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Russian Socialists in the Struggle for Democracy

For the past few weeks, protests for fair elections in upcoming municipal polls have become weekly in Moscow and St. Petersburg as thousands have defied authorities to attend unsanctioned rallies. The police crackdown has been particularly harsh in Moscow. Protests on July 27 and August 3 resulted in over 2000 detentions. Images of police in riot gear wrestling citizens to the ground and beating peaceful protesters were reminiscent of the mass protests against election fraud in 2011-2012.

Members of the Russian Socialist Movement, a small Marxist, anti-Stalinist organization active in the Russian left, have been participants in local electoral campaigns and in the protests. Two RSM activists, Valeria Kovelishina and Ilya Budraitskis talk about the Russian Socialist Movement, their electoral work, the protests for democracy in Russia and what they might mean for the future.

Witnessing the Collapse of Communism

Roundtable discussion marking the 30th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Participants include Timothy Garton Ash, Bridget Kendall, and Jens Reich.

The Evictors

Around Moscow, there’s a whole industry of so-called “black creditors” — microfinance institutions (or MFOs) that swindle and seize debtors’ homes. Ivan Golunov’s investigation for Meduza has discovered that almost 500 apartments have been seized from their owners over the past five years without so much as a court order. In fact, this scheme involves more than simply “squeezing” people from their homes. It is possibly part of a wider, international money-laundering system. Here’s Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov on the ins and outs of this industry.

Neo-Trotskyism Infects KPRF

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Some old habits die hard. Eighty years after Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Bolshevik Party, the KPRF is still afraid of Trotskyists. The Moscow Times reports that Anatoly Baranov, the KPRF’s webmaster, has been hauled in front of the Party’s Central Control Commission and charged with stubbornly pushing “the Communist Party from the victorious Leninist path onto the false Trotskyist path of a rapid revolution, effectively carried out in the interests of the pro-Western bourgeoisie, rather than in the interests of the Russian people, and leading to the total occupation of Russia by NATO forces.” Baranov called the charges “schizophrenic raving.”

To quote Kyle’s mom, “What! What! What!?” Trotskyism? You gotta be fucking kidding me.

Yes, Trotskyism is alive and well in the KPRF. Now dubbed “neo-Trotskyism,” the followers of the shunned revolutionary appear to continue to pose a severe threat to the Communist Party’s path to revolution. In a resolution titled “On the Dangers of Neo-Trotskyist Manifestations in the KPRF”, accused Baranov of the following:


The particular danger lies in that the site’s editor A. Iu. Baranov is using the internet resources of the KPRF (central and regional sites, internet portals) not for the organizational fulfillment of the decisions of Party organs, but for the purpose of discrediting the KPRF program on the solidarity and inseparable connection between socialism and patriotism, and also against the unification of social-class and nationalist movements into a single mass resistance movement in opposition to the destruction of Russian civilization and the oppression and exploitation of its people.

Talk about a blast from the past.

It seems, however, that Baranov has appealed. In a statement posted yesterday, the KPRF stated that the Secretariat has decided to look into the question of the Control Commission’s decision. In the meantime, the text of “On the Dangers of Neo-Trotskyist Manifestations in the KPRF” has been removed from the KPFR website.