Nina L. Khrushcheva
Russia isn’t a theocracy but Orthodox Christianity, the state religion, has become all-encompassing, with President Vladimir Putin claiming to have a divine mission.
Jul 4, 2024
The demigods of populism
By claiming to represent the will of the divine, populist leaders like Putin, Modi, Erdogan — and even Trump — stake an otherworldly claim to political power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on May 16.
May 26, 2024
The fragile fraternity of China and Russia
Putin’s Mao-like bid for a full-fledged military alliance with China, including commitments to mutual defense, also seems to have failed.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (left) and then-Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Kremlin on May 7. While President Vladimir Putin has no real challengers, powerful actors within his government are vying against each other.
May 16, 2024
The battle of ministries in Putin’s Russia
Historical parallels suggest that Putin’s top-down approach, like Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization and Gorbachev’s perestroika, risks sparking opposition by causing intra-elite infighting.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich (right) with then-wife Dasha Zhukova in 2014. Zhukova's mother, Elena Zhukova, is engaged to media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Mar 31, 2024
The oligarch, his ex-wife, her mother and Rupert Murdoch
Were it not for other stories coming out of Russia, Rupert Murdoch's engagement to Roman Abramovich's ex-mother-in-law would have made more headlines.
Demonstrators hold a rally to honor the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in front of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw on Friday.
Feb 18, 2024
The lonesome death of a Russian opposition leader
The prison where Navalny died, Nicknamed “Polar Wolf,” is a freezing cold gulag for violent criminals. But Navalny — an anti-corruption lawyer and blogger.
Today’s Russia is nothing like the citadel of stability and satisfaction nor the bastion of prosperity that the Kremlin tries to claim it is.
Feb 7, 2024
Preparing Russia for permanent war
Today’s Russia is nothing like the citadel of stability and satisfaction nor the bastion of prosperity that the Kremlin claims it to be.
Fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group, many of whom were recruited from prisons, are deployed in June near the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
Dec 28, 2023
Vladimir Putin’s killer patriotism
Pardoning violent convicts to get more soldiers onto the battlefield is not desirable, but for Putin, the alternative would be even worse.
A new Russian textbook for high school students on general world and national history
Aug 27, 2023
Putin’s history lessons fail to heed the lessons of history
Putin seems to have forgotten is that rewriting history to serve the interests of those in power tends to invite dissent and often backfires.
Japan Times
Jul 23, 2023
Russia’s fractured state
In the wake of Yevgeny Prigozhin's aborted rebellion, President Vladimir Putin’s weakness — and the cracks in the system he so meticulously built — are unmistakable.
Japan Times
Jun 27, 2023
Twenty-four hours that shook the Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to the rebellion by Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was hardly that of a powerful leader or even a skilled tactician.
Japan Times
Jun 14, 2023
Russia has a new Rasputin
The Wagner mercenary chief has been attacking Russia's top military brass and warning that ordinary Russians, increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in the Ukraine war, could revolt.
Japan Times
Apr 27, 2023
How Russians fight back amid an unpopular war
Despite the full force of the security state breathing down the necks of ordinary Russians, covert resistance to the Kremlin's narrative about the war can be found everywhere.
Japan Times
Apr 2, 2023
Xi makes it clear to Putin who is really in charge
Chinese President Xi Jinping likely visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow recently to show the West he is in charge.
Japan Times
Jan 30, 2023
The assassinated are the peacemakers
Just as the Ukraine war carries a high price, so would peace with Russia — not least for whomever negotiates it.
Japan Times
Jan 6, 2023
Russian Muppets or American puppets?
The experience in the 1990s of trying to introduce “Sesame Street” to Russia offers valuable insights into the Russian mind.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World / The Year Ahead
Dec 29, 2022
Dissecting the ties between war and populism
Russia may no longer be the totalitarian society that Nikita Khrushchev ruled six decades ago, but totalitarianism seemingly remains in its DNA.
Japan Times
Oct 31, 2022
From Cuban missiles to Putin’s Ukraine nuclear crisis
Unlike Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis had the wisdom not to start an apocalyptic war simply to save face.
Japan Times
Oct 5, 2022
The Kremlin’s suicidal march to imperialism
The more apparent it is that Russia is losing the war in Ukraine, the more forcefully President Vladimir Putin declares that it is not.
Japan Times
Sep 1, 2022
The greatest democrat Russia ever had
After the Soviet Union's collapse, Gorbachev's belief in peace and democracy remained unwavering. He wanted the USSR to continue, but only as a reformed and democratized federation.
Japan Times
Aug 21, 2022
How the Republican gods failed the party
Liz Cheney condemned the Trump “personality cult” that has hijacked the Republican Party, and she paid a political price for her convictions.


Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals