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Russia Blog #7: When Mother Jones Was Investigated For Spreading "Kremlin Disinformation"

It wasn’t too long ago that the Reagan Right attacked Mother Jones for spreading “Kremlin disinformation” and subverting America…

Jun 2, 2017 | Comments (10)

Russia Blog #6: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI—70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined.

May 15, 2017 | Comments (12)

Russia Blog #5: Afghanistan Syndrome

The story out of Afghanistan has been getting worse and worse since at least 2007 if not earlier, and nothing we’ve done—Obama’s Surge, or Obama’s non-withdrawal withdrawal; Britain’s alleged withdrawal in 2014, or Britain’s not-really-withdrawal a year later—seems to work…

May 7, 2017 | Comments (8)

Russia Blog #4: The Balkans For Dummies

The point is that these simplified, superimposed framings serve a political lobbying purpose—as well as dumbing down the story to make it easy for dumb-dumbs to read. Sleazy and stupid—that’s how DC likes ’em.

May 5, 2017 | Comments (6)

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Russia Blog, Day 3: About That Credit Suisse Russia Inequality Report

The Guardian just published a piece on Russia’s inequality problem — first and worst in the world, according to a new Credit Suisse report. Funny to see Credit Suisse wringing its hands over Russian inequality, given that bank’s active complicity…

Apr 26, 2017 | Comments (2)

Russia Blog, Day 2: Anti-Semitic Activist Who "Provoked" Chechnya's Crackdown on Gays Sues Novaya Gazeta

Last week, a member of Alekseyev’s GayRussia.ru organization sued Novaya Gazeta — and announced plans to seek criminal libel charges against the muckraking newspaper, which could conceivably lead to jail sentences for the journalists and editors. It’s all the headache Novaya needs, given the threats hanging over the heads of their brave reporters—Elena Milashina and Irina Gordienko—who broke the story, and the entire Novaya staff.

Apr 24, 2017 | Comments (1)

Russia Blog, Day 1: The Strange Activist Who "Provoked" Chechnya's Anti-Gay Crackdown

Now here is where Novaya Gazeta’s story diverges widely from the New York Times’ version (and the rest of the western media’s). See, you can’t really bring up Nikolai Alekseyev’s name in a story like this without bringing up his very weird, ugly politics—which includes a lot of unhinged anti-Semitism and a long fruitful relationship with Russia’s xenophobic ultranationalist right-wing party.

Apr 23, 2017 | Comments (8)