What does Putin want in Syria?

Putin Syria article photo

The United Nations Security Council ushered in the new year by unanimously passing a resolution on a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, welcoming a Russian and Turkish initiative announced just six days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces regained control of Aleppo on 22 December 2016. Having spent much of 2016 riding a diplomatic rollercoaster after Turkey’s November 2015 downing of a Russian… Continue Reading ➤

Uncovering Chernobyl, Thirty Years On

Photo: Hugh Mitton

“I personally think that Chernobyl contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union,” said Dr. Galia Ackerman, taking a sip of her café allongé. The Franco-Russian journalist and I sat in her living room in Paris on the morning of 28 April, just two days after the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at the… 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 ➤

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 ➤