Kwan-li-so: unspoken, unchallenged

Korea image

Hoeryong concentration camp, northeast North Korea: officially named Kwan-li-so, No. 22. A Russian doll of obscurity, the camp is within a valley, with many side valleys, enclosed by 1,300 – 2,300 ft. high mountains. From the macro to the micro, the camp measures 225km2 in area, skirted by an inner 33,000 volt electric fence and… Continue Reading ➤

Bubbling up: How the thawing out of Siberian permafrost spells trouble for curbing climatic meltdown

Photo: Wikipedia

With both scientific and media discourse dominated by talk of global warming, permafrost is a reminder that we are still transitioning out of an ice age that has shaped life on this planet for the past two and a half million years. Consisting primarily of a frozen mixture of frozen earth, peat, methane and water,… Continue Reading ➤

Transgression: LGBT+ citizenship in a post-Soviet sphere

Photo: Maria Komarova

One Indian summer’s evening, I found myself walking towards the metro along Moscow’s Tverskaya Street. Not far ahead of me, four adolescents – three boys and one girl – appeared wholly content in one another’s company as they engaged in good-natured banter. The group, I soon understood, was composed of two couples: one heterosexual and… Continue Reading ➤

The significance of the Russian Soul in understanding contemporary geopolitics

Photo: Ilia Schelkanov

‘Who would grasp Russia with the mind?  For her no yardstick was created:  Her soul is of a special kind,  By faith alone appreciated.’   – Fyodor Tyutchev (trans. by John Dewey) “Wanted: Russian-speaking spies to help MI5 keep tabs on Vladimir Putin,” read a February Telegraph headline. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ had set a six week-deadline to… Continue Reading ➤

Ripple effects: oil prices, politics and power

The Nigerian capital, Lagos. What impact will falling oil prices have on the country's economy?

Oil plays an integral part in the landscapes of the global and local economy. The price of oil holds great importance for the public’s fuel bills, for countries’ currencies and budgets and for the general health of the macro-economy. Since June 2014, the price of Brent crude has fallen by over 55%. The principal reason… Continue Reading ➤

BBC Russian’s Seva Novgorodsev: my method was compassion

Seva Novgorodsev: "I was told on numerous occasions that I was the one who brought [the Soviet Union] down".

“I suppose it started in 1956 with ‘Rock around the Clock’,” says Seva Novogorodsev MBE, chuckling in a bout of reminiscence. The 74-year-old BBC Russian presenter sits across from me in a studio at BBC New Broadcasting House in London. It is the day of our interview for The Cambridge Globalist and I am, expectedly, overcome by emotion. What an honour it is… Continue Reading ➤

Why Putin was right to annex Crimea

The Resurrection Church in the Crimean resort of Foros, commisioned by Russian 'Tea King' Alexander Kuznetsov

One year on, and we still keep hearing about the Russian annexation of Crimea. Doubtless the situation in Eastern Ukraine has continued to add fuel to the fire and keep the story in the press, but the media still concentrates a lot on the situation in the peninsula. Illegal as it may have been, however, there… Continue Reading ➤

Beauty and militancy: on post-Soviet feminism

Photo: Ghenady

“Visitors to Russia are always surprised to see that Russian women look like they are going to an Oscar night gala dinner even if they are just going to the grocery store or to throw away garbage,” begins Chapter 7 of Russia Survival Guide, an alternative guidebook, which undertakes to provide foreigners with a privileged… Continue Reading ➤

The Success of Russia’s Propaganda: Ukraine’s ‘Banderovtsy’

A protester during the Euromaidan in Kyiv, February 2014. [Source: Ivan Bandura]

Russian President Putin was absent from Tuesday’s official ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army’s 322nd Rifle Division, opting instead to attend a local tribute at Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre amid ever-deepening tensions between Russia and the West. The Kremlin’s delegation at the Polish ceremony was… Continue Reading ➤