Articles by Ivan Ovsyannikov

Russia: The Protest Movement is Younger, Poorer, and More Left Wing

Translated by Sean Guillory A version of this article was published in Russian at As conspiracy theories about Trump-Russian “collusion” and fatuous claims about Putin’s iron grip have dominated American headlines for the past two years, the politics of the Russian street have undergone a noticeable transformation. Despite the authorities’ best efforts, mass street protests have become a fact of Russian life. The mass protests for fair elections in December 2011 aroused intellectuals’ interest in opposition politics in the large cities. Seven years later, the aesthetics of protest have ch ..

On the “Broad Left” in Russia

In certain circles in Russia, the expression “broad left” has lately become a slur. For example, one article entitled “For a narrow left!” published on the Levoradikal website in 2015, ascribes the following sins to the “broad left”: “tolerance towards non-Marxist, non-Communist theories in socialism,” as well as the neglect of “theoretical struggle” in the name of practical considerations. Such behaviour is contrasted with the “narrow left,” which demands “placing the interests of the workers’ party above ‘the interests of society as a whole’ or even those of ‘the [working] clas ..

Cretinous Parliamentarianism

At the September 18th Russian parliamentary elections, the ruling United Russia party increased its vote to 54%, guaranteeing it a constitutional majority of 343 seats in the 450-member lower chamber. The other parties represented in the previous parliament—Russian Communist Party (13.5%), the Liberal Democratic Party (13.3%), and Fair Russia (6.2%)—will remain there. None of the extra-parliamentary parties such as Yabloko and PARNAS managed to pass the 5% barrier. Perhaps the most telling number, however, was the turnout: 48%, the lowest ever in Russia’s parliamentary history.  The most inappropriate reac ..