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Podcast: The Left's Autumn Of Opportunity

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks at an antigovernment protest in Moscow on June 12.

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks at an antigovernment protest in Moscow on June 12.

A new season of protests kicks off on September 15 with mass rallies planned for Moscow and other cities.

But in addition to the opposition's longstanding demands for early elections and a more competitive and pluralistic political system, a new element will be added to the protest mix in what promises to be a very hot autumn -- social issues.

In the coming months, the Russian authorities are due to implement a series of reforms of the country's creaking social welfare infrastructure, including its pension and health-care system. Utilities prices are expected to rise.

Additionally, Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization earlier this summer has sparked increasing anxiety among labor unions and rank-and-file workers.

The prevailing protest mood and the addition of social issues to the equation appears to present an opportunity for Russia's left wing political forces -- if they can seize it.

In this week's edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discuss the state of the Russian left with my regular co-host Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.


Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.

About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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