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.

New but Still Cold. An interview with Gilbert Achcar.

Ilya Budraitskis interviews the Franco-Lebanese political scientist Gilbert Achcar about who is to blame for the New Cold War, and whether there are progressive ideas, which could be placed at the foundation of global order. Interview: New but Still Cold (Ilya Budraitskis Interviews Gilbert Achcar) 19 December 2014 Ilya Budraitskis: The question I want to start with concerns your opinion about Russia’s place in the global system. Today the main discourse on that subject is the discourse of the new Cold War. Do you think this is a relevant term and who has most to gain from this rhetoric? Gilbert Achcar: I think ..

Intelligentsia as a style: social protest, organic intellectuals and the post-Soviet condition

Of all the concepts worth re-examining at the cusp between the 2000s and 2010s in Russia, it is the concept of the “intelligentsia” that likely takes one of the most important places. On its own, this boundary marks the transition from the post-Soviet state of affairs to the still very vague manifestations of the post-post-Soviet. The Moscow events in December 2011 simultaneously signified both the completeness of post-Soviet forms, its “actuality”, and the beginning of a systemic crisis of these forms. At the moment of this recently occurring turn, the post-Soviet has finally acquired a quality of perman ..

Intellectuals and the “The New Cold War”: from the Tragedy to the Farce of Choice

Observers speak of the “New Cold War” as a self-evident and incontrovertible reality. Already in the spring, the new contours of international politics, demarcated by sanctions and mutual rhetorical incursions, were fully recognized by the broadest segments of the public in Russia, Europe and the United States—including those who were very far from decision-making processes—as a return to the familiar and frightening principles of the second half of the twentieth century. Nearly seven decades ago, these principles were first spelled out by the ruling elites and then established themselves on all levels of ..

Hope in a Hopeless Place

  Why is there no anti-war movement in Russia? Because today there are so few who are ready to go into the streets in order to publicly throw in the face of the state accusations of prolonging the war in Eastern Ukraine? Such are the questions that we continue to pose to each other, those of us who several months ago supported the March 15th “March of Peace” in the center of Moscow. The circle of such people continually shrinks, but most importantly even those who still in their hearts support the protests are no longer sure that protest can change anything. If there is a point of consensus uniting various s ..

Boeing 777: Between “Yes” and “No”

We can say with confidence that the tragedy of Boeing 777, which took the lives of 298 people, has brought the conflict in Eastern Ukraine to a principally new level. Now the main centers of power—Russia, the US, and the EU—must make themselves known and must take the responsibility for stopping the war or conversely—for its practical legitimation and expansion.  Even considering the possibility that the plane was shot down by mistake, it is events of such magnitude that divide history into “before” and “after.” “After” such an event the possibilities of such “strange,” “hybrid,” and ot ..

After Odessa, “remaining human” is a political programme.

A comment, published in Russian on the Open Left web site in Russia. Translated into English and published by PeopleAndNature. In the two days that have passed since the tragic events in Odessa, we have heard dozens of versions of what happened. And all of these versions have been, one way or another, linked to the search for a “hidden hand” that sent two armed groups of demonstrators to clash with each other, and pushed one of them into the slaughterhouse at the House of Trade Unions. Most of these versions – from those of official Kyiv to those of Russian propagandists – point to the local police, who ..

Ukraine’s Protest Movement: Is a ‘Left Sector’ Possible?


Political analysis from Ilya Budraitskis written as he visited Kiev in the midst of revolution. Back in mid-December, our estimate of Ukraine’s political crisis as a “revolutionary situation” resulted in a lot of critical reviews.  Further, the use of the word “revolution” in the context of Ukraine was condemned as a kind of sacrilege, because the events in Kiev appeared to be totally incomparable to the grandeur of past revolutions.  There are no proclamations about the beginning of a new world, and no discussions of the socialization of property, while the social order established over the last two ..

Ukraine: Days of Decisions, Days of Struggle

The political face of the Kiev protests causes grave pessimism. But a revolution is a revolution and the left has no right to stay on the side, says Ilya Budraitskis. Originally published in Russian in What is happening in Ukraine right now increasingly corresponds to the classical definition of a revolutionary situation. The mass movement, once it has come out in the streets, is ready to defend them in harsh confrontations with the police. The slogans, which initially gave birth to the movement, have now given way to the main question of any revolution—the question of power. Hesitatio ..

Moscow’s Anti-Immigrant Pogrom and the Economics of Racism

On October 13th, in Biriuliovo, a district in the south of Moscow, a series of events took place that are still the talk of most Russian media. Several thousand local residents and radical right activists held a spontaneous rally demanding “an end to illegal immigration and ethnic crime.” Soon afterwards, hundreds of the rally’s participants broke into and vandalized a neighboring fruit and vegetable warehouse, the biggest one in Russia and a major employer of migrant labor. The next day Moscow had already become a site of a full-scale nationalist riot, and images of burnt cars and looted stores kept fillin ..

Protests in Russia and Bulgaria: anti-populism, “false consciousness” and the tasks of the left

The several days spent in the atmosphere of the Sofia political protests predictably led me to compare them to the Russian experience of 2011-2012. Despite the significant contextual differences, these two movements could be seen as part of а single—but to an even greater degree—a potential East European protest wave. As such, its analysis and the strategy based on it become major questions for the radical left. One of the characteristics of the protest movements in both Russia and Bulgaria is their sudden birth in the absence of a preceding tradition of mass street politics. In societies, which until recent ..