High-Profile Cases


Corruption Case Puts Sechin in the Spotlight

The high-profile trial of former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev is not playing out according to the script that most analysts had expected. The prosecution’s case increasingly relies on the testimony of one man, state oil chief Igor Sechin, making this master of Kremlin intrigue potentially politically vulnerable.

How the Gulag Lives On in Russia’s Prison Economy

When the state has mineral resources, it hires a company like Royal Dutch Shell to extract the oil and share the profits. But when it has an abundant supply of labor, it turns a blind eye to its resources being used in tolling schemes right out of the 1990s. The existing penitentiary system is not in the interests of the state or the prisoners.

Moscow Housing Demolition Program Creates New Wave of Angry Urbanites

The authorities are in a no-win situation as a result of their unpopular plans to demolish five-story residential buildings in Moscow. If they stick to their guns, angry urbanites are bound to take to the streets in protest. If they yield to public demands, they’ll demonstrate the effectiveness of mass protests.

“The Russians Did It”: How the Kremlin Became the Default Culprit

The world will see the Kremlin as the culprit whether or not Denis Voronenkov’s murder is ever solved: for too long, Russian authorities have portrayed their country as one that doesn’t hesitate to violate every international norm—including by murdering their own citizens abroad.

Why the Terrorist Attack in St. Petersburg Is Dividing Russian Society

There is a broad consensus in Russia that the Kremlin’s hardline stance on terror has kept Russians safe from attack. This guarantee of security has allowed authorities to ignore a host of social and economic problems. But there is a significant downside to this model: any attack on Russian soil begins to erode the underpinnings of the Kremlin’s social contract.

St. Petersburg Comes to Terms With Terror

A journalist in St. Petersburg describes scenes of disbelief, charity, and solidarity as citizens of Russia’s second city reacted to an unprecedented terrorist act.

A Quiet Coup? What Lay Behind the Russian Minister’s Arrest

Since this spring, it has become clear that Russia’s political system of managed chaos is devolving into a free-for-all in which Rosneft chief Igor Sechin and his small cadre of current and former FSB officers have the upper hand.

How Does the Head of an Anti-Corruption Agency Wind Up With $120 Million in Cash?

The $120 million in cash found in Dmitry Zakharchenko’s sister’s home must have come from some sort of illegal business activity—likely involving the contraband market.

Maidan Redux in Armenia?

The Armenian protesters are motivated by socio-economic issues and the desire for social justice—not larger notions of democracy that constitute international human rights advocacy.

How Corruption Saved the North Koreans

In recent years, North Korea has transformed from one of the least to one of the most corrupt countries in East Asia. But this has been a blessing for its people, both politically and economically
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