Articles by Victor Davidoff



Atheism on Trial in Russia's Stavropol

In a courtroom in Stavropol, Viktor Krasnov, a physician's assistant, is accused of the same crime as Giordano Bruno, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Salman Rushdie — atheism.

Open Society and Its Enemies in Putin's Russia (Op-Ed)

What's going on in Russia? It's simple to understand if you remember history.

Russia Has Political Prisoner Deja Vu (Op-Ed)

The number of political prisoners per capita in Russia today is much higher than the number back in the Soviet Union, writes columnist Victor Davidoff.

A New Iron Curtain Is Descending Over Russia

On July 28, the office of the Russian prosecutor general declared the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) an "undesirable organization."

Russians Will Suffer in Putin's New Cold War

The destruction of Flight MH17 was the last nail in the coffin of the reassuring theory that a repeat of the Cold War was impossible, writes columnist Victor Davidoff.

Duma Masks Internet Crackdown By Citing 'iPhone Pedophiles'

How can you spot a pedophile? Just ask Russian Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina. She knows: a pedophile always has an iPhone.

Kremlin Wary of a Second Afghanistan in Ukraine

The situation in eastern Ukraine may be unusual for modern Europe, filled as it is with warring factions fighting for unclear objectives, but it is not without precedent in Soviet history, writes columnist Victor Davidoff.

Russia Moves Ever Closer to the Soviet Union

In early June, the Dutch organization Human Rights Initiative for the Former U.S.S.R. published its most recent list of political prisoners in Russia. The publication does not usually get much attention. But this time the list was sensational for the number of people currently persecuted for their political or religious beliefs or participation in civil acts. The current number: 92.

High Casualties in Kremlin's Information War

Russia's independent media is being punished for providing an alternative to state-controlled news on Ukraine, writes columnist Victor Davidoff.

A Real Patriot Loves His Country, Not the State

Putin once famously said, "After Mahatma Gandhi died, there was nobody left to talk with." But Putin has no problem chatting with Assad and Iranian leaders.

An Internet Censorship Law Right Out of '1984'

A new bill will require Intenet and social network providers to give the FSB full access to users' posts and e-mails.

Putin's Fabricated Anti-Semitism in Ukraine

The rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Ukraine are beneficial to the Kremlin to help it demonize the Maidan revolution as a bunch of violent "fascists."

Why Russians Long for the Soviet Union

For many Russians, particularly for those who were born after the Soviet collapse, the Soviet Union is just a mythical golden age of a great power that could provide stability to several generations.

Putin's Brave New Russia

When a number of Internet sites were blocked on Thursday, it was like a bolt out of the blue.

Putin's Crimean Anschluss

Like Hitler, who justified his aggression as "concern for the lives of our German compatriots," Putin also justified the occupation of Crimea by concern for the Russian-speaking population on the peninsula.

The Return of State Ideology

Viktor Shenderovich is well known as a writer, playwright and acerbic but witty critic of the current political regime. Shenderovich is also a big sports fan. In an article published on Ej.ru on Feb. 10, he wrote about how hard it was for him to combine joy over the victories of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games with disgust over the propaganda show created by the official Russian mass media, especially state television. Shenderovich wrote that when the Olympic Games are held in countries with authoritarian regimes, they contribute to a better image of the regime and therefore ultimately do a disservice to the people in those countries.

Lenin's Law Applied to Dozhd TV

Authorities admitted that Dozhd TV did not break any laws by running a controversial poll on the Leningrad blockade. But at the same time, they argue the station violated moral and ethical laws.

David Satter, the Kremlin's Bete Noire

Considering that Satter has been an outspoken critic of the Kremlin since the 1970s, it was amazing that it took so long for Russian authorities to declare his presence on Russian territory "undesirable."

Putin's Amnesties Show His Concern for Economy

Putin understands that improving Russia's human rights record and easing confrontation with the West is a prerequisite for foreign investment.

Internet Censorship Is Getting Worse

You can find just about anything on the Internet ban list, from "Mein Kampf" to unregistered political parties and opposition blogs.

Putin Uses Writers to Send Message to Opposition

Putin spoke last week at a congress of Russian writers. Was this a revival of a Soviet tradition, or was it an attempt to start a dialog between the authorities and the intelligentsia?

The Kremlin Storm Troopers

With the increase of violence against gays and migrants, Russia is becoming more like Germany in the 1930s, when storm troopers ruled the streets, beating up and killing Jews and other minorities with impunity.

How Khodorkovsky's Arrest Ruined Russia

Putin's autocratic system was formed to a large extent as a result of Khodorkovsky's arrest and trial.

Soviet Psychiatry Returns

On Oct. 8, a verdict was announced in the case of Mikhail Kosenko, one of the demonstrators in the May 6, 2012 protest march at Moscow's Bolotnaya Ploshchad. Kosenko was just one of the 28 people accused in the case, but his verdict was immediately picked up by the press and caused mass protests outside the courtroom.

Tolokonnikova Protest Takes on Russian Prisons

In 1849, a little known writer named Fyodor Dostoevsky was sentenced to hard labor in Siberia for being a member of an underground club of socialist intellectuals. What he observed and endured in the prison camp radically changed his world view and made him the great writer and a philosopher who was later to write, "The most downtrodden, lowest man is also a human being, and he is my brother."

Bad News From the Sept. 8 Election

Let's hope the Kremlin will heed the words of the opposition leaders who insist that Russia in the 21st century can't be ruled by the same methods that the tsars or Stalin used.

When Eating an Ice-Cream Cone Is a Crime

The homophobic law banning the dissemination of LGBT propaganda is written so vaguely that it has been interpreted as a ban on spreading information about oral sex.

The Many Myths About Navalny

The first myth is that Navalny - far from being an independent, opposition politician - is just another "Kremlin project." Another myth is that he is a Russian nationalist.

Dangerous Alliance Between Church and State

The Russian Orthodox Church openly declared a crusade against multiculturalism, tolerance and other Western values.

Navalny, the New Sakharov

On Saturday, the cheering crowds in Moscow greeted Navalny with the same joy that a previous generation met human rights activist Andrei Sakharov when he returned to Moscow from internal exile in 1986.