Ilya Budraitskis, one of Russia’s most prominent leftist political commentators, explores the strange fusion of free-market ideology and postmodern nationalism that now prevails in Russia, and describes the post-Soviet evolution of its left.
Budraitskis makes an invaluable contribution by reconstructing the forgotten history of the USSR’s dissident left, mapping an entire alternative tradition of heterodox Marxist and socialist thought from Khrushchev’s Thaw to Gorbachev’s perestroika. Doubly outsiders, within an intelligentsia dominated by liberal humanists, they offer a potential way out of the impasse between condemnations of the entire Soviet era and blanket nostalgia for Communist Party rule—suggesting new paths for the left to explore.
“Ilya Budraitskis is a gifted writer—non-conformist, insightful, sharp and polemical. Essays collected in this volume succeed to challenge both liberal and illiberal clichés about Putin’s Russia.”
“Ilya Budraitskis brings immense historical knowledge, moral clarity, and political insight into these crucial essays on twenty-first century Russia. From his critical analyses of Russian culture wars and the ‘geopoliticization of Russia’ to his path-breaking history of socialist dissidence and contemporary Left discontent, Budraitskis proves an adroit guide through the post-Soviet landscape. He directs us not simply to persistent authoritarianism and reaction but also to the unrealized political alternatives that remain to be activated by Left anti-capitalists today.”
“Refusing the neo–Cold War nonsense that depicts Putin’s Russia as an anti-imperialist bulwark or a reincarnation of Stalin’s empire, Ilya Budraitskis has more important things to think about than this confected Clash of Civilisations. Whether uncovering the forgotten socialists among the Soviet-era dissident movement or tracing the emergence of a true post-Soviet left into the present day, his work is sophisticated, invigorating and ethically rigorous.”