Russian Writers Call for Free Speech as Pasternak’s Birthday Celebrated

by D. Garrison Golubock and Olga Chetina Feb. 11 marked the 124th anniversary of the birth of Boris Pasternak, the famed Soviet author best known for his book “Doctor Zhivago,” which was published abroad after being banned in the Soviet Union. Pasternak’s birthday was celebrated with great fanfare by Russia’s literati, including a new exhibit dedicated to the author and a reading of his work at the […]

Russia Hate on Rise — But Not Against Jews

Bigotry and Violence Aimed at Gay Men and Central Asians by Paul Berger Just three weeks before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, two dozen Russian reporters, photographers and cameramen squeezed into the spartan first-floor office of the Independent Press Center in Moscow, a five-minute walk from the capital’s main Orthodox church, […]

‘I know tomorrow will be my last day’: Uncovering Soviet Jewry’s Holocaust experience

by Smadar Shir For years the Soviet Jewry’s Holocaust was a forbidden secret. Now, through letters found in archives, Yad Vashem is working to make the voices silenced behind the Iron Curtain heard   “To my dear brother, our city Priluki was taken over quite suddenly and very quickly by the German occupiers. My brother […]

Ban Ki-moon condemns persecution of gay people in Russia

The United Nations secretary-general has used a speech ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to condemn attacks on the LGBT community, amid growing criticism of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” laws. Ban Ki-moon, addressing the IOC before Friday’s opening ceremony, highlighted the fact that the theme of the UN’s human rights day last December was “sport comes out against homophobia”. […]

Russia: Sochi Games Highlight Homophobic Violence

Human Rights Watch (Moscow) – The Russian authorities need to address a deteriorating situation of widespread and concerted abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and activists. The authorities’ failure to act and some officials’ homophobic comments expose LGBT people to further harassment and violence and embolden the attackers, Human Rights Watch research found. As […]

Russian Orthodox Church gets increasingly political – experts

by Lyudmila Alexandrova MOSCOW, February 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church has become more politicized, say experts as they look back on the five years the ROC has been led by its current head, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill. Although views of Kirill’s activities in that capacity differ, nobody calls in question […]