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Vitaliy Bovar: “Deep people is an invention of campaign managers.”

Russian socialist movement12/11/23 17:241.2K🔥

Vitaliy Bovar is a municipal deputy and deputy head of the Vladimirsky District municipality of the Central District of St. Petersburg of the VI convocation, a supporter of the Russian Socialist Movement. On June 6, 2023, at the extraordinary meeting, the head of the district Denis Tikhonenko, elected from the Yabloko party, illegally initiated the process of depriving Vitaly Bovar of his mandate.

Vitaliy believes this to be a response to his anti-war position and plans to challenge the decision in court. We recorded an interview with him to tell the story of one of the most intransigent opposition municipal deputies.


Let’s start from the beginning. How did you get into activism?

I rarely define myself as an activist, because I was engaged in activism as such only at university. At St. Petersburg State University, where I studied, I participated in protests against the merger of the Faculty of History and the Faculty of Philosophy. Then, when I studied at the European University in St. Petersburg, we also organized protests.

As such, I started systematically engaging in politics in 2019, when I decided to run for the post of municipal deputy. I thought it over carefully and decided to put myself forward. Why? Well, because I saw that Russian society was slowly going to the dogs, everything was getting very bad, and it seemed to me important to try to change this.

And what were your hopes when you were elected municipal deputy? What did you want to achieve?

I wanted to implement several things. First, to study how representative democracy works. Secondly, to make it as much open to people as  possible, and, in general, to understand how it is possible to involve residents in some kind of local politics. To achieve some positive changes, [to show] that there is some kind of power that  listens to you, speaks to you, not haughtily, but on an equal footing. In general, this is a very big problem that any person, even if he is invested with the most meager power, he immediately, so to say, passes into another caste and does not consider it necessary for himself to descend to people. And I wanted to try to change this, at least by my own example, and simply change the order of affairs in the district.

How were the elections in 2019? Was it difficult to run?

They [the authorities] opposed us quite actively. They tried not to register us, but through the opportunities that the system provided for appealing and fighting, [we] managed to restore registration. I was nominated from the Yabloko party, as part of a campaign led by Maxim Katz. It was then, it seems, the only more or less real chance to try yourself in all this with some more or less hope of winning.

And I campaigned mostly physically. I walked around, rang the doorbell, and knocked on the doors. I went around my district several times, explaining who I was and where I was going, and why I wanted to fight with the authorities for the rights of the residents, to interact with the city authorities on their behalf if they did not have time or energy to do so, and so on. At the same time, I openly said that I was not some kind of experienced politician. I told the truth that I was a historian, I studied there and there, I was born in such and such a city …

During the voting, we won by the results in the ballot boxes, but they tried to steal the elections. We fought them off for three days, we even had to occupy the administration of the district at some point, where they tried to perform fraud with ballots.

The thing is: after the elections, bags with ballots from all six municipalities of the Central District were taken to the district administration, where they deployed a territorial election commission. According to the law, since these ballots had already been counted and the results were already recorded in the protocol, they had to  simply enter the results into the electronic system and announce them. And then all sorts of adventures began, that is, they brought everything, but they refused to bring it into the system. We understood that they wanted to somehow not only rewrite the protocol, but also to change the number of ballots in the sealed packets. That is, to make a double fraud and to leave no traces. To prevent this, about two hundred people remained in the administration of the Central District until the announcement of the voting results. The civil society pressure was very tight: both observers and some city politicians got involved. It worked and that’s how I became a municipal deputy.

How did you communicate with residents? Were there any expectations from them?

I had some image of a conventional simple person in my head. And most importantly, when I was a deputy, I realized that no ordinary person exists. No “deep people”, which is an invention of campaign managers.

People are very different and they have different problems. Basically, we can say, in 80% of cases, the problems lie in the social sphere.

It often happens that you come up with ideological views, you encounter some kind of a problem, and this problem corrects them. This is how I concluded that any political ideology should follow the practice.

And there must be practical experience, because otherwise there is a risk of ideology turning into a dead discourse that simply will not be adequate to the expectations of the people and the expectations of the masses.

First, I realized that in some global political problems [there is] a lack of political experience and experience of political communication. What do I call political communication? I’ll explain. Two people are talking to each other, just talking, for example, about politics. This is not a political communication, because no action can emerge from this conversation.

Political communication is such communication between people, as a result of which some kind of joint action takes place. Why joint? Because any politics is about groups, about the masses, and not about individuals. And people have no experience in such political communication. They often cannot even agree with each other inside a small household. It is just that there are two polar positions, and each uses all possible manipulations to defend their position. But there is no experience of finding common ground and compromise, and even holding a respectful conversation. This is probably the global fault of the Russian authorities. As regards what they did to the society, and for which society should simply hate them, in my opinion,  is that they destroyed and are destroying all people’s attempts to learn such political communication. This also includes the destruction of any broad [political] organizations.

Collective work involves some kind of rules. For example, in the beginning we agree on how we make decisions. There are different options for how to do this: a vote, a consensus, a rating. And in order to make collective decisions, you need to follow the rules for their adoption. However, due to the lack of political experience, people do not have the need  for “let’s agree on some rules for us to make a collective decision.” Even such trifles built the inability to carry out any political actions. Everyone quarrels, swears, or they want the impossible, or, conversely, they demand too little. In general, a lot of problems follow from this.

They also do not know how to voice some basic things. For example, at first, they are embarrassed to say that they do not like something, and then this political emotion of not liking something turns either into absenteeism and they simply stop participating in any general discussions because they are not heard there, or in the flashes of anger and rage.

In what cases did you have to try to build political communication? Were there any campaigns in the area?

I can remember one partially successful campaign. There is a project, “Last Address” which creates signs dedicated to those executed during the Stalinist terror. These signs are put on the houses, and it is written: here such and such lived, such and such was born at that time and shot at that time. These signs are put on the houses where people were taken from and hence the name of the project.

And we have such a big house, called “Dovlatov house”, on Rubinshtein Street, 23. Thirteen “Last Address” signs were put on it and,  due to some residents, at some point they were removed.

I took the position of a mediator in this conflict, trying to figure out why these signs were removed and how to get them back. I wanted to help the Last Address, because I consider it a very important project. The majority was, in general, either not against or in favor of these signs, but I [came across] the actions of some small but organized group, and I tried, by mediating this conflict, to understand what their need was.

It turned out that among them there was only one staunch Stalinist who was strongly against the signs. All the other eight people who filed applications for [their] removal did so for other reasons, not ideological. They were worried that they were not asked. “They hung signs, but they did not ask us.” This is our house and our space, we want to manage it, and so on. Out of this need, many conflicts emerged, and I mediated [these conflicts]. We eventually came to an agreement that in general no one was against the signs. But, unfortunately, due to legal problems, it was not possible to return them and then the war began and this was not relevant any longer.

So, you had to communicate with the ideological Stalinist, who, apparently, initiated the process?

Including him. One way or another, I had to communicate with all the inhabitants of this house, with some together, with some separately, including the ideological Stalinist.

Was there a feeling of disappointment because people had no political experience or because they were ideological Stalinists?

No, I am not prejudiced. OK, so he is an ideological Stalinist. He is neither my relative nor my student. Because of the lack of political experience, there was disappointment, but not in people. Sometimes I was a little disappointed when they tried to solve a certain problem, for example, pedestrianization of the part of the street by “partisan” or institutional means, but it turned out that there was not enough motivation in people to do this even in the format of some kind of conversation, phone call, or meeting near the house. But then again, the disappointment is not in the people, but rather in the way our society works — and [there was] a desire to change it. So the the lack of political experience was the motivating factor.

Thank you. Let us talk about the problem of the opinion of the property owners. What do you think of it?

Firstly, we are talking about the city center where homeowners often do not live. This leads to a certain alienation, oddly enough, from their property, because after letting an apartment out to somebody, they generally do not care what will happen to the house, what will happen to the yard, and what will happen, roughly speaking, to the corner that belongs to them. In general, they simply absolutely do not care that they have neighbors and [on what] they will agree. They do not care, even if they now live literally in a neighboring house. Even this happens.

Secondly, owners are also different. For example, there is an owner of a room in a communal apartment, and there is an owner of an entire floor, which he lets out to shops. These are the big owners. And the larger the owner, the lower is his interest in some common affairs. An excellent example is Tolstovsky House, also on Rubinshtein Street. A beautiful building, if you are interested, google it, it is really beautiful.

So, there are “Maybach”, “Mercedes”, and “Lamborghini” standing in the yard. In short, for the most part, very rich people live in the house. But there are also several communal apartments, where people live, sometimes disadvantaged, sometimes well-off, just not rich. The house is in complete disrepair. One gets the feeling that is inhabited by pigs, although it would seem that there are rich people, and, in the end, not everyone has their opportunities, [So, do something for the common good].

However, that doesn’t work.

On the contrary, the richer a person is, the less he cares about some common good. And, in contrast, the poorer a person is, the more he seems to need to cooperate and do something together with others.

The richer a person is, the more difficult it is to negotiate with him, the more he begins to demand from the world and from the community. “Since I am so rich, in order for me to participate in public life, you have to give me something else. For example, some kind of extra privilege, because I will participate.” It is the trait of the rich.

That is, the least needy require more from the deputy than the neediest?

Forget the deputy. They demand more from their neighbors, who are less in need. No one is ready to [negotiate] on an equal footing and say that we are all fundamentally equal, I have no more rights and no more voice. No luck.

If a person has money, then you have to beg him so that he takes part in something common. “You know, I’m so busy, I have so many things to do.” But this is just an excuse, because a super-rich person, who does not have time for communication, can hire an assistant to deal with these issues. Again, no luck. If you are richer, you need to be appeased with something and some special attention needs to be paid to you. It’s horrible.

Poorer people, living in communal apartments, are much more interested in the common cause. Let’s say, let’s make a flower bed and get the yard in order and we are ready to water the plants. If a person is rich, then you will approach him and say, for example: “Listen, dude, can you make it so that the watering of the plants goes to your water bill, for example, since these are poor people and they do not really want to have the amount of their utility bills increased by 100-150 rubles per month. Maybe you will take on these expenses, and they are ready to spend their time, because they are interested in growing some plants.” However, it’s almost impossible. There are some exceptions, but they are rare.

Even if you tell them that it increases the value of the property? If a floor is bought from you, then the green yard attracts better tenants, doesn’t it? Doesn’t this argument work for them too?

You see, this argument is very liberal, and it would seem that it should work. Actually, this is what surprised me. I will not say that I communicate with billionaires, but we have very wealthy people, who are just as depoliticized as the poorer ones, and often do not see a connection between the state of the yard and the value of real estate.

First, because this is often not the case in Russia. In our country, the rental prices are formed with some adjustments, and it does not always work this way, although I am not a market analyst and it is difficult for me to say. Secondly, even if this is allowed, people often think that if they invest money, then someone else will also use it. The [cost of] real estate will grow not only for me, but also for my poorer neighbors and it repulses them.

There are those who say that I might invest into the yard improvement, but in the end, the drunkards, the poor people or some other neighbors will come and screw everything up. I will spend money, but everything will be ruined. At the same time, the only way to avoid this is to build a community, and for this you need to respect one another and recognize the right of others to vote and the right to their opinion. You do not need to invest 5 million to improve a yard, and then complain that something has been broken.

If you decide to invest some money, you need to gather neighbors and say: “Guys, I want to discuss everything with you. I am ready to invest 5 million, but I will not impose my opinion on you, what can be done with these 5 million. Let’s listen to me, because for me it’s a big amount, but nevertheless, I respect the opinion of each of you, because this will be a common place for all of us and we will all manage it.”

As for 5 million, I am fantasizing, of course. But in general, this does not happen because rich people are no more politicized than poor people. It’s just that they have more responsibility, because they could fight and they have the resources for it.

So, some elderly person with a pension of 12 thousand rubles can come to me and say she wants to do some kind of public good, she wants to achieve some good for all residents, and she is also ready to take care of this good. On the other hand, a [rich] resident of the same house can say, “Well, you know, I will not invest 50 thousand rubles in decent vases for these flowers. If some grandmother wants them, let her buy them herself.”

The liberal concept has it that the richer a person is, the more needs he has that are outside the scope of his immediate survival does not work. In practice, everything is not at all like that. In all three and a half years of active work, I have not seen a single confirmation of the claim that an increase in personal wealth leads to an improvement in the quality of social life.

It did not really surprise me, because it was in line with my political views. This strengthened my confidence that there is future in the left idea, in the ideas of cooperation, and in the ideas of grassroots things. There is future in them, and not in the market economy.

What does the mandate of a municipal deputy mean to you?

I actually take the idea of the representation very seriously. I know there are different opinions on this matter, but it is probably not worth delving into the debate about representation and representative democracy now. I do not think that political representation is necessarily concerned with liberal democracy. In my opinion, the latter has a complex relationship with the idea of representation, although they are not opposed and incompatible.

I have been thinking a lot about the representation and thinking about what that idea means to me. Firstly, it is about communicating with people and hearing their requests. At the same time, I must maintain my subjectivity and political convictions, but be very sensitive to practice, to what is happening “on the ground.” There is no need to try and to impose any ideological constructs on people. You must first analyze these problems and understand what tools you need to cope with them and what causes them.

The mandate, in fact, did not allow very much, because the municipalities in St. Petersburg have little power. And for deputies, regardless of their level, even for State Duma deputies, all their powers are collegial and you can decide something only together. An individual deputy, of course, can always fight for openness and reasonably criticize the parliamentary majority — these are his main powers. My parliamentary mandate gave me the opportunity to attend meetings of officials at even higher levels of government, and try to convey to them some problems and criticize their positions.

When you tell people that you are a deputy, they have some kind of automatic respect for you and they listen to what you say. It’s not always correct, but that’s how it works. Even though I was only thirty, more mature people listened to what I said. I myself tried to speak meaningfully, because my status of a deputy gave me more opportunities for communication.

In 2019, a fairly oppositional municipal council was elected in the Vladimirsky district. 12 out of 20 deputies were from Yabloko. How would you characterize them? How active were they? And has anything changed since the war started?

That part of the deputies who were active in 2019, when we were elected, remained active. I, in comparison with them, had a somewhat privileged position, because I received a salary as the deputy head of the municipality. I had a position in the council and therefore I could devote more time to work. So, it would be unfair to say that I was active and everyone else was not. This would not be true.

But, unfortunately, some deputies were not active even at the most minimal level. Some simply did not attend council meetings, which were held no more than once a month. It seems to me that it is still possible to allocate one evening a month, even if you do not receive a salary. Other deputies did not prepare for the meetings and did not even try to understand the agenda. I took responsibility and tried to explain what we were voting for.

On every issue at the meeting of the municipal council, I spoke my opinion, argued, supported and criticized. Colleagues didn’t really like this because it delayed the meeting. But I was correct and spoke within the agenda. Usually it took no more than three minutes, but I still expressed a position on the issue.

Unfortunately, some of the deputies, especially the head of the district Tikhonenko, “drifted away.” Or, more precisely, they betrayed the ideals and values with which we were elected in 2019. It was very disappointing, although their position became clear almost immediately during the first months. They, of course, did not go to the United Russia, but they felt some kind of power and said to themselves: “democracy is the power of democrats,” and what we do there is no one’s business. The head of the district, Tikhonenko, is such a person.

I have always insisted on public coverage of our meetings and decisions and because of that my relationship with a couple of people, including the district head, deteriorated, but I am still on good terms with the rest of my colleagues.

After the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, however, there was not a single deputy from ours who would speak out from a pro-war position, but not everyone took an anti-war position either. Unfortunately, even in personal conversations, a large number of deputies, like our society on the whole, accepted the position “not everything is so simple.” This is not supporting the war, but it can neither be called “an implicit anti-war” position.

What changed after war was the motivation to engage in municipal affairs. It declined both for me and many of my colleagues, because it was a certain sense of defeat. When I went to the polls in 2019, I hoped that we could create some kind of critical mass to change the country. On February 24, it seemed that at least the global battle was lost.

So, in 2019 it seemed like this was just the beginning and that there would be more to come?

Of course, I understood that before me there had been many opposition movements, activities, etc. It seemed to me then that our society still had more time — maybe, 10 or 15 years. It was clear that this would be a constant struggle against dictatorship, but there was a feeling that there would be more time. You could count on your strengths as if when running a marathon, that after the municipal council you could be elected to a higher level.

Yes, it’s clear that most likely they won’t let you in based on your signatures, but it will still be some kind of action, some kind of event; you will create some kind of community, build up your strength… New independent politicians will appear and political organizations will be strengthened — like the Russian Socialist Movement now, by the way.

It seemed there was time for all this. Either after Putin’s death we will fight in more comfortable circumstances and with less powerful players, or we will even be able to gather a sufficient number of supporters who will be able to defeat Putin. But it didn’t work out that way. The war began, and it meant the last nail in the coffin of everything and  it dried up the political field.

Only 11 people voted to deprive you of your mandate on June 6. This is the minimum quorum. Where are the other 9?

There were certain manipulations. Not everyone was invited to the meeting — only the required number of people to vote. The catch was that the meeting was extraordinary. You know about the next meeting more or less in advance and you prepare for it. An extraordinary meeting is always a trick. They warn you about it 2 days in advance and you have no time to prepare. The head of the district, who prepares an extraordinary meeting, has several weeks, and he confronts the rest of the deputies with a fact — the meeting will happen the day after tomorrow at 18:00, and that’s it. Not everyone can quickly change their plans. The meeting agenda included non-urgent issues that could have been discussed at a scheduled meeting. The question of depriving me of my mandate was introduced “by vote.” The meeting began, and the head said: “I want to discuss one more issue. Let’s vote for or against discussing this issue.” And just like that, everything was decided literally in 10 minutes.

Was there any discussion at all? In 10 minutes, someone should have said that you had already sent the declaration?

At that moment I was participating in a European Parliament event in Brussels. One of my colleagues wrote to me that the prosecutor’s office had come and they wanted to deprive me of the mandate. He sent me a Zoom link. At first, they didn’t let me in, and then, after this person asked, they let me in. I said that I’d submitted the declaration and sent all the confirmations, but they disconnected me from Zoom. This colleague later wrote that he’d voted to deprive me of the mandate, because he was frightened, although I don’t know what could frighten him. That’s how it happened.

I was given literally a minute and a half to explain my position, and the rest of the time was taken up by the speech of the representative of the prosecutor’s office and the speech of the head of the district… Then they started secret voting, the distribution of ballots, the announcement of voting results, and so on. Ten minutes is actually not very much.

There were two arguments: firstly, the declaration was allegedly not submitted, and secondly, that about six months ago some of our deputies did not submit their declarations. They really didn’t submit them and they didn’t deny it. They left [the country] and didn’t submit.

At that time the prosecutor’s office also said they had to be deprived of their mandates, but the council decided against it. The prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit which lasted six months. The court decided the case in the first instance, so it has not yet entered into legal power, because after the first instance there is time for an appeal, and if there is no appeal, only then does the decision comes into effect. Of course, our head will not file any appeal, because he is not at all inclined to protect the rights of deputies in any way. His argument was that we had one decision, and a second decision could become the basis for the dissolution of the Council.

However, that’s not true. Several lawyers have already figured out why this is a lie and one of them even did it publicly. First of all, if desired, it was possible to preserve the mandates, observing the law, by extending the trials for a year and a half, until the next elections. Secondly, from a political standpoint,  the executive branch was unlikely to disperse the municipal council of the Vladimirsky district.  For three years they have been trying to disperse Smolninsky council, which has not held a single meeting in three years.

So, the deprivation of mandates is an initiative of the head of the district Tikhonenko, and not the prosecutor’s office? If he had wanted to go against the the pressure of the prosecution, would it have been possible for him to do so?

Yes. Tikhonenko’s real argument, which he implies, is that he is infuriated that a person, while being abroad, signs all sorts of letters in defense of Azat Miftakhov and other political prisoners and that the person signs them as a deputy or deputy head of the Vladimirsky district. It pisses him off and he thinks it affects all of them [on the city council]. But in reality, this does not affect anything, because everything must have legal grounds. Even Alexei Gorinov, who was imprisoned because of Ilya Yashin, was arrested for his anti-war position. That is, everyone is judged on his personal merits, and not because some colleague goes around and says something, introducing himself as an employee of the same organization in which you are a member. It doesn’t work that way.

In addition, when I was similarly removed in May from the position of editor-in-chief of a municipal newspaper, I proposed to think through the format of interaction. [I told them that] I understood that I could speak out, but you, theoretically, may have some problems of a non-legal nature. Let us do this: I want to be the chief executive, and we will discuss with you what I sign, what I do not sign, and how I sign. For example, I can simply write “Vitaly Bovar, politician,” without indicating that I am a municipal deputy.

I offered to discuss all the issues, but they refused this format, because the only thing they were ready to agree to was that I didn’t sign anything at all and didn’t express any position. Even in this case, there were no guarantees that I would not have been removed from the post of editor-in-chief and would not have been deprived of my deputy mandate.

The process of removal from the head office — how did it start and who initiated it?

Deputy Ksenia Lavrova, who, by the way, voted to deprive me of the mandate. She called an emergency meeting of the editorial board. For three and a half years, while I was editor-in-chief, they found some mistakes. I delayed the release of some issues: instead of 12 which I should have released, I only released 10. They collected all this in a folder and said that with such a track record, especially being abroad, I cannot continue to be an editor-in-chief. I was very upset to hear this, because for these three and a half years I received a salary only for the work of the deputy head. In fact, the editorial office was volunteering. I was engaged for three and a half years, put my soul into it and always told my colleagues that what was more important to me was not the number of releases, but their quality. Therefore, I’d rather put together a good issue with good materials than release something mediocre but every month.

However, the fact is that the municipal council appointed me to the post of editor-in-chief, and at that moment they would not have had enough votes to remove me. Now it was enough, but then it was not enough. So, they came up with a clever formula using the newspaper’s charter.

I compiled it and somehow overlooked that, indeed, if the editor-in-chief is not physically located in Russia, then the editorial board has the right to appoint an acting editor-in-chief. I understood where everything was going.

The conflict began when I saw the plan for the issue, in which there were 7 photographs of Tikhonenko on 8 pages! He was already preparing for the elections and this was a United Russia theme. I raised a scandal and they decided to convene an editorial board in order to bypass me and appoint a deputy editor-in-chief without asking my opinion.

I said that then I would relinquish my authority, because the newspaper would be signed with my name, but someone else would actually publish it. They told me they were not going to take my opinion into account even in a consultative manner. That’s how I resigned.

What materials were published in the newspaper of the Vladimirsky district under your chief administration?

Very different ones. Mostly they dealt with urban politics in a critical way — not in the sense that I was berating everyone, but in the sense that I looked at various things as urban problems. For example, street art: why officials order to have it painted over, what ways there are to solve this, and why it is all created this way and not otherwise. Sometimes, I used the newspaper as a platform for helping friendly initiatives. For example, district activists Lyuba Krutenko and Marina Tsai were holding a City Assembly and they needed people from different backgrounds. I published a text about this initiative and placed a questionnaire in the newspaper so that they could fill it out and send it to participate in the City Assembly. Twice the newspaper was published with an anti-war cover.

What was the motivation of the head of the district Tikhonenko and those who supported him? Do they have political ambitions?

Yes, they were infuriated that my colleague Irina Gaisina and I were signing letters. The head of the district and a small group around him have a desire to be re-elected and he is very afraid that he will not succeed. The city authorities set conditions for him: you have a deputy head, but you do not control him. You must be able to manage these people if you want to get re-elected. For the first year and a half, Tikhonenko tried to interact with me via manipulation and persuasion. When it didn’t work out, we just stopped communicating and when the opportunity arose to deprive me of my mandate, he deprived me.

His main goal is to get re-elected. He has already hired a political strategist, Yulia Mileshkina. There is a year and a half before the elections and she is already working. He needed to pressurize the newspaper to print more of his photographs, because this has an electoral meaning. My presence simply interferes with his plans. The same attitude [as that of United Russia] is to remove the alternative.

You said “to remove the alternative.” Does Tikhonenko really think that you will compete with him?

If I have the opportunity to return to the country, I will go to the polls as a candidate. If I’m not in Russia, then I will lead the team and, as the team leader, I will deal with it. Maybe I’ll come to an agreement with Yabloko so that the team can be nominated or we’ll do it in some other way.

I plan to provide an alternative to both United Russia and the current head of the district in the next elections. As a team consultant, as its leader, if you can’t get ahead yourself.

What do you think will happen to people like Tikhonenko (conditional oppositionists who resemble the officials) after the democratic transformation of the regime?

 I think that in principle there are many conformists, and they may even be needed in various bureaucratic positions, but any intensification of the political process will significantly reduce their share at those levels where there is a public component.

What would you like to say to the audience of the Russian Socialist Movement?

 I would encourage the RSM audience not to lose their grip and acquire skills. It is becoming obvious that inequality in its very different dimensions will be the main problem of the coming decades in Russia. Therefore, any attempts to communicate on this topic: the creation of trade union cells, petitions, public appeals to officials and fellow citizens, is at least a valuable experience, and, strictly speaking, a political action that brings closer more just, peaceful and social Russia.

Interviewed by Vladimir Kochnev.

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