Putin has inaugurated a monument to Prince Aleksandr Nevsky “and his army” on the bank of Chudskoye (Peipsi) Lake, facing NATO member Estonia. Related to a 13th century battle with German knights, it’s meant as a symbol of Russia’s defiance in the face of Western aggression.
Kremlin media report that the monument is a brainchild of Putin’s spiritual guru, bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, a man behind an attempt to redraw Russian history with a strongly anti-Western, anti-communist and anti-revolutionary tilt.
Anyone who went to a Russian or Soviet school associates Prince Aleksandr Nevsky with the phrase that came to become a foreign policy motto: “Who will come to us with the sword, will die by the sword”.

The phrase happens to be an invention of film director Sergey Eisenstein.
For those not versed in Russian nation-building mythology, historical symbolism here is of purely defensive nature.

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More from @leonidragozin

15 Sep
The main issue with Navalny’s Smart Voting is that it is too smart for many. The idea of voting for the communists or for the gangster-ish and far right LDPR is hard sell for its generally liberal and pro-Western constituency. But that’s if you think it is a normal election.>>>
Smart Voting is designed as an act of civic disobedience, a voter flashmob if you like. What it allows is to show that “non-systemic” opposition has a formidable constituency that can impact even the most farcical and illegitimate election.
No matter whether it achieves anything at the polls (the Kremlin has installed multiple shields, including e-voting - a straightforward rigging tool), Smart Voting is already a success given the amount of effort spent on derailing it. The election is profoundly de-legitimized.
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
Have you circulated the story about “communists laying wreaths to the monument of NKVD executioners”? Congratulations, you have likely assisted Putin’s administration in neutralizing Navalny’s Smart Voting. Here is how it works: >>>
The story appeared on polit.ru, a website formerly associated with Kremlin spin doctor Modest Kolerov. It attributes the initiative to a generic “communist party”, not to KPRF - Russia’s second largest party.
You will not find any mention of this initiative on KPRF’s own website. Why? Because it is KPRF, which this product of black political technology is striving to discredit in the eyes of liberal pro-Navalny voters.
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
What political system do Russians prefer?

- Western-styled democracy 16% (rising since post-Crimea low)
- Current system 18% (lowest since 2000)
- Soviet system 49% (highest since 1996).

This Levada poll shows Putin fatigue more than anything else.
Don’t get fooled by their preference for “Soviet system”. We are talking here about the highly idealized Golden Age - a key part of backward-looking nationalist paradigm that dominates Eastern Europe. People only truly remember the late Soviet vegetarian period.
But yes it also shows the extent to which the idea of “Westernization” has been discredited despite Russia being de-facto more westernized than ever at the lifestyle level. There is a clear demand for social justice and left-wing politics.
Read 4 tweets
28 Aug
2016: Azov’s Sergey Filimonov leads far right thugs disrupting the commemoration of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, killed by Russian nazis.

2021: Filimonov, a fellow at the Ukrainian School of Political Studies funded by the Council of Europe.>>> ImageImage
A miraculous transformation? Unlikely. Filimonov (who was accompanied by open Russian neo-nazis Roman Zheleznov and Denis Vikhorev in the 2016 incident) now leads an ultra-nationalist movement of his own, called Honor, after splitting from Azov movement.
In a ridiculously softball interview, he points to Azov movement top figure Sergey Korotkikh’s secret service links in Belarus and Russia. It remains unclear what prompted him to cooperate with Azov’s Russians from Korotkikh’s milieu all those years. nv.ua/ukr/art/nosori…
Read 6 tweets
11 Aug
Story of a tablet left by a Wagner soldier on the battlefield in Libya. Great collaboration between Ibrahim Nader and ⁦@barabanch⁩. bbc.co.uk/news/extra/8ia…
Two features stand out on the photo of the Wagner combatant linked to that tablet. First is the logo of an Operational Support Service unit based in Grozny Chechnya. Russian media describe the service as an elite crack unit of the FSB.
Here is a 2006 publication in Stavropol Pravda which describes Operational Support Service as the most secretive unit of the FSB which deals with hostage situations, arrests spies and fights in conflict zones. stapravda.ru/20060906/Kruch…
Read 10 tweets
10 Aug
Last night, Azov movement was expecting SBU to storm their main base at the Atek plant in Kiev today. The statement by National Corps (Azov’s political wing) hints at the possibility of armed resistance. So much happening in the wake of Vitaly Shishov’s presumed assassination.
Azov captured Atek in 2014 with the help of Ukraine former justice minister Roman Zvarych - a Ukrainian American who repatriated OUN(b) to Ukraine after independence. But later Korotkikh & Co fell out with Zvarych family and ditched them as business partners.
Among other things, Atek housed Azov’s own sergeant school, named after OUN founder Yevhen Konovalets. The school functioned outside Ukraine’s system of military education - one of many reasons to suspect that Azov was highly autonomous and never truly integrated in armed forces.
Read 4 tweets

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