LeftEast Editorial Note: On Nov. 1st, 2023, NYU’s Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia hosted a panel on post-invasion Russian political economy and popular opinion with LeftEast editors or frequent contributors Volodya Ishchenko, Ilya Matveev, Oleg Zhuravlev. Yekaterina Oziashvilli, a professor of Politics at Sarah Lawrence College, moderated the event. LeftEast is delighted to share the two-hour recording.
Russia has undergone massive changes since 24 February 2022. Its economy, surrounded by a wall of sanctions, has shifted into the new mode: fiscal-driven military mobilization. Millions of people participate in the war effort as soldiers, workers in the military-industrial complex and volunteers willingly supporting Russian troops in the war against Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands, mostly young skilled professionals, left the country. The Kremlin implemented de facto, if not de jure, martial law, banning all opposition and expanding its propaganda efforts, including an unprecedented overhaul of the education system along nationalist and conservative lines.
Do these developments point to the emergence of a new and stable social order and can potentially survive even a major defeat in Ukraine? Or are they simply haphazard attempts to adjust to the new situation, doomed to failure due to the sharpening of all social contradictions that could very well lead to the regime’s or even the state’s total collapse? There is some evidence supporting both scenarios. On the one hand, the statistics coming from Russia, as suspect as they are, seem to indicate that the economy is finding a new balance (externally corroborated data, such as import and export volumes, seems to support this). On the other hand, Evgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny points to the deep fissures among the elites, including the leaders of various military formations.
Dr. Volodymyr Ishchenko is a research associate at the Institute of East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on protests and social movements, revolutions, radicalization, right and left politics, nationalism, and civil society. He published widely on contemporary Ukrainian politics, the Euromaidan revolution, and the ensuing war. He has been a prominent contributor to The Guardian, Al Jazeera, New Left Review, and Jacobin. He is currently working on a collective monograph The Maidan Uprising: Mobilization, Radicalization, and Revolution in Ukraine, 2013-14.
Ilya Matveev is a researcher focusing on Russian and comparative political economy. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley. His academic work has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Journal of Labor and Society, Europe-Asia Studies, East European Politics and other journals. He has contributed to Jacobin, openDemocracy and other media outlets. He is a member of the Public Sociology Laboratory, a group of Russian social scientists studying post-Soviet societies from a critical perspective. Ilya is also an affiliate of the Alameda Institute, a new research network of left-wing intellectuals.
Oleg Zhuravlev is a sociologist working on social movements, the sociology of knowledge, Marxism, pragmatic sociology. He is a research fellow at Scoula Normale Superiore (Italy) and a member of the Public Sociology Laboratory (Russia). He received his PhD in Social Sciences from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). His academic articles have been published in Post-Soviet Affairs, the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Studies in East European Thought, Laboratorium, and others.
Yekaterina Oziashvili is the managing editor of Comparative Politics and teaches Politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Her research and teaching interests include ethnic conflict, political economy, revolutions and social movements, politics of Eastern Europe and post-Soviet states, American constitutional law, and American political development.