Articles by Rossen Djagalov

About Rossen Djagalov

Rossen Djagalov is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum. A comparatist, he recently completed a dissertation on the media history of twentieth-century leftist culture.

Before Bandung: the Moscow-based Communist University for Toilers of the East (KUTV) and the Fates of Interwar-era Anti-Colonial Internationalism

This is an abbreviated version of an article that originally appeared on Global South Studies, a digital scholarship project hosted by the University of Virginia. The following account of the Moscow-based Communist University for Toilers of the East in Moscow (1921-1938) seeks to counter the prevailing tendency among scholars of the Global South to foreshorten the history of their subject. For a long while, Edward Said’s magisterialOrientalism(1978) was regarded as the point of origin of postcolonial thought. More recently, it has been replaced in this capacity by the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung. Inde ..

We Asked on the Legacy of Corbynism: Rossen Djagalov

What has the Corbyn project meant – as a model, an inspiration, or otherwise – to you and people in the milieu(x) in which you organize? I never thought of myself as a Corbynist/ Corbynista and found the early hype about him vaguely troubling. Don’t get me wrong: I very much like the man and his politics and certainly there is little reason to think he would ever “betray” the cause: he has stood on the right side of history for more decades than I have lived. But, granted I call myself a Marxist, I find it hard to think of a single person—rather than a set of principles—as my political lodes ..

We Asked: Geopolitics & the Left, Part II

In continuing the theme of the conflict between Russia and the West, which we discussed last week, now we turn to the broader issue of a leftist perspective on geopolitics. Even though most of the articles LeftEast publishes deal in one way or another with the transnational connectivities, we have been somewhat reticent about the whole issue of geopolitics. For two reasons. In the first place, because of our method of seeking authors based in or at least with deep knowledge of concrete societies, who would share that knowledge with our readers. If so much news analysis, even on the left, starts with some geopolit ..

We Asked: Geopolitics and the Left (Part I: Russia & the West)

The latest wave of confrontation between Russia and the West—from the Skripal affair and the following diplomat expulsions and sanctions on Russia to the gassing of Douma residents most likely perpetrated by the Assad regime and the resulting US-UK-French bombing raids on Syria–rarely left the front pages of mainstream media. LeftEast has until now resisted the topic: it is not quite our fight. Not to sound nostalgic, but if the original Cold War, for all the devastation of its proxy wars and the dictatorships it bred, created conditions that sometimes favored the processes of decolonization, the victory ..

Premature Postcolonialists: the Afro-Asian Writers Association and Soviet Engagement with Africa

 This article post is part of the online forum of the African-American Intellectual History Society, “Black October,” devoted on the Russian Revolution and the African Diaspora W. E. B. Du Bois and others with hands linked and raised at the Afro-Asian Writers Conference in Tashkent in October 1958. W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. In October 1958, over two hundred writers from Asia and the emerging African nations descended onto Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Among the participants was W ..

The Freedom to Say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin

Note from the LeftEast editors: For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition. The former will culminate in the constitutional referendum of April 16 this year, which will, if successful, transform Turkey from a parliamentary into a presidential republic, further strengthening Erdogan’s personal rule and making it nearly impossible to electorally challenge AKP hegemony in the foreseeable future. Whole cities are plastered with giant “Evet!” (Yes!) posters, w ..

Turkey in July: a Tale of Two Coups

Within days of the failed military coup attempt, president Erdogan announced his “good news” to the Turkish public: a state of emergency for three months. It’s been exceedingly difficult to identify with any of the protagonists of the last couple of weeks in Turkey. Essentially, what happened were two coups in quick succession: one—abortive military, the other—successful civilian and still ongoing. Given Turkey’s experience of military coups, the former augured nothing good. The days of progressive officers overthrowing autocratic governments and introducing democratizing reforms—a la Nasser, Hafizu ..

Dangerous Liaisons: Ukraine and the Western Slavists

Note from the editorial board of LeftEast: an earlier version was published on the All the Russias’ Blog of NYU’s Jordan Center: Writing in the middle of a crisis is always dangerous. Analysis, predictions, recommendations can be proven dramatically wrong within a matter of days. I write these lines as the main author of an editorial statement of the LeftEast platform, which in addition to causing a serious controversy within our editorial board, proved spectacularly wrong in its optimistic predictions that the aftermath of th ..

Bulgaria’s Belated Occupy

Since mid-February, a popular uprising has brought out thousands in city squares across Bulgaria, giving voice to grievances accumulated over the last 23 years and reinserting the popular into the country’s politics. What began as a spontaneous expression of discontent at the rising electricity prices grew into a protest against the role of the privatized electricity monopolies that charge those prices, and then into a mass demonstration against the whole post-socialist model and the political class that has perpetuated it. Within a week of the beginning of the protests (and possibly motivated by the calculatio ..