In his first interview after recovering from a coma, Open Russia (OR) Coordinator Vladimir Kara-Murza told OR correspondent Roman Popkov that he is preparing for a long-term recovery but is not planning to roll back his political activity in the future. As for what caused his poisoning, Kara-Murza suggested to wait for the toxicology reports.
In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, you can now face harsher criminal penalties for questioning the existence of God or insulting someone’s religious beliefs than for wife beating, notes analyst Brian Whitmore:
But these measures aren’t just about domestic politics. They’re also an element in Russia’s foreign policy. The Putin regime’s embrace of what it calls traditional values at home, combined with its support of far right forces abroad, are components of an incipient ideology aimed at shoring up domestic support, undermining Western liberalism, and restoring Russia’s status as a great power.
Putin is under pressure to take a harder line against the US, says analyst Andrey Piontkovsky (left), from those in the Moscow elite he calls “the party of war” who are using the media to whip up anti-American sentiments and demand aggressive action (HT: Paul Goble).
Historians of late imperial and early Soviet Russia, worked at the epicentre of the ideological conflict between democratic capitalism and communism that raged in the cold war era, notes Dominic Lieven, a senior research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and author of ‘Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia’ (Penguin).
In the Soviet Union, scholars had to adhere publicly to the view that communism and the Leninist regime were the inevitable and legitimate heirs to Russian history. Most western historians argued that, on the contrary, the foundations of civil society and democracy had been created in tsarist Russia and would have flourished had it not been for the reactionary stupidity of Nicholas II and the coming of the Great War, he writes for The Financial Times, in a review of ‘The Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution’, by Robert Service, and ‘Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890-1928’, by SA Smith.