Writing

Pseudo-Doctorates in the Duma

Several years ago when I was living in Moscow I would often see people in the metro holding signs selling doctoral degrees. I even had a friend of a friend who earned money writing them on order. Fake diplomas, theses on order, and plagiarism. Already in 2006, Mikhail Kirpichnikov,...

Where Foreign “Experts” and “Political Scientists” on Russian Television Come From

One of the outcomes of the Maidan Revolution, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the ensuing war in the Donbas has been a marked explosion in Russian propaganda. So much so that dissecting it has become a genre in and of itself. Indeed, over the last two years an entire...

2015: The Year of the Downward Spiral

Recent reports in Vedomosti and RBK dovetail nicely with the editorial I’ve translated below from the folks at OpenLeft.ru. Vedomosti predicts that in 2016 Russia’s economy will only worsen—the price of oil will be cheaper, inflation higher, incomes lower, and the ruble weaker. Along these lines, RBK evaluates the...

The Payback for Work

For all intents and purposes, Russia’s official unemployment rate remains quite low for an economy in recession. The Russian Statistical Agency reports that the official unemployment rate in October-November went from 5.5 percent to 5.8 percent. This is still a far from the rate in February 2009 when official...

“The price of potatoes in Russia has risen by 300 percent . . .”

Three graphs speak to the plight of the Russian consumer in 2015: the ruble-dollar exchange rate, inflation, and real wage growth: http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/embed/?s=usdrub&v=201512111855m&d1=20141001&d2=20151211&h=300&w=600 Source: tradingeconomics.com http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/embed/?s=rucpiyoy&v=201512102303m&d1=20140101&d2=20151231&type=type=line&h=300&w=600 Source: tradingeconomics.com http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/embed/?s=russiawaggro&v=201511231138m&d1=20140101&d2=20151231&h=300&w=600 Source: tradingeconomics.com Below is my translation of an article on Znak.com that puts all of this in everyday terms for shoppers in...

Why Russia’s Long Distant Truckers’ Strike Needs Support

Since November 15, truckers have been staging protests in no less than twenty-four regions across Russia against a new freight tax. The law institutes a 1.52 rubles tax ($0.02) which will be raised in February 2016 to 3.73 rubles ($0.06) tax per kilometer on 12-ton trucks. It is estimated that...

Raising Zombie Economics in Ukraine

After a long hiatus, I’ve started writing for Russia! Magazine again. Here’s my re-debut article, “Ukraine’s New Neoliberal Necromancer,” on the Ukrainian Finance Ministry’s hiring of Arthur Laffer as an adviser on tax reform. Here’s a snippet: As converts to the neoliberal faith, Ukraine’s government is ever eager for...

Kotkin and Zizek Discuss Stalin

Stephen Kotkin and Slavoj Zizek discussed Kotkin’s Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 at the New York Public Library. Both the audio and video are available on the Library’s site but I thought I’d repost it here to increase exposure. Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Apple Podcasts...

Putin’s World

I wrote a review of Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy’s newly expanded edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin for OpenDemocracy. Here’s an excerpt: German Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said that President Vladimir Putin lives ‘in another world.’ Putin was delusional, out of touch with reality, and perhaps...

Moscow’s INION Library Burns

I learned this morning from my Facebook feed that the Academic Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION) caught on fire destroying the third floor and causing the roof to cave in. There are conflicting reports on whether any of INION’s library perished in the flames. Vladimir Fortov,...