Saturday, August 19, 2023

Kremlin’s Arrest of Kagarlitsky has Seriously Reduced Number of ‘Putinverstehers’ Abroad, Kudyukin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 14 – The Kremlin’s decision to arrest opposition commentator Boris Kagarlitsky has seriously reduced the number of leftists in the West and the third world who can be described as Putinverstehers, people who sympathize with and even support the Russian dictator, Pavel Kudyukin says.

            But the former Soviet dissident and Russian critic of Putin’s social and foreign policies says that while this action has reduced the number of such people, it has not had a major impact on the opposition of many of them to providing aid to Ukraine because what they want is not justice but peace (

            Kudyukin’s observations on this point come in the midst of his analysis of why Russia itself did not articulate a large leftist movement in Soviet times and why efforts by him and others to create such a movement now through work with labor unions have been less than successful.

            He argues that the current problems of the left in Russia itself include repression by the rightist government of Vladimir Putin, the failure of many Russians to recognize that the USSR at the end was a rightist dictatorship, the lack of fit between leftist ideas circulating in Western countries and Russian realities, and the crisis of leftist groups in the world as a whole.

            And at the same time, Kudyukin says, the departure of so many potential allies of leftist groups because of the war in Ukraine has weakened the possibilities for the organization of leftist and labor groups. But he has remained, he says, because “a voice from Russia sounds perhaps not more strongly but more convincingly.”

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