The Bell

What Will Moscow’s Election Matter if Navalny Loses?

September 3, 2013

On September 8th, this upcoming Sunday, Moscow will pick its next mayor. No Russian election in many years has attracted as much national and international buzz as this race. Sergei Sobyanin, the acting mayor and a member of Putin’s party United Russia was facing serious political challenge in the upstart blogger-turned-politician Alexei Navalny. Navalny is […]

Russians Don’t Really Support Assad

August 30, 2013

Original artwork by Dan Nott. We’ve been following the Russian government’s response to the Syrian crisis. We’ve written about how Russia has doubled down on its support of Assad in the wake of the August 21st chemical weapon attack, even going as far as to use false reports about Youtube timestamps to obfuscate the realities […]

“Gotcha” Videos Undermine Russian Opposition’s Credibility

August 29, 2013

Alexei Navalny, the opposition’s candidate for Moscow’s mayor, had a rough few days last weekend. At the end of the week he was given a verbal warning for breaking laws governing campaign literature – laws that it’s very unclear whether Navalny actually broke. Then, over the weekend, Navalny was briefly detained by police, as were […]

From Syria to Ukraine, Putin’s Policies Isolate Russia

August 28, 2013

Russia’s isolation is growing by the minute. Yesterday I wrote that if the United States and its allies attack Syria, which is likely, then it will be a major blow to the United Nations which will have been sidestepped. Ironically, while Russia and its allies (Syria, Iran, China) often complain that the UN is a […]

Syria – Another Brick in the Wall of Russia’s Isolation

August 27, 2013

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is often put into the position of defending the Assad regime against UN Security Council actions, and the accusations of the international community. Russia has attempted to place itself between the wrath of the United States and its key allies and the Assad regime by claiming that it is only working […]

Sochi 2014: The Terrorist Threat

August 16, 2013

There’s been no shortage of political controversy surrounding the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Games. But the tensions are obscuring a potentially vitally important security issue: Could the Sochi 2014 Games become another Olympics where terrorists exploit it to propagate their political views? In 1972, the Olympic spirit of peace and international cooperation was shattered with […]

Why Russia is Worried About “Zero Option” in Afghanistan

August 9, 2013

With America’s decade long entanglement in Afghanistan coming to a close, the debate over the size and scale of any remaining American involvement in the country has come to the forefront of Washington’s policy making circuit. From the Department of Defense and the State Department, to USAID and the White House, discussions are being held […]

It’s Time To Reconsider the Sochi Olympics

August 7, 2013

Outrage at Russia’s new law against homosexual propaganda has coalesced around a campaign to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics, underscoring the complexities of navigating human rights activism and high-stakes international sporting events. The so-called “anti gay propaganda” law, which passed in June, criminalizes the distribution of information to minors that suggests that homosexual and heterosexual […]

The Communist Party’s Gay Propaganda

August 6, 2013

Few pieces of graffiti are more famous than Dmitri Vrubel’s My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love. The painting, sometimes called Fraternal Kiss, adorned the Berlin Wall between 1990 and 2009. It recreated a picture taken in 1979, on the anniversary of the founding of the Communist German Democratic Republic in East Germany. At that celebration,  two men,  Leonid […]