Articles by Ilya Budraitskis

About Ilya Budraitskis

Ilya Budraitskis(1981) is a historian, cultural and political activist. Since 2009 he is Ph.D. student at the Institute for World History, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow. In 2001-2004 he organized Russian activists in mobilizations against the G8, in European and World Social Forums. Since 2011 he has been an activist and spokesperson for Russian Socialist Movement. Member of Editorial board of "Moscow Art Magazine". Regular contributor to the number of political and cultural websites.

Interview with Ilya Budraitskis: Why doesn’t official Russian historical politics need the real Lenin and how is his method relevant at a time of crisis

“The (Russian) state needs a Lenin shorn of his political ideas and real biographies, a Lenin-monument. Whenever he becomes a true Lenin, a rebel and destroyer of the old order, the authorities automatically begin to regard him as a monster.”—says the historian and political theorist Ilya Budraitskis. In this comprehensive interview, conducted in Russian by Marine Voskanian for Business-Online and most generously translated for LeftEast by Sean Guillory, Budraitskis explains how Lenin was a heretic for the socialists of his time, and why demanding greater redistribution doesn’t necessarily mean being a le ..

Putin’s Virus Moment

The current situation in Russia has reached “a perfect storm”: the pandemic here coincided with the collapse of the national currency, as well as the political crisis caused by Vladimir Putin’s proposals to change the Constitution. At a time when every world political leader seeks to show himself as a sovereign capable of declaring a state of emergency and winning the “war” against the virus, Putin demonstrates a complete unwillingness to take responsibility for what is happening. At the national level, the danger of the coronovirus was recognized only a week ago, on March 25, when t ..

What Can We Learn from Vampires and Idiots?

In what follows, we have republished a chapter from Ilya Budraitskis’s new book, Мир, который построил Хантингтон и в котором живем все мы (The World Invented by Huntington in which We All Live. Moscow: Tsiolkovsky, 2020), following a review of the book by Vasily Kuzmin (translated from the Russian by Rossen Djagalov). Many thanks to Giuliano Vivaldi for the translation of Budraitskis’s own text and to the internet journal e-flux, where Vivaldi’s translation first appeared. Kuzmin’s review is available in Russian at the bottom of the page. Vas ..

Austerity Economics Russian Style: “The state never asked you to be born”

Translated by Joseph Livesey For two decades steadily rising living standards and high rates of economic growth have served as the standard explanations for Vladimir Putin’s overwhelming support among Russian voters while a key theme of Russian state propaganda has been the championing of Putin-style “stability” (as opposed to the chaos and poverty of the 1990s) and the unfettered consumption that has been made possible in Russia today. The effectiveness of such propaganda never really depended on the extent to which its depictions of reality were true, as much as it did on confidence in its promise for the ..

The Protests against Russia’s Pension Reform and the Reasons for Their Defeat

Note from LeftEast editors: The main political event of 2018 on Russia’s domestic scene was probably the pension reform and the unsuccessful resistance against it. In this piece published in Russian in Sotsiologia vlasti 30(4)2018 co-translated for LeftEast by Kate Seidel, Ana Gurau, and Dasha Vodchic, Ilya Budraitskis takes this episode as a lens on the government modus operandi and on the logic driving the different segments of the opposition. The Russian authorities’ actions in as they were preparing to raise the retirement age in summer 2018 involved both a thought-out strategy and a relatively weak propa ..

Can Russia’s opposition come together to fight the Kremlin’s pension reform?

The article originally appeared in OpenDemocracy-Russia & Beyond. While popular opinion is dead against the Russian government’s continued neoliberal line in social policy, opposition groups are competing for influence and electorate. Translated from the original Russian by Thomas Campbell. Now that the State Duma has passed the first reading of draft legislation reforming Russia’s pension system, we can speak confidently of a serious turn in state-society relations in Russia. For the first time in 15 years, the Russian government is risking a large-scale, unpopular reform. The government proposes radica ..

The Very Best Day

Note from the editors: This piece originally appeared at Arts Everywhere. It is reprinted here with kind permission from the author. On March 3rd, 2018, the main pre-election rally for Vladimir Putin took place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Tens of thousands of public sector workers were brought in from various regions of the country and were expected to listen to the President’s speech as well as those of actors and singers who came out in his support. Not long before Putin himself appeared, Grigory Leps, a popular singer with a criminal past, performed his song “The Very Best Day.” Precisely six year ..

Russian Presidential elections 2018: predicable results with unpredictable aftermath 

Translated from the original Russian by Joseph Livesey According to forecasts, the upcoming March 18 presidential elections in Russia will proceed without any surprises, as just the latest legitimization of another presidential term for Vladimir Putin. However, this foreseeable ‘victory,’ gained via massive pressure on the electorate and the Kremlin’s tight control over the political sphere will still point to a deep crisis within Putin’s model of “managed democracy.” During Putin’s current third term, his regime has become much more clearly based on personality, while the fact that its “democrati ..

Contradictions in Russian Cultural Politics: Conservatism as an Instrument of Neoliberalism

Note from the editors: The following piece is scheduled to appear in the edited collection The Art of Civil Action, edited by Philipp Dietachmair and Pascal Gielen and published through Valiz in November 2017. Today, it is common to contrast the statism of today’s Russia with the Western neoliberal order, which is based on the primacy of political and economic freedom. European journalists and experts discuss Putin’s Russia as though it were a revisionist state that is not only ready for military aggression but is also driven by internal destructive forces: a “populist international” of right and left par ..

“The Putinist Majority Could Fast Become Anti-Putinist”: an Interview with Ilya Budraitskis

This interview was originally published in Russian on www.yuga.ru and translated for LeftEast by Adam Leeds. How would you describe the ideology of the ruling regime in contemporary Russia? On what values rests that which some call “Putinism”? What is behind the facade of all this speech about ‘spiritual bonds’ and ‘our glorious past’? The conventional idea has become that from the beginning of Putin’s third term we have been experiencing a conservative turn. If in the ’00’s the regime presented itself as technocratic, standing above politics and simply ensuring the integrity of the country, s ..