RSD: We are calling for an international campaign to support Boris Kagarlitsky


Russian Socialist Movement (RSD)

July 28, 2023

On July 26, the FSB detained Boris Kagarlitsky, a well-known left-wing theorist, activist and commentator. Following his arrest, he was transferred from his home city of Moscow to a pre-trial detention center in Syktyvkar, the Komi Republic, where he will be held until late September (at least). Kagarlitsky has been charged with “justifying terrorism” and could face up to seven years in prison. His colleagues from the YouTube channel "Rabkor" have also been interrogated in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Penza, and their apartments searched. To us, it is clear that Kagarlitsky’s arrest forms part of a new, large-scale repressive campaign launched by the Kremlin to purge all critics of the war from the political landscape. Since February 2022, Boris has explicitly condemned Russia’s aggression and we are certain that this was the only motivation for his arrest.

Kagarlitsky’s political career began over 40 years ago and has been far from flawless. In the early 1980s, Kagarlitsky was a member of the “young socialists” underground group and subject to repressions by the KGB. Since the early 1990s, he has played a prominent role in the left-wing opposition, first to Yeltsin’s and then to Putin’s regime. His numerous books and public statements have greatly influenced several generations of Russian leftists, which is why Kagarlitsky should bear high responsibility for his assessments. In 2014, Kagarlitsky actively endorsed the annexation of Crimea and the creation of the so-called “People's Republics” in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, his position contributed to the disorientation of a part of the Russian left. These, as well as many other episodes in Kagarlitsky’s trajectory, are utterly unacceptable to the Posle collective. Our fundamental disagreements remain unresolved, and we are willing to discuss them with Boris. Though, only after his release.

It must be underscored that following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kagarlitsky was one of the few Russian leftists who, while remaining in the country, condemned Russia’s war publicly. Until now, presumably, it was only Kagarlitsky’s public stature that had kept the authorities from persecuting him. His arrest suggests that the Kremlin has expanded the scope of repression, and that even more activists are presently at risk. This is why we are calling for an international campaign to support Kagarlitsky and all political prisoners in Russia.