Tag Archives: Russia

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 ..

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 ..

The Penza “Terrorism” Case

This article originally published in Russian by OVD-info was translated into English by The Russian Reader. On January 23, antifascist Viktor Filinkov disappeared in Petersburg. He was found two days later: the press service of the Petersburg court system related Filinkov had been remanded to police custody after confessing his involvement in a terrorist network whose members “profess[ed] the anarchist ideology.” Members of the Public Monitoring Commission were able to visit him in the pretrial detention center a day later. Filinkov told them he had been tortured. On January 25, Petersburger Igor Shishkin di ..

Dissidents among Dissidents: Interview with Ilya Budraitskis about his recent book

Note from the LeftEast editors: Interview conducted by Vasile Ernu for Criticatac.ro, introduced by Giuliano Vivaldi and translated from the Russian by Joseph Livesey. One would have hoped that the occasion of the centenary of the Russian Revolution would have lead to a serious reimagination of both the event in itself as well as the legacy and history emerging from this monumental event. In the English-speaking world many books have been rolling off the press in an attempt to reread this event in a number of ways. China Mieville’s October was arguably the best-written of the actual accounts of the revolutio ..

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 Base and Navalny: How Can the Left Work with the Anti-Corruption Movement?

Over the last several months, it has become clear that Alexey Navalny and his anti-corruption/ presidential campaign have become the most effective vehicles for galvanizing the pent-up social and political grievances most Russians hold. Navalny is a peculiar figure, not easily describable by foreign analogies (and hardly as “Russia’s Trump”, as Alexey Sakhnin and Per Leander called him in a recent Jacobin article). He is certainly not of the left, but in another Jacobin article, Ilya Budraitskis, Ilya Matveev, and Sean Guillory have argued that the Russian left could benefit from the political opening his f ..

“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 ..

The Protests of June 12: Beginning Russia’s Cold Summer of 2017

Note from the LeftEast editors: The rallies that took place in Russia on June 12 under the slogan “We Demand Answers” are the first political event of the summer of 2017. Translated kindly from the original Russian on OpenLeft.ru by Emma Claire Foley. Anti-corruption protests took place in Moscow, Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Lipetsk, Tula, Vladivostok, Norilsk, Sochi, and other cities, a continuation of the high-profile protests of March 26, when people demanded Prime Minister Medvedev answer for his appalling wealth. But it wasn’t as straightforward as that. In Moscow the rally was initiall ..

The Art of Empathy: An Interview with Russian Graphic Artist Victoria Lomasko

Victoria Lomasko is a fixture at Moscow’s trials and protests, documenting the tumultuous processes that shape today’s Russia. Not content to limit herself to the political life of the country’s capital, Lomasko travels around the country and through the former Soviet republics, exploring the domestic, psychological, and spiritual condition of its diverse marginalized groups. Sex workers in Nizhny Novgorod, women in underground lesbian clubs, teachers in a remote village school, and children at the juvenile prison colonies, where Lomasko volunteers as an art teacher, have been some of the subjec ..

What happened on March 26th? Russia’s movement against corruption and perspectives for the Left

This text was originally published in Russian in OpenLeft.ru. We would like to thank Eliza Ivanova for the translation. Introduction On March 26th, people in many Russian cities participated in rallies connected to the recent anti-corruption investigation by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-corruption Foundation. One could say that these were the most numerous street protests of the past few years.  In contrast to the Bolotnaya protests of 2012, which focused on demanding fair and open elections, the main issues these rallies addressed were the unjust distribution of resources and the Russian oligarchical system. Many of ..