Russia

Free Darya Polyudova

Russian socialist Darya Polyudova has been sent to a prison colony for six years for campaigning against the Putin regime’s imperialism. The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign reports that Polyudova has faced persecution since her organisation, Left Resistance, opposed Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2014. She was previously jailed, in 2015, for two years. John McDonnell MP has initiated a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM 207) to protest about Polyudova’s imprisonment and demand her release. Please ask your MP to sign.

An easy excuse for anti-leftist clampdown in Russia

“This whole story feels as if suddenly, a truck drove into you on the street,” said Svetlana Gordienko, a resident of Russia’s far-eastern Khabarovsk. “Except imagine if it turned out that having a truck driven into you was something totally normal, and legal.” The situation Svetlana is now in began in May 2021, when a squad of 11 officials swarmed her apartment, where she lives with her partner Maksim Smolnikov, and her two children. “They had already started to break down the door, but I managed to open it,” Svetlana recalled. “The riot policemen burst into the house and pushed Max up...

"Ukraine is the victim of Russian aggression"

Peter Duncan is a professor at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University College London. He spoke to Chris Ford of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign. Many thanks to the campaign for allowing us to publish this interview, which we have abridged and tidied up slightly. We have seen a build up of Russian Federation armed forces on Ukraine’s borders and in Crimea. There has been an escalation in East Ukraine since January. What is behind this? There are 100,000 troops now surrounding Ukraine. The aim is to intimidate Ukraine, to try to persuade it, and the EU and NATO, to...

Women's Fightback: Russian woman faces jail for feminist sketches

A Russian woman is on trial for “production and dissemination of pornographic materials” for sharing her drawings of the female body online. Activist Yulia Tsvetkova was arrested on 20 November 2019 and put on house arrest two days later after being charged. The charges relate to body-positive pictures including sketches of a woman’s vulva, which she posted on social media as part of her women’s empowerment campaign. When she was arrested, police raided her house and her previous work. She says that the officers verbally abused her, saying she was a “lesbian, sex trainer and propagandist...

International Women's Day in Russia: not all sunshine and roses

Loretta Marie Perera reports from Moscow. It was a cold day in Moscow on 8 March, 2021. A far cry from spring, the temperature hovered somewhere between minus 5 and 15, while snow intermittently fell and wind kept snowfall from the night before floating in every which way. It was Women’s Day, a public holiday in Russia, and a day of celebrating women – and one typically of overpriced bouquets, marketing promotion, and special menus. But for feminists and activists around Russia, this day has never been about roses and fancy dinners. Rather, it is a day to stand in solidarity, to create...

Left unity essential after protests, say Russia's socialists

Loretta Marie Perera reports from Moscow. The first two months of 2021 in Russia have been outlined by protest, police brutality, arrests, a fight for justice, and more. Centred around the return, arrest, and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, massive country-wide protests transformed the streets of Russia, both in central Moscow and far beyond. On 23 and 31 January, and following Navalny’s sentencing on 2 February, protestors took to the streets by the thousands. As the protests grew, so did police presence, and along with it violence on the streets that was both live-streamed...

The night Russia’s riot police stormed Moscow

On the night of 2 February, the most central parts of Moscow – that is to say, the fanciest, most iconic, and at other times, the most touristy – were taken over in a culmination of ultraviolence brought to the streets by droves of armed men.

For Russia's left, the "Navalny protests" are not about Navalny

Loretta Marie Perera reports from Moscow. An aversion to Russia’s leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, is a sentiment shared by many of the feminists, socialists, leftists, and anti-capitalists who joined tens of thousands in protests around Russia starting on Saturday, January 23. “I disagree with many things about Navalny’s politics: his attitude to migrants, feminism, LGBT,” said Daria, 33, who protested in St. Petersburg. But for many, Daria included, there is a bigger enemy to reckon with. “I believe that it is impossible and humiliating to continue to tolerate the attitude of...

Putin's mafia regime starts to crack

“Putin is the richest man in the world by a multiple. Imagine controlling 25 per cent of the wealth of a country? Wouldn’t that be fucking amazing?” Donald Trump It is not impossible that Trump’s departure from the White House could soon be followed by his venal soul-mate Vladimir Putin exiting the Kremlin. Despite him making himself President for life through one of the most crooked referendums of modern times, Russian people outside of his mafia state apparatus have had enough of corruption and theft from the nation’s coffers. Putin attempted last year to add anti-corruption activist Navalny...

Anti-fascist or Russian imperialist?

On 26 October the Morning Star published an obituary-cum-eulogy on “Ghost Battalion” commander Aleksey Markov. The Ghost Brigade (since 2015: Ghost Battalion) was one of a myriad of “local” military units created in 2014 as a cover for Russian political and military intervention into eastern Ukraine after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych. TheMorning Star has long portrayed the Ghost Brigade as a latter-day version of the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. But this is contradicted by Markov’s own description of the Brigade’s creation: “We formed the Ghost Brigade...

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