Articles by Ezekiel Pfeifer

Ezekiel Pfeifer has been web editor at The Moscow Times since January 2012, after having worked at the paper from 2007 to 2009 in various positions, including deputy arts editor. He worked from 2010 to 2011 as a freelance writer in Moscow covering restaurants and tourism. Ezekiel graduated in 2007 with a degree in English from Pomona College in the United States. You can contact him at

Moscow Purges Soviet-Era Exhibition Center VDNKh of Illegal Buildings

The new management of Moscow's iconic All-Russia Exhibition Center, or VDNKh, has cleared the sprawling territory of illegally built structures and shish-kebab stands to make the space more convenient and attractive for visitors ahead of the summer season, the center's director said.

Opening Ceremony Kicks Off Sochi Games, Marking Momentous Day for Russia

President Vladimir Putin declared the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics officially open on Friday night after a grandiose 2 1/2-hour show that told the history of modern Russia with dazzling lights, giant installations and hundreds of dancers.

After Rocky 2 Years, McFaul Quits as Ambassador

Michael McFaul, who has served as U.S. ambassador to Russia over a two-year period marked by heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow, announced in a blog post Tuesday that he would be leaving his position as ambassador and returning to academia later this month.

Khodorkovsky Says No Plans to Return to Russia

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was released Friday after a presidential decree ended his 10 years of imprisonment, said from Germany on Sunday that he would not return home for fear of being unable to leave again.

Khodorkovsky Travels to Germany, Says Didn't Admit Guilt

Mere hours after being let out of prison after being incarcerated for more than 10 years, former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky left the country on Friday for Germany.

Putin Says New 'Instantaneous' Weapons Pose Danger to Global Stability

President Vladimir Putin has said conventional weapons systems designed to disarm a country's nuclear capability could have "extremely negative consequences" for global security in his State of the Nation speech, in an apparent veiled reference to a U.S. military program.

Putin Creates New Anti-Corruption Department

The Kremlin announced Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin had founded a new department in the presidential administration specifically devoted to fighting corruption, the latest government initiative to combat one of the country's most stubborn problems.

Anti-Doping Lab to Be Reformed, Mutko Says

Following the provisional suspension of Russia's main anti-doping lab over the weekend, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Monday that reforms would be made to bring the lab in line with international standards.

Dutch Express Outrage Over Attack on Diplomat in Moscow

Investigators opened a criminal case Wednesday in connection with an attack on a Dutch diplomat in his Moscow apartment, amid growing tensions between Russia and the Netherlands during a year meant to celebrate relations between the two countries.

Council Approves 'Broad Amnesty' That Could Free Pussy Riot

A proposal to grant amnesty to people convicted of nonviolent crimes could free two Pussy Riot members and other high-profile convicts.

Putin Replaces Stavropol Governor

President Vladimir Putin has appointed a replacement for Stavropol region Governor Valery Zerenkov, whose one-year-long tenure in the post was marked by turmoil.

CIS Leaders Uneasy About Volatile Afghan Border

Leaders of countries that make up the Collective Security Treaty Organization met in Sochi on Monday to discuss current threats to their nations, expressing particular concern about next year's planned withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan and potential fallout from the civil war in Syria.

Court Rejects Navalny Election Appeal

A Moscow court on Friday rejected a lawsuit brought by opposition politician Alexei Navalny seeking to cancel the results of the city's Sept. 8 mayoral election, in which Navalny placed second behind Kremlin-backed winner Sergei Sobyanin.

Bill Targeting Gay Parents Is 'Unenforceable,' Deputy Says

One of the main backers of an anti-gay law that has drawn harsh criticism from rights groups and Western governments poured cold water Thursday on a newly proposed bill targeting LGBT parents, saying it was unlikely to be passed and was "unenforceable."

Sochi Authorities Begin Raids to Find Illegal Migrants

Migration authorities in Sochi on Tuesday kicked off a campaign to catch migrants working in the country illegally in an effort to rid the city of all illegal migrants before next year's Winter Olympics.

Obama Appeals for Backing to Hit Syria, Europeans Urge Delay

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Americans on Saturday to back him in launching an attack on Syria, as diplomatic pressure grew on the U.S. to wait for a UN report expected in a week's time before beginning military action.

World Leaders Fail to Find Consensus on Syria at G20

The world's leading powers made little progress at the G20 summit Friday toward a unified position on addressing the civil war in Syria, as U.S. President Barack Obama failed to convince many of his counterparts of the necessity to strike militarily without UN support in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.

Navalny Faces New Pressure as Mayoral Race Heats Up

The mayoral campaign of opposition leader Alexei Navalny faced a new wave of pressure by authorities Thursday as the Moscow Elections Commission warned he could be struck from the ballot and police raided a printer of his campaign materials.

Uncertainty Hangs Over Berezovsky Estate as New Assets Found

A Russian prosecutor said Tuesday that a court in Belgrade had frozen seven enterprises allegedly belonging to the estate of the late Boris Berezovsky, whose complex finances have become a source of speculation and legal battles as various interested parties seek slices of the pie.

Russia Tells Tourists Not to Go to Egypt

Tour operators stand to lose millions of dollars as Russian travelers cancel their vacations to the nation beset by unrest.

PACE Draft Report Slams Russia on Magnitsky Case

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Tuesday released a draft version of a report on the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in which the advisory body slammed Russia for failing to punish anyone in connection with the case and recommended that European nations pressure Russia to investigate it further.

The Putins Announce They're Getting Divorced

President Vladimir Putin appeared on national TV on Thursday night with his rarely seen wife, Lyudmila, to announce that after almost 30 years of marriage they have decided to get divorced.

Q&A: Sharapova's First Business Aims for the Sweet Spot

For her first truly independent venture outside of a tennis court, Maria Sharapova is relying on familiar tools: high heels, her cover-girl lips, and neon green tennis balls.

Chechen Brothers Linked to Boston Bombings

U.S. authorities have linked two ethnic Chechen brothers to the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 this week, U.S. media reported.

Washington Publishes Magnitsky Blacklist

The U.S. government on Friday released the long-awaited public portion of the Magnitsky blacklist, naming 18 Russians implicated in human rights abuses in a partly symbolic gesture that threatens to add tension to already stressed U.S.-Russian ties.

Investigators Close Case Into Magnitsky's Death

Investigators said Tuesday that they had closed the case into the 2009 death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, whose name is attached to a U.S. law that has caused tension in U.S.-Russian relations by seeking to punish Russians implicated in human rights violations.

Pskov Governor Didn't Declare French Villa, Navalny Says

Anti-corruption lawyer and opposition leader Alexei Navalny published documents on his blog Tuesday showing that Pskov Governor Andrei Turchak's wife owns a company with real estate in France that Turchak didn't declare until this month.

Progress Made on Nunn-Lugar Replacement, Foreign Ministry Says

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said progress has been made with the United States in talks on a deal to replace the Nunn-Lugar weapons reduction program, which is set to expire in June, a news report said Friday.

At Least 17 Killed in Komi Mine Explosion

A pocket of methane gas exploded in a coal mine in the far northern Komi republic Monday morning, killing at least 17 miners.

Gerasimov New Head of General Staff

Recently appointed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday named Colonel General Valery Gerasimov the new head of the General Staff, which wields operational control over the armed forces.