Tag Archives: Russia

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 Eurasianet.org 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 ..

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 ..

The Living Front of Stanislav Markelov

This article by Kirill Medvedev, a Moscow-based poet, translator, and activist of the Russian Socialist Movement, originally appeared in an English translation by Tom Rowley and Guiliano Vivaldi in Open Democracy–Russia and Beyond. Ten years ago, Stanislav Markelov was murdered in Moscow. He defended anti-fascists and ecologists, mothers trying to defend their sons serving in the army and citizens of Blagoveshchensk brutalised at the hands of the riot police, the relatives of Elza Kungayeva (murdered by a Russian soldier in Chechnya) and journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was brutally assaulted for coveri ..

Russia’s Electoral Circus

September 9, 2018 saw regional elections on a massive scale in Russia, with 4,000 representative seats, at various levels of government, at stake: special elections for 7 deputies in the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma; 26 of the 85 heads of regional governments across Russia; as well as elections to regional parliaments and representative organs of administrative centers. Elections in Russia long ago ceased to generate any hopes of real, practical potential for change. The results, as a rule, are known in advance – and in the unlikely chance of an authentic “struggle,” it’s i ..

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 ..

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 ..

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 ..