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Russian Lives Matter: How America’s new civil rights movement reverberates in Russia

1 hour 4 minutes
Russian Lives Matter: How America’s new civil rights movement reverberates in Russia

On today’s episode, we’ll hear from five guests about race and injustice in Russia and the Soviet Union, including from the activist behind a new initiative against police brutality in Russia built around the slogan “Russian Lives Matter.” As you may have guessed, this adapts the better known phrase “Black Lives Matter,” which is the rallying cry for an enormous social movement that is sweeping the United States. Both of these slogans are ostensibly about opposition to police brutality, but they embody very different perspectives on injustice.

Black Lives Matter, or BLM, has dominated the news cycle in the U.S., largely supplanting coronavirus as the nation’s leading story. The movement has attracted attention in Russia, as well, where the state media has geopolitical reasons to highlight how the United States is a racist and failed democracy, and where many anti-Kremlin, typically Western-leaning oppositionists look to places like the United States as an example for better governance and civil society. In other words, they’re watching the U.S. from Russia, and Black Lives Matter is now front and center.

In this episode:

  • (5:56) Libertarian Party member and “Civil Society” movement head Mikhail Svetov explains the “Russian Lives Matter” initiative.
  • (17:24) Meduza features editor Hilah Kohen argues that BLM is wrongly portrayed as riots and divisiveness.
  • (22:59) Rogers Sure, a Kenyan man who studies engineering in Yekaterinburg, describes what it’s like to be African in Russia.
  • (30:54) Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, a history instructor at San Jacinto College, summarizes her fieldwork and research into African Americans living in the USSR and minority scholars in Slavic studies.
  • (44:53) Meredith Clark, an associate professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, breaks down the fundamentals of Black Lives Matter, about which you can learn more here.

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

Ghost Processional by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Sneaky by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Silver Flame by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Comfortable Mystery 2 by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

Thinking Music by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

The Bandit by Kevin MacLeod / Link / License

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