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  • Writer's pictureMariah Nimmons

The Forces That Be

A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page a week or more past the below date, pieces mentioned in this post may have been removed to make room for up-to-date resources.

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Updated Resources - December 6, 2023

Caption and Posters translated with DeepL: A spontaneous picket, which was organized in the very center of Yekaterinburg, on 1905 Square, on February 24 - the day when Russian troops were introduced into Ukraine to carry out the so-called "special operation". Signs read: "No War" and "I Didn't Choose War" (Владислав Постников, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


  • Kyiv Independent: Newsfeed

  • Novaya Gazeta Europe: Newsfeed

  • The Insider: Newsfeed


Moscow rally "for a free Russia without repression and despotism" 10 June 2018: Konstantin Kotov, a Russian software engineer and political activist later sentenced to four years in prison for participation in unsanctioned protests, holds a sign that translates to “Freedom Anna Pavlikova” (translated with DeepL). Kotov wears a shirt which reads “Save Oleg Sentsov & Ukrainian Political Prisoners In Russia”. (DonSimon, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)


In addition to our weekly resource update, today we also offer an updated collection of pieces on the Israeli-Hamas war.

Track Two’s ultimate interest in the present conflict lies in peace. In building towards this end, it’s imperative that we understand the forces at play within both Ukraine and Russia, particularly those that motivate and hinder potential citizen allies in its pursuit. Through this understanding, we are better equipped to envision collaborative pathways to peace that account for the realities of those on the ground in both nations. In today’s update, we explore one such force within Russia through an examination of state repression. We offer insight on its broader impact and its current ramifications for marginalized groups within Russia, as well intimate portraits of resistance.

Meduza provides an illuminating starting point in an interview with a sociologist, foremost in the field of repression, who outlines the various forms of Russian state repression and prescribes measures for resistance. In Russia.Post, a senior researcher specializing in contemporary autocracies within Russia and Eurasia explores Russian journalists in exile, the ethical dilemmas they face, and hypocrisy in the West’s treatment of anti-war Russians. Another resource from the same publication gleans insights from a recent survey of anti-war Russians who remain in-country. The Moscow Times and preeminent human rights group OVD-Info offer an enlightening podcast and accompanying resources which profile the Russians who are politically persecuted, exploring the war’s impact, the reasons for their persecution, and their treatment within the court system.

Academia and authoritarianism intersect in Novaya Gazeta Europe’s piece on the impact of Vienna’s Central European University designation as an “undesirable organization” on the institution’s Russian students and staff. Meduza offers three pieces on the recent clampdown on the LGBTQIA movement, including expert analysis of the recent Supreme Court ban on the movement, a thorough breakdown of its ramifications for queer people and activists, and creative measures taken to fight the Russian ban on the non-existent “international movement”.

Shifting from the societal to the individual, we chronicle stories of personal resistance. Meduza reports on the punishment meted out to the state news employee who attempted to skirt mobilization. The Insider publishes extracts from an appeal to Putin, originally posted to a Telegram channel with 22,000 subscribers, wherein family members demand the return of mobilized soldiers.

Resistance blooms among Russia’s youngest in two final thematic pieces from Novaya Gazeta Europe. The publication shares the impactful court statement given by 17-year-old Yegor Balazeykin who was sentenced to six years in a juvenile detention for attempting to set fire to a military recruitment office. It also profiles the resilient convictions of 19-year-old anti-war activist Dmitry Kuzmin, even after expulsion from two St. Petersburg universities, imprisonment, and law enforcement harassment.

In the overview, an insightful perspective on the role of 'cultural othering' in Kremlin narratives on Ukraine. In videos, Gwendolyn Sasse on tavailable analytical frameworks for understanding the war, her latest book on it and its policy implications. Find also, a discussion with a former High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the prospect of integrating new member states into the EU and the future of transatlantic support for Ukraine. Lastly, we offer a lecture by two Russian journalists, among the earliest to be designated ‘foreign agents’, on independent journalism against the backdrop of war.

In the arts, Ukrainian poetry presents an opportunity to advance Ukrainian culture and distinguish the country’s literary arts from that of other Slavic languages and an interview with Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on using art as a weapon against repression.

We offer these important pieces - and so many more - in today’s edition of our Russia-Ukraine resource page. Visit our blog for important updates and analysis on the Israel-Hamas War.




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