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Russia

The Golitsino consensus

By Boris Kagarlitsky

Links contributing editor Boris Kagarlitsky is well known for his many books and articles on Soviet and post-Soviet society. Translated by Renfrey Clarke.

For many years, Russian leftists have talked of the need for a process of unification. The results, however, have been poor. The reasons for this have not lain in the disagreements and ambitions of leaders, or in the ideological positions of the various groups. The main problem has been the weakness and immaturity of the movement itself. Experience has shown that the weaker the left is, and the smaller its influence on society, the greater its inclination to sectarianism.

The events that unfolded from June 20 to 22, 2003, in the town of Golitsino near Moscow can be considered crucial not only because a conference on the future of the left finally initiated a unification process, but also because this meeting itself provided evidence of a level of maturity and seriousness in the movement that is quite new and unfamiliar for Russia.

Independence Square: a popular revolution, or...?

By Aleksandr Buzgalin

The tent city on Independence Square

The context

Popular enthusiasm or political manipulation and big money?

The lessons of Independence Square

Footnotes

January 2005 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people who came from all over Ukraine to blockade the centre of Kiev have shaken not just this country but the entire world, which has watched the unfolding events with astonishment and alarm. These notes were prepared following a journey to Kiev, where together with comrades from various left organisations and currents in Kiev, our journal held a roundtable seminar on the topic, "Ukraine: Lessons for Russia". The writing was done in a single day, while my impressions were still fresh; I hope the resulting faults of style and structure will be forgiven. Before the seminar took place, I participated in extremely important meetings and discussions with dozens of activists in the tent city on Independence Square.1

Russia awakes: social protest 100 years after the beginning of the First Russian revolution

by Aleksandr Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov

Aleksandr Buzgalin and Andrei Kolganov are economists and political scientists at Moscow State University who are associated with the social and political journal Alternativy.

Contents

Prehistory

Historical context

The anatomy of civil disobedience

The January events: early lessons and the future

It is Not Only about the Law on Monetisation of Benefits

Appendix : Protest actions in 2005: a brief chronology

January 2005 was a profoundly significant month for Russia in many ways, but above all as the month when our people, after a sleep of many years, demonstrated their capacity for joint actions in defence of their common social interests. As many as 300,000 people in more than fifty regions of Russia came out onto the streets over a four-week period, beginning with the symbolic date of the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday". Why did this happen? What was the objective meaning of these events? What could the left have done, or not done, to assist these mainly spontaneous initiatives of the population? What lies ahead, and what can and should be the strategy and tactics for supporters of social renewal? What lessons should we draw from the first successes and failures?

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