Articles by Michael Bohm


Michael Bohm, a graduate of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, has served as opinion page editor of The Moscow Times since 2007. He is author of "The Russian Specific: An Analysis of the Russian Work Culture and National Character." He also taught journalism at MGIMO, the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs. Working in Russia since 1997, he has appeared as a guest on Channel One, Kultura television, Finam radio, City-FM, Ekho Moskvy, Dozhd television and Al Jazeera. You can contact him at m.bohm@imedia.ru.


How Russia's Journalists Serve the Fatherland

In the West, journalists are given awards for fighting the government. In Russia, they are awarded for serving it.

Top 5 Myths About U.S. Meddling in Ukraine

The Kremlin blames the U.S. for Ukrainians' embrace of Western values and institutions. But this is an attempt to shift the argument away from the real problem: Russia has lost the "values battle" with the U.S.

6 More Russian Myths About Crimea

The U.S. annexed Hawaii and Texas, so why can't Russia annex Crimea? Russia is living in the 19th century, pursuing its own manifest destiny.

4 Reasons Why Putin's Crimea Grab Will Backfire (Video)

Amid the "great Crimean conquest," Russians view Putin as a hero who rectified a historical injustice, stood up to the West and saved Russians from Ukrainian nationalists. But the annexation will backfire once the sanctions and global isolation hit the economy and once Ukraine joins NATO.

Putin's Own Historical Injustice

Once agreements that have established the territorial integrity of countries are revoked in the name of rectifying a historical injustice, as Russia has done by annexing Crimea, it opens up a dangerous Pandoras box that destroys global stability and security. What other historical injustices will Putin want to rectify next?

Putin's Imperial Ambitions

Putin, who always admired the conquests of Peter and Catherine the Great — and even George W. Bush – has finally received the golden opportunity to fulfill his own imperial ambitions by conquering Crimea – and perhaps more.

Top 5 Myths About Russia's Invasion of Crimea

It is well-known that the first victim of nearly every military conflict is the truth. But Russia seems to have broken all records in this category.

Farewell, Ambassador McFaul

McFaul used his charm and "Twitter diplomacy" to win over tens of thousands of Russians. This led the Kremlin to carry out a smear and harassment campaign against him.

Arab Spring in Russia's Backyard

In any autocracy, at some point, when things get bad enough, the people will say "Enough!" and start fighting for their basic rights and dignity. That point has now come in Ukraine, much as it did in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991.

Why Russia Is No. 1 in Anti-Americanism

According to state-controlled television programs, the CIA supports Russian fascists and terrorists from the North Caucasus, and U.S. military cargo planes fly tons of heroin in to Russia from Afghanistan to turn millions of Russians into HIV-infected drug addicts, while NASA last year tried to send a meteorite to destroy the city of Chelyabinsk.

How Homophobia Can Boost Your Career

If actor Ivan Okhlobystin had made his homophobic comments in the U.S., his career would be over. But in Russia, his career got a nice boost from it.

The 5 Biggest Events That Shaped Putin's 2013

Looking back at the main events that shaped Russia over the past 12 months, it becomes clear that 2013 will go down in history as President Vladimir Putin's "anti-year."

Ukraine Is Putin's Favorite Vassal

Soviet leaders used brute force to keep Ukraine as a subservient vassal state. But Putin must use a more subtle method of carrots and sticks to achieve the same thing.

Yanukovych the Swindler

Yanukovych has been linked to electoral, academic and financial swindling. He also swindled Ukrainians by reneging on his promise to take the country down a more democratic, European path.

My Clash With Homophobes on Russian TV

After I said that the Kremlin's understanding of homosexuality is "primitive," the audience became enraged, screaming at me and demanding an apology. I felt like I was in the U.S. Deep South in the 1920s, speaking before an infuriated crowd of white segregations about equal rights for African-Americans.

How the U.S. Defames Russian Pop Stars

After singer Grigory Leps was put on a U.S. government black list for his alleged role in a top organized crime syndicate, many Russians cried "Russophobia!" They said the same thing when crooner Iosef Kobzon was blacklisted as well.

Stop the Absurd Witch Hunt Against Halloween

Russian lawmakers believe Halloween is "extremist," causes psychological harm and is an evil U.S. plot to morally corrupt Russians.

Putin Shearing Wool From the Snowden Pig

Russia is enjoying a nice windfall from Snowden's cyber-vigilantism and the resulting crisis in U.S.-European relations.The Kremlinstill believes in the old, Cold War-era formula: What is bad for the U.S. is good for Russia.

A Nobel Prize Tailor-Made for Putin

Putin deserves a global con-artist award for having tricked so many into believing he is a peacemaker with his Syria plan.

Putin Revives Russian Exceptionalism

Putin's brand of Russian exceptionalism is defined by his anti-Americanism and his single-handed mission to restore Russia's imperial greatness.

Putin's Spectacular Syrian Smoke Screen

Putin has managed to shift the world's attention away from Assad's war crimes. Now it is focused exclusively on Russia's "peaceful" plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

Obama Falls Right Into Putin's Trap

Putin is a master of political intrigue and provocation. By obstructing the U.S. in the Security Council, Putin makes two big propaganda scores: He automatically makes an attack on Syria “illegal” and the U.S. an “aggressor.”

The Roots of Russia's Homophobia

The new anti-gay law punishes those who "propagandize" LGBT lifestyles. But the real propagandizers are the Orthodox church and state, which are pushing their own political agenda.

Spying Is a Sovereign Right

Russia's fervent objections to the NSA's foreign espionage activities show a clear double standard just like the old Russian quip that when U.S. agents gather foreign intelligence, they are "spies," but when Russian agents do the same thing, they are respectfully called "intelligence officers."

Snowden Doomed to Dreadful Life in a Capsule

If Snowden felt bored, claustrophobic and depressed in the capsule hotel, he's got a lot more of that coming. Living on the FSB's strict terms as a "refugee" in Russia, he will realize he never left that capsule after all.

Why Putin Is Glad That Obama Isn't Coming

While Obama has pivoted away from the reset with Russia, Putin has pivoted toward the Soviet Union, writes opinion page editor Michael Bohm.

Carelessness as a Russian National Trait

Carelessness in the Russian workplace, some say, is as Russian as the long, cold winters. It has gotten so bad that Medvedev has classified it as a national threat.

Putin Uses His Favorite Ax to Grind Navalny

First, the Kremlin launched a crude propaganda campaign against Navalny. Then, it cooked up a sham criminal case to eliminate him as a potential political rival.

Why Putin Despises Snowden

Putin has a strong dislike for human rights activists as a class and even more disdain for traitors, whom he recently called "swine."

Snowden, Russia's Favorite U.S. Dissident

If Snowden receives asylum in Russia, he will face a serious moral dilemma: His will be living in a country with a far worse record than the U.S. on government abuse and transparency.