Keith Gessen is a founding editor of n+1 and a contributor to The New Yorker and the London Review of Books. He teaches at the Columbia University Journalism School


The following symposium does not pretend to be definitive about a difficult and in many ways tragic situation. But it does hope to shed light on some aspects of post-Maidan Ukraine that are less often discussed in the West.

Anastasiya Osipova reflects on the emotional pressure of life in Kyiv;
Tony Wood asks where neoliberal reforms are going to take Ukraine;
Sophie Pinkham describes the logic of decommunization;
Keith Gessen looks at Western media depictions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the past two years; and
Nina Potarskaya recalls the trials and tribulations of the Ukrainian left since the protests began on Maidan in November 2013.

‘Decommunization’ in Ukraine Carried Out Using Communist Methods | Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group |

Under Western Eyes.
How meta-narrative shapes our perception of Russia – and why it is time for a qualitative shift
By Paul Sanders

 « click for more info
The Great European War, from: A Humorous Atlas of the World (Japan 1914)

Above is my bit of research, before linking to Keith Gessen’s article in The Guardian about Putinology …

Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin

h/t The “Stupid”

2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices :: RUSSIA
Report Date: April 19, 2013

The Russian Federation has a highly centralized political system, with power increasingly concentrated in the president, and a weak multiparty political system. The bicameral Federal Assembly consists of a lower house (State Duma) and upper house (Federation Council). Presidential elections in March featured accusations of government interference and manipulation of the electoral process. Security forces generally reported to civilian authorities; however, in some areas of the Northern Caucasus, there were serious problems with civilian control.

The most significant human rights problems during the year involved:

1. Restrictions of Civil Liberties: Following increased mobilization of civil society and mass demonstrations in reaction to elections, the government introduced a series of measures limiting political pluralism. During the year Russia adopted laws that impose harsh fines for unsanctioned meetings; identify nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as “foreign agents” if they engage in “political activity” while receiving foreign funding; suspend NGOs that have U.S. citizen members or receive U.S. support and are engaged in “political activity” or “pose a threat to Russian interests”; recriminalize libel; allow authorities to block Web sites without a court order; and significantly expand the definition of treason. Media outlets were pressured to alter their coverage or to fire reporters and editors critical of the government.

2. Violations of Electoral Processes: Domestic and international observers described the presidential campaign as skewed in favor of the ruling party’s candidate, Vladimir Putin. Procedural irregularities marred voting, with reports of vote fraud, administrative measures disadvantaging the opposition, and pressure on election monitoring groups. Several gubernatorial elections in October were likewise criticized.

3. Administration of Justice: Due process was denied during the detentions and trials of protesters arrested following the May 6 demonstration in Moscow in which a small group of the protestors engaged in violence; in the detention, trial, and sentencing of the members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot, who were charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred; and searches and criminal cases lodged against several political activists. Individuals responsible for the deaths of prominent journalists, activists, and whistleblowers, notably Sergey Magnitskiy, have yet to be brought to be brought to justice.

Other problems reported during the year included: allegations of torture and excessive force by law enforcement officials; life-threatening prison conditions; interference in the judiciary and the right to a fair trial; abridgement of the right to privacy; restrictions on minority religions; widespread corruption; societal and official intimidation of civil society and labor activists; limitations on the rights of workers; trafficking in persons; attacks on migrants and select religious and ethnic minorities; and discrimination against and limitation of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons.


Authorities selectively detained and prosecuted members of the political opposition (see section 2.b.).

Aleksey Navalny, an anticorruption whistleblower and member of the opposition Coordination Council, had three criminal cases against him opened during the course of the year. He was charged in July with conspiring to steal timber in 2009 from a state owned entity, charges that had been dropped but resurrected following Navalny’s public criticism of Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin. In December Navalny was charged with fraud and laundering 55 million rubles ($1.81 million) in a case involving a shipping company he owned in 2008. Also in December investigators accused him of stealing funds from a political party, the Union of Right Forces, in 2007.

Taisia Osipova, an activist with the opposition Other Russia Party and the wife of Sergey Fomchenkov, a member of Other Russia’s Executive Committee, remained in prison for alleged drug sales. Her lawyers maintained that she was arrested and tried due to her husband’s political activities.

On March 15, a Moscow district court sentenced businessman Aleksey Kozlov to five years in prison on charges of stealing company shares in 2006 from his former business partner Vladimir Slutskiy. Kozlov, husband of prominent activist Olga Romanova, was convicted of the same crime in 2008 and served two years in prison. In 2011 Kozlov won his case on appeal. In September 2011 the Supreme Court released Kozlov on his own custody and referred the verdict to the Presnenskiy District Court for review. The Presnenskiy court found the defendant guilty. During the year both an appeal and a request for parole were denied. He maintained his innocence, and human rights defenders believed the charges were politically motivated.

    (1) The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs (DRL) is a bureau within the United States Department of State. The bureau is under the purview of the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.

    DRL’s responsibilities include promoting democracy around the world, formulating U.S. human rights policies, and coordinating policy in human rights-related labor issues. The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is a separate agency included in the Bureau.

    The Bureau is responsible for producing annual reports on the countries of the world with regard to religious freedom through its Office of International Religious Freedom[2] and human rights.[3] It also administers the U.S. Human Rights and Democracy Fund. The head of the Bureau is the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

    The bureau was formerly known as the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, but was reorganized and renamed in 1994, to reflect both a broader sweep and a more focused approach to the interlocking issues of human rights, worker rights, and democracy. [4]


As the Arab Spring powerfully reminded the world in 2011, democratic governance and human rights are critical components of sustainable development and lasting peace. Countries that have ineffective government institutions, rampant corruption and weak rule of law have a 30-to-45 percent higher risk of civil war and higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.

In fact, no poor fragile or conflict-ridden state has yet to achieve a single U.N. Millennium Development Goal.

To help change this narrative, we are integrating democracy programming throughout our core development work, focusing on strengthening and promoting human rights, accountable and transparent governance, and an independent and politically active civil society across all our work. At the same time, we remain committed to fundamental democratic empowerment activities, including supporting free and fair elections, up-to-date technology for new and traditional media, as well as the rule of law.

By helping societies protect the basic rights of citizens, we prevent conflict, spur economic growth and advance human dignity.

Countries with democratic freedoms are more just, peaceful and stable-and their citizens can fulfill their potential. Through its democracy, human rights and governance programs, the United States remains committed to protecting and advancing our most cherished values.

    We are focused on:

  •    Supporting more legitimate, inclusive and effective governments, so that they are responsive to the needs of their people;
  •    Helping countries transition to democracy and strengthen democratic institutions, capitalizing on critical moments to expand freedom and opportunity; and
  •    Promoting inclusive development, so that women, minorities and vulnerable populations benefit from growth, opportunity and the expansion of rights.

To advance these goals, we launched the new Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in 2012. Designed to become a global resource for evidence-based research, the Center will closely measure and evaluate what works best in democracy, human rights and governance and share best practices with the international development community.

From same DRL Report on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) … compare the basic content with Russia and US Policy of the State Department to both countries!!

What A Horrible Piece to Write   by Oui @BooMan on March 1, 2014

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