December 19: “Rodina”, DDT

I’m reading a book called Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union, detailing the astonishingly ad hoc transfer of power, nuclear suitcase included, from Gorbachev to Yeltsin. Eight years after that shambolic, historic event, on December 31, 1999, I was home sick with the Sydney A flu watching Yeltsin transfer powercontinue reading

Graphological democracy

Democracy, Russia-style, from the Moscow Times: One of the most commonly used methods for eliminating undesirable candidates is to disqualify on “legal” grounds the authenticity of signatures that are required to register a candidate. “Handwriting experts” from the Interior Ministry find mistakes on lists submitted by opposition candidates, and this provides the pretext to disqualifycontinue reading

Punching a bear in the nose

The BBC has an excellent and balanced analysis of the Russia-Georgia conflict to date, raising many of the issues inherent in the situation. Here’s one worth some reflection, especially if you want to put odds on the next trouble spot: 8. Are borders in Europe to be sacrosanct for ever? It has been one ofcontinue reading

Best new magazine

I noticed this magazine at Pages the other day and picked it up, assuming it was a special Russia issue of some trendy design magazine. But no — it’s actually the third issue of a stylish magazine about Russia, covering style, art, business, and a lot more. Highlights of this issue include: – an annotatedcontinue reading