Meanwhile, I leave you with something that underscores the importance of Russia watching:
British scholar rails at police seizure of anti-Stalin archive
Eminent British historian Orlando Figes yesterday accused the Russian authorities of trying to 'rehabilitate the Stalinist regime' after armed police seized an entire archive last week detailing repression in the Soviet Union.
Figes, professor of history at Birkbeck, a London University college, condemned the raid on Memorial, a Russian human rights organisation. He said that the police had also taken material used in his latest book, The Whisperers, which details family life in Stalin's Russia.
On Thursday, armed and masked men from the investigative committee of the Russian general prosecutor's office burst into Memorial's St Petersburg office.
After a search of several hours, they confiscated its entire archive - memoirs, photographs, interviews, and other unique documents detailing the history of the gulag and the names of many of its victims.
Yesterday Figes claimed the raid 'was clearly intended to intimidate Memorial'. The confiscated archive included unique documents detailing the 'Soviet terror from 1917 to the 1960s,' he said, adding that the office was 'an important centre for historical research' and a 'voice for tens of thousands of victims of repression in Leningrad'. He said he believed the raid was 'a serious challenge to freedom of expression' in Russia: 'It is part of a campaign to rewrite Soviet history and rehabilitate the Stalinist regime.'