Jan 17, 2013

Moscow's not-so-friendly environmental quirks

Moscow, they say, “wasn’t built at one go” — in contrast to St. Petersburg, which emerged laid out, as if by magic, in strict conformity to Peter the Great’s plan — and it has been growing chaotically for more than 800 years on seven ...

Nov 23, 2012

Long wait for Putin's 'residential renaissance'

In Russia, as in many other countries, one main measure of living conditions is the number of “squares” — square meters — in a flat. For example, “normal” for a modern middle-class nuclear family of two adults with a child is regarded as a ...

Aug 31, 2012

Pawns of the neo-Putin era

After the May 7 inauguration of Vladimir Putin, the re-elected Russian president rapidly began taking revenge on those who caused him anxiety from December to March. Of late, he and his henchmen have demonstrated a sharp stance against dissent and opposition in general. A ...

Jul 24, 2012

Place names defy tradition, distressing the Russian spirit

In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a countrywide campaign of toponymic change brought back many historic names — first of all in Moscow and in Leningrad (which in due course was returned to its proper name St. Petersburg). Soon ...

Jun 26, 2012

The challenge of family life for Russia's working mothers

As with other prevalent trends in most European countries, in Russia an ever- increasing share of mothers prefer to combine household activities with work outside their household. Therefore, sound, gender-sensitive employment policies may contribute to the cause of diminishing vulnerability of families with children ...

Jun 1, 2012

Russia needs true family policy

The unprecedented upswing of public interest in Russia’s presidential elections opened a window of opportunities — quite unexpected but welcome — to see and discuss many socioeconomic problems in a more realistic manner. There was prolonged and contentious dialogue in February and March between ...

May 4, 2012

A catastrophic social budget

During the past two years, Vladimir Putin repeatedly stressed his special attention to and personal patronage of the efforts to keep up and somehow improve the pitiful situation concerning the overall social position and living standards of retired and disabled people, such as those ...

Apr 13, 2012

Russia's 'shadow market'

We should keep in mind that Russia is a country that has spent 70 years in an inhuman experiment aimed at arranging all sides of socioeconomic life within a giant centrally planned system. Even if this time is over, many features of today’s life ...

Mar 30, 2012

Russia's civil society is key

The future of democracy in Russia will depend on the correct relationship between “people” and “power” — the two major elements constituting any society. In a normal democratic society, political parties serve as focal points of public opinion, crystallizing different approaches and policies in ...