Russia

The Worst Days of Our Lives

Award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Anton Yarush on anti-gay propaganda and the alarming situation for LGBT-people in today's Russia. 

In Putin’s Russia the Public Sphere has Suffered the Biggest Damage

Political oppression in Russia has led to an eroded public arena and the country is being drained of well-educated innovative cosmopolitans. Alexander Etkind, history professor with a focus on Russian/European relations, paints the picture of a country with an imploded meritocracy.

 

The Hybrid War and the Poetics of Resistance

In Russia it is not merely the war that has a hybrid nature—similar contradictory and elusive characteristics may also describe the state of justice, freedom, and censorship within the country.

“My city, which is not mine”

The situation for an increasing number of Russian intellectuals became impossible following the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down in Moscow on February 27, 2015. This included Russian writer Anzhelina Polonskaya, who was forced to flee in September and found a refuge in Frankfurt.

“I’m supposed to be thinking about god, not Putin” – the demise of Russian NGOs

The traditional task of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is to guarantee human rights, free elections and the freedom of speech, thereby fulfilling an important role in societies that struggle with censorship and oppression, such as Russia. A law recently adopted in the Duma may very well mean the end of Russian NGOs.

Who can I turn to, my friends?

Putin’s brutal reprisals against dissidents has had a devastating effect on opposition journalists and authors in the country – today, the democratic resistance movement is weak and fragmented, and many have chosen to flee the country. Russian journalist and author Arkady Babchenko writes about the consequences.

Living on the rim of a volcano

LGBT-persons are increasingly being cast as “enemies of society” in contemporary Russia. But as the activist Svetlana Zakharova writes, the new law prohibiting “propaganda of homosexuality” has also had the effect of making the ongoing persecution of LGBT issues more visible.

In search of an “outsider”

The Russian law criminalizing “Propaganda of homosexuality” isn’t just targeting minorities. The law, and homophobia in general, tends to make real problems invisible, as well as covering the real changes in a society where a staggering number of families already can be described as “one-sex households”, writes Russian journalist Natalya Afanasyeva. 

The fifth column, dissidents and a shrinking internet

The Russian president Vladimir Putin recently stated that internet was actually created by the CIA and that Russia needed to build its own internet. It is obvious that the battle for freedom of speech in Russia and other countries is being increasingly fought on the internet.

Gulag is alive and well in Mordovia

Everyone knows who the members of Pussy Riot are, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s letter from the prison camp IK-14 was published worldwide. However, the Stalinist legacy in Russian prisons is still a shameful secret, according Tolokonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, who in this text calls for international solidarity.

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