The Bell

The All-Russia People’s Front: The New United Russia or a Kremlin Satellite Party?

June 10, 2013

On June 11-12, the All-Russia People’s Front (Общероссийский народный фронт, known by its Russian acronym ONF) will hold its founding congress in Moscow. The movement was established in 2011 by Putin and appeared to be designed to shore up support for United Russia in the 2011-2012 electoral cycle. Revived in March 2013, its current goal […]

Radiation Poisoning, Elections and Corruption

June 5, 2013

Here’s a quick summary of today’s biggest news: -The intrigue surrounding former KGB official Alexander Litvinenko’s 2006 assassination by radiation poisoning continues with the coroner overseeing the investigation into Litvinenko’s murder calling for a public inquiry. The coroner is calling for a public inquiry in response to British Foreign Secretary William Hague demanding that the […]

Guriev, Sobyanin and the politics of plausible deniability

Sergei Guriev has spoken about his decision to flee Russia, stating frankly that he left because “I don’t want to sit in jail.” Guriev, a leading economist once very much part of the Russian establishment who wrote speeches for Dmitry Medvedev, described how the increasing pressure from investigators over a report he had authored criticizing […]

The Khodorkovsky Test and the Future of Independent Thought in Russia

June 4, 2013

It is safe to say that publicly challenging Putin means that you may find yourself facing charges of money laundering, extortion, or the regime’s curiously esoteric understanding of hooliganism. The experiences of Pussy Riot, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexei Navalny have all shown the repercussions that dissent entails. Now, however, it seems that even disagreeing with […]

Hunger Strikes, Arms Deals, and Human Rights

June 3, 2013

A quick recap of top Russia stories today: – Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina has ended her hunger strike after prison officials finally conceded to her demands. One of three members of the female punk rock band, jailed for performing a protest song inside Moscow’s main cathedral, went on a hunger strike in protest of […]

Guriev Departure: A Worrying Signal

May 30, 2013

The news this week that the prominent economist Sergei Guriev has resigned from his posts and has departed for France—perhaps permanently—is the latest in a series of rumored planned emigrations by liberal public figures such as journalist Masha Gessen. As has been recounted in translations published on The Interpreter this week, Guriev’s resignations and his […]

Seagal, Afghanistan, Syria, and Guriyev

May 29, 2013

– It seems that C-list action star Steven Seagal is now trying his hand at diplomacy. Seagal, coming off of his recent ventures helping Putin promote school physical education and posing with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, attempted to organize a Congressional fact-finding trip in the aftermath of the Boston bombings to the volatile republic. As […]

Epistles, S-300s, Warrants and Gay Rights

May 28, 2013

Here are some of the biggest Russia-focused stories from the past week: – In the wake of the Ryan Fogle spy debacle, and the endless debate on Syria, Obama and Putin have reverted to the 19th-century method of writing courier-delivered letters to each other instead of picking up a phone to discuss bilateral relations. According […]

Interpol, Russia and Politically-Motivated Arrest Warrants

May 24, 2013

Yesterday’s Telegraph featured a trenchant (and alarming) critique of Interpol by Peter Oborne, highlighting the abuse of Interpol’s organizational channels by authoritarian governments seeking the extradition of political enemies. Sadly yet unsurprisingly, the Russian Federation is at the top of the list of countries which abuse this system for malignant ends—most recently, with the politically-motivated […]