Murad Gattal on the causes and prerequisites for a new escalation in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and the transformations that it caused in Azerbaijani society.

September met with Zhanna Chernenko, founder of two volunteer groups – Fempodmoga and Lingvo Volunteers, which help Ukrainian refugees in Europe in solving a variety of problems: from translating documents to cases of harassment and violation of labour rights.

Ukraine Aid and Anti-Imperialism

Ukraine aid, like the war itself, is a point of contention on the international left. Supporters see aid as essential for Ukraine’s defense against an imperialist invader. Skeptics regard it as a giveaway to the war industry at best, a fig leaf for the US empire at worst. The dilemma is that both sides have a point. Aid has enabled Ukraine to push back its occupier, but — funneled through the military-industrial complex of the United States — this success is bound up with both war profiteering and the maintenance of US hegemony. Supporters of aid, among whom I count myself, need to grapple with this ambiguity, which is indicative of the complex issues anti-imperialists will face as great power competition heats up in an increasingly multipolar world.

The Country of Developed Neoliberalism

It appears that in recent days Russia has been labeled ‘neoliberal’ with increasing frequency. At the very least, this is surprising for the country, where the degree of the state’s involvement in the economy is as significant as it is in Russia and where the president publicly criticizes “neoliberalism.” Is it fair to discuss Russian neoliberalism? In our new text, we attempt to explore why the mainstream approach to the Russian political dynamics is often remote from reality (as, for instance, in the case of the view that the current President subjected “the oligarchs” to his own interests and deprived them of ability to influence politics), whereas the theoretical framework of neoliberalism can explain much about today’s Russia.

At the end of October, Arshak Makichyan, a climate activist and Fridays for Future participant, and three of his family members — his father and two of his brothers — were stripped of their Russian citizenship by court order. Russian citizenship was the only one they had; the family had moved to Russia from Armenia when Arshak was one year old. The court ruled that Russian passports had been issued to them illegitimately; in the case of the Makichyans, some documentation was missing, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs itself lost during their registration. In February 2022, Arshak had declared his anti-war position, and a month later left Russia. He is now sure that the decision of the court was caused by his civil position. September discussed with Arshak the significance of this precedent for activism in Russia and the connection between anti-war and environmental protest, as well as the COP27 summit, the strategy and tactics of the climate movement, and prospects for a green transition.

A recent post about Kyrgyzstan on Instagram by the popular Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov brought a wave of accusations of imperialism upon him. In this critique, the emphasis was on the boorish way the blogger expressed these statements, while the ideological form of Varlamov’s argument, the concept of a ‘service country’ went almost unnoticed. Let us puzzle out what is wrong with this concept and why it gives rise to such ridiculous statements.

September spoke with Baiel Isayev, a Marxist and member of the organization KYRGSOC, about the socio-economic problems in Kyrgyzstan, the structure of Kyrgyz society, the impact of the Russian-Ukraine war on the region, and attitudes towards the Soviet past.

Alexander Korchagin, a student activist, spoke to activists from several universities and told us about the current state of student anti-war activism in Russia.

The Oikos is on fire, as we know. Many voices are calling for something to be done. Yet, the environmental catastrophe, which includes the pollution of soil and water, climate change, and the sixth mass extinction, just keeps … raging.

September met with a municipal deputy of Moscow’s Zyuzino district and an author of For Democracy: Local Politics Against Depoliticization, Alexandr Zamyatin to discuss the reasons to take part in local elections in times of war, depoliticization in Russian and Western societies, and how to overcome it, VyDvizhenie — a support platform for independent candidates Zamyatin founded together with Mikhail Lobanov, — and on the recent transformations of Russian political regime.