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Jacobin Radio

Jacobin Radio w/ Suzi Weissman: Dispatch From Russia

Suzi talks to Russian Marxist sociologist, activist, and author Boris Kagarlitsky to get his perspective of Putin’s war from inside Russia. How does he understand Putin's surprising decision—and miscalculation—to invade Ukraine? Kagarlitsky dismisses Putin's declarations about NATO expansion and restoring the Russian Imperium, and says domestic political, economic, and social pressures were the motivating factors. Putin’s prestige and popularity have plummeted along with the prolonged decline in living standards. Kagarlitsky says Putin's hugely unpopular pension reform and other austerity measures were more about the colossal level of corruption than economic policy designed to deal with decline. Public opinion can be seen by the poor showing of Putin's party in the September 2021 election, which was marred by allegations of fraud. We also get a sense of the socio-political divide in Russia between those who support Putin and his war, and those who oppose and defy Putin. As Boris argues, Putin is losing this war, and this has multiple ramifications.

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