantee his victory in the first round. Everyone everywhere is mumbling “stability, stability, this is what Putin has given us.”

Tags: politics, putin, khamatova
Putin's Counterattack
Putin's Counterattack

It seems like those in power are starting to get very worried, and therefore have gone over onto the counterattack. All across the country, they are herding people to pro-Putin rallies, handing out stenciled posters, then declaring what huge support he has.

Tags: politics, putin, demonstrations
Moscow's White Ring
Election Journal: Moscow's White Ring

The first installment in History Editor Tamara Eidelman's Election Journal, which she is writing for us in the buildup to the March 4 presidential election.

Tags: demonstrations, election
1972 ABM Treaty
1972 ABM Treaty

English text of the 1972 Antilballistic Missile Treaty between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

Tags: abm treaty, 1972, cold war
At the Demonstration
At the Demonstration

"The crowds gathered from three different directions.  Every route to the square was controlled by police and troops.  I had never seen such numbers of armed forces before; it was like a movie about civil war." Victor is a 21-year-old student in Moscow. In this guest post, he gives us a participant's account of the December 10 demonstration.

Tags: Moscow, demonstrations, democracy, voting, fraud, youth
Moscow Spring?
Moscow Spring?

Quite often, Russian reality is best illuminated with a joke. 

A couple of journalists are quizzing a candidate: “Why do you want to get elected?”

“Just look what is going on in the corridors of power: officials are awash in debauchery, theft, corruption!”

Tags: Putin, elections, Moscow, Russia, democracy
Dima, Volodya and Alice

What exactly is a Russian liberal? Has this species ever been seen in the wild (by which I mean the Kremlin)? In her spot-on analysis of Russia's ruling tandem in today's Washington Post, Liliya Shevtsova highlights this question brilliantly...

Flying Free...

Too often the news we gather from the mainstream media about Russia is bad news, and the humor is rather acerbic and based on dark stereotypes. So it is refreshing when we receive a bit of unqualified good news, about average people doing the hard work it takes to keep a society, and our world, spinning on its axis. 


Russians are wearing less and will have to do with fewer mushrooms this year. President Medvedev is Russia's Internet President (while PM Putin apparently does not even have a cellphone)...

The Kremlinologist Catechism

There is a Catechism that dominates American discourse on Russia today. Just flip through The Washington Post’s editorials, peruse American political science journals or listen (cringe) to a Joe Biden interview. It goes something like this:

Keep Reading, Dima

President Dmitry Medvedev says he likes the classics, but that,just recently he made a request for buying about 50 books authored by contemporary Russian writers over the past 5-7 years. "I have read some of them and I cannot say I have been excited," he said. "By and large I have to read all sorts of dull papers the presidents normally read. Draft documents, draft decrees, draft instructions, laws, reports...

Tags: medvedev, reading, literature, fiction
Putin and Medvedev as Na'Vi

Avatar has become the largest grossing movie in Russian history. But, more interestingly, a spin-off photo morfing site (which seemed to be connected to McDonald's Finland) allowed visitors to turn pictures of famous people into the blue Na'Vi. A Russian newspaper tried it with Medvedev and Putin. Here are the tinted results. First Putin:

Afghanistan: A Second Chance?

Thirty years ago, in 1979, the Persian Gulf was a tinderbox. On January 16, following months of uprisings, the Shah of Iran was overthrown. One month later, it looked like Afghanistan’s turn. The Soviet-backed thugs running the country had imposed radical social reforms, sparking a civil war and threatening pro-Soviet rule...

Tags: afghanistan, soviet, intervention, war
Gas Tussle

Sometimes it can be hard to get at the facts. And given that the western media went way down the wrong road on the recent Georgian crisis, one is inclined to be skeptical of coverage on the current Russia-Ukraine gas spat. 

Tags: ukraine, gas, energy
Sarah Palin's Secret Past Revealed!

Many have scoffed at Cindy McCain's defense of Alaska Governor (and GOP Veep candidate) Sarah Palin's foreign policy chops with the assertion that "Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia." Scoff not. The truth is so more startling still.

Tags: palin, russia, spies

With time, we are finding out more and more about the events that led to the recent Russo-Georgian War in the Caucausus. Two very good recent accounts have been published...

Tags: war, georgia
Caucasian Stalemate

Last Thursday, after several days of skirmishes and confrontation in the breakaway region of Ossetia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral cessation of hostilities. Hours later, however, Saakashvili ordered his armed forces to undertake a full-scale assault on Ossetia...

Tags: caucasus, georgia, war
Suppressed Testament of Lenin - pt. 13
Suppressed Testament of Lenin - pt. 13

Radek as a Source of Information

Tags: lenin, trotsky, politics
A Metaphorical Net Game

Russia has truly regained its prowess as a sports superpower, and it may rise further yet. It will surely be giving the U.S. a run for its money in the overall medals race at the Beijing Olympics in August... this rise in sports achievement takes place against the backdrop of a Russia that, without putting too fine a point on it, has bumbled from failure to failure in foreign policy in recent months

Tags: sports, politics, georgia