Several tensions run deep in Russian society: Politics are decided by elections without democracy. A growing number of Russian billionaires have outlandish wealth but no political power. And Putin is a populist without the people.
Ilya Matveev is a researcher and lecturer based in St Petersburg, Russia. He is a founding editor of Openleft.ru and a member of the research group Public Sociology Laboratory.
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.
Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime claims to offer order in place of post-Soviet chaos. Yet the crude repression of opposition demonstrations shows the regime’s fear of the rising popular discontent.
The Russian left doesn’t just belong to the past. It can use the surge around Alexey Navalny to grow a new independent movement.