You are here

Russia

, The Kremlin Emboldened, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 28, no. 4, 2017, pp. 60-116

This supplement contains a number of articles exploring the nature of 'Putinism', the degree of regime stability, the extent of genuine popular support, and the implications of Putin’s post 2014 international policy for Russia internally. Authors provide varied perspectives, including an assessment of increasing popular frustration, especially among young people.

, Crimea: Conscription Violates International Law, Human Rights Watch, 2019

Highlights how Russian authorities are conscripting men in occupied Crimea to serve in the Russian armed forces, although humanitarian law explicitly forbids Russia to compel Crimean residents to serve in Russian forces.

, Special issue on climate change, The Economist, 2019

Issue focusing on climate change: Contains an analysis of rising carbon dioxide emissions, articles on the role of China and Russia, forest fires in Indonesia, flood prevention plans in low lying Asian cities, and the climate diplomacy of small island states.

Ackerman, Peter ; Duvall, Jack, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict, New York and Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2000, pp. 554

Analysis of a selection of predominantly nonviolent struggles from Russia 1905 to Serbia 2000, arguing against ‘the mythology of violence’. Some of the case studies are standard in books on civil resistance, others – for example the 1990 movement in Mongolia – less familiar. Each chapter has a useful bibliography. The book arose out of a 1999 US documentary television series ‘A Force More Powerful’, now available on DVD, and therefore includes, in the more recent cases, information from interviews.

Anderson, Perry, Incommensurate Russia, New Left Review, Vol. July-August 2015, no. 94, 2015

Anderson discusses the nature of Putin’s regime, starting from two opposing assessments of it. The first, promoted by western journalists, stressed lack of legality, kleptocracy, thuggery and authoritarianism. The second, elaborated by some academic studies, suggested a more nuanced picture of gradual progress towards greater legal stability. Anderson then considers in some detail the implications of Russian policy in relation to the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and situates Putin’s rule in the wider context of Russian and Soviet history. He concludes by noting the tension created by trying to combine traditional Russian emphasis on military power and regional domination with the logic of financial capitalism.

Basu, Amrita, Women’s Movements In The Global Era. The Power Of Local Feminism, New York, Routledge, 2017, pp. 560

This book provides a study of the genesis, growth, gains, and dilemmas of women's movements in countries throughout the world. Its focus is on Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, USA, as well as more generally covering Europe and Latina America. The authors argue that women's movements have engaged in complex negotiations with national and international forces, and challenge widely held assumptions about the Western origins and character of local feminisms. They locate women's movements within their context by exploring their relationships with the state, civil society, and other social movements.

Bull, Anna ; Diamond, Hanna ; Marsh, Rosalind, Feminisms and Women’s Contemporary Movements, London, Macmillan, 2000, pp. 286

Covers Europe in the 1990s, including essays on ‘Theorizing Feminism in Postcommunism’, ‘Something Unnatural: Attitudes to Feminism in Russia’, ‘New Mothers’ Campaigning Organization in Russia’, ‘”Its about Helping women to Believe in Themselves”: Grassroots Women’s Organizations in Contemporary Russian Society’ and ‘Women’s Discordant Voices in the Context of the 1998 Elections in the Ukraine’.

Cameron, Maxwell A. ; Lawson, Robert J. ; Tomlin, Brian W., To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 512

This book was published soon after December 1997, when over 120 states (excluding the USA, Russia, China, India and  Pakistan) signed the Ottawa Convention to ban production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. It provides a wide ranging survey of both the global campaign and the diplomatic moves culminating in  the 'Ottawa process', which, under Canadian government leadership, resulted in the treaty.  There are contributions from leading campaigners, diplomats and academics.

Daley, Ted, Apocalypse Never. Forging The Path To A Nuclear Weapon-Free World, ed. Clark, Roger, Sann, Madeleine, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, Rutgers University Press, 2010, pp. 296

Ted Daley argues that maintaining the nuclear double standard by which some countries permit themselves reliance on nuclear weapons, while denying them to others is military unnecessary, morally unjustifiable, and politically unsustainable. He insists on the necessity of considering nuclear abolition as an attainable political goal rather than a utopia.

Della Porta, Donatella, Social Movements in Times of Austerity: Bringing Capitalism Back into Protest Analysis, Cambridge, Polity and Wiley, 2015, pp. 216

Analyzes movements since 2008 (Iceland) challenging corruption and inequality and situating them within the crisis of neoliberalism. Covers Spain, Greece and Portugal anti-austerity movements, but also Peru, Brazil, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Ukraine.

Democracy, Journal of, Putin under Siege, ed. Democracy, Journal of, special section, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 23, no. 3 (July), 2012, pp. 19-70

Comprises 5 articles: Shevtsova, Lilia, ‘Putin Under Siege; Implosion, Atrophy or Revolution?’; Krastev, Ivan and Stephen Holmes, ‘An Autopsy of Managed Democracy’; Popescu, Nicu, ‘The Strange Alliance of Nationalists and Democrats’; Volvkov, Denis, ‘The Protesters and the Public’; Wolchick, Sharon, ‘Can There be a Color Revolution?’

Dobson, William J., The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy, New York, Harvill Secker, 2012, pp. 341

Former editor of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy assesses the nature of various contemporary authoritarian regimes and discusses unarmed resistance. Chapter 1 ‘The Czar’ analyses the Putin regime including its control over the media; Chapter 2 ‘Enemies of the State’ gives prominence to a campaign to preserve the Khimki forest and the effectiveness of tactics used.

Enikolopov, Reuben, Social Media and Protest Participation: Evidence from Russia, Econometrica, Vol. 28, no. 4, 2020

The article assesses the impact of the main Russian online social network, VK, on the likelihood of protest with a focus on 2011. It argues that increased use of the network did  have some impact on the likelihood of protest, but did so through simplifying coordination rather than increasing the availability of criticism of the regime. The authors also suggest that wider social use of the network actually increased support for the government.

Falk, Barbara, Rethinking the Revolutionary Recipe: 1989 and the Idea of Non-Violent Revolution', Visegrad Insight, 2020

Falk assesses the nature of the 1989 revolutions, which she delineates as the collapse of communist regimes across Eastern Europe in a context of commitment to nonviolence by key players (with the exception of Romania) and of restraint by both Gorbachev in the USSR and western leaders. Year 1989 appeared to usher in a new concept of peaceful revolution, which could be applied to challenge other repressive regimes. But, Falk argues, these attempts, as in the '2009 Green Revolution' in Iran and the 'Arab Spring' in 2011 in Egypt and elsewhere, have resulted in defeat.  The author also notes other factors, which militate against successful nonviolent revolution. These include the greater ruthlessness (compared with the East European Communist regimes of the 1980s) of many of today's dictatorships, the declining respect for the US and for liberal democracy as an ideal, a rise in barbaric violence (represented by ISIS) and the complex role of today's communication technologies, which can mobilize protest but promote lack of leadership capable of formulating negotiable demands. The article references a number of other interesting recent perspectives on revolution today.   

Franceschet, Susan ; Krook, Mona Lena ; Tan, Netina, The Palgrave Handbook of Women’s Political Rights, ed. Ennaji, Moha, Sadiqi, Fatima, Vintges, Karen, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 784

Covers women’s political rights across all major regions of the world, focusing both on women’s right to vote and women’s right to run for political office. The countries explored are Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, South Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United States, Uganda, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

Gessen, Masha, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, Riverhead Books, 2014, pp. 308

Discusses roots of the group founded in 2011 and their international support, especially among musical celebrities, after their 2012 demonstration in Moscow Cathedral, leading to imprisonment of the three involved. See also:  Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot!: A Punk Prayer For Freedom London, Feminist Press, , 2013, pp. 152 , including letters from prison, court statements, poems and tributes by international admirers.

Gorbachev, Mikhail, The August Coup: The Truth and the Lessons, London and New York, Harper Collins, 1991, pp. 127

Gorbachev’s own brief account of the attempted coup against him and his reformist programme in August 1991, with some appended documents.

Grant, Matthew ; Ziemann, Benjamin, Understanding the imaginary war. Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2017, pp. 316

The authors reinterpret the Cold War as an ‘imaginary war’, a conflict that had visions of nuclear devastation as one of its main battlegrounds, and provide and cultural representations of nuclear war. There are chapters and case studies on Western Europe, the USSR, Japan and the USA. Drawing on various strands of intellectual debate and from different media, such as documentary film and debates among physicians, the contributors demonstrate the difficulties in making the unthinkable and unimaginable - nuclear apocalypse - imaginable. The aim is to make nuclear culture relevant to an understanding of the period from 1945 to 1990.

Greene, Samuel ; Robertson, Graeme, Putin v the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 2019, pp. 296

The authors, academic experts on Russian politics, draw on surveys, social media, interviews and leaked documents to examine why there has been such long term popular support for Putin. They examine his changing tactics, his handling of the 2012 protests against electoral manipulation, and the role of the annexation of Crimea in 2014 that made pride in Russia the main pillar of his support. The authors argue that attempts to secure change are undermined by belief that it is impossible, but suggest there are limits to public acquiescence and Putin's power. The potential fragility of his rule is revealed for example by demonstrations by thousands of pensioners against pension reforms that raised the retirement age.

Jacobsson, Kerstin ; Saxonberg, Steven, Social Movements in Post-Communist Europe and Russia, London, Routledge, 2015, pp. 128

Examines social movement strategies and how they differ to fit national circumstances and considers activism related to the environment and sustainability, animal rights, human rights, women’s rights and gay rights. Reconceptualizes the relationship between state and civil society under post-communism. Based on special issue of East European Politics.

Kaldor, Mary, Le Nuove Guerre. La Violenza Organizzata Nell’Eta’ Globale, Roma, Edizioni Carocci, 2001, pp. 188

By examining the wars in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, across the Middle East and in the former Soviet Union, Kaldor discusses the elements and dynamics of structural violence that determined the nature of these wars. She argues that these wars were predominantly determined by military and criminal factors, as well as by the presence of an illegal economy and human rights’ violations. She also argues that the underlying causes of these conflicts lie in the relationship between military and civilian victims, and in the changed perception of threat by the Western powers.

L'Abate, Alberto, Riflessioni su “La Rivoluzione Disarmista” di Carolo Cassola (Rizzoli, 1983), a oltre trenta anni dalla sua pubblicazione, [2016], Torino, Centro Studi Sereno Regis, 2016

In this long article, L’Abate reflects on Cassola’ s work, La Rivoluzione Disarmista, which focuses on pursuing a nonviolent ‘disarming revolution’ aimed at strengthening fraternity amongst people and abolishing nuclear weapons. Starting from Cassola, L’Abate examines the relevance of nonviolent movements in Italy and worldwide, starting from those whose activity contributed to the adoption of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987 by Gorbachev and Reagan. He also sharply analyses the pervasive, global structural violence caused by the huge concentration of natural resources in the hands of a few, and reflects on how nonviolence can contribute to changing the current global financial system. L’Abate cites both Italian and internationally renowned authors on nonviolence, and proposes his solutions for overcoming the current state of affairs.

Available at http://serenoregis.org/2016/12/12/riflessioni-su-la-rivoluzione-disarmista-di-carlo-cassola-rizzoli-1983-a-oltre-trenta-anni-dalla-sua-pubblicazione-alberto-labate/

Okamura, Yukinori, The Hiroshima Panels Visualize Violence: Imagination over Life, Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Vol. 2, no. 2, 2019, pp. 518-534

After experiencing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945, Chinese-ink painter Iri Maruki and oil painter Toshi Maruki began their collaboration on the Hiroshima Panels in 1950. During the Allied occupation of Japan when reporting on the atomic bombing was strictly prohibited, the panels made known the hidden nuclear sufferings through a nationwide tour. In 1953, the panels began a ten-year tour of about 20 countries, mainly in East Asia and Europe, and disseminated the Hiroshima stories in the age of the US-Soviet arms race. The Marukis embarked on a new direction in the 1970s, with their emphasis on complex realities of war in which the victim/perpetrator dichotomy was not clear-cut, and explored other forms of violence such as pollution and discrimination.

Popovic, Srdja ; Miller, Matthew, Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanise Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World, Melbourne and London, Scribe, 2015, pp. 282

Popovic, an activist against the Milosevic regime in Serbia in the 1990s, went on to find CANVAS, which has offered advice and nonviolent training to activists in former Soviet states and other parts of the world, including Egypt before Tahrir Square and Syria. The book emphasizes the role of CANVAS (but does not address criticism of its role) and foregrounds the author's own experiences and interpretation of nonviolent action. It covers many varied campaigns with examples of how to mobilize successfully and use humour and imaginative forms of protest. It also addresses how to make oppression 'backfire' and the need to persevere in one's effort after apparent success. Written for activists rather than for scholars of nonviolence. 

Posadskaya, Anastasia, Women in Russia: A New Era of Russian Feminism, London, Verso, 1994, pp. 256

Study spanning women’s position in Tsarist Russia, th e Communist period and immediate aftermath of dissolution of USSR.

Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot!: A Punk Prayer For Freedom, London, Feminist Press, 2013, pp. 152

Racioppi, Linda ; Lee, Katherine O'Sullivan, Women’s Activism in Contemporary Russia, Philadelphia PA, Temple University Press, 1997, pp. 277

The opening chapters provide historical context, but the focus of the book is on interviews with leading activists, representing the great variety of ideological standpoints and concerns, to develop an analysis of feminism since the later 1980s.

Remnick, David, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1994, pp. 586

Part 4, pp. 433-90, covers the August Coup, emphasizing popular support for the resistance as well as the mistakes of the plotters. For a contrasting interpretation see:

Roberts, Adam, Civil Resistance in the East European and Soviet Revolutions, Cambridge MA, Albert Einstein Institution, 1991, pp. 43

Robertson, Graeme B., The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 303

Thorough study, with substantial chapter on strikes and workers’ mobilization.

Rochon, Thomas ; Meyer, Davi, Coalitions And Political Movements. The Lessons Of The Nuclear Freeze, Boulder and London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997, pp. 278

Analyses the ‘Nuclear Freeze’ movement, the largest mass movement in the U.S. in the 1980s, that addressed the dangers of the ‘Second Cold War’ between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The book highlights the development of the movement; its social and political impact; and its transformation in the 1990s. 

Ross, Cameron, Regional Elections in Russia: Instruments of Authoritarian Legitimacy or Instability?, Humanities and Social Science Communications, 2018

This survey of regional elections for governors and assemblies in 2015, 2016 and 2017 finds that the regime has switched from a strategy primarily reliant on manipulating election results (liable to cause criticism and protest) to focus on manipulating the registration of candidates, so preventing serious opposition candidates from standing.  Whilst this approach has strengthened Putin's United Russia party in regional elections up to 2017, it has also resulted in widespread apathy and low turn- out, which could undermine the regime.

Roxburgh, Angus, The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia, London, I.B. Taurus, 2011, pp. 338

By BBC and Sunday Times journalist.

Saradzhyan, Simon ; Abdullaev, Nabi, Putin, the protest movement and political change in Russia, [17 Feb 2012], Paris, EU Institute for Security Studies, 2012

Sharkey, Noel, Killer Robots, New Internationalist, 2017, pp. 16-18

Sharkey, Professor of AI and robotics at Sheffield University, Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control  and also spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, sketches in the historical background to the evolution of Autonomous Weapons Systems, and dispels 'five myths about AWS'. He also briefly explains the evolution of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and how it had been keeping the issue 'on the table' at the UN since 2014.

See also: Chan, Melissa, 'Death to the Killer Robots', Guardian Weekly, 19 April 2019, pp. 30-31.

Report on role of Jody Williams and Mary Wareham, two leading activists in the Campaign to Ban Landmines, in promoting the new movement, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which they recognize to be a much harder goal to achieve. Chan notes that Israel is already using advanced autonomous technology, for example to patrol the Gaza border. the US is testing advances in the technology, and Russia wants to create a battalion of killer robots. The campaigners were in Berlin because the German government had indicated concern about the issue, but had not been consistent, so their aim was to put pressure on Germany to act. 

Sharp, Gene, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, Boston, Porter Sargent, 2005, pp. 598

An abbreviated and slightly modified version of Sharp’s general argument in The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Includes 23 brief case studies of campaigns from the Russian Revolution of 1905 to the Serbian people power of 2000 (some written by Sharp’s collaborators: Joshua Paulson, Christopher A. Miller and Hardy Merriman).

Sharp, Gene ; Jenkins, Bruce, The Anti-Coup, Cambridge MA, Albert Einstein Institution, 2003, pp. 64

Summary analysis of potential for popular nonviolent resistance to defeat coup attempts, recommendations for organised strategy and advance preparations to prevents coups, and with very brief description of resistance to Kapp Putsch in 1920, the Algerian Generals in 1961 and to attempt to overthrow Gorbachev in 1991.

Shevtsova, Lilia, Russian under Putin: Titanic Looking for its Iceberg?, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 45, no. 3-4 (September), 2012, pp. 209-216

Smyth, Regina, How Alexei Navalny Revolutionized Opposition Politics in Russia, before his Apparent Poisoning, The Conversation, 2020

An assessment, by a US academic, of Navalny's role and impact in the immediate aftermath of his poisoning.  

See also: Nikitin, Vadim, ‘As Alexei Navalny’s Life Hangs in the Balance, So Does the Fate of the Russian Opposition’, The Nation, 2 September, 2020.

Analysis of Navalny’s changing political stance that discerns ‘an unexpected but unmistakable left turn’ in recent years.

See also: Gorokhovskaia, Yana, 'The Navalny Case may Weaken the Idea that Putin is in Total Control', Guardian Weekly, 4 September 2020, p. 47.

Soresen, Martin, Sweden Reinstates Conscription, with an Eye on Russia, New York Times, 2017

Report on the decision by Sweden to reintroduce conscription following alleged breaches of its airspace by Russian fighter jets.

See also: 'Sweden Brings Back Military Conscription amid Baltic Tensions' BBC, 2 March 2017.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39140100

Steele, Jonathan, Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev and the Mirage of Democracy, London, Faber and Faber, 1994

Chapter 4, pp. 59-70, gives an eye witness account of the coup and stresses the inefficiency of the plotters and the limited popular response to Yeltsin’s call for popular defiance and a general strike.

Taylor, Matthew ; Watts, Jonathan, Special Issue, Guardian Weekly, 2019, pp. 11-16

A Special Investigation by Matthew Taylor and Jonathan Watts on the role of fossil fuel companies in promoting the climate crisis. Includes list of the 'top five global polluters': Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia; Chevron, US; Gazprom, Russia; ExxonMobil, US; National Iranian Oil Co.

Tickle, Andrew ; Welsh, Ian, Environment and Society in Eastern Europe, ed. Tickle, Andrew, Welsh, Ian, London, Longman, 1998, pp. 192

Examines contribution of environmental activism to ‘an immanent civil society’. Chapters on Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia.

Walker, Shaun, The Signal and the Noise, Guardian Weekly, 2020, pp. 34-39

Walker analyzes how the protesters in Belarus in 2020 used the 'Nexta Live' channel (run by a young Belarusian man in Warsaw) on the Telegram messaging app. The app combines easy availability of information and advice - allowing rapid dissemination of instructions to protesters and advance organizing - with privacy. Governments have great difficulty in blocking channels on the app. Whilst focusing on the Belarus context, Walker also notes that the app is used by protesters in Hong Kong, in Russia and by Extinction Rebellion. It has also been used by Isis fighters - though Telegram has begun to try to prevent this. The creator of the app is a Russian now living abroad.

Watts, Jonathan, Yes. We. Canopy: Can alliances between indigenous people and young climate activists help to save the Amazon?, Guardian Weekly, 2019, pp. 15-17

Account of preparation by indigenous communities to resist the destruction of the rainforest by farmers, miners and loggers backed by far right President Jair Bolsonaro. The article focuses on the discussions, held in the small riverine community Manolito in Terro do Meio, between indigenous people and international activists, including Extinction Rebellion UK organisers, Belgian activists in the School Strike and from the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot. Watts outlines the wider Brazilian context, and discusses how international participants revised their ideas and campaigning plans as a result of the meeting, which was named 'Amazon: Centro do Mundo'.

Willems, Joachim, Ziviler Ungehorsan? Pussy Riots Performances im Moskauer, Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen, Vol. 25, no. 1, 2014, pp. 8-14

Pussy Riot demonstrated provocatively in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow (which is a symbol of Russian Orthodoxy) in February 2012, and then uploaded a video of this event with the caption 'Mother of  God, drive out Putin'.  This protest resulted in the arrest of the activists and made Pussy Riot world-famous, though they had staged four other politically and artistically motivated performances. This article assesses whether Pussy Riot's acts can be seen as civil disobedience.  

Wilson, Kenneth, Is Vladimir Putin a Strong Leader?, Post-Soviet Affairs, 2020

Examines Putin's strength both in terms of his personal power and the effectiveness of his policies measured by economic growth, social stability and international standing. The article compares Putin's record with that of governments in other former Soviet states, and concludes that his achievements are not especially impressive.

See also: White, David, 'State Capacity and Regime Resilience in Putin's Russia', International Political Science Review, 2018. 

https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512117694481

White argues that although state capacity in Russia is 'relatively weak', the Putin regime has achieved relative stability through enriching elites, controlling civil society and opposition, and promoting public support through 'economic benefits and national-patriotic appeal'.