What Russia’s Latest Protests Mean for Putin – JULIA IOFFE MAR 27, 2017

Police officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Vladivostok, Russia.

After the largest demonstrations in years erupted across the country on Sunday, the Kremlin is fighting back.

MOSCOW— It’s not a rare sight in this city to see tens of thousands of people pour into the streets to express their opposition to the government that makes its home here. Moscow was the epicenter of the massive pro-democracy protests of 2011-2012, and many others since, including rallies to commemorate slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. This is the city where Vladimir Putin lives, along with the tens of thousands of people who make his machine of state hum. But given its wealth and cosmopolitanism, Moscow is also the most oppositional city in Russia. In 2013, it nearly forced the Kremlin-installed mayor into a run-off with a charismatic young opposition leader, Alexey Navalny. So in some ways, it was not surprising to see thousands heed his call to come out and protest here on Sunday.

But Sunday’s protest was different. Unlike the rallies in Nemtsov’s memory or even the 2011-2012 protests, this one did not have a permit from the Moscow city authorities. Over the weekend, the mayor’s office warned people that protestors alone would bear the responsibility for any consequences of attending what they deemed an illegal demonstration. But despite those warnings and despite the fresh memory of some three dozen people being charged—many of whom did prison time—for a protest in May 2012 that turned violent, thousands came out in Moscow. The police estimated attendance at 8,000, but given officials’ predilection for artificially deflating the numbers of those gathered at such events to make them seem less of a threat, the number could easily have been double that. People clogged the length of Tverskaya Street, one of the city’s main drags. The iconic Pushkin Square was packed, and people clung to the lampposts, chanting “Russia will be free!”

Article continues:

Some Colleges Step Up to Ease Students’ Debt Burden – By  Douglas Belkin March 27, 2017 6:17 p.m. ET

About 100 mostly liberal arts colleges offer help with loan repayments to graduates

Natalie Dunn works inside a recording studio in Adrian College, Howell, Mich. The college junior says she picked the school for its offer to help with loan repayments.

Natalie Dunn works inside a recording studio in Adrian College, Howell, Mich. The college junior says she picked the school for its offer to help with loan repayments. |` Photo: Melanie Maxwell for The Wall Street Journal

Natalie Dunn works inside a recording studio in Adrian College, Howell, Mich. The college junior says she picked the school for its offer to help with loan repayments.Photo: Melanie Maxwell for The Wall Street Journal

When Natalie Dunn was a senior in high school, she was torn between two colleges—but only one offered anything close to a money-back guarantee.

So she picked Adrian College over the less-expensive Central Michigan University.

The private liberal arts school promised it would cover some or all of her student-loan payments depending on how much she earned after graduation, up to $37,000 a year in salary.

Article continues:

Can you Trust Online Reviews? | Compound Interested Ep.5 – Published on Mar 27, 2017

Online reviews can have a real, measurable impact on restaurants bottom line. In order to understand how those stars effect restaurant-goers, we spoke to two economists, a Yelp representative, and a businessman who has turned restaurant owner’s review anxiety into a business opportunity.

Catch up on Compound Interested here:
“Young Americans are worried they will be renting forever” – http://bit.ly/2nXVaHA


Georgia Dems normally raise $10,000 for this House seat. This April they’ll have $3 million. – Updated by Jeff Stein Mar 27, 2017, 9:00am EDT

The resistance movement is about to get its first big electoral test.

ROSWELL, Georgia — On a sunny Sunday in mid-February, Karley Barber, 54, spends her morning and afternoon going door to door for Jon Ossoff, the leading Democrat running for the Georgia House seat vacated by former Rep. Tom Price, Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary.

Clipboard in hand, she laughs nervously as she marches up the steep gravel path to the first house on her list. She raps twice on the wood door frame, and shivers with a nervous jitter as someone inside approaches.

“I’ve never done this! What if they slam the door in my face?” says Barber, a government contractor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 7,000 people have already volunteered for Ossoff’s campaign, and he has raised more than $3 million — unprecedented numbers for the congressional district.

The April 18 special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District is Democrats’ first chance to eat into Republicans’ House majority — and potentially preview the 2018 midterm elections. “Normally, a Democrat running for Price’s seat would be lucky to raise $10,000 to $20,000,” says Phil Lunney, legislative liaison for the Fulton County Democrats. “There’s been nothing like it here, at least in the 21st century.”

But the race, held in a deeply conservative district long dominated by Republicans, will also be a test of something equally vital: whether the grassroots anti-Trump activism can be translated into electoral success. Ossoff’s race is offering a test run for whether the outpouring of energy in the streets can be harnessed by the Democratic Party, or if it will prove beyond the grasp of its politicians.

Barber’s very presence gives Democrats reason for optimism. This isn’t just her first time going canvassing for a candidate: She’s never even voted in a midterm election before. Her husband is a fervent Donald Trump supporter. Most of her friends in suburban Atlanta’s East Cobb neighborhood are Republicans. “I’d hang out with other women, and most of the time I’d keep my mouth shut because they’d just go on and on and on about how much they hate Clinton and Obama,” Barber said.

Article continues:

The Schulz Effect Faces Its First Test – By Alexander Saeedy March 27, 2017

MICHAELA REHLE / REUTERS Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz, Germany, March 1, 2017.


Democratic Party (SPD) has had a comeback, but it is unclear whether the boost will be enough to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel in the federal elections in September. According to the most recent German polls, the SPD nudged ahead of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) by one percentage point after Schulz was elected to lead at a special party congress on March 19. But on Sunday, voters in Saarland, a small and typically CDU-leaning state in southwestern Germany, seemed not to take heed of the “Schulz surge” as they cast their ballots in regional elections.

Merkel’s CDU came in first place with around 40 percent of the vote, while the SPD trailed in second place with just over 29 percent. Although Saarland generally leans conservative, it represents one of the many German heartlands Schulz and the SPD will need to win over if he is to become chancellor this September. Sunday’s results in Saarland were certainly disappointing for the SPD, but the elections were admittedly very, very close. Had the German environmentalist Green Party taken more than five percent of the vote in Saarland—they came in at four percent—the SPD’s combined forces with far-left Die Linke and the Greens would have given them a so-called red-red-green majority in Saarland, which is precisely the same configuration that Schulz intends to build in the German Bundestag this September.