Boris Kagarlitsky
Борис Кагарлицкий
Kagarlitsky in 2011
Born (1958-08-29) 29 August 1958 (age 65)
Alma materState Institute of Theatrical Art (GITIS)
Moscow State Social University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Russian philosophy
World-systems theory[2]
Main interests
Philosophy, sociology, labour, history, class struggle

Boris Yulyevich Kagarlitsky (Russian: Бори́с Ю́льевич Кагарли́цкий; born 29 August 1958) is a Russian Marxist theoretician and sociologist who has been a political dissident in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. He is an associate of the Transnational Institute.[3] Kagarlitsky is the director of Institute of Globalisation Studies and Social Movements (IGSO)[4] and editor in chief of Levaya Politika (Left Politics) quarterly in Moscow. Kagarlisky hosts a YouTube channel Rabkor, associated with his online newspaper of the same name.[5]

Political activities

Soviet Union

Kagarlitsky, aged 22, in 1980

In the 1970s, he studied theatre criticism at the State Institute of Theatrical Art (GITIS), before being expelled for dissident activities in 1980. His editorship of the samizdat journal Levy Povorot (Left Turn) from 1978 to 1982, and contributions to the samizdat journal Varianty (Variants) during the same period, led to his arrest for 'anti-Soviet' activities in 1982. He was pardoned and released in 1983.

In 1988 he published his book, The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet State From 1917 to the Present, which won the Deutscher Memorial Prize.

In 1988, after the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika, he was permitted to resume his studies at the GITIS, graduating in the same year, and became coordinator of the Moscow People's Front [ru]. In 1990, he was elected to the Moscow City Soviet and to the Executive of the Socialist Party (USSR) [ru].

Russian Federation

Kagarlitsky speaks at Moscow opposition rally "For the social rights of Muscovites", 2 March 2013

He co-founded the Party of Labour (Russia) [ru] in October 1992. In October 1993, the former Soviet dissident was arrested, with two other members of his party, for his opposition to President Boris Yeltsin during the September–October constitutional crisis, but was released the next day after international protests. Later that year, his job and the Moscow City Soviet were abolished under Yeltsin's new constitution. The events and his experiences during this momentous period are documented in his book, Square Wheels: How Russian Democracy Got Derailed. His 2005 historical essay Marxism: not recommended for teaching. was criticized by Mikhail Vasilyevich Popov.[6]

In 2022 Kagarlitsky was designated a foreign agent by Russian authorities.[7] On the 25th of July 2023, Russia's Federal Security Service opened a criminal case against Kagarlitsky.[8] He was arrested on charges of "justifying terrorism" on 26 July 2023 according to Russian state agencies, as part of a wider crackdown on outspoken critics of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[7] In December 2023, he was charged 600 000 rubles fine on this charge.[9]

In February 2024 his sentence was changed to 5 years detention in a prison colony.[10]

After his arrest in 2023 the Kagarlitsky Solidarity Committee was formed and signed by public and political figures around the world: Jean-Luc Melenchon, Jeremy Corbyn, Slavoj Žižek, Nadya Tolokonnikova and many others.[11]

Academic career

From 1994 to 2002, he was a senior research fellow at the Institute for Comparative Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISPRAN). He was awarded his Doctorate degree for his thesis, "Collective Actions and Labour Policies in Russia in the 90s," in 1995, and has taught political science at Moscow State University, the Moscow School for Social and Economic Sciences, and the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Personal life

According to Kagarlitsky, his paternal family descends from Ilya Kagarlitsky, a successful Jewish businessman from the Ukrainian city Kaharlyk. His mother comes from an Orthodox Christian family.[12] He has a daughter, Ksenia.[13]

Books in English


  1. ^ "Who is Boris Kagarlitsky?".
  2. ^ "Empire of the periphery". 12 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Boris Kagarlitsky | Transnational Institute". 2023-07-13. Retrieved 2023-07-27.
  4. ^ Institute of Globalisation Studies and Social Movements.
  5. ^ "Homepage Boris Kagarlizki". Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  6. ^ "Фонд Рабочей Академии — КАГАРЛИЦИЗМ ВМЕСТО МАРКСИЗМА".
  7. ^ a b "Prominent Kremlin critic Boris Kagarlitsky detained for 'calling for terrorism' online". Euronews. 27 July 2023. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  8. ^ "Russia opens criminal case against sociologist Boris Kagarlitsky for 'justifying terrorism'". Novaya Gazeta Europe. 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  9. ^ "Суд не стал сажать в колонию социолога Бориса Кагарлицкого — ему назначили штраф". BBC News Русская служба (in Russian). 2023-12-12. Retrieved 2023-12-12.
  10. ^ "Социологу Борису Кагарлицкому ужесточили приговор — вместо штрафа ему назначили пять лет колонии". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Freedom for Boris Kagarlitsky: Solidarity with Antiwar Activists". 2023-09-11. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  12. ^ "Шотландское наследие Бориса Кагарлицкого" ["Scottish heritage of Boris Kagarlitsky]. Jewish.Ru (in Russian). Retrieved 27 July 2023.
  13. ^ ""Он всегда был осторожен" Бориса Кагарлицкого, одного из самых известных левых мыслителей России, обвиняют в "призывах к терроризму" — ему грозит семь лет тюрьмы. Мы поговорили с его дочерью Ксенией" ["He was always careful." Boris Kagarlitsky, one of the most well-known leftist thinkers of Russia, is accused of "calls to terrorism", and may face up to seven years in prison. We spoke to his daughter, Ksenia]. Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 27 July 2023.
Awards Preceded byTeodor Shanin Deutscher Memorial Prize 1988 Succeeded byTerry Eagleton