I can see that this is a moment in which the whole world’s attention will be on the G-8 meeting in Petersburg, and therefore it is certainly a moment in which the left should appear. It seems to me that this should be an occasion for yet another statement about globalization, but this time, from a Russian left, showing solidarity with the other moments of the same thing: Seattle, Genoa, and so forth.. I think not doing anything is not acceptable. But what do you do?
I’m very reluctant to give opinions about the politics of other countries, but your problem with respect to the G-8 meeting is an interesting one. There would be several possible grounds for a demonstration, and there would also be several fundamental differences between Russia’s situation and that of the other “advanced industrial” countries. To what degree is Russia’s problem of national reconstruction the same as that of the ravages of globalization (flight of industries, unemployment) in the other G-8 countries? More generally, is an opposition to the flight of industries and jobs abroad the same as an opposition to foreign investments? Is the matter of the defense of a welfare state under attack the same as that of the (re)construction of a welfare state? On the question of the political solidarity of a Russian left with that of other countries, it seems to me that a general opposition to the Iraq war and other U. S. adventures abroad is probably shared by many Western European countries, and Putin’s positions are often taken (everywhere) to mean an opposition to that war. On the question of anti-globalization, it isn’t clear to me exactly where the Russian left should stand or does stand. But I think we would all share a general left consensus on the social harmfulness of free-market ideology and “fundamentalism”, and of the free-market policy of indiscriminate privatization: the opposition to that could certainly serve as a unifying left position. But that issue might also look differently within the current Russian political situation; so my hesitations remain.