A Response to Anne Applebaum’s article “The False Romance of Russia”

NOTE from LeftEast Editors: A historical tool of Liberalism is to conflate the left and right as “extreme” to legitimize itself, while obscuring the differences among the positions and goals of left and right. Complementing arguments about the ideological functions of Liberal Antipopulism and pointing back to cold war era ideological uses of the term totalitarianism, Bryan Gigantino here critiques the Liberal conflation of contemporary Russia with Communism, and of left with the right in the US context. In Anne Applebaum’s recent article in the Atlantic, “The False Romance of Russia”, she add ..

In the Struggle You’ll Earn Your Rights: Russian Socialist Movement’s Statement on the Proposed Constitutional Reforms and the Change of Russian Government

The presidential announcement and the change of government that immediately followed it on January 15th officially inaugurate the much-awaited succession operation, establishing the mechanisms whereby power will be preserved in the hands of the ruling elite. The key element in this operation is the “continuity” within the framework of personal power. That is, in one or another capacity, Putin will preserve the control over decision-making after the expiration of his fourth presidential term. The proposed constitutional amendments offer several possible scenarios of power for him: as the chairman of the State ..

The dam and the damned

Note from Lefteast editors: This articles is published in cooperation with the Croatian portal Bilten, published originally on 10.01.2020. Pernik, a declining industrial city in Western Bulgaria that’s the home of over 100,000 people, is in the grips of a water crisis. On November 18th, 2019 the city government introduced severe water restrictions, only to tighten them further a month later. At the time of writing, Pernik has water for 6 hours a day but locals complain that the schedule is not observed, leaving them to scramble for little water at unpredictable times. The purpose of these restrictions was to st ..

Contradictions of Post-Soviet Ukraine and Failure of Ukraine’s New Left

Dossier 1989 Thirty Years Later: Several profound contradictions have defined the dynamics of Ukrainian economy, politics and society since the collapse of the Soviet Union: the contradiction between transnational and local capital, those between factions of the local capital, Ukrainian national identity contradictions, geopolitical contradictions with Russia, the US, and EU, and contradictions between civil society, the active public, and Ukrainian society at large. I will first expose them, and then discuss how the Ukrainian new left has been failing to respond to these contradictions with a project for Ukraine ..

Ukraine and the (Dis)integrating Empire of Capital

1989 Thirty Years Later: The combination of ill-prescribed market transition reforms and loaned funds mismanagement and misappropriation by kleptocratic ruling bloc with its rivalrous fractions have resulted in a toxic debt dependency that has become a tool for manipulation in the renewed geopolitical confrontation between Russian and the USA/EU, as I discuss at length in my recent book. These asymmetries and unevenness condition the consciousness, thinking, approach, praxis of politics in Ukraine, be they conformist, populist performers of counter-narratives, or ideologically progressive e.g. the Social Movement ..

Eastern Europe: revisiting the ambiguous revolutions of 1989

Those embryonic revolutions towards a third way were repressed and dismantled by the bipolar world’s dominant forces through different episodes, because the mobilised democratic forces were an alternative to the existing political order which tried to impose its own end, a reality hidden by Cold War concepts and the transformation that followed 1989. Continue reading →

The political (auto)biography of a generation

Dossier 1989 Thirty Years Later: Florin Poenaru "The passage of three decades therefore presents the opportunity to bridge the gap between biography and history by introducing an intermediary level – the generation – that presents simultaneously patterned trajectories, common experiences and divergent outcomes. Moreover, by placing the emphasis on the 1980s, I want to demystify 1989 as an annus mirabilis, as some sort of definitive breaking point that neatly separates between epochs, regimes and periods." Continue reading →

Slovakia Since 1989: A Bastion of Mutually Constituting Liberalism and Illiberalism, Still Waiting for a Left

We are told that it was thirty years before when our era has started and that we have never escaped the questions posed by that year. The Conventional liberal moral of these thirty years is mobilized against „old-new“ threats and views which essentialize the whole region (often by pointing to the deviations from the „right way“ of transformation and integration to the „sin“ or „temptation“ of illiberalism). To open the debate, which could counter this conformism and these simplifications, this series of essays brings together various critical voices from different countries of the region, to propo ..