Free Kagarlitsky! Corbyn, Melenchon & more join international call


“I’ve known and worked with Boris for decades. He’s a remarkable socialist thinker – & a prominent anti-war voice. He must be freed.”

Jeremy Corbyn

By Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook

The recent arrest of prominent Russian socialist Boris Kagarlitsky has been condemned by left-wingers, progressives and anti-war voices across the world.

On July 26, a court in the North-Western city of Syktyvkar decided to detain Dr Kagarlitsky, for two months ahead of a trial in September. Boris faces up to seven years in prison if he is declared guilty.

As part of this global solidarity with Boris, we are supporting an international statement which has attracted widespread support, including from prominent figures here in Britain.

Speaking to Labour Outlook, signatory Jeremy Corbyn said “I’ve known and worked with Boris for decades. He’s a remarkable socialist thinker – and a prominent anti-war voice. He must be freed.”

Initial signatories also include Jean-Luc Mélenchon, French Presidential candidate of The Popular Union in 2022; Slavoj Žižek; Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association; and Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada.

The Open Letter reads in full as follows:

“We are shocked and appalled to learn that on July 25, prominent Russian socialist thinker Boris Kagarlitsky (64) was arrested in Moscow on fabricated charges of “justifying terrorism”.

Boris Kagarlitsky is an academic scholar whose sociological and philosophical work is well known the world over. His articles, books, and interviews are published in many languages. He is a leading Russian intellectual whose work has built a reputation for his country in global academia. ‘

For several decades, Kagarlitsky has remained an influential figure both in Russia and worldwide, contributing significantly to understanding global challenges and fighting for the progress of humanity. A whole generation of scholars, activists, and politicians has come to understand Russia and its place in the global community through his books.

The real reason for the repressions against Kagarlitsky is that, since February 2022, he has consistently denounced the aggression against Ukraine, underscoring that this barbaric war causes unspeakable harm not only to the Ukrainian people but also to ordinary Russians.

Though many of us have disagreed with Kagarlitsky in the past, we recognize and applaud how bravely he has spoken out against the woeful decisions of the Russian government and remained one of the rare public voices inside Russia opposing the war. He has stayed in the country, running the YouTube channel “Rabkor”, where he has continued resisting militarization and demanding profound change in Russia.

Boris Kagarlitsky is now among the tens of thousands of Russians subjected to state repression, with many sentenced to long prison terms, others paying massive fines, and still others tortured to death by the police apparatus. His arrest is yet another chain in a wide-ranging crackdown on Russian citizens who dare to oppose a regime that has “turned out to be incompatible not only with human rights and democratic freedoms but simply with the elementary preservation of the rules of modern civilized existence for the majority of the population,” as Kagarlitsky himself put it recently. We are furious that matters have now reached the point where a senior academic scholar is jailed for calling things for what they are.

This is a case of an intellectual being persecuted for free speech. We call for the release of Kagarlitsky and express solidarity with all political prisoners in Russia arrested for their antiwar views.”

  • You can see a fuller list of initial signatories here and join us in signing this statement here
  • Contact for more information.
Featured image: Boris Kagarlitzky, Russian sociologist, speaks at Moscow opposition rally “for the social rights of Muscovites” 2 March 2013. Photo credit: Bogomolov.PL under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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