Almost a year into Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the state is cracking down ever harder on all signs of dissent. Today exiled or jailed, the Russians who spoke out against the war are key to rebuilding a peaceful, democratic society.
Ilya Budraitskis is a left-wing political writer based in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin has launched his invasion of Ukraine, seemingly expecting that his forces can subdue Ukrainian resistance. But the attack could severely destabilize his regime — with Russians already showing a notable lack of enthusiasm for war.
After the demise of the USSR on December 26, 1991, the Russian left had to find its place in a society transformed beyond recognition. In the face of huge challenges, its activists have led important struggles against the system established by Yeltsin and Putin.
The big winner in Russia’s recent election was the Communist Party, which jumped to almost 20 percent support. The party is today being transformed by a new wave of democratic socialist activists opposed to Vladimir Putin’s rule.
The Russian left doesn’t just belong to the past. It can use the surge around Alexey Navalny to grow a new independent movement.
Vladimir Putin is presiding over Russia’s economic crisis with an iron fist. Can the Left present a viable challenge?