Russia

51 articles
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A conversation with one of Russia’s “little green men”: a 24-year-old recruited to fight in Eastern Ukraine.

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An American woman's travels and memories of her Russian husband.

"When Bramya was abroad, Sarah mixed adhesives, ordered glaze, saw friends, and lived without the expectation of change to this arrangement. She read his letters and answered his phone calls, and they talked about the things they did when they were apart, neither acknowledging that separation had come to be as familiar as the shape their bodies took together. But when she knew his flight had landed, she sat at the kitchen table with painful patience, rolling clay from hand to hand until it was made pliable by the heat of her skin, piecing together anxiety animals, anticipating the sound of the cab door closing that told her Bramya was on her street."

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"For 20 beautiful years, my homeland was open and (kind of) free. Now, I fear, it’s closing back up."

Previously: Keith Gessen on the Longform Podcast.

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The Russian president has crushed all dissent, but he’s more vulnerable than ever.

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An adventure on the Beringia, a dog sled race stretching 685 miles over Russia’s frozen tundra.

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Fifty years ago, 180,000 whales vanished from the ocean. The mystery is not who killed them, but why.

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How Moscow State university discriminated against Jewish applicants using deceptively simple problems.

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A profile of Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Published originally in GQ Russia.
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The author attempts to interview Grigori Perelman, a reclusive mathematical genius.

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Life inside a provincial Russian drug den. Originally appeared in Russky Reporter.

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A profile of Eugene Kaspersky, KGB-trained online security mogul.

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A CIA veteran remembers his Soviet nemesis, Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin, who was the chairman of the KGB for a single day during the 1991 coup against Gorbachev, and committed suicide in Moscow in March.

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The highest-ranking CIA officer to be convicted of spying passes the tricks of the trade along to his son.

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The parallel lives of a KGB defector and his CIA handler.

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Scientists quarrel about the fate of animals living in the 1,600 square mile exclusion zone.

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The excerpts from a diary of an anonymous Russian special-forces officer who served twenty tours of duty in Chechnya during the Second Chechen War (1999-2009). He tells of torture, civilian killings, female suicide bombers and becoming desensitized to it all.

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Putin v. Khodorkovsky:

Almost a decade ago, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then the owner of the Yukos Oil Company and Russia’s richest man, completely miscalculated the consequences of standing up to Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president. Putin had Khodorkovsky arrested, completely miscalculating the consequences of putting him in prison. During his eight years in confinement, Khodorkovsky has become Russia’s most trusted public figure and Putin’s biggest political liability. As long as Putin rules Russia and Khodorkovsky continues to act like Khodorkovsky, Khodorkovsky will remain in prison—and Putin will remain terrified of him.

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In court and visiting prison with the parents of young Russian Nationalists who’ve killed.

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The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance.

In a cable brought to light by Wikileaks, the Ambassador to Russia describes a raucous three-day Dagestani wedding attended by Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov.

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On Astana, the grandiose new capital that Kazakhstan built on the site of a remote Tsarist fort, and its striving young inhabitants.

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Protests against the Putin regime are already drawing over 100,000 in sub-zero weather; what will they become when spring arrives?

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Pavel Galitsky, 100 years old, blogger and Skyper, survivor of 15 years in Stalin’s Siberian Kolyma mines.

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Hanging out in Moscow with Russia’s yuppie, 20-something journalist revolutionaries:

In other words, the protest was being brought to you by the same people you would have relied on, weeks earlier, for restaurant picks.
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Looking for holes in the world’s nuclear security.

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From a childhood in the Kremlin to a trip to New Delhi carrying the ashes of her Indian Communist lover, defection at the U.S. Embassy… “finally to decades of obscurity, wandering and poverty.”

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On nostalgia for Communism.

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How amateur tinkerers electronically contacted Russia during the Cold War:

The object of Joel's attention at this moment, however, as it is much of the time, is his four-pound, briefcase-size Radio Shack Tandy Model 100 portable computer. "I bought this machine for $399. For $1.82 a minute - $1.82! - I can send a telex message to Moscow. This technology is going to revolutionize human communications! Think what it will mean when you can get thousands of Americans and Soviets on the same computer network. Once scientists in both countries begin talking to each other on these machines they won't be able to stop. And we'll be taking a running leap over the governments on both sides.

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Boris Yeltsin’s right-hand man tells the inside story of the 1991 coup that killed glasnost:

"That scum!" Boris Yeltsin fumed. "It's a coup. We can't let them get away with it."

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The investigation of 20-year-old Russian model’s fall from a Manhattan rooftop uncovers a string of mysteries and clues embedded within the insular world of international models and those who scout them.

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Inside a chess master’s fiefdom.

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How crooked officials pulled off a massive scam, spent millions on Dubai real estate, and killed the author’s law partner when he tried to expose them.

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First-person accounts from the 2004 siege of a Russian school in Beslan by Chechen terrorists.

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Twenty-five years later, inside the Exclusion Zone.

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How a legally dubious FBI sting lured a pair of Russian hackers stateside.

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On the illusion of the inevitable and the revolutions that ended the Eastern Bloc.

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Putin, Medvedev, and how the Russian security agency FSB became the “new nobility.”

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The Wikileaks-released documents regarding the polonium-poisoning assassination of Alexander V. Litvinenko speak to the potential involvement of both British and Russian security agencies and hint at the disappearance of a plane that bore evidence of the transport of polonium.

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky, oil magnate and once the richest man in Russia, delivers a speech from prison, where he has lived since 2003.

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In the feral communities of Russia’s Far East, tiger poaching is among the few lucrative pursuits. This is the story of a tiger who fought back.

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Russia has ended its death penalty, leaving in its place five prison “colonies” to house its most hardened criminals, nicknamed “The White Swan”, “The Black Dolphin”, “The Vologda Coin”, “The Village of Harps”. Inside “The Black Eagle.”

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How two Italian teenagers hacked the Soviet space program and may have heard the dying breaths of a lost cosmonaut.

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Mikhail Kalashnikov’s brainchild, Avtomat Kalashnikovais aka the AK-47, is the most stockpiled firearm in the world and has altered the last century like no other product. C.J. Chivers, author of The Gun, discusses.

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The relative prosperity of the Putin-era has thrown Russian bride-introduction tours for a loop, as a group of American bachelors learn in a series of Meet and Greets.

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Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin was so prolific that even he doesn’t know how many he killed.

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The unsolved killing of Russia’s most notorious spammer.

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The complex, highly evolved world of Moscow’s subway-riding stray dogs.

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A dispatch from the frozen, drunken wasteland of Eastern Siberia.

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The rise and fall of The Exile, Russia’s angriest English-language newspaper.

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The eighteen-year-old Moscow dropout behind chatroulette.com.