Jacobin Radio: Repression in Russia w/ Ilya Budraitskis

There are many markers showing February 2024 to be a landmark month of cruelty — not least in Gaza, but also in Russia, where we turn our focus today. The slow murder of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Arctic Circle penal colony Kharp on Friday, February 16, signals a turning point for Putin’s Russia and underscores both the Kremlin’s power and weakness.

We cover the turmoil in Russia in the lead-up to the March 2024 rubber-stamp presidential election. We were scheduled to speak to Boris Kagarlitsky, but, on February 13, Kagarlitsky’s appeal trial took place. He had been arrested in July 2024 for his criticism of Kremlin policy and opposition to the war in Ukraine. Kagarlitsky spent four and a half months in pretrial detention in the far northern Republic of Komi and was freed in December 2024. On February 13, the December verdict was overturned. Kagarlitsky was whisked from the courtroom into custody to begin serving five years in a penal colony. Three days later, on February 16, Alexei Navalny died.

Suzi speaks to Russian dissident activists and scholars Ilya Budraitskis and Grusha G. to get their understanding of these events. Budraitskis says Navalny is a man the regime truly feared, and they subjected him to a slow, cowardly murder, drawn out over many months. The Marxist critic Boris Kagarlitsky is now in their hands — and international solidarity is required. This is happening in the context of an election and the upcoming 2nd anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, when the Kremlin looks to portray Russians as united behind Putin.

Jacobin Radio with Suzi Weissman features conversations with leading thinkers and activists, with a focus on labor, the economy, and protest movements.

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