Pussy Riot v. Putin: A Front Row Seat at a Russian Dark Comedy
August 06, 2012
On the morning of February 21, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich walked up the steps leading to the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, shed their winter clothing, pulled colorful winter hats down over their faces, and jumped around punching and kicking for about thirty seconds. By evening, the three young women had turned it into a music video called “Punk Prayer: Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away!” which mocked the patriarch and Putin.
August 02, 2012
IT’S A BREEZY Moscow night, and Maria Baronova has moved on from tea and tom-yam to prosecco. Sitting on the terrace of a bar overlooking the Moscow River, she fishes around in her messy leather purse and shows me the court document charging her with inciting mass riots. “As you can see, I’m the organizer of an intergalactic revolution,” she scoffs and lights another menthol cigarette.
On Monday afternoon, Italian premier Mario Monti and Russian president Vladimir Putin convened a small press conference in the slanting, gold light coming off the Black Sea. They had just met to discuss the European economic crisis as well as energy (Italy is Russia’s second biggest gas client), but they also touched on the deepening conflict in Syria. “We do not want the situation to develop along the lines of a bloody civil war and for it to continue for who knows how many years, like in Afghanistan,” Putin said, standing with his perfect posture in a slate-gray summer suit.
Crime and Excessive Punishment
April 07, 2010
MOSCOW—Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has been in court for so long that only the hardy, like the wall-eyed man haunting the courthouse in a Che Guevara-style Khodorkovsky t-shirt and the “Free Khodorkovsky” plastic shopping bag, have dared to follow his case. “I’ve spent seven years this way,” says Marina Khodorkovsky, the ex-tycoon’s mother, a bright-eyed former metals engineer. First, there was the year and a half of legal proceedings after her son’s dramatic October 2003 arrest, when special forces stormed his private jet in Siberia.
January 05, 2010
KIEV–Like many Ukrainian politicians, prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko relies on fortune-tellers and TV psychics to bolster her embattled spirit.
Call of the Wolf
September 16, 2009
Long before Martin Wolf became the chief economics columnist for the Financial Times, he wrote the newspaper letters--lots and lots of letters. It was the early 1980s, the height of the Thatcher era, and Wolf was running research at a think tank in London that was sympathetic to the government's pro-trade agenda.
Making War Just Got A Whole Lot Easier
August 12, 2009
Julia Ioffe is a writer living in New York. Russian legislators summering in Sochi got a special visit from President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday when he came into town to introduce a bill that would radically expand his powers to declare war and move troops outside Russia’s borders. The law, as it stands now, is fairly narrow. Russia can mobilize to protect itself from invasion and to fend off aggression. That’s it.
June 03, 2009
This year, Nouriel Roubini, the economist known to the general public as Dr. Doom, Prophet of the Financial Apocalypse, spent the early hours of Mardi Gras on the floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It was only 11 a.m., but the party was rollicking. Traders careened around the floor, hooting and honking, dressed as dragons and devils and convicts. Rock music roared overhead, and no one seemed to care that, by the bye, the market had tanked.
Oklahoma Is Doing Pretty Ok, Actually
January 19, 2009
Julia Ioffe is a writer living in New York. As a wonderfully menacing Christmas card sent out by the Oklahoma GOP last month reminded us, Oklahoma was the only state in the Union to go completely and utterly red: Not one county--and only one of the state's 2249 precincts--voted for the Obama/Biden ticket in November. ("It was god, guns, and gays with a little bit of race thrown in there," a local Democrat quipped bitterly.) And yet, two months later, a crowd of 800 Oklahomans merrily rang in the Obama presidency on Sunday night at the Museum of the American Indian.