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Under the Weight of the Soviet Legacy and Political Repressions: The Radical Left in Late Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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  • 1 Professor, Department of Political Science, Institute of Social and Philosophical Sciences and Mass Communications, Kazan Federal University64922, Kazan, Russia
  • | 2 Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, Pedagogy and Psychology, Faculty of Socio-Technical Systems, Kazan National Research Technological University65000, Kazan, Russia
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Abstract

Mass protest movements of the early 2010s, particularly the Occupy movement, stimulated the rise of radical left organizations globally. In Southern Europe, radical left parties celebrated their first electoral successes. In Russia, radical left organizations were also influenced by this upsurge of social protest movements and participated in the Bolotnaya protests in 2011–2012 but were marginalized and disintegrated shortly after, resuming their activities only by 2019. This article explores the radical left movements and groups in Russia and offers projections for their future. The Russian radical left is divided into three sub-groups: fundamentalist communists who identify with Stalin and the Soviet Union, libertarian socialists and communists (subdivided into neo-anarchists, autonomists, and neo-Trotskyists), and hybrid organizations (e.g., the Left Front). These organizations face two major constraints unknown to their Western counterparts. First, Russia’s authoritarian regime blocks opportunities for independent, particularly electoral, politics. This reveals itself in targeted repressions against left radicals and anarchists. Second, the dominance of the CPRF blocks any potential of strong left opposition. Unless these restrictions are lifted, radical left organizations in Russia will not be able to overcome their current crisis.

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