Saturday, April 29, 2017

Left-Wing Radicals in Urals See Country on Verge of a Revolution like 1991

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 29 – Encouraged by the Russia-wide protests on March 26, several extra-systemic radical left-wing parties have become more active in the Urals region because they believe that Russia is on the verge of a revolutionary situation like the ones in Eastern Europe in 1989 or the Soviet Union in 1991.

            FedPress journalist Aleksandr Chernokon says that the actual numbers of people involved in these parties is quite small and no immediate threat to the powers that be but adds that the number of people who follow the groups on social networks is much larger and so their ideas, if not their organizations, may be more influential (

            One group, the Agitpodgotovki of Vyacheslav Maltsev, has only about 60 activists, according to one of them who asked that his name not be given.  Others, like Vladimir Makhlachev, are less afraid to speak and say that their ideas, which include that natural resources should belong to the people, enjoy widespread support.

            The latter argues that “in Russia, a revolutionary scenario is possible” because elections are meaningless under Vladimir Putin. He adds that such a revolution “could be relatively bloodless as was the case in Eastern Europe or with [Russia] in 1991.” The Russian revolution failed because there was no lustration. In the future, the regime must be cleansed of holdovers.

            The radical groups often try to piggyback on other larger social movements, but they are divided on participation in such things as the May Day commemorations. Some view those as an opportunity to spread their ideas, but others say that there is a great risk that they will be subsumed and coopted by large parties.

            Moscow political analyst Yekaterina Schulmann commented on these developments by saying that “among residents of cities there is no doubt that there will be many of those who are close to leftist views or at least to leftist rhetoric and agendas about a just state.”  But their views are largely unrepresented in legislatures or executive powers.

            That should provide an opening for leftist parties to emerge, she suggests, given that the absence of such parties and strong trade unions in a country lie Russia is “anomalous” given that most Russian workers are low-skilled and the kind that are organized in other countries.  Consequently, the left is certain to view this as an opportunity for itself.

            However, the regime understands this and also that “such a party can achieve success only if there are more competitive elections.”  In an “unfree political system” like that of Russia today, all one sees is “a permanent parade of simulacra” – and that too feeds on the aspirations of the radical left underground.

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