From Foreign Policy, it’s hard to find people who are optimistic about the future of Russian democracy — Leon Aron explains why he’s one of them; and can Russia reform its outmoded military without scaring the United States? In a new report, Russian opposition leaders describe the presidential perks enjoyed by Vladimir V. Putin, including palaces, a fleet of jets and droves of luxury cars. Putin’s God Squad: After years of repression under Communist rule, the Orthodox Church is back at the heart of Russian politics. Nicholas Breyfogle and Jeffrey on Russia and the race for the Arctic. Snow Job: Siberia is the West’s new hunting ground for young girls to morph into supermodels — and the industry is warping their lives. Amy Knight on Russia and the new struggle with Putin. Leonid Kosals on Russia between chaos and dictatorship. John M. Handley reviews The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia by Angus Roxburgh. Russia’s toughest prisons: what can the Pussy Riot band members expect? The fifth problem: How Moscow State University discriminated against Jewish applicants using deceptively simple problems. Yvonne Howell reviews When Pigs Could Fly and Bears Could Dance: A History of the Soviet Circus by Miriam Neirick.

A new issue of Common Ground is out. Neil Gershenfeld (MIT): How to Make Almost Anything: The Digital Fabrication Revolution. The challenges of a Darwinian approach to psychological disorders: Martin L. Lalumiere reviews Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Michael Lind on the case against a “grand bargain”: A deal that cuts entitlements would be bad for mainstream Americans — and besides, what's the rush? A new form of western deviance: William Skidelsky reviews You Aren’t What You Eat: Fed Up With Gastroculture by Steven Poole. Garson Romalis on why he is an abortion doctor. Insert coins to continue: Can a video game company, a Greek economist, and the largest barter market in history stop the recession — and save capitalism? Jernej Amon Prodnik reviews Towards a Critical Theory of Surveillance in Informational Capitalism by Thomas Allmer. Do people really walk in circles when they’re lost? Matt Soniak investigates. Open seas: James Holmes on how the Arctic is the Mediterranean of the 21st century. An interview with Mark Kingwell, author of Unruly Voices: Essays on Democracy, Civility and the Human Imagination.

Geoffrey Heeren (Valparaiso): Persons Who Are Not the People: The Changing Rights of Immigrants in the United States. From The Social Contract, a special issue on the victims of immigration. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on why it pays to have immigrants stay; and the party next time: As immigration turns red states blue, how can Republicans transform their platform? Harold Meyerson on the future of the white man's party. Why immigration reform won't solve the GOP's huge problem with minorities. Timothy McGettigan on Barack Obama and the death of white Republican privilege. Michael Tomasky on how the Right is still racist. Chrissie Long on the impact of immigration on anti-Hispanic hate crime in the United States. Jonathan Cohn on stuff white people like. Death in the desert: Are American vigilantes murdering undocumented immigrants in Arizona? An interview with Jeff Biggers on the Arizonification of America. Chris Barsanti reviews What’s the Matter with White People? Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was by Joan Walsh (and more and more). Obama can only do so much: Angry older whites have to decide if they want to secede from our multiracial future.

From the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Rainer Hegselmann (Bayreuth): Thomas C. Schelling and the Computer: Some Notes on Schelling's Essay "On Letting a Computer Help with the Work". A look at how a “Dream Team” of behavioral scientists advised the Obama campaign. John Wenzel reviews Totally Mad: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity. It's MAD's world, but is there any room left for it anymore? Eli Saslow on how GOP’s Red America is forced to rethink what it knows about the country. Karl Steel reviews Monsters, Gender and Sexuality in Medieval English Literature by Dana M. Oswald. Changing savings habits: Can financial education in grade school have long-term effects? Robert Wright on the real David Petraeus scandal. Joan Walsh on the real Petraeus scandal. Felix Salmon on the deliciousness of Rolling Jubilee. The truth about Ben and Jerry’s: Contrary to myth, the sale of Ben & Jerry’s to corporate giant Unilever wasn’t legally required. Kathryn Doyle interviews Roger Musson, author of The Million Death Quake: The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disaster.

Matthew Hollow (Durham): Pre-1900 Utopian Visions of the “Cashless Society”. From’s Past Imperfect blog, Mike Dash on the neverending hunt for utopia: Through centuries of human suffering, one vision has sustained — a belief in a terrestrial arcadia that offered justice and plenty to any explorer capable of finding it. Ian James reviews Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought. Civilisation is making humanity less intelligent: The simplicity of modern life is making us more stupid, according to a scientific theory which claims humanity may have reached its intellectual and emotional peak as early as 4,000 BC. State Purposes: Terrell Clemmons on utopian creep and the struggle for human rights and freedom. Utopia is a fantasy about a supposedly perfect society; if Distributism is Utopian and Capitalism is not, it is because Capitalism is not only a fantasy, but also a nightmare. The ends of humanity: Socialism is dead, and the transhuman future looms — is there any way to recover a sense of global purpose? George Dvorsky on the 7 best case scenarios for the future of humanity.