Alexander Tarasov
Born (1958-03-08) March 8, 1958 (age 65)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Russian philosophy
Main interests
Politics, sociology, culture, philosophy

Alexander Nikolaevich Tarasov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Тара́сов; born March 8, 1958) is a Soviet and Russian left-wing sociologist, politologist, culturologist, publicist, writer, and philosopher. Up until the beginning of the 21st century he referred to himself as a Post-Marxist[1][2] alongside István Mészáros and a number of Yugoslav Marxist philosophers who belonged to Praxis School and emigrated to London. Since in the 21st century the term Post-Marxism has been appropriated by Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe and their followers, Alexander Tarasov (together with the above-mentioned István Mészáros and Yugoslav philosophers) stopped referring to himself as a Post-Marxist.[3]

Early political activity and arrest

(Also read: Party of New Communists and Neo-Communist Party of the Soviet Union)

In December 1972 – January 1973 together with Vasily Minorsky, Tarasov has founded a clandestine radical left group called the "Party of New Communists" (PNC) (Russian: Партия новых коммунистов (ПНК)), and became the group's informal leader in the summer of 1973. In 1974 PNC merged with another clandestine radical left group called “Left School" (Russian: Левая школа) to form the “Neo-Communist Party of the Soviet Union" (NCPSU) (Russian: Неокоммунистическая партия Советского Союза (НКПСС)). Tarasov has become one of the NCPSU leaders and theorists, writing the party program, The Principles of Neo-communism (Russian: Принципы неокоммунизма) in 1974. The KGB arrested him in 1975. Upon preliminary imprisonment and a yearlong confinement in a special psychiatric hospital he was released because the NCPSU case was never brought to trial. In the psychiatric hospital Tarasov was subjected to cruel treatment and (de facto) to torture (beatings, ETC – electroconvulsive therapy, induced hypoglycemia, injection of large doses of neuroleptics) all resulting in severe somatic disorders, which A.Tarasov has been suffering from since his release, leaving him virtually disabled (Hypertonia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, liver and pancreas diseases).[4][5] After his release, Tarasov participated in restoration of NCPSU, which he had led until its self-dissolution in January 1985. In 1988, two State Psychiatric Commissions examined Tarasov and found him completely psychologically healthy.[5] (Also read: Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union)

Education and professional activities

Tarasov held many different jobs: he worked as a draughtsman; laboratory assistant in a design institute; graveyard warden at Vagankovo Cemetery (Moscow); machinist; boiler technician; librarian; editor; feldsher; gas boiler operator; bookkeeper at the Central Warehouse of Mikoyan Meat Processing Plant Corp.; light board operator at Moscow Hermitage Theatre (located in Moscow Hermitage Garden); research associate at the Centre for Scientific Analysis (Russian Academy of Sciences); university teacher; consultant for the Ministry of Education and Science; political columnist; expert at Information Research Centre "Panorama" and Moscow Human Rights Committee; etc. He got a degree in economics from All-Russian State Distance Learning Institute of Finance and Economics and a degree in history (started at the Moscow State Pedagogical University and finished at Lomonosov Moscow State University). When "perestroika" started, he soon firmly positioned himself as a professional sociologist and politologist.

Publishing and literary activity

In 1984 Tarasov started publishing his works (under a pseudonym) in the USSR ("samizdat") and in foreign press. In 1988, his articles started appearing (under pseudonyms) in independent press and from 1990 he has been publishing his works in independent and official press under his own name.

In 1988 he founded the "Independent Archive" (from 1990: "Independent Archive – Independent Sociological Service") and in 1991 he became an associate at the Centre for New Sociology and the Study of Applied Politics "Phoenix" (Russian: Центр новой социологии и изучения практической политики "Феникс"). In 2004, he became a co-director of "Phoenix" and, in February 2009, its Director.

In the first half of 1993 Tarasov was one of the three editors of a monthly magazine called The House of the Unions, published by the same team as Solidarnost (Russian: Солидарность (Solidarity), the newspaper founded by the Moscow Federation of Trade Unions (MFP) (currently the newspaper of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia). The magazine had a circulation of 30,000. In his address to the readers of the first issue A.Tarasov has noted that The House of the Unions makes it its mission to "update Socialist thought" and "create a theory that matches current reality." After just five issues the magazine was closed down by Andrey Isaev, Editor in Chief of "Solidarnost", for non-conforming to the political line of MFP, i.e. for "excessive" radicalism.[6]

In the second half of 1993 Tarasov was a member of the editorial board of the newspaper The Working Class Action; in 1993–1994 – a member of the editorial board of a counterculture magazine Vugluskr (Russian: Вуглускр); in the mid-1990s – political adviser for a radical student union "Students’ Advocacy".[7]

Tarasov has penned more than 1100 publications in sociology (mainly on youth studies,[8] education issues and conflict resolution); politology[9] (current politics,[10] political radicalism in Russia and abroad, mass social movements); history (history[11] and theory of revolutionary movement[12] and guerrilla warfare); culturology[13][14] (popular culture issues, intercultural and inter-civilization contradictions); economics[15](comparative research). He is also a literary and movie critic (modern literature and cinema, popular culture and politics, history and theory of the cinematography of the 1960s and 1970s). He has been the first to study and describe Nazi-skinhead subculture in Russia.[16][17][18][19] A.Tarasov is the author of the first profound research on the influence of far-right ideas and organizations on the subculture of football fans in Russia[20] (November 2009 – January 2010).

In 2002 he was one of the founders, compilers and a scientific editor of a book series Zero Hour: Contemporary World Anti-Bourgeois Thought (Russian: "Час "Ч". Современная мировая антибуржуазная мысль" – “Gilea” Publishing House). He followed this with two additional book series: Class Struggle (German: Klassenkampf; co-edited with Boris Yuliyevich Kagarlitsky – "Ultra.Culture" Publishing House) in 2005, and The Rose of the Revolution (Russian: "роЗА РЕВОлюций") in 2006 (“Cultural Revolution” Publishing House). These series include modern left-wing socio-political literature (mainly foreign).

In addition to contributing to compiling and editing of these series, Tarasov takes on the role of a science editor and commentator on the works of famous left-wing thinkers: Leon Trotsky,[21] Alain Badiou,[22] Cornelius Castoriadis[23] to name a few.

As a target of violence in post-Soviet Russia

On November 4, 1995, Tarasov was the victim of an unprovoked assault near his house: after calling him by name, unknown attackers beat him so severely that he lost consciousness (although he tried to defend himself). The attackers escaped with his passport, but did not take a large sum of money and valuables. Police opened a criminal investigation into the assault, but the attackers have never been found.[24][25][26][27][28][29]

In 2008, neo-Nazis included A. Tarasov on the list of their enemies who must be physically exterminated. The list was published on radical right-wing sites.[30][31]

In 2011, the Russian pro-Kremlin group "Nashi" named Tarasov among "168 most loathsome enemies" of the group's leader Vasily Yakemenko and of Vladimir Putin's regime.[32][33][34][35]

Political differences with contemporary dissenters

Tarasov is known among Russian anarchists as a consistent critic, primarily of the practice of anarchism as fruitless and unpromising, and, to some extent, of its theory as outdated and unscientific.[36][37][38] Tarasov's criticism has caused open animosity towards him among anarchists.[39][40]

Tarasov's reaction to 2011–2012 Russian protests was negative. He criticized the protests from the left, considering them to be the movement of petit bourgeoisie and "consumers' rebellion" alien to the goals and objectives of left-wing forces in Russia and irrelevant to the revolutionary struggle against capitalism.[41][42]

Between 2002 and 2012 Tarasov actively participated (behind the scene) in publication of the Scepsis journal (Russian: Скепсис), also contributing to its online version (from May 2003). He was responsible for some of the publications on the journal's website, collaborated with authors and translators as an editor and a curator. He had a noticeable influence on the political and theoretical stance of the journal, which is evident in the journal's and the website's mission statement, documenting some of Tarasov's theoretical ideas, such as: defining the bureaucrat-bourgeoisie as the ruling class of modern Russia; characterization of Russia as a society of degrading peripheral capitalism; distinguishing between the concepts of "intellectuals" and "intelligentsia"; recognition of the rudimentary level of the left movement in Russia, etc. In addition, the mission statement of Scepsis contains references to five of Tarasov's writings.[43] It is also known that A. Tarasov was one of the authors of the Scepsis's manifesto entitled "Do Not Fall into the Same Trap!"[44] and dedicated to the "Bolotnaya" protests of 2011. His input into the manifesto was the idea of the necessity to organise grassroots "clusters of resistance… at work, at school, and in the neighbourhoods".[44][45]

In 2012 A. N. Tarasov left the Scepsis due to ideological and political differences with the majority of its editorial board members, most of whom were the students and followers of Yuri Semenov. Tarasov's departure was preceded by his public polemics with Semenov.[46][47][48]

Recognition and awards

Tarasov is an accomplished prose and poetry writer (since 1992). He is also a translator from English and Spanish (since 1997). Tarasov's works have been published, apart from Russia, in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Serbia, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Cuba, Panama, South Africa, Morocco, Réunion, New Zealand, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, as well as in unrecognized Transnistria and Donetsk People's Republic. He is a laureate of the prizes of several literary magazines: “Druzhba Narodov” (Fraternity of Peoples, Russian: «Дружба Народов» (2000),[49]Yunost" (Youth, Russian: «Юность» (2001) and "Oktyabr'" (October, Russian: «Октябрь» (2011).[50][51][52]

Since 2014 Tarasov's profile has been included in annual editions of Marquis Who's Who in the World.[53]



  1. ^ Тарасов, А.Н (2005). "Полемика с Александром Шубиным". Из книги: "Революция не всерьёз. Штудии по теории и истории квазиреволюционных движений".Екатеринбург, издательство "Ультра.Культура", 2005. ISBN 5-9681-0067-2. (Tarasov, A. "Polemics with Alexander Shubin" (from the book: "Not A Serious Revolution. Study of the Theory and History of Quasi-Revolutionary Movements". Yekaterinburg, “Ultra.Culture” Publishing House, 2005). Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  2. ^ Тарасов, А.Н (April 20, 2001). "Сакральная функция революционного субъекта. Встреча в Византийском клубе 20 апреля 2001 года. Интервью Аркадия Малера с Александром Тарасовым". Журнал Скепсис. (Tarasov, A. "A Sacral Function of a Revolutionary Subject. The Meeting in Byzantine Club on April 20, 2001. Arkady Maler's Interview with Alexander Tarasov". "Scepsis", April 20, 2001).
  3. ^ (Russian) Паульман, В.Ф. "Танцы вокруг парового котла". (Paulman, V. "Dancing Around the Boiler"). ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Erlich, Reese (December 11, 2001). "Soviet Dissidents. Gone With the Wind of Change". Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ a b Тарасов, А.Н (2007). "Возвращение на Лубянку: 1977–й". Журнал Неприкосновенный запас (2). (Tarasov, A. "The Return to Lubyanka – Year 1977". "Neprikosnovennyj Zapas" (Emergency Ration) Magazine, 2007, No.2).
  6. ^ (Russian) Потапов, В. "Дом Союзов". Журнал "Община" (49). (Potapov, V. "The House of the Unions", Obshchina, No. 49).
  7. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Молодежь России: "No Future"?". RWCDAX (2). (Tarasov, A. "Russia's Youth: No Future?”. RWCDAX – No. 2).
  8. ^ Tarasov, A (January 17, 1998). "Provinces Grow Restive". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on November 28, 2021. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  9. ^ Tarasov, A (1993). "Soviet Trade Unions on the Road to a Shameful Fall". Russian Labour Review (1). Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  10. ^ Tarasov, A. "Provocation: A dissident version of the events in Moscow of October 3–4, 1993". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Tarasov, A (1993). "Lessons of Novocherkassk". Russian Labour Review (2). Archived from the original on November 28, 2021. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  12. ^ Tarasov, A (2011). "World Revolution 2: the Return to a Global Revolutionary Strategy Based on the Experience of the 20th Century". The Future Present. 1 (1).
  13. ^ Tarasov, A (April 26, 2000). "Kill The Yankees – a Mantra of Counterculture". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on November 28, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  14. ^ Tarasov, A (May–June 2000). "Ten Years of Shame: Arguments About Blame". Russian Politics and Law. 38 (3): 49–68. doi:10.2753/RUP1061-1940380349. S2CID 143546714.
  15. ^ Tarasov, A. "Super-etatism and Socialism: Towards a Statement of the Problem". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ Tarasov, A (January–February 2001). "Offspring of Reforms – Shaven Heads Are Skinheads. The New Fascist Youth Subculture in Russia". Russian Politics and Law. 39 (1): 43–89. doi:10.2753/RUP1061-1940390143. S2CID 144644768.
  17. ^ Tarasov, A (July 14, 2004). "Leading Expert Traces Rise of Skinhead Movement". The Current Digest of the Soviet Press. Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  18. ^ Tarasov, A (August 2002). "Russian Skinheads: a Social Portrait (Analysis of Social Motives Behind the Skinhead Movement in Russia)". Kontinent (32). Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  19. ^ Tarasov, A (June 18, 2004). "The Skinheads Are Coming". Russian Press Digest. Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  20. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н (2010). "Субкультура футбольных фанатов в России и правый радикализм". Из сборника статей: "Русский национализм между властью и оппоцизией". Москва, Центр "Панорама", 2010. ISBN 978-5-94420-039-6. (Tarasov, A. "The Subculture of Football Fans in Russia and Right-Wing Radicalism" (from the compilation of articles: "Russian Nationalism Between the Power and the Opposition". Moscow, “Panorama” Centre, 2010).
  21. ^ (Russian) (2007). "Антология позднего Троцкого". М.: Алгоритм, Эксмо, серия "Философский бестселлер". 2007. – 606 с. ISBN 978-5-9265-0313-2. (An anthology of Trotsky's later works. "Philosophical Bestseller" series. Moscow: Algorithm and Eskmo publishing houses, 2007) –.
  22. ^ (Russian) Бадью А. "Можно ли мыслить политику? Краткий трактат по метаполитике". М.: Логос, 2005. – 239 с. ISBN 5-8163-0068-7. (Badiou A. "Can a politician think? A brief tractate on metapolitics". Moscow: Logos publishing house, 2005) —.
  23. ^ (Russian) Касториадис К. "Воображаемое установление общества". М.: Гнозис; Логос, 2003. – 479 с. ISBN 5-8163-0047-4. (Castoriadis C. "The Imaginary Institution of Society". Moscow: Gnosis and Logos publishing houses, 2003) —.
  24. ^ (Russian) Панфилов, О.В. "Нарушения прав журналистов и прессы на территории СНГ: ноябрь, 1995 год". Независимая газета, 14 декабря 1995 г. (Panfilov, O.V. "Violations of the rights of journalists and media workers in the CIS countries: November, 1995". Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 14, 1995).
  25. ^ (Russian) Баранов, А.Ю. "Пострадали… незаметно. Террор против левой прессы". Правда, 9 ноября 1995 г. (Baranov, A.Yu. "Harmed...without being noticed. Terror against the leftist press". Pravda, November 9, 1995).
  26. ^ (Russian). "Избит неизвестными…". Общая газета, № 51, 1995 г. ("Beaten by the unknown". Obschaya Gazeta, No. 51, 1995).
  27. ^ (Russian). "Мониторинг Фонда защиты гласности: ноябрь 95". Законодательство и практика средств массовой информации. № 12, 1995 г. (Monitoring analysis by the "Foundation for the Defense of Glasnost". Media Legislation and Practice. No. 12, 1995).
  28. ^ (Russian). "Неизвестные, избившие Александра Тарасова, отобрали у него паспорт". ИМА-пресс. – 6 ноября 1995 г. ("The unknown, who beat Alexander Tarasov, took his passport". IMA-press, November 6, 1995).
  29. ^ (Russian). "Избит политолог Экспертной группы Панорама". Молодёжный канал – Горячая линия. – 6 ноября 1995 г. ("Attack on a politologist from the Information Expert Group Panorama". Youth Channel – Hotline, November 6, 1995).
  30. ^ (Russian) Жертвы большой игры (список сайта — Антикомпромат.Ру Archived December 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine (Victims of the Big Game (the list from website –
  31. ^ Kuzmin, А. (2011). "Русский радикальный национализм в современной России: традиции и эволюция" [Russian Radical Nationalism in Modern Russia: Traditions and Evolution]. Сыктывкар, Издательство Сыктывкарского государственного университета, 2011. Syktyvkar: Publishing House of Syktyvkar State University: 218. ISBN 978-5-87237-761-0.
  32. ^ (Russian) Потупчикгейт. 168 самых врагов режима по версии Росмолодёжи (Potupchikgate. 168 Worst Enemies of the Regime According to Rosmolodezh).
  33. ^ (Russian) 168 самых мерзких врагов (168 Most Loathsome Enemies).
  34. ^ (Russian) Враги Режима Archived September 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (Enemies of the Regime).
  35. ^ (Russian) Список врагов, составленный нашистами (The Enemies List, Compiled by Nashi).
  36. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Леворадикалы". Раздел из книги: Тарасов А. Н., Черкасов Г. Ю., Шавшукова Т. В. "Левые в России: от умеренных до экстремистов". Москва, Институт экспериментальной социологии, 1997. (Tarasov, A. "Radical Left". A section from the book: Tarasov, A., Cherkasov, G., Shavshukova, T. “The Left Wing in Russia: From Moderate to Extremists”. Moscow, The Institute of Experimental Sociology, 1997). Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  37. ^ Tarasov, А.Н (2005). "Революция не всерьез. Штудии по теории и истории квазиреволюционных движений" [Not A Serious Revolution. Study of the Theory and History of Quasi-Revolutionary Movements]. Екатеринбург, издательство "Ультра.Культура", 2005. Yekaterinburg: "Ultra.Culture" Publishing House: 10–12, 14, 21–23, 40–66, 69–81, 84–88, 95–101, 121–124, 129–137, 151–153, 157–169, 209–214, 217–220, 226–235, 242–248, 409, 410. ISBN 5-9681-0067-2.
  38. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н (2009). "Мать беспорядка". Журнал Неприкосновенный запас (5). (Tarasov, A. "Mother of Disorder". "Neprikosnovennyj Zapas" ("Emergency Ration") Magazine, 2009, No.5).
  39. ^ (Russian) Акай, Л. "Анархисты и "леваки": почувствуйте разницу!". Наперекор. – № 8. (Akai, L. "Anarchists and "lefties": feel the difference!". Naperekor (magazine), No. 8).
  40. ^ (Russian). "Книга политолога Врунгеля. Полное морально-политическое единство в одном отдельно взятом вопросе". Орган московских анархистов. – 1998, 22 апреля. ("The Book of Vrungel, a political scientist. Full moral and political unity on a single issue". A Publication of Moscow Anarchists, April 22, 1998).
  41. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н (December 22, 2011). "Бунт кастратов". Русский журнал. (Tarasov, A. "The Castrates' Riot", "Russkyj Zhurnal" ("Russian Magazine)", December 22, 2011).
  42. ^ (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "...посильнее Фауста Гёте!". 6–30 Января 2012. (Tarasov, A. "...Beats Goethe's Faust!", January 6–30, 2012).
  43. ^ (Russian) Платформа «Скепсиса» (Platform of the Scepsis journal).
  44. ^ a b (Russian) «Не наступать на грабли!» ("Do Not Fall into the Same Trap!").
  45. ^ (Russian) Лачин «Король двух гетто» (Lachin. "The King of Two Ghettos").
  46. ^ (Russian) Тарасов А. Н. "Опять тупик" // «Русский журнал», «Скепсис» (Tarasov A.N. "Dead End Again")
  47. ^ (Russian) Семёнов Ю. И. "Дилетантизм против науки". (Semenov Yu.I. "Amateurism vs. Science")
  48. ^ (Russian) Тарасов А. Н. "Не Мировая война, а Мировая революция" // «Сен-Жюст», «Скепсис» (Tarasov A.N. "Not the World War, but the World Revolution")
  49. ^ (Russian). "Радио Свобода – новости культуры". 1 Февраля 2001. (Radio Liberty – Culture News. February 1, 2001).
  50. ^ (Russian). "Журнал "Октябрь" выбрал лучшие публикации 2011 года". МК, 19 декабря 2011 г. ("Oktyabr magazine has selected the best publications of 2011". Moskovskij Komsomolets, December 19, 2011). Archived from the original on December 20, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  51. ^ (Russian). "Журнал "Октябрь" выбрал лучшие публикации 2011 года"., 19 Декабря 2011. ("Oktyabr magazine has selected the best publications of 2011"., December 19, 2011).
  52. ^ (Russian) Зайцев, П. ""Октябрь" в декабре". Российская газета, 22 декабря 2011 г. (Zaytsev, P. "Oktyabr" – December issue". Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 22, 2011).
  53. ^ "Who's Who in the World 2014". 31rd Edition (Classic). Chicago. 2013. ISBN 978-0837911526.