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Putin’s Punitive Psychiatry and other Flashbacks

Putin’s Punitive Psychiatry and other Flashbacks

You have to be mad to oppose Putin. At least that is what a Moscow court ruled on Tuesday when it sentenced Mikhail Kosenko to be committed to a psychiatric hospital for his part in the anti-government protest.
“The court has ruled to release Kosenko Mikhail Alexandrovich from …

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Putin’s Deadliest Catch: Snowden Joins Navalny in Moscow

Putin’s Deadliest Catch: Snowden Joins Navalny in Moscow

As Edward Snowden slipped into Moscow this afternoon, asylum documents in hand, he joined another recently freed man: Alexey Navalny. Russia now has two famous cyber-whistleblowers on its hands, and hasn’t yet figured out what to do with either.
One thing is for sure, Putin’s …

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Snowden, Putin, sheared pigs and the joys of Whataboutism

Snowden, Putin, sheared pigs and the joys of Whataboutism

What is Russia playing at by harboring America’s most wanted whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Moscow airport?
A brief recap: Over the weekend, Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong en route to a third country, probably Ecuador (which is already housing Julian Assange in its London embassy).  On Sunday, journalists …

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Russia’s new anti-gay law: more cynicism than bigotry

Russia’s new anti-gay law: more cynicism than bigotry

Amidst worldwide condemnation, Russia’s parliament passed a law outlawing “homosexual propaganda.”
It was definitely a shameful milestone.
As of today,
The law will make it an offence…to communicate to Russian children and young people that love between two women or two men is “just as socially valuable” as that between …

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Exit Surkov: The end of postmodern Putinism?

Exit Surkov: The end of postmodern Putinism?

Speculation swirls around today’s sudden resignation of Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin’s chief ideologue who had thought up “sovereign democracy” and invented the Nashi youth groups. He name-dropped Lacan and Derrida and even allegedly wrote a novel called Almost Zero. And now he might have …

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Boston Bombers: Is America’s Skewed Asylum System to Blame?

Boston Bombers: Is America’s Skewed Asylum System to Blame?

As a Russian who first came to America as a small child and later spent his university years in Cambridge, Mass., I felt particularly gripped by the ongoing Boston bomber saga. There remain so many questions about why these two brothers, to whom the U.S. had given shelter, passports, schooling …

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End of an era as Berezovsky dies

End of an era as Berezovsky dies

He was the original oligarch: a talented mathematician who had used his smarts and ruthlessness to amass an enormous fortune in the wreckage of the Soviet Union. Eventually, he became one of Russia’s most powerful men, a courtier to former president Boris Yeltsin.
Boris Berezovsky went on to survive assassination attempts …

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What their reaction to the Cyprus bank tax says about Russia’s government – and the opposition

What their reaction to the Cyprus bank tax says about Russia’s government – and the opposition

They said it couldn’t be done. But at last, the Kremlin and some of its fiercest liberal critics have found themselves on the same team. The fact that the issue in question is their opposition to the proposed Cypriot bank levies says as much about the regime …

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Stalin who?

Stalin who?

Today is 60 years since the death of Joseph Stalin. How do we know this? Well, it’s on the front page of the BBC, there’s an article in the Telegraph, Reuters, the Atlantic and pretty much everywhere else. Except Russia itself, that is, where the event hardly attracted any attention …

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Putin’s (grey) Heir Apparent?

Putin’s (grey) Heir Apparent?

Is this the face of Russia’s next president?
According to a report quoted in today’s Moscow Times, Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin has become the favorite to succeed Putin in 2018.
Sobyanin?
“Sobyanin is a figure who could please both the main tycoons in the energy industry and those who took part in dividing the spoils inherited …

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Is Russia Becoming a Theocracy?

Is Russia Becoming a Theocracy?


This weekend the Russian Orthodox Church held its Bishops Council at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
In his speech to the assembly, president Putin said that, of course, Russia is not a theocracy but:
“We are a secular state of course, and cannot allow state life and …

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Depardieu, Depardon’t

Depardieu, Depardon’t

Okay, I know everyone has had enough of the Depardieu story by now, but that’s no reason to pass up an opportunity for blatant self promotion!
In today’s International Herald Tribune, I ask whether the fat Frenchman may not simply be the corporeal embodiment of modern neoliberal capitalism.
And …

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Welcome, Comrade Depardieu!

Welcome, Comrade Depardieu!


As a third of young Russian graduates consider fleeing Russia for better opportunities abroad, Putin has received a welcome boost to his deadly whataboutist arsenal. An enormous, large-nosed, drunk boost. Its name? Depardieu. He may not look like 

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Putin orders 2013 to begin

Putin orders 2013 to begin


How you usher in the new year says a lot about a country.
In the capital of capitalism, Americans huddle amidst the neon billboards of Times Square; according to wine-growing tradition, the Spanish eat a dozen grapes; Italians tuck into a stuffed pig trotter accompanied by lentils, …

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Anti-corruption drive, political purge, or popularity ploy?

Anti-corruption drive, political purge, or popularity ploy?


Heads are rolling in Moscow.
Over the past two months, two Russian ministers and the chief of the army have lost their jobs.
The October resignation of regional development minister Oleg Govorun was but a prelude to the recent high profile ousting of the reformist defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov. The latter …

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About the Author

Vadim Nikitin
Vadim Nikitin

Vadim Nikitin was born in Murmansk, Russia and grew up there and in Britain. He graduated from Harvard University with a thesis on American democracy promotion in Russia. Vadim's articles about Russia have appeared in The Nation, Dissent Magazine, and The Moscow Times. He is currently researching a comparative study of post-Soviet and post-Apartheid nostalgia.
Areas of Focus:
USSR; US-Russia Relations; Culture and Society; Media; Civil Society; Politics; Espionage; Oligarchs

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