Also by Robert Coalson
September 22, 2022
'No Legitimacy Whatsoever': Former French Diplomat On Russia's Plans To Hold Annexation Votes In Occupied Ukraine
Moscow seems intent on holding votes in parts of four Ukrainian regions on annexing those areas to Russia. A French ex-diplomat explains why such a wartime vote has no legitimacy under international law and is a bid by Moscow to bolster its position in the wake of Ukrainian battlefield successes.
September 20, 2022
'More Than Just A Singer': Russia Takes Notice As Pop Icon Pugacheva Crosses The Kremlin
Legendary pop diva Alla Pugacheva is not the first star to have come out against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war against Ukraine. But she is the most beloved. Can Pugacheva’s public stance energize opposition to the brutal invasion and Putin’s crackdown on dissent at home?
September 02, 2022
'It's Not Scary To Die For The Motherland': As War On Ukraine Rages, Russian Children Targeted For 'Patriotic' Education
As Russia presses ahead with its war on Ukraine, the Kremlin is drumming up support among schoolchildren. Starting next week, students will be required to attend weekly lectures aimed at “inculcating love for the fatherland,” according to the Education Ministry.
September 01, 2022
Freedom And Fear: Russians Deeply Divided Over Gorbachev's Legacy
The death of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has once again exposed profound divisions among Russians. While many revile him for purportedly destroying a global superpower, others expressed deep gratitude for the unprecedented individual opportunities his liberalizations afforded them.
August 23, 2022
Russia's Anti-War Movement After Six Months: What Happened To 'The Most Important People On The Planet'?
Tens of thousands of Russians protested in the days following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and thousands were detained. Six months later, only a few brave souls still protest the war, and many of them feel disheartened by their society’s indifference to what they see as barbarism.
July 30, 2022
Data-Stealing? Battery-Draining? An Anti-VPN Campaign Sweeps Russian Social Media
Activists say a massive social media campaign aims to frighten Russians into abandoning the use of VPNs, which allow users to view websites that are blocked in Russia. Influencers and regional officials have made near-identical posts as the number of blocked websites in Russia has skyrocketed.
July 27, 2022
Independent Lawmaker, Facing Charges, Flees Russia For Freedom For Her Unborn Child
Opposition lawmaker Khelga Pirogova, who fled Russia after a criminal case was opened on charges of "discrediting the armed forces,” tells RFE/RL she left because she could not allow her unborn child to begin life in jail. "Otherwise, I would have stayed. I was ready for interrogation and jail."
July 12, 2022
In Russia's Poorest Regions, Mothers And Wives Are Fighting To Bring Their Soldiers Back Home
Women from the impoverished regions of Buryatia and Tyva -- which have seen some of the highest per capita casualties since Russia invaded Ukraine -- are uniting to pressure officials and the military to bring their soldiers home.
July 08, 2022
'The FSB Murdered My Father': Lawyers, Family Want Answers After Ailing Russian Scientist Dies In Custody
Siberian scientist Dmitry Kolker was arrested at a Novosibirsk cancer ward on suspicion of treason and whisked to Moscow. After one day, he was dead. Now his family and his lawyers are looking for answers.
May 22, 2022
Family In Buryatia Grieves Over Son Killed In Ukraine War: 'If We Stop Now, What Has It Been For?'
Stepan Oseyev, a 31-year-old career soldier from the settlement of Ust-Kiran in Russia's Buryatia region, was buried in late March after being killed in combat in Ukraine. His family and friends remember a determined young man for whom the military was the only escape from a life of poverty.
May 10, 2022
Breaking Russia's 'Spiral Of Silence': Dozens Detained Protesting Ukraine War On Victory Day
Amidst the pomp of Russia’s uber-patriotic state ceremonies commemorating the Soviet contribution to victory in World War II, more than 100 people across the country were detained for using the occasion to take a stand against the invasion of Ukraine.
May 06, 2022
Victory Day Mobilization Call Unlikely, But Putin Will Seek To Mobilize Russian Society
In Vladimir Putin's Russia, May 9 has become the most ideologically charged date on the calendar, and this year there's speculation that he might use the Victory Day ceremonies to make major policy announcements about the war in Ukraine.
April 26, 2022
The Muses Are Silenced: Russian Arts Community Targeted As State Imposes Conformity Over Ukraine War
In its drive to eliminate all dissent over its war against Ukraine, Moscow has stepped up pressure on artists across Russia, pushing them to speak out in favor of the invasion or face dismissal or worse. Some artists say the war could spell the end of post-Soviet Russian culture.
April 19, 2022
Back To The Future: Cold War-Era Terms Make A Comeback Amid Russia-West Tensions Over Ukraine
Deficits. Defectors. Denunciations. Analysts have long said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies are partly driven by nostalgia for the Soviet Union. As Moscow's war in Ukraine nears its third month, that nostalgia is increasingly coming true as long-forgotten Cold War-era terms return.
April 16, 2022
'Inclined Toward Treason': More And More Russian Soldiers Reportedly Refusing To Fight In Ukraine
Among the many problems Russia has run into since it invaded Ukraine in February is a growing number of servicemen refusing to participate in what Moscow calls its “special military operation.” By one estimate, up to 40 percent of troops recently withdrawn from Ukraine are refusing to go back.
April 10, 2022
'The Parents Are Silent': Russian Schools Invaded By Propaganda Supporting The War In Ukraine
Across Russia, schoolchildren and preschoolers are participating in various demonstrations in support of the country’s war in Ukraine. Schools, local administrations, and the ruling United Russia party are posting photos of the children on social media in an apparently coordinated effort.
April 09, 2022
Nasty, Repressive, Aggressive -- Yes. But Is Russia Fascist? Experts Say 'No.'
Leading Western experts on fascism agree that Vladimir Putin's Russia is an aggressive and dangerous dictatorship that shares some characteristics with fascist regimes. But, they say, it is not fascist itself, and other historical precedents are more useful for understanding the Kremlin.
April 08, 2022
Soviet-Style Denunciations On The Rise As Russian Society Confronts Ukraine War
An English teacher in Penza is facing prosecution after students recorded her criticizing Russia's war in Ukraine. Teachers, activists, and others have increasingly been targeted by denunciations – often anonymous – that remind some of the darkest repressions under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
March 29, 2022
'Military Brainwashing': Russian State TV Pulls Out The Stops To Sell Kremlin's Narrative On The War In Ukraine
In the weeks since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russia state TV broadcasts have been a blur of unsubstantiated, often wildly false claims about the war and the actions of Kyiv and the West. Here’s a sampling.
March 26, 2022
Leaving Russia? Expect 'A Complete Shakedown' At Passport Control
Tens of thousands of Russians have left the country since Moscow invaded Ukraine a month ago. Many of those doing so have reported unpleasant -- and illegal -- interrogations as they passed through Russian passport control.