Recent Posts

Writing

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.

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,...

Krugman on the Russian Economy

Over at the NYT, Paul Krugman has written some interesting posts on Russia’s economic woes: Putin on the Fritz; The Ruble and the Textbooks; Notes on Russian Debt, and Putin’s Bubble Bursts. Essentially, Krugman notes that falling oil prices and the collapse of the ruble have combined to add...

Putin: Extremism is a Geopolitical Tool

There’s question how much the revolution in Ukraine would inspire Russians. A successful Ukraine would become a shining example to Russians that a life without Putin is not only possible, but desirable. Putin is certainly aware of this and his comments on extremism to his Security Council shows that...

Don’t Arm Ukraine

US Vice President Joe Biden is due to land in Kiev and one topic that the Ukrainians will surely bring up is whether the US will provide weapons to fend off a Russian incursion. After all, Poroshenko asked for weapons when he spoke in front of the US Congress...

Gorbachev: Who Killed Laura Palmer?

Who killed Laura Palmer? Was it James Hurley? Bobby Briggs? Leland Palmer? Or was it the demonic entity, Bob? The question has occupied fans of the dark and quirky drama series since it went off the air in 1991. Perhaps we’ll finally learn who killed Laura Palmer when the...

Is a Rebel Offensive Imminent?

War looms once again over eastern Ukraine as speculation floods the internet of a possible offensive by Russian backed separatists. There have been reports of a stream of new amour and weapons crossing the Russia-Ukraine border. Russia continues to issue denials, as it has done since the beginning of...

Thoughts on Ukraine’s Parliamentary Election

Ukrainians voted for a new parliament yesterday, and with 50 percent of the votes counted, the breakdown looks like this: Narodnyi Front: 21.61% Blok Petro Poroshenko: 21.45% Samopomoch: 11.1% Opposition Bloc: 9.82% Radical Party: 7.38% Batkivshchina: 5.69% The European Parliament, PACE, and the OSCE have all given the election...

Putin Isn’t Miscalculating in Ukraine

Lilia Shevtsova, who I like a lot, has an interesting comment in the Financial Times. What she has to say doesn’t bode well for Ukraine or Putin. Putin has won but his victory is only tactical. According to Shevtsova, “tactical victories often end in strategic defeats” and Putin, by...