Mikhail Gorbachev, Theater Lover

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91, presided over period of artistic freedom in the U.S.S.R. that had not been seen since the post-Revolutionary era. Russian culture flourished under his leadership, particularly in the theater, in which he took an active interest. But unlike other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev did…

Praise and Blame: How Russia Reacted to the Death of Gorbachev

The death of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev prompted differing reactions from Russians on Wednesday, with criticism expressed alongside tributes, reflecting the Nobel Prize-winning leader’s polarizing legacy in the country that he called home.  Many supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin — who famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union overseen by Gorbachev…

Fighting Reported Inside Russian-held City of Kherson

Gunfire was reported Tuesday in southern Ukraine’s Russian-occupied city of Kherson amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive to retake the surrounding region from Russian troops. Local news outlet Most reported intense shooting on the streets of central Kherson’s Pivnichnyi and Tavriiskyi neighborhoods. Shots were also heard outside a prison colony in the southern part of the city, according…

Russia Restricts Activities of Plagiarism Campaigner on ‘Extremism’ Charges

A Moscow court restricted internet access and freedom of movement Monday for prominent plagiarism campaigner and journalist Andrei Zayakin, independent media outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe reported. Zayakin, 41, was detained in Moscow on Sunday on charges of “financing extremist activities” for a 1,000 ruble ($16) donation he made to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. …

‘Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union’

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin famously labeled the collapse of the Soviet Union “the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Years later, analysts, pundits and casual observers have repeatedly returned to the phrase to find a possible explanation for the Kremlin’s geopolitical moves from the 2008 war in Georgia to the ongoing invasion of…

What Do You Meme?

Six months into the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s political and economic life has changed significantly. New repressive laws forbid Russians from calling the war in Ukraine a “war,” the government blocks websites and social media and large companies have left the country. Protests are impossible. With little space to speak out freely, Russians have turned…

Latvia Removes Controversial Soviet Monument

Latvia on Thursday took down a Soviet-era monument in Riga following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite protests from the Baltic state’s ethnic Russian minority to keep it.  Demolition machinery was used to remove the 79-meter World War II memorial, which has become a rallying point for Kremlin supporters in Latvia, according to an AFP journalist at…

In Photos: Ukraine After 6 Months of War

Six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into neighboring Ukraine, the bloody war shows no sign of ending soon. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the invasion, according to the UN’s human rights office. Ukrainians who made the choice not to flee the country have faced challenges from water and…