Russia: The Return of the Revolution

Richard Greeman

Russia’s anti-regime demonstrations are the biggest popular mobilization since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and carry with them the real possibility of another revolution – Editors

Moscow — “Yesterday more than 100 000 people marched on the streets in the centre of Moscow despite severe cold (-20C) demanding free and fair elections and the end of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule. Following on the mass demonstrations of December 10th and 24th in Moscow, in which tens of thousands of people took part, this shows clearly that the period of social passivity in Russia is over; the Putin era is nearing its end. The last time such large demonstrations took place in Moscow was in 1990-91 at the height of the democratic wave directed against the domination of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. As a result of these mass actions, the whole party-state system of the USSR began to crumble. Those who participated in those events twenty years ago are feeling the same atmosphere again : revolution is in the air. »

So writes Alexei Gusev, a prominent activist during the 1990-1991 democratic upsurge and today Prof. of History at the University of Moscow and President of the Praxis Research and Education Center at the Victor Serge Library in Moscow.  «The rising wave of protest has demystified the key myth of Putinism: the myth of a durable ‘consensus’ between the people and the authorities in Russia. What was revealed is that it was not just a few small ‘marginal’groups but the mass of ordinary active people who no longer were willing to exchange their civil and political rights for Putin-style ‘stability.’ »

With the revolutionary situation in Russia heating up (despite the bitter cold). To read my translation of the rest of Alexei’s ‘The Return of the Russian Revoluion : Nature and Perspectives of the Wave of Social Protest in Russia’ – a classic Marxist analysis of the class composition of the demonstrators, the foundations of Putinism, the weakness of the regime, the limits of the revolution, the dangers of nationalism and perspectives for the future please go to

Alexei concludes : «The objective task of the democratic revolution in Russia consists in liberating civil society from the authoritarian and bureaucratic yoke, in creating a political space where all social forces can express their interests. In the long term, this will permit the void on the left wing of the political milieu in Russia to be filled. The absence of an organized left movement (outside of tiny Trotskyist and anarchist groups) cannot continue for a long time, and the different neo-Stalinists and bogus ‘social democrats’ (members of Just Russia party  parading as ‘Leftists’) are not up to filling the bill. Today already, 17% of the protesters identify with the non-Communist Left. Their position is not yet represented politically. But sooner or later, the consolidation of the democratic left forces that are anti-totalitarian, internationalist and defend human rights and the rights of the workers must begin. »

The Praxis Center has been defending this political territory in Moscow for nearly fifteen years, and needs your help now. Praxis has been the home for anti-totalitarian, internationalist socialists, anarchists, ecologists and human rights activists in Moscow since 1997, when the 6000-volume Victor Serge Library of radical books in six languages opened its doors. Founded by veteran activists Alexei Gusev (specialist on ideas of the Communist oppositions in Stalin’s Gulag), Julia Guseva (Librarian, anarchist, Russian translator of Voline, Victor Serge, etc.), Richard Greeman of the Victor Serge Foundation, Praxis has published a score of left classics for the first time in Russian including Victor Serge’s Memoirs, Voline’s Hidden Revolution, Maximilien Rubel’s Marx Critic of Marxism and just this winter Raya Dunayevskaya’s Marxism and Freedom, with Jonathan Neale’s Stop Global Warming Now ! in press. We have survived two politically-motivated evictions. We can’t get a printer to run off our paper Free Thought, but our website gets lots of hits, and we have now opened a branch in Kiev. All on a shoe-string.

Our main problem today is we have run out of money — just as perspectives are opening for the independent Left in Russia! And so we are asking our friends and supporters around the world to help us kindle the flame of truly democratic socialism in Russia as the ongoing revolution advances to an uncertain future. Send US tax deductable contributions (in dollars, euros or £) to the Victor Serge Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, at 16 Rue de la Teinturerie, 34000 Montpellier France.

To read Alexei’s article and learn more about Praxis, please go to


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