Analysis

The Unsurprising, Unjust Conviction of Russia’s Opposition Leader

July 19, 2013

Aleksei Navalny woke up this morning knowing that he’d be found guilty of the crime of embezzlement. What he wasn’t absolutely sure of, though probably heavily suspected, was that he’d be given a lengthy jail sentence — five years, as it turns out, which is just one fewer than the prosecutor had asked for, along […]

How Putin Uses Money Laundering Charges to Control His Opponents

July 18, 2013

Last Thursday, Sergei Magnitsky was convicted of tax evasion. The only problem was he was not there to hear the verdict read. Magnitsky was killed in Moscow’s Butyrka prison in 2009, likely as a result of beatings and a lack of medical treatment. His crime was uncovering a $230 million tax fraud involving members of […]

Migration Crisis in North Caucasus, Part 2

July 16, 2013

Yesterday, I wrote about how the unrest in Pugachev, where anti-Chechen riots broke out following the murder of a local paratrooper, was the result of the weak migration regime that has allowed ethnic resentments to grow unhindered. Ethnic tension, however, are only part of the puzzle. The bigger picture comprises the ineffective way in which […]

How Azerbaijan Is Like ‘The Godfather’

July 12, 2013

Few developments speak so well of how far Caucasian dictatorships have come since the grey days of the Soviet Union as the fabulously wealthy and incredibly investment-savvy 15-year-old male heir of Azerbaijan’s ruling family. When he was a mere 11 years old, Heydar Aliyev, the son of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, purchased $44 million in […]

Examining Russia’s Allegation of Syrian Rebel Sarin Gas Use

July 10, 2013

On Tuesday, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said that he had presented an 80-page report to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon that conclusively proved that Syrian rebels used sarin gas on March 19th, 2013. According to Churkin, the rebels fired a “Bashar 3 missile” that was armed with sarin gas at the […]

Whose Idea Was It to Build a Winter Resort in the Warmest Part of Russia?

June 17, 2013

Boris Nemtsov has occupied many roles in post-Soviet Russia, both in government and in the parallel polis that is oppositional politics. He was first elected governor of Nizhny Novgorod, whose successful economic reforms in that region carved a political pathway that would ultimately take him into the deputy premiership under the Yeltsin government. Nemtsov has […]

Interior and Justice Ministers Meet with Officials in Magnitsky List

June 5, 2013

[Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov met on April 27 with their employees who have been included in the so-called Magnitsky List. The list includes 18 judges and representatives of law-enforcement and other government agencies whom American authorities believe are complicit in the death in pre-trial detention at Matrosskaya Tishina Prison of […]

Hard to Shill: Steven Seagal in Chechnya

May 30, 2013

The late Gore Vidal once said that the three saddest words in the English language were Joyce Carol Oates. Now here are the ten saddest: “The CODEL’s visit to Chechnya was facilitated by Steven Seagal.” CODEL stands for Congressional delegation, and the speaker here is the spokeswoman for Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California. […]

Oh, You Silly Man

May 10, 2013

The photographs showing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry smiling andĀ slapping palmsĀ with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are being circulated by many Syrians opposed to the Bashar al-Assad’s regime as visual obituaries of their cause. Weren’t these men supposed to be on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict? And why does the Herman Munster-ish Lavrov […]