Opposition comes in all shapes and sizes in Russia.
# Before he became popular with Moscow’s liberal intelligentsia for his hunger strike protesting alleged falsification in Astrakhan’s mayoral election, Oleg Shein was a leftist firebrand, a trade union leader, and an obedient pro-Kremlin State Duma deputy. Shein’s status as the opposition’s current poster boy illustrates the ideological diversity of the anti-Kremlin protest movement and is typical of the odd twists the country’s politics have undergone since the Soviet collapse. RFE/RL correspondent Tom Balmforth reports.
# In the most recent “The Power Vertical” podcast, Brian Whitmore and Kirill Kobrin discuss the politics of television in Russia’s changing media landscape, and the political emergence of Ilya Varlamov, a 28-year old opposition blogger with a wild afro who may become mayor of Omsk, Russia’s seventh-largest city.
# Analyst Liz Fuller’s “Caucasus Report” examines a 20-minute video clip in which self-styled Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov answered questions about the current state of the North Caucasus insurgency, including about fractured allegiances and whether Russia’s Federal Security Service provided $500 million to fund Umarov’s efforts.
# For a different take on outsiders… web editor Andy Heil interviews researchers who have discovered what they suspect is a rare albino orca whale. Nicknamed “Iceberg,” the whale’s pod seems to have made peace with his opposing appearance, allowing him to survive and thrive in the group for at least 16 years in Russia’s Far East seas.