Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor

Fred Weir

The Christian Science Monitor

Russian Federation

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Past articles by Fred:

30 years after Soviet collapse, breaking up is still hard to do

How the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago continues to roil Russia, the former East bloc, and the world. → Read More

Can long-austere Russia spend its way to a more dynamic economy?

Russia is adopting Keynesian economics and stimulus spending in an attempt to give its long-austere economy a boost. → Read More

Russian internet giant Yandex takes rare stand against state snooping

Internet company Yandex is key to Russian economic success, but it has encryption keys that the FSB wants. Can Russia balance security and economy? → Read More

‘Chernobyl’ TV miniseries: the reviews from ground zero

The dramatization of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster has gotten a mixed response in post-Soviet states. → Read More

A Great Firewall of Russia? Kremlin puts key bricks into place.

Russians have enjoyed a relatively freewheeling internet, but that is likely to change with a new surveillance law. → Read More

‘Fake news’ in Russia: State censorship elicits an outcry

‘Fake news’ in Russia: Protests against new state censorship moves, signed by Putin, invoke universal principles. → Read More

Russians embrace Soviet ideals – by not paying their gas bills

Frustration with present economic woes is leading many Russians to turn to the ideals of a rose-colored Soviet past. And for some, that means an unusual ethical stand: refusing to pay their utility bills. → Read More

An end to the dollar's global hegemony? The Kremlin sees an opportunity.

The dollar has long been the world's reserve currency. But some countries, angered by sanctions, are challenging that status, potentially undermining one of the US's most influential tools for shaping global policy. → Read More

Once banished by czars, a centuries-old sect finds new life in modern Russia

It sounds like fiction: a religious group exiled to Siberia in the 1600s and later persecuted by the Soviets. But that’s the history of Buryatia’s Old Believers, who are now being welcomed back into Russian society. Fourth in a five-part series. → Read More

Buddhism flourishes in Siberia, opening window on its pre-Soviet past

Orthodox Christianity may be Russia's most high-profile religion, but it is only one of the country's four official “founding” faiths. Another of the four, Buddhism, has been experiencing a rebirth in post-Soviet Russia. Second in a five-part series. → Read More

Russia's Asian and European halves meet and mix in remote Buryatia

Russia isn't just the cathedral-and-Kremlin society pictured by the West. In the remote – and struggling – republic of Buryatia, a mix of Cossacks and Mongols, Orthodox Christian exiles and Buddhists populate a decidedly different Russia. First in a five-part series. → Read More

Upcoming Trump-Putin summit gives Russians hope for US thaw

Despite its early hopes, the Kremlin has found the Trump presidency to be soberingly antagonistic. So the fact that Russians are upbeat about the Helsinki summit suggests a real opportunity for diplomacy. → Read More

Russia woos a Europe feuding with US over tariffs, Iran

The Christian Science Monitor is an international news organization that delivers thoughtful, global coverage via its website, weekly magazine, daily news briefing, and email newsletters. → Read More

To pay for a 'Russia first' agenda, Putin takes ax to military spending

As Putin begins his newest term, he is introducing a radically different budget for his country, with plans for a major infrastructure boost coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin's more ambitious defense projects. → Read More

Will Russia's involvement in Syria end up burning its ties with Israel?

Israel has maintained a good relationship with the Kremlin amid Russia's tensions with the West. But as the Assad regime's victories bring Iran closer to the Israeli border, Russia is finding it harder to balance its needs in Syria with its Israeli ties. → Read More

Kremlin cyberpower? How fight over messaging app is showing its limits.

The Russian government is trying to block popular messaging app Telegram from domestic users. But its creator, Pavel Durov, is easily winning the fight, ensuring Telegram stays up even as the Kremlin clumsily causes collateral damage online. → Read More

Russia wants US military out of Syria. But it still needs US to help bring peace.

Russian and US-allied forces avoided conflict during Friday's airstrikes on alleged Syrian chemical weapon sites. But Moscow sees the US's ongoing involvement in Syria as nothing more than spoiler. Still, analysts say, Russia needs the US to help diplomatically. → Read More

In Russia, a grass-roots bid to expose Stalin's ‘Great Terror’

The nascent movement mirrors efforts in many countries – Japan, Germany, Rwanda, and the United States, to name a few – to confront elements of a dark past. → Read More

Russia's media scene: not just a state affair

Despite Western preconceptions of a Soviet-like puppet media, the Russian news landscape is quite diverse, with outlets public and private, big and small. But government influence remains a critical concern. → Read More

Is running against Putin pointless? Why some candidates say no.

There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin will win a fourth term in Russia's presidential election on March 18. But despite the Kremlin's orchestration of the proceedings, the race provides also-rans with opportunities to shape Russia's path. → Read More