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Postcard from Georgia: The Russian Toilet Protest

I was in Georgia last week researching a magazine story on the Russo-Georgian conflict, when I stumbled upon the shuttered Russian embassy in Tbilisi. The gated compound looked normal — no bullet holes or anti-Russian graffiti — but there was…

Posted on: October 6th, 2008 | Leave Comment

Russian Hate Crime: Brutal Beheading Caught on Tape, Case Solved?

Last summer, I grossed out a bunch of my guests at a small party I had at my apartment. We watched a gruesome beheading video that was posted on the Internet that day. The video showed two masked Russian skinheads…

Posted on: September 18th, 2008 | Leave Comment

Fear and Impoverishment in Moscow

Last weekend, I was at an opening of a new Tibetan restaurant by the Red Square with a bunch of American expats. The new Cold War never came up, but that was because nobody wanted to ruin a good party…

Posted on: September 16th, 2008 | Leave Comment

Is CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia?

You probably didn’t know that CNN censored Putin for being just too darn sensible. Yep, it’s true. About two weeks ago, Putin gave the network an exclusive 30-minute interview. And you know what happened? Nothing. It was never allowed to…

Posted on: September 10th, 2008 | Leave Comment

Russia's Luxury Car Trend: the Beluga Bus

They drove like people to whom the motorcar was new. They drove as they walked; and a stream of Tehran traffic, jumpy with individual stops and swerves, with no clear lanes, was like a jostling pavement crowd. —V.S. Naipaul Naipaul…

Posted on: August 28th, 2008 | Comments Off on Russia’s Luxury Car Trend: the Beluga Bus

South Ossetia: The War We Don't Know

Five days after Georgia invaded and seized the breakaway separatist region of South Ossetia, sparking a larger-scale Russian invasion to drive Georgian forces back and punish their leaders, Russia surprised its Western detractors by calling a halt to the country’s…

Posted on: August 15th, 2008 | Comments (2)

Photo Essay: Russian Army in South Ossetia ... Updated!

No dramatic photo compositions here, just grim pictures of burnt-out tanks, spent RPGs, charred human remains and columns of Russian armored machinery on patrol in South Ossetia and Georgia. Now updated with graphic photos straight from the battle scene.

Posted on: August 15th, 2008 | Leave Comment

Medvedev: "I Just Wanna Be Like Putin"

Today, August 14, Dmitri Medvedev celebrates 100th day as President of the Russian Federation. What conclusions can be made about the new president? Well, not many. Other than the fact that Medvedev is trying really, really hard to be the…

Posted on: August 14th, 2008 | Leave Comment

The CNN Effect: Georgia Schools Russia in Information Warfare

I woke up to discover a weird link to a Digg post sent over by a friend of mine. It was a poll conducted on CNN’s website asking readers: Do you think Russians actions in Georgia are justified? 1) Yes…

Posted on: August 13th, 2008 | Comments (4)

The outbreak of war in Georgia on Friday offers a disturbing and somewhat surreal taste of what to expect from John McCain should he become our nation’s Commander in Chief. As the centuries-old ethnic animosities between Georgia and Ossetia boiled…

Posted on: August 9th, 2008 | Comments (1)

Shootout In Tula: Corporate Raid, Russian Style

On August 30, on the same day that President Medvedev announced his support of small business, an insane story appeared on Russia’s evening TV news about a corporate takeover raid in the city of Tula, just south of Moscow. Russian…

Posted on: August 6th, 2008 | Comments Off on Shootout In Tula: Corporate Raid, Russian Style

The Great Bratskys: Spoiled Russians Abroad

Some time ago I was having lunch on the veranda at Moscow’s fancy Simachev Bar with my friend Alexei. He recently became the editor-in-chief of a high-end glossy magazine. We were having lunch and discussing my career options when I…

Posted on: July 23rd, 2008 | Comments (1)

The Daily Bribe: The Dirty World of Russian Political Bloggers

Sergei Gorshkov, the political blogger who’s in it for the money, not the politics — and isn’t afraid to say so It was a freakishly warm February morning in Moscow, eight days before Russia’s 2008 presidential election. Green army trucks…

Posted on: July 23rd, 2008 | Leave Comment