I’m traveling in Krasnoyarsk now, but wanted to bring my latest piece — on the implosion of the opposition behind the Strategy 31 movement — to your attention.
Eduard Limonov has long been a black sheep in Moscow’s opposition circles. A louche, 67-year-old provocateur, hewrites graphic paeans to anal sex in his novels and runs a fringe political party, the National Bolsheviks, whose ranks are stuffed with young’uns ready to brawl with the police and go to jail for it. So Limonov is generally avoided, or at least spoken ill of, by respectable Russian liberals.
Which is why, in July 2009, it was somewhat odd that Limonov, whose own politics are a combustible mix of old-school socialism, Russian nationalism, and anarchist street theater, approached the queen bee of Russian liberalism and head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, 83-year-old Lyudmila Alexeyeva. Alexeyeva is the idealistic child of the Khrushchev thaw and a decorated veteran of the Soviet dissident movement who has been waging a steady, dignified human rights campaign for the last four decades. Alexeyeva has become the doyenne of today’s opposition, which is why Limonov wanted her — and her cloak of legitimacy — on board.
Read the rest here, at Foreign Policy.com.