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Articles by Ola Cichowlas
Russia’s Silicone Valley: Boob Jobs in the Provinces
Ryazan was a pioneer of the 19th-century beauty industry. Today it is home to a booming plastic surgery business
Hosting FIFA's Confederations Cup Tests Russia on Security, Infrastructure
Russia is introducing tough security measures ahead of the Confederations Cup
Talking Heads: How Russia's Videobloggers are Shaping Public Opinion
As Russians become captive to video blogs — and with elections looming — the Kremlin is looking to get in on the act.
Machine Against the Stage: Authorities Target Edgy Theater Director
When masked men raided Moscow's hippest theatre the Gogol Center and interrogated its internationally famous director Kirill Serebrennikov, artists rallied...
Love brought businessman Erik Jansma to Moscow. He isn’t against staying.
How the Kremlin Turned Macron Against Russia
Emmanuel Macron had little to say about Russia before he decided to run for the French presidency. But the Kremlin's actions during the election campaign...
How Russian Kids Are Taught World War II
Russian students play a central role in celebrating Victory Day: merchandise like toy guns and Red Army costumes are aimed at making patriots of children...
Young, Hipster and Red: Meet Russia's New Generation of Communists
A new generation of politicians want to modernize Russia's old school Communist party.
Russian Blogger Ilya Varlamov Attacked Twice in One Day
A group of unknown men in the southern Russian city of Stavropol threw green ink in Russian blogger's Ilya Varlamov's face twice in one day.
Ukrainian Beats Steal a March on Moscow
Pop singers from Ukraine are topping Russian charts despite tension between the countries.
Russia Journalist Forced to Quit Over Facebook Post Slamming Diplomat
The editor of “Evening Magadan,” a local paper in the Russian Far East town Magadan, was forced to quit his job after criticizing the Russian Foreign...
Patriarch Kirill: From Ambitious Reformer to State Hardliner
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church started his reign as a modernizing reformer. But over the course of eight years, he has turned into a Kremlin-loyal...
Pushkin Caught in the Middle of Moscow's Protests
Russia's beloved poet Alexander Pushkin is caught in a political battle in Moscow. Apparently he's innocent.
Moscow State Conservatory Caught in Classroom Propaganda Row
Videos have emerged from classrooms across Russia that suggest the state is encouraging indoctrination.
Russia's Nationwide Anti-Corruption Protests in Videos
On Sunday 27 March, Russia saw the biggest protests in years. From Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, Russians took to the streets to demand an end to corruption...
From Soviet TV Icon to Abandoned Landmark
The iconic Shukhov Tower is celebrating its 95th birthday. The tower hasn’t undergone any restoration since its construction. It has been embroiled in...
French Presidential Hopeful Le Pen Meets Putin on Russia Trip
The leader of France's right-wing party Front National met the Russian president for the first time.
Polish Lawyers Clash With Border Police Over Chechen Refugees
A group of lawyers from Warsaw traveled to the Belarusian border on Friday in a bid to secure legal assistance to Chechen asylum seekers facing off against...
Welcome Back to the Belarusian Good Old Bad Old Days
Despite a rare act of conciliation by President Lukashenko, protests across Belarus continue, and the police are done playing nice.
The Kremlin’s Propaganda Network Wants to Debunk Fake News
Given RT’s reputation for reporting bogus news, you might think it lacks the credentials to start debunking “fake news,” but that’s precisely what...
Goodbye, Khrushchev! Moscow To Bid Farewell To Post-War Housing Blocks
Moscow plans to demolish eight thousand 'Khrushchevki' and re-house 1.6 million people – the population of a small European capital.
Russia on Ukraine's Eurovision: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The Kremlin was forced to comment on whether Russia will take part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev after calls for a boycott mount across...
Belarusians Defend Soviet Mass Graves From Bulldozers
Belarusian opposition activists are camping on the site of an NKVD mass murder to stop authorities building on the territory.
‘Somebody Is Going to Be Beaten’
Torture is still widespread in Russian prisons, released activist Ildar Dadin tells The Moscow Times
Russia Prepares for High Camp Battle Behind Enemy Lines
This year’s Eurovision song contest in Kiev is set for political controversy
Belarusians Take to the Streets Over ‘Parasite’ Tax
In most democracies, a two-thousand strong protest would be regarded as small. But in Belarus, where strongman Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since...
Buyer's Remorse: Trump's Position on Crimea Angers Russia
The Kremlin had high hopes for U.S. President Donald Trump. He had praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposed tag-teaming with Moscow in Syria...
What Does Michael Flynn’s Resignation Mean for U.S.-Russia Ties?
On Feb 13, Donald Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned over his contacts with Russia. His resignation has not only humiliated the...
Demonstrators Clash Over Fate of Iconic Russian Cathedral
Decision to gift iconic St. Isaac's Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church has split St. Petersburg residents
Russia Reviews Sentence of Tortured Opposition Activist
Jailed opposition activist Dadin, who alleges he was tortured in prison, may be released from prison after a Russian court reviews his case.
Russia Launches Operation 'Anyone But Macron'
As scandal removes Moscow-friendly Francois Fillon from the French presidential election race, the Kremlin turns its attention to an unexpected centrist...
Double Jeopardy: Why Kremlin Opponent Navalny is Back in Court
The Kremlin faces a dilemma — let Navalny run for president or find a way to disqualify him. Here’s what you need to know about the case.
Donald Trump Gives Hungarian Autocrat's Bromance With Putin a Boost
It’s not every day Vladimir Putin finds himself on European soil. But this week, the Russian leader will visit his closest EU ally: Viktor Orban's Hungary...
How A Group of Writers and Illustrators Revolutionized Children's Books in Early Soviet Russia
In early Soviet Russia, a group of avant-garde artists and poets produced a remarkable collection of futuristic children's books.
A Shaken Transatlantic ‘Power Couple’ Turns to Putin
The Moscow Times looks back at how the leaders of the United States and Great Britain have shaped the West's policy on Russia in years past.
Hijab Ban in Remote Russian Village Turns Into National Stand-Off
When authorities in the Republic of Mordovia banned Islamic headscarves in a school, they didn’t anticipate it to make national headlines. But before...
Russian State TV Praises Trump for Avoiding ‘Democracy’ in Inauguration Speech
Though he welcomed the end of Obama’s presidency as the start of a bright new era, the Kremlin’s “chief propagandist” quickly found himself struggling...
Trump’s Fans in Russia Welcome Him to Power, But the Buzz Is Fading
With Donald Trump’s presidency now a cold, hard reality, it is almost as if Russia's ultra-patriots suddenly recognize how bizarre it is to celebrate...
Heavenly Real Estate
The Kremlin might exchange the iconic cathedral for the Orthodox Church's blessing to bury the remains of Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria, ahead...
Eastern Europe: Between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
The Kremlin views all former Warsaw Pact countries as Russia’s zone of influence within Europe – all the more so when the right populist leader comes...
Russian State Television Flips President Obama a Farewell Bird
Dmitry Kiselyov's TV show often has somber overtones, but this Sunday's episode was quite jubilant: it’s the last time he goes on the air with Obama...
In what has become a growing trend, the dossier has provoked reactions from commentators typically critical of Moscow that largely converge with responses...
How Kremlin Media Covers the Hacking Scandal
The Russian state media is dismissing accusations of Moscow's meddling in the U.S. presidential election. With 12 days until Donald Trump's inauguration...
Penned In: Russian Police Go After Football Hooligans Ahead of World Cup
With 15 months to go until Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup, authorities are stepping up the pressure on violent fans.
Putin: Should He Stay or Should He Go?
Putin surprises all by talking life after the Kremlin. But what's the plan?
To Be Great Again, Russia Resurrects Soviet Legends
The Russian Culture Minister has angered historians by reviving Soviet wartime legends. Anyone who challenges his narrative of World War II, he said, should...
Crime, Punishment and More Punishment in Russia's Prisons
A desperate letter from an Arctic prison colony this month has put the spotlight back on Russia's notorious penal system.
Russian State Television Gives Fidel Castro a Soviet Send Off
While the Western world was divided in its reaction to the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Russian politicians and state television were more united...
Putin's Win-Win: Russia at the Heart of France’s Presidential Primaries
Russia rejoicing at the possibility of Francois Fillon running for president in France.
Will Opposition Leader Navalny Run for Russian President?
The Russian opposition woke up to a surprise on the morning of Nov. 16.
America? We Love Those Guys: Russian Propaganda U-Turns on the U.S.
Ever since Vladimir Putin appointed him in 2013, propagandist-in-chief Dmitry Kiselyov has blamed the U.S. for most of Russia's and the world's misdeeds...
Russians Are Growing Uneasy About the Kremlin's War in Syria, New Poll Shows
Despite the country's lack of independent news coverage on Syria and the heavily controlled nature of television, a new poll by the Levada Center suggests...
A Disputed Account: Why a British Bank Decided To Stop Servicing Russia Today
Russia and Russian-connected companies are considered high-risk in the British banking sector.
Super Nannies: The Westerners Educating Russia's Rich Kids
Live-in English tutors educating the Russian elite in Moscow’s luxury suburbs are known by the 19th-century term “governor” or “governess.” These...
Russia’s Abortion Debate Is Back
In calling for an abortion ban, the Orthodox Church hopes to raise its influence to new heights in post-Soviet Russia, though state officials seem content...
Winner Takes All: United Russia Secures a Duma Super-Majority
The final result was overwhelming: United Russia took 343 out of the State Duma’s 450 seats, gaining a constitutional super-majority. Russia’s friendly...
Russia at the Heart of a Conspiracy Theory Dividing Poland
Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz held a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 15, to discuss the findings of a commission he formed to reopen the...
Russian Election Watch 2016: Noteworthy Candidates
The last time Russia held a parliamentary election, in 2011, the capital erupted in mass protests. The authorities responded by cracking down on dissent...
My Dear Friend Vladimir: Erdogan and Putin Back On Track
Until very recently, the hot lines between Ankara and Moscow were very silent. Diplomatic ties between the two countries — cut abruptly in November 2015...
No Laughing Matter: Comedy and Censorship in Putin's Russia
An angel and two demons live inside President Vladimir Putin’s brain. Every day, they decide how to rule Russia. The angel, being outnumbered, always...
Largely Unnoticed, Full-Scale War May Be Returning to Ukraine
July was the deadliest month in the Donbass for over a year.
Endangered Species: Why is Russia Locking Up Its Mayors?
Since Putin came back to the Kremlin in 2012, Russia has arrested, detained or interrogated the mayors of more than 25 cities.
Russia and the World Await Olympic Ban Decision
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to announce its decision on whether Russia will be allowed to take part in next month's Olympic Games...
Moscow Redevelopment Pits Archeologists Against Bureaucrats
Anyone visiting the Russian capital this summer will have experienced the scale of the city government's "My Street" urban redevelopment. These involves...
Moscow's Muslims Struggle to Find Place to Pray
The Russian capital may be home to almost two million Muslims — a greater number than any European city aside from Istanbul — but there are only four...
Ukrainian Question Divides Orthodox World
It took over 1,000 years to gather the religious leaders of the many Eastern Orthodox churches in one place, and still, when it happened, not everyone...
United Russia: Same Game, New Tactics
By June 19, President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign a decree that will officially kick-start the campaign season.
Russians Are Struggling to Afford Medication
"Pharmacies have become like jewelry shops," complained a man during this year's annual phone-in with the Russian president.
Deconstructing Moscow's Constructivist Legacy
When Moscow city deputy Alexandra Parushina asked the men in bulldozers if they had permission to tear down a 1920s housing estate in her constituency...
Is a New Iron Curtain Falling Over Russia?
The fall of the Soviet Union gave Russians a taste for several freedoms. Some, like freedom of expression and assembly, are no longer taken for granted...
Why Savchenko is Less Havel than Malcolm X
The receptions could not have been more different. In Kiev: crowds of well-wishers, multiple TV livestreaming, press conferences. In Moscow: out of public...
Arts and life
The True Russia in Book 'Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible'
Television "is the only force that can unify and rule and bind this country," British producer and journalist Peter Pomerantsev says in his superb...