How To Avoid Sanctions Like Sergei Naryshkin

April 16, 2014

Two days ago, the discussion on social networks was about how people on the EU sanctions list could nevertheless travel to France and even give press conferences in Paris.  The fourth most powerful official in Russia, the Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, did just that. He found himself on the EU sanctions […]

A Feast in Time of the Plague

April 10, 2014

John Wilson, a Scottish writer, is the author of The City of the Plague, a scary story from the 17th century which takes place in London. In Russian school, we don’t study Wilson, but we read Alexander Pushkin. Among Pushkin’s Little Tragedies, there is one called A Feast in the Time of the Plague, a […]

Sochi: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

December 23, 2013

After reading the news about Francois Hollande, President Vladimir urgently convened his cabinet: “Yes, we can do the meeting without Dmitry at all.  Let him finished his game of Angry Birds” – growled the President before hanging up. Five minutes later everyone was already in the room with their documents and pencil cases, someone even came […]

Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law

November 11, 2013

The Interpreter’s Elena Sevettaz, a Russian-French journalist, has published a book about Sergei Magnitsky, whose death in prison, and post-mortem trial and conviction, sparked protests around the world, eventually leading to the Obama administration passing sanctions against Russian officials involved in the case. The Russian government responded by blocking American adoptions of Russian children. The new […]

Indifference and Cruelty in Russia, from the Street to the Duma

September 17, 2013

There are things you cannot eliminate by changing the regime, boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi, or imposing international sanctions. These are human cruelty, indifference to others, and ignorance. In Russia, cruelty, indifference and ignorance are commonplace. Some people get used to them, others end up tolerating them. You will always come across someone who will find pleasure in humiliating, offending […]

Trapped in Sheremetyevo

July 4, 2013

By now, almost everyone has made jokes about Edward Snowden’s story being a sequel to The Terminal, the Tom Hanks movie. On their Facebook and Twitter pages, people are sharing the picture of The Terminal 2, starring Snowden and directed by Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. Putin seems to have done even more for this […]

Kremlinologie à la Française

April 16, 2013

It’s no secret that in 2013, just like during the Soviet era, Russian agents are operating in Europe. But today, no one calls them “agents” anymore. Spies have been displaced by professional lobbyists, members of parliament, journalists, writers, PR experts and economists. That’s one of the ways in which the Kremlin promotes its agenda in […]