Also by Matthew Luxmoore
December 25, 2021
In Gorbachev's Hometown, Clues To The Enduring Power Of Soviet Nostalgia
Three decades after the U.S.S.R. fell apart, Russians’ nostalgia for the Soviet era shows no signs of weakening. In the hometown of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, a sense of pride in a native son is mixed with disappointment and anger.
November 07, 2021
On Poland's Border With Belarus, A Syrian Refugee's Desperate Battle To Save His Family
While he made frantic calls from a hotel near the Belarusian border, his family hid in a frigid forest ditch, desperate to evade Polish patrols. A Syrian family’s struggle to survive is a microcosm of a migrant crisis that Angela Merkel said was a result of “state-backed human trafficking” by Minsk.
October 13, 2021
As The Kremlin Cracks Down, Its Opponents Find Refuge -- And A Wary Welcome -- In Georgia
Georgia has become one of the perhaps unlikely new homes for hundreds of Russian political activists fleeing Kremlin pressure. But some of them wonder whether growing Russian influence on its peripheries will pose a new kind of threat.
September 07, 2021
As Elections Loom, Russia's Opposition Banks On Little More Than A Chance To Air Its Grievances
In one city in Russia’s south, activists are waging an unusual election campaign. Their candidate is behind bars, and his backers acknowledge they have no chance of winning. Instead, they are using the platform to shed light on political jailings and on the country’s increasingly repressive laws.
July 29, 2021
In Banning Bard College, Russia Shutters A Program That Bridged An International Divide
Moscow's decision to brand Bard College an "undesirable organization" has shut a student exchange program that built bridges between Russia and the United States. "For many Russian students, this was the first step to an international education," one professor said. "Now all this is gone."
July 16, 2021
A Suspected Super-Spreader Event In St. Petersburg Prompts Fresh Scrutiny Of Russia's COVID Figures
The spectacular Scarlet Sails graduation ceremony topped off a series of mass gatherings in a season of pageantry in St. Petersburg that defied the warnings of health experts. But it also prompted scrutiny of contradictory figures as a devastating surge of coronavirus cases sweeps Russia.
July 05, 2021
As Siberia's Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Marvel At The Mammoth Treasures Beneath
Climate change has accelerated the thawing of frozen earth beneath much of Siberia. But for some scientists, it's the riches beneath -- including the preserved carcasses of mammoths and other animals that lived tens of thousands of years ago -- that represent the biggest prize.
June 30, 2021
Putin Had A Chance To Rev Up Russia's Sluggish Vaccination Drive. His Message Was Muddled.
As Russia battles a big wave of COVID-19 infections and hospitals struggle with an influx of patients, President Vladimir Putin had a unique chance to rally the country around a vaccination drive championed by his government after months of equivocation. But his message was muddled.
June 27, 2021
Uproar Over Firing Of Russian Educator Who Supporters Say Refused To Snitch On Student Protesters
The head of a school in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod has been fired after she allegedly refused to give authorities the names of students and staff who joined anti-government protests. The school community, and Russian civil society more broadly, is demanding her reinstatement.
June 25, 2021
Russia, A Vaccine Pioneer, Fights A Fresh COVID Wave Stoked By Public Distrust
Russia was the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, but inoculation rates are among the world's lowest and infections are spiking. Now, new vaccine mandates are prompting anger from residents and fears of financial losses among entrepreneurs forced to turn away non-vaccinated customers.
June 17, 2021
Putin's Performance At Geneva Summit Seen As A Master Class In 'Whataboutism'
Pressed in Geneva on his political crackdown at home and cyberattacks against U.S. companies, Putin spoke of the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, U.S. restrictions on foreign media, and U.S. cyberattacks. Analysts say this "whataboutism" has characterized the Kremlin's narrative for years.
June 15, 2021
Putin Revels In U.S. TV Interviews, But His Target Audience May Be In Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest interview with U.S. TV made headlines in the West and set the tone for his summit with Joe Biden. But analysts say his responses were geared largely to a domestic audience, buttressing the Russian state TV narrative that the West is no match for Putin.
June 13, 2021
Deep In Siberia, 'Sakhawood' Is Putting The Global Film Industry On Alert
Deep in Siberia, in one of the world’s coldest inhabited regions and a place so remote that it’s closer to Alaska than to the golden domes of Russia’s capital, a plucky movie industry is spotlighting indigenous culture and increasingly garnering plaudits internationally.
June 10, 2021
'I Woke Up An Extremist': Navalny Team Vows To Challenge Putin, Despite Watershed Ruling
Members of the political network built by Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny in Russia have pledged to continue their efforts to campaign for change and expose corruption in the upper echelons of power after a Moscow court declared their movement "extremist."
June 05, 2021
As Russia Touts Convict Labor To Offset An Exodus Of Migrants, Some Fear 'A Return To The Gulag'
Russia’s prison service says that 600 convicts will begin work on the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway this month. For some human rights activists and government critics, the idea of using prisoners for construction projects looks like a return to the gulag.
May 31, 2021
With Kremlin Tight-Lipped About Putin's Talks With Lukashenka, Some Are Instead Asking: 'Where Did He Get That Yacht?'
Russians rarely learn what has been discussed when President Vladimir Putin talks with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the Belarusian strongman who relies on his support. But after their latest cruise on the Black Sea, enquiring minds are left to wonder about the luxury yacht they dined on.
May 27, 2021
Amid A Disinformation Cacophony From Minsk, Analysts Say 'Putin Benefits'
A flurry of leaks and dubious claims by Minsk, often amplified by Russia, have highlighted the interplay between narratives peddled by the two allied governments as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka fights for his political survival.
May 25, 2021
Video Statement By Belarusian Blogger Contains All The Hallmarks Of Forced Soviet-Era 'Confessions'
One day after his dramatic arrest at a Minsk airport, Belarusian blogger Raman Pratasevich appeared in a video and admitted to inciting mass unrest. But his shaken look and signs of possible mistreatment harked back to forced confessions that remain common in parts of the former U.S.S.R.
May 23, 2021
After Seven Years Of Conflict, Ukraine's Frontline City Of Mariupol Is 'Just Tired' Of The Fighting
Russia's recent troop buildup near the border with Ukraine has fueled speculation about a renewed military offensive. But in the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where the prospect of an invasion has hung like a specter since 2014, residents have spent years preparing for the worst.