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Canadian Dimension calls on Vladimir Putin to free Boris Kagarlitsky

Kagarlitsky has been an eloquent and powerful left critic of the Putin regime, standing with Russia’s brave peace movement

EuropeWar ZonesHuman Rights

Prominent sociologist and Kremlin critic Boris Kagarlitsky was detained in Russia for allegedly calling for ‘terrorism’ online, a charge that could result in a seven-year prison sentence. Photo courtesy AFP.

Distinguished Russian left-wing sociologist and dissident Boris Kagarlitsky has been arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on trumped-up charges of “justifying terrorism,” allegedly for a comment on the October 2022 explosion on the Crimea bridge that he posted on Telegram, the most popular messaging app in Russia.

It is a terrible irony that in a recent column for CD, “Broken windows and broken lives,” Kagarlitsky condemned the persecution of intellectuals and activists in Russia under censorship laws designed to squelch criticism of the armed forces. In it he described the arbitrary nature of the repression, under which everyone from intellectuals and trade union activists to environmental campaigners and musicians can be branded a foreign agent (as Kagarlitsky himself has been) and “a terrorism charge can be laid even for a broken window.”

Detained on July 25 and moved from Moscow to the city of Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic, Kagarlitsky now faces seven years in prison if convicted. The arrest comes as part of a further intensification of the repression of left-wing opposition against the background of a possible new escalation of Russia’s war effort against Ukraine, heralded by the expansion of the draft, with the raising of the age limit for conscription from 27 to 30 and a ban on foreign travel for drafted Russians. The surge in repression is thought by some analysts to reflect fear on the part of the regime that domestic support for the war is waning.

Kagarlitsky is no stranger to persecution, having been arrested under both the Brezhnev and Yeltsin regimes. In the former case he was held in prison for more than a year. He has been an eloquent and powerful left critic of the Putin regime and Putin’s war in Ukraine, standing with Russia’s brave peace movement.

The Russian Socialist Movement (RSD) has issued the following statement:

The criminal case against Boris Kagarlitsky is an attack on the entire left movement. You can disagree as much as you like with individual statements and conclusions made by him in different periods of public activity, but we will resolve all our contradictions in the course of an open and honest discussion, when Boris is free. We call on all socialist and communist organizations to organize a broad solidarity campaign and demand the immediate release of Boris Kagarlitsky and all political prisoners.


We at Canadian Dimension join our voices with the many left organizations, including Rabkor, the media outlet founded by Kagarlitsky, as well as Green Left, the Nation*, Counterpunch, and the Transnational Institute, calling for Kagarlitsky’s immediate release and we urge our readers to support this international solidarity campaign.

To read Boris Kagarlitsky’s columns for Canadian Dimension, click here.

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