Articles by Masha Lipman



Putin's No-Participation Pact

The Russian government, with its solid hold on power, has invariably gotten away with poor performance, inefficiency, corruption and widespread violation of political rights and civil liberties. Polls consistently demonstrate that Russians are not deluded.

Putin's Puppet Press

During Vladimir Putin's presidency, tight control of the mass media evolved as one of the Russian leadership's key political resources. It will be equally indispensable to President Dmitry Medvedev.

Talking About Democracy Is Not Enough

The next administration, with Dmitry Medvedev as president and Vladimir Putin remaining at the helm as prime minister, may evolve into something different from Putin's current rule. But the expectations of liberalization that Medvedev's rhetoric and non-KGB background might have raised in some circles are wishful thinking.

Breaking the Cordon

The Kremlin has been sending persistent signals that autonomous political activism will not be tolerated.

After Beslan, the Media Are in Shackles

Two years ago the new school term began in horror for the town of Beslan in North Ossetia. Terrorists seized School No. 1, and in the tragic events that followed, 332 civilians were killed, including 186 children.

Not in a State to Be Questioned

Although not all Russian media are controlled by the state, in the current political environment the remaining freedom does not make much difference.

Putin's Spreading War

The attack on Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, was a carefully planned guerrilla operation carried out in broad daylight in a big city.

Rewriting History for Putin

Rewriting history was an important part of the Bolshevik project to remake the world.

No Contest

Prominent liberal politician Irina Khakamada has announced that she will enter the March presidential race. Her last-minute self-nomination was unexpected, even by her own party, the Union of Right Forces.

The Baleful Legacy of 1993

Two years after the collapse of communism, discontent was turning into counterrevolution.

A Military Lesson for Russia?

  • 05 May 03
  • The Washington Post
More than three years into the operation in Chechnya, guerrilla war is still going on, and barely a week passes without a report of a new attack on federal troops.

The Politics of Anti-Americanism

  • 08 April 03
  • The Washington Post
Once in a while public opinion in Russia becomes important. This occurs, of course, around elections.

In Stalin's Footsteps

In just over a decade as independent states, the various former Soviet republics have gone their separate ways so fast and so far that it's hard to believe they were once parts of the same empire.

Signaling Shift in Chechnya Policy?

  • 07 October 02
  • The Washington Post
Putin should have serious doubts by now that the Chechen problem can be resolved by the use of force.

Saber Rattling in Russia's No-Win War

In the past month, relations between Russia and its neighbor Georgia have come perilously close to conflict.

Reds Routed or Red Revanche?

  • 08 July 02
  • The Washington Post
The power of the once-mighty Communists is slowly fading away.

Putin's Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

  • 25 April 02
  • The Washington Post
Halfway through his presidential term, President Putin is unhappy with the pace of Russia's progress.

Indifference And Duplicity Seal TV6's Fate

With the shutdown Monday of TV6, Russia has lost its last national television company not controlled by the government.

Resistance From Within and Without

  • 14 November 01
  • The Washington Post
The dramatic foreign and domestic policy moves undertaken by President Vladimir Putin since Sept. 11 may be hailed in the West, but they aren't necessarily welcomed by his political elite at home.

10 Years Later, No One Is Cheering

Ten years ago the Communist coup ended in defeat. The coup plotters proved to be a pathetic bunch, and three days after they had declared a state of emergency, the Soviet regime was gone and nobody in the whole of the U.S.S.R. stood up to defend it. Out of this crisis the new democratic Russia emerged, and before the end of 1991 the Soviet Union had collapsed. The victorious Boris Yeltsin moved to push the Communist Party out of power and to reduce the authority of the KGB. Today this victory appears to be highly ambiguous to the Russian people. In a July poll, only 10 percent (to which I belong) regarded it as a democratic revolution that had put an end to Communist power. Twenty-five percent look back at August 1991 as a tragic event whose aftermath was disastrous for the country. Most Russians do not think much about those past events or see them as historically significant. The majority (43 percent) believe that what happened 10 years ago was but an episode in the power struggle in the higher echelons.

What Is Putin's Priority?

Time to Watch Liberties

Red, Black And the Blues