Tag Russia

Sick Labor: Illness and Treatment in Stalin’s Gulags

Golfo Alexopoulos— In the Gulag or forced labor camp system under Stalin, 1929-1953, prisoners represented the state’s “human raw material.” Camp officials recorded prisoners’ illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths as a way of tracking one of the most important pieces of data for the party—“lost labor days.” The Stalinist camp system

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Reports of the Russian-American Détente’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

James Kirchick— On the highly peculiar relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, a conventional wisdom appears to have taken hold: however friendly the two presidents appear towards one another now, their strong personalities are a recipe for geopolitical conflict down the road. Trump and Putin may have exchanged warm

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A Time for Russian-U.S. Repentance

Johh P. Burgess— Tens of thousands of people gathered in Orthodox churches throughout Russia on Sunday, February 26th. In the church that I attended, the priest spoke of a God who invites humans to confess their sins and make a new start. As dozens of flickering candles cast gentle shadows

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Trump, Putin, and the Uncertainty of U.S. Foreign Policy

Constantine Pleshakov— Barack Obama will be remembered fondly for a great number of things, but his foreign policy isn’t one of them. For all intents and purposes, the administration ran the “you break it, you run” shop: choose a foreign country that you understand the least, go in and turn

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The View from the Postcolonial Caucasus

Rebecca Gould— High in the mountains running along the border between Azerbaijan and Georgia, in the garrison town of Zaqatala, former outpost of the famed Imam Shamil who in the mid-nineteenth century led the longest resistance to Russian rule, I meet an elderly woman crossing the street. “Come inside and

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Unveiling a Bribery Culture in the Soviet Union

James Heinzen— I first became fascinated with the social and cultural dimensions of everyday bribery in the Soviet Union when I was robbed in Moscow in 1992, just after the collapse of the USSR.  My wallet was swiped by a group of kids while I was walking in central Moscow. When

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Podcast: Understanding Russia

Russia expert David Satter, author of The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin talks about the fall of Yeltsin, the rise of Putin, and what lies ahead for Russia and the United States. Listen in iTunes.

Russia—the perennial empire

Agnia Grigas— With the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, Russia has re-emerged at the forefront of the policy debate not only in academia, but also among the policy-making elite on both sides of the Atlantic. However, to treat this incident as an isolated case of realpolitik would be a

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Ukraine between East and West: The Case of Galicia

Iryna Vushko— In the twenty-first century, the streets of L’viv in Western Ukraine beam with life. The central squares and coffee shops, packed with people into the wee hours of the night, look similar to squares in Poland’s Krakow, which is some six hours away by train, or Hungary’s Budapest

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Whatever Happened in Ukraine?

Andrew Wilson— America voted in its mid-terms yesterday. Meanwhile, far-off Ukraine has held no less than two elections in a week, one in Ukraine as a whole and one in the rebel republics in east Ukraine. The latter wasn’t a real election, but the rival votes are crucial stages in

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