I think the army is running out of steam. The deliveries of Western equipment are changing the military situation very seriously. It is very much like the Crimean War, when the British and French had superior weapons. If you speak to people close to the Russian military establishment, they’re extremely worried and sometimes even panicking.
I think if there are more defeats in Ukraine, then, well, something will happen. I don’t know what, but some dramatic events are going to take place. I’m not saying they’re going to launch a coup, because that’s very much outside the Russian military tradition, but they can intervene in one way or another.
If you speak to people close to the Russian military establishment, they’re extremely worried and sometimes even panicking.
If they try to launch a general mobilization, or they expand the draft to new categories, then we’ll get a rebellion. We don’t know what the exact reaction will be, but it will be extremely negative.
Just yesterday I was speaking to Grigory Yudin, another leftist sociologist in Moscow who just returned from abroad, and he said, “Look, if you go around Moscow, what do you see? Huge fences everywhere. No other European country has so many fences.” People behind the fence don’t care about what is on the other side, they’re just fenced into their little world.
The government is quite happy with the current society. But if they are forced to pull down all these fences, something will emerge that will change the game completely. It’s a society of small groups isolated from each other, but at some point they’re going to meet each other whether they like it or not. And that’s the moment of opportunity for the Left, and for everybody who wants social change. People will have to learn how to communicate, how to organize, and how to identify their collective interests. That’s exactly the moment that’s approaching, and that’s our chance.
Boris Kagarlitsky is a professor of sociology at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and an editor at Rabkor. His publications include Between Class and Discourse: Left Intellectuals in Defence of Capitalism (Routledge, 2020), Empire of the Periphery: Russia and the World System (Pluto, 2007) and Restoration in Russia: Why Capitalism Failed (Verso, 1995).
Loren Balhorn is a contributing editor at Jacobin and coeditor, together with Bhaskar Sunkara, of Jacobin: Die Anthologie (Suhrkamp, 2018).