GUEST ROOM | Putin’s Politics of Bad Faith

Five years ago, a friend visiting Kyiv sent me a photograph from Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Ukraine. “Freedom is Our Religion,” read the bold banner covering the city’s House Trade Unions building, which was damaged by fire during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity: the mass protests that overthrew the pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s an arresting and puzzling banner. I cherish freedom more than (almost?) anything else. Making a reflective choice, acting upon it, taking responsibility for it — what’s more human than this?  In my classes on human nature, I can talk with my students about freedom ad nausea.

Vladimir Kara-Murza Is Not Backing Down

Someone is trying to kill Vladimir Kara-Murza. Someone is failing. The Russian journalist and democratic activist, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, is soft-spoken but full of life as we sit chatting about politics in the atrium of Gates Hall. Kara-Murza is in town for a screening of his documentary Nemtsov, which tells the story of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, and in an interview with The Sun he explained the story behind the film, and what he hopes to impart on his audience. “Boris was the best of us… so they killed the strongest,” Kara-Murza says when asked about the brazen 2015 assassination of Nemtsov that occured just steps away from the Kremlin.