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Russia's Bread and Butter Riots

Russia's Bread and Butter Riots

When Tolstoy remarked that “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, he might have been describing the recent anti-government protests in Russia.
On Sunday, I wrote about two ‘riots’: a civil disobedience action against the demolition of homes, and a political rally in defence of the …

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Russia's Intifada Against the 'Kompromat State'

Russia's Intifada Against the 'Kompromat State'

“Bailiffs and riot police had been ordered to evict scores of people and tear down their homes, all apparently unannounced”, reports Al Jazeera, describing a scene familiar to anyone who has followed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The bulldozers continued their work,”, continues the …

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Does Russia Need a 'Ukraine Scenario'?

Does Russia Need a 'Ukraine Scenario'?

“If Putin says he’s against ‘Ukrainianization,’ you can translate that as meaning he opposes media freedom and real elections,” says Boris Nemtsov, a liberal politician.
He was reacting to Putin’s recent statement that ‘We must continuously think about improving our political system… but we must act with extreme …

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Medvedev's Police Reform Cop Out

Medvedev's Police Reform Cop Out

Recently, I was shocked to hear an American friend name one of the virtues of her new house: “there are many police in the neighbourhood”.
You would never hear such a thing come from the mouth of a Russian person, and for good reason.
Calling the cops in Russia risks inviting the …

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Avatar vs Avarice

Avatar vs Avarice

An epic sci-fi tale set in the 22nd century on fictional planet Pandora and its alien Navi civilisation wins the hearts of  millions of fans.  Then, 40 years later, James Cameron makes Avatar.
That’s right, this week Russian newspapers were rife with allegations that Cameron stole the idea for his blockbuster …

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Who Cares About Russia's Useless Middle Class?

Who Cares About Russia's Useless Middle Class?

Radio Liberty, apparently.
Yesterday, the first of their three part series exploring the middle class across the former Soviet bloc was dedicated specifically to ‘what it means to be middle class’.
Yet without ever defining the slippery concept of middle class itself, Charles Recknagel concludes that, unlike their …

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From 'Pre-Fab' to Putin

From 'Pre-Fab' to Putin

Mommy, where do Putins come from?
Some liberal analysts have suggested that he was parachuted into Russian politics by a sort of malevolent stork.  More critical ones have insisted instead that he was asexually spawned by Yeltsin in his own image.
Yet in the latest edition of …

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Europe: The Year Ahead

Europe: The Year Ahead

For those of you unfamiliar with Stratfor.com, it’s one of the most compelling forecasting organizations in the U.S. today on international issues.  Founded by George Friedman, who features heavily in this year’s Great Decisions Television series, their predictions are not always right, but always thought-provoking.
Here is a video …

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What Is Russia?

What Is Russia?

This week was the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Twenty years after Communism and somewhat at odds with the newfound Christian ardour of Russia’s elites, it’s not a big stand alone holiday, falling relatively quietly in the middle of the 10 day vacation starting with the big Soviet milestone of New Year’s.
Yet …

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Russia: Year in Review

Russia: Year in Review

In 2009, did Russia celebrate or mourn 10 years of Putinism?
RUSSIA REBORN?
While experts can debate the extent,  there is no doubt that the country has grown at least a little bit richer and stronger under Putin.
However, as Daniil Kharms observed, the bigger the cucumbers in the shops, …

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New EU Foreign Secretary Champions Diplomatic Corps for Europe

New EU Foreign Secretary Champions Diplomatic Corps for Europe

The relatively unknown Brit, former EU Trade Commissioner and UK minister, Baroness Catherine Ashton was selected last month to be the European Union’s first official High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.  The move came following the approval of the Lisbon Treaty, held up for almost a …

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Gaidar: Death of a Privatiser

Gaidar: Death of a Privatiser

Like James Dean, Yegor Gaidar lived hard and died young.
But unlike Dean, the only victim of whose reckless driving was himself, the man who privatised Russia’s economy in the 1990s took his entire young country on a deadly joyride that wrecked …

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Highly Controversial Elections in Abkhazia result in Bagapsh's Presidency

This past weekend, Pro-Russian incumbent President Sergei Bagapsh won a Presidential election in a region that many members of the global community refuse to recognize as a valid country.
On December 13, Sergei Bagapsh was announced as the winner of the Presidential elections in Abkhazia, the breakaway region of Georgia that …

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Russia in Copenhagen: Fiddling While Siberia Sinks

Russia in Copenhagen: Fiddling While Siberia Sinks

“We are not ready to sign under the plans to cut 22-25% as part of a direct continuation of the Kyoto Protocol”, declared Russia’s environmental diplomat Oleg Shamanov.
This despite the fact that Russia remains the only developed country ALREADY operating at below-1990 emissions levels, because of the …

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East Jerusalem Should Be Palestinian Capitol, Says EU Draft Paper

Next Tuesday, Dec. 8th, EU foreign ministers are slated to discuss the draft of a new paper criticizing Israeli policies toward the occupied Palestinian territories. The document, which suggests that East Jerusalem should be the future designated capitol of a new Palestinian state has engendered a sharp rebuke from …

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Senior Blogger

Finn Maigaard
Finn Maigaard

Finn Maigaard holds an MA in history from the University of Copenhagen. As an MA student Finn focused on diplomatic history culminating in a thesis on US-Danish security cooperation in the Cold War. Finn also interned at the Hudson Institute's Political-Military Center, where he concentrated on the EU's role as a security institution, and at the World Affairs Institute as a Communications/Editorial Research Assistant. Finn currently resides in Washington, DC and works as a freelance writer, and as Program Coordinator at the University of Maryland's National Foreign Language Center.

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