Russia’s (Self-Proclaimed) Liberal Opposition Cannibalizes One Of Their Own

I don’t usually write about the latest adventures of that certain subset of the Russian “liberal” “opposition” – that motley crew of grifters, schizos, and washed out has beens who meet 2-3 times a year at their “Free Russia Forum” in Lithuania. Quite a far cry from their spiritual predecessors more than a century ago, who met up in the coffee salons of London and Zurich, they are now relegated to some Baltic backwater (how the mighty are fallen!). There, they lament that 98% of Russian vatnik swine have no time for them, before proceeding to demand Russians withdraw from the Crimea, pay reparations to half the world, and carry out “lustrations” against the servants and apologists of the Putler regime.

Seriously, if anyone needs a reminder as to why these people have zero political capital in Russia, you could do worse than reading my article on their “powerful takes” at the inaugural forum in March 2016: “Living Not By Lies in Lithuania.

So I haven’t been doing much in the way of covering this zoo since then. They are irrelevant, the novelty entertainment factor wears off quickly, and I believe in animal rights. Moreover, I don’t even think whoever finances them has that much pull. They generate hardly any coverage even in the West. Though I allow that the US may rely on their “Putin List” whenever they next need to brainstorm Russian individuals to sanction (at least it would be marginally better than using the Forbes 400). Why, then, am I writing about them now?

Because – get this – they have now put OLEG KASHIN on that “Putin List“.

You can read more about Kashin in my November 2018 article Oleg Kashin in the Albats Archipelago. Briefly, he is a liberal journalist who tends to dislike Putin and Putinists (they return the favor), currently lives in London, and agrees with liberals on approximately 75% of things (e.g. gay rights). He once got international attention for getting seriously beaten up in connection with his professional work. The one major issue that he disagrees on with the standard liberal position is over Crimea. While he supported Russia’s annexation of the peninsula, he does consider it to be an occupation, nor does he support Russia’s involvement in the Donbass. So it is certainly very strange to call him a “nightingale” of the regime – a “manager and collaborator of disinformation troops” – which is the subheading of the journalists/propagandists section of their Putin List.

Even so, this is perhaps not too surprising.

First, although Kashin is ultimately a liberal, he does not loathe Russia like most of the rest of them, and has on occasion argued that the other nations of the Soviet Union might share some culpability for Communist-era crimes. He is also on friendly terms with some Russian nationalists, such as Sputnik & Pogrom’s Egor Prosvirnin, for whom he did some reporting in Crimea in 2014, and who now occasionally appears on his YouTube streams (e.g. this one, where I am also present). This is a no-no amongst the ethnological “coalition of the fringes” that dominate the Russian “liberal” “opposition.”

Second, he has made an enemy of Evgenia Albats, a one-woman SPLC and gatekeeper of Russian “liberal” journalism, who accused him of Nazism for his statement that “it is foolish to deny that some (nations) have more contributions, others less, and some even Ukrainians.” Though the actual reason she mounted that campaign to blacklist him from journalism probably had more to do with him having asked inconvenient questions about how she had manages to acquire $400,000 in financing for her newspaper, which had negligible visitorship rates.

Third, there is the banal fact that many of these people are maximalist extremists – they are the ideological, and quite often biological, descendants of the Bolsheviks of yore. From their European exile, the Bolsheviks smeared the Russian Empire as a “prison of peoples” – a descriptor they promptly turned into reality on seizing power. One wonders whether the current vituperations of these people against Putler’s “bloody regime” would be likewise revealed as projection should some fluke bring them to power.

Now the official given reason for Kashin’s blacklisting was apparently his statement that Ukrainian activist Oleg Sentsov, imprisoned on terrorism charges in the Crimea, was a terrorist. In reality, far from echoeing the Russian government’s position, Kashin said the exact opposite.

Moreover, labeling Kashin as a Putinist was such a stupendous step that at least three of the Forum’s participants – Ilya Ponomarev, Alexey Obukhov, and Marat Guelman – felt the need to wash their hands off the decision. According to Guelman, this initiative was spearheaded by Mark Feygin (disgraced Pussy Riot lawyer who later destroyed his own family by dating a lesbian activist) and Andrey Sidelnikov (the late Berezovsky’s helper in London). Obukhov points the finger at Leonid Nevzlin (Khodorkovsky’s #2 in YUKOS, who fled to Israel after he was charged with having ordered hits on the oil company’s political rivals), who accused Kashin of taking money and misleading people who considered him to be an “independent journalist”, while Sidelnikov is said to claimed that Kashin “is not a journalist, but a propagandist.” In the comments to Guelman’s post, Kashin also suggests that Nevzlin was settling accounts with him.

Now I don’t claim any deep knowledge of  the minutiae of the petty grudges these people have against each other. Nor, to be frank, am I particular fired up by this topic (though perhaps some of my readers will be interested in mining those posts for interesting “nuggets” in the comments and let us know about them).

Even so, it’s worth noting how the parallels with the Bolsheviks just keep on piling up. They were also infamous for their culture of denunciations driven by personal conflicts on the basis of minor theological disputes, which saw former comrades sidelined and ultimately “unpersoned.” Fortunately – not just for Russians, but for many of the Forum’s participants personally – they don’t have that kind of totalitarian power, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

EDIT: Here are the additions to the Putin List as of the latest Forum(including Kashin):

I notice that Chalenko – whom I recently wrote about – is also on it. Congratulations.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Anonymoose says

    Aren’t the Poosay Riot whores part of this same gang of CIA and EU promoted subhumans.
    They’re in Alabama currently promoting Planned Paenthood.

  3. Need to get on that list. Worth a try…

  4. Duke of Qin says

    The Chinese “dissident” movement operates 110% the same way. They even spend probably more time denouncing one another as Communist “spies” infiltrated by the Party than anything else. The incessant (but powerless) proclamations of how they are reporting you to the FBI as unreigstered communist agents so you will be deported/arrested any day now are also amusing. Naturally they fit hand in glove with the Blue Chekists on twitter who have the same mindset.

    They are like the stupidest elements of the red guard brought back to life, though this time as 50-60 year olds.

  5. Polymath says

    Is Kasparov connected to this crowd? If not, who do you lump him with?

  6. Guess what, the “Serbian” handshakeworthy “opposition”, “intellectuals”, “journalists” and “artists” are a carbon copy.

    A mix of Yugocommunist offspring, minorities (including that special one) and explicitly paid Western stooges.

    A man can hope that the day of Roman-style proscriptions will come, the day when the protective umbrella the Anglobohomo Empire projects over their useful idiots disappears – I have encountered substantiated claims that the current government over here has secret security detail on these vermin to protect them both from false flag attacks aimed at spreading chaos and giving pretense for protests and unrest, and to discourage common people from roughing them up.

    In a way to prevent Nemtsov case capitalization – assault or murder on these nobodies of no importance or traction would be the maximum they could produce – martyr/victim as opposed to a despised fifth column.

  7. Of ones you discuss – I think only Ilya Ponomarev and Leonid Nevzlin are ones with some importance (rather than Kashin et al).

    However, both are a bit politically impotent because of their positions, so they might be a waste of time to look up too much.

    Nevzlin was expropriated by Igor Sechin, but managed to get a kind of roof in Israel from one of his daughters, who married the head of the Israeli parliament – the activist Yuli Edelstein.

    Here is the Wikipedia article of him, to understand how important he (this Edelstein) is in Israel, and so how safe from being expropriated Nevzlin probably is in Israel now.

    Nevzlin will be protected through his daughter now to the highest level of the Israeli parliament.

    parallels with the Bolsheviks just keep on piling up.

    For Leonid Nevzlin, Sergei Pugachev, – there is no qualitative difference from anyone in ruling clique, so whatever the past parallel is, it is with current rulers. Whatever is bad and good about their behaviour, is the usually most symptomatic things of the ruling clique itself.

    It’s just circumstances, not principles, which divided them. Part of the ruthless behaviour, because a lot of people in the elite hate each other, and slicing of the cake has more “zero sum”, than “win/win” qualities – one less person in the elite circle, and there is more cake for the remainders.

  8. Yes, Kasparov a regular attendee. Him at the first one:

    Historically, one of the conditions for successful reform in Russia has been geopolitical defeat. If this should involve the losses of territories which do not wish to live by Euro-Atlantic rules, then whatever. Russia is a big country. The USSR fell apart and nothing bad happened.

    Apart from actively shilling against Russian geopolitical interests, he also strikes me as one of the most actively cynical of the lot. In the US, he is a libertarian-neocon WSJ oped writer. But during the Bolotnaya protests in 2011-12, I noticed that the speeches he was giving were populist-leftist (e.g. Putler is stealing your pensions, that kind of thing).

    He is the definition of a psychopathic status maximizer.

  9. So he is the most extreme example of macroscopic duality?
    As opposed to “Fellow white people”/“I am a Jew” gig, or “borders are worst, we are all one race” / “Israel being Jewish ethnic state is non-negotiable” play, he goes even farther.

    Truly an endoparasitoid specimen. Fun fact – he has Croatian citizenship and has never found any issues with that, openly praising Croatia, truly a democratic, liberal and tolerant nation.

  10. The most “original” or nonsensical above view set, is for Ponomarev, as well as the originally less cynical and self-interested one.

    Kasparov is obviously example of narcissistic personality disorder and misapplied chess genius, destroying, or at least overdramatizing, the ability of a person to understand simple political realities, in the balanced way that most ordinary teenagers even do not find difficulty with. I’m not sure he is actually cynical – his judgement is probably just very distorted from his narcissistic personality and hyper-achievement in his profession (does chess help you to learn ordinary balance and reality principle?).

  11. Swarthy Greek says

    Albats probably violated the law on foreign NGOs-political donations. Meduza (the site that employs Golunov) also violated the same law according to RT’s Russian edition.

  12. Frederic Bastiat says

    There are studies showing that there are no positive transfer effects from chess to other areas of cognitive ability (in some interesting cases it is even the other way round, like remembering non-sensical chess positions). So, he basically has no useful qualification.

  13. Update: Here are the latest additions to their Putin List:

    Feel free to report me (if you feel like trolling and have time to waste) as an Anglophone enabler of the regime or something like that.

  14. They are like the stupidest elements of the red guard brought back to life, though this time as 50-60 year olds.

    The very fine people who read Sputnik & Pogrom (chief editor: Egor Prosvirnin) crowdfunded a BTR for the Donetsk militia in 2014, while they included Dugin for saying mean things about Ukrainians or something like that. Those fucking boomers.

  15. Gerard1234 says

    Ilya Ponomarev

    Rare for an oppositionist – Ponomarev is actually a sane and lucid guy (Venediktov, dead Novodvorskaya, von Eggert, Albats,Kasparov, Makarevich ,Kasparov,Gessen, Latynina,Navalny, Yashin et al. are all self-discredting freaks). It’s almost a shame that things turned out for him the way they did.
    As if this farce couldn’t get any dumber considering Banderastan’s ‘decommunisation”….0ne of Poroshenko’s last act as President, done in his last hour actually, was to give Ponomarev ( a selfproclaimed Bolshevik) Ukrainian citizenship! It’s not as of he was even relevant enough in Russia for the act of Ukrainian citizenship to be thought of by anyone as provocative!

  16. Gerard1234 says

    Probable faggot Golunov ….:

    “I never used narcotic drugs, …….except last year when the doctor prescribed me tablets with light psychotropic effects – but I have a receipt from the Pharmacy to prove it”

    BULLSHIT – that’s all the proof I need to know that either he was a regular recreational drug user…….or like Kara-Murza before him – a certified nutjob taking drugs for medication due to his mental state. A very disappointing affair, the authorities capitulating like this. Sure, people have had drugs planted on their premises all the time by the police, but I don’t believe the Police in Moscow would do it for a case like this.

    I hope they back up their allegations against him, but just say that they messedup the arrest ( over 48 hours, wrong photos and no warrant) to make prosecution impossible.

  17. Congratulations on making yourself out to be more of a kowtowing Stalinist than the people who are actually paid to do it in Russia.

    Then again, you do have ample experience with smearing Putin supporters by association.

  18. Anonymoose says

    Can you translate what Chalenko ios saying.

  19. Anonymoose says

    There is a video of him and Peter Thiel together discussing politics. Man does he come of as a egotistical git with severe narcissistic personality disorder. Guy probably has a severe inferiority complex that his chess expertise has sapped any other energy his brain has for other talents.

  20. Anonymoose says

    Reported. Why? Just for teh Lulz 😀

    Here’s my ‘report’ on you:

    This fascist Anatoly Karlin is a racialist neo-nazi supremacist. He is a supporter of despotic ideologies like neo-Tzarism and an apologist for Russian imperial aggression both Tsarist and Soviet Russian and he is an apologist for current Russian imperialism against ethnic and sexual minorities both within and outside Russia. He also promotes racialist psuedoscience such as IQ studies, concepts such as “hereditary intelligence” and genetic editing. He has also made anti-semitic statements typical of such primitive Russian imperialism. He is an enemy of European democratic values and thus an accomplice in the tyranny of the Putinist system.

    Hope you like it 🙂

  21. Pussy Riot in Alabama, fascinating…are they doing fried chicken commercials? In their case, maybe frozen chickens.

    It has been downhill for the poor girls, I get a feeling that even their sponsors would prefer to forget them.

  22. Anonymoose says

    Maybe they can do a commercial for Kentucky Frozen Chicken. Right now they’re resorting to begging from Planned Parenthood. I dare the CIA to pay them to try pull of some stunt in some random baptist or other evangelical church in the name of fighting for women’s rights to have control over their bodies.

  23. anonymous coward says

    The homosexual was busted in a random drug raid.

    So yeah, either he’s using or he’s dealing.

    The “procedural mistakes” are because nobody expected him to be a public figure.

  24. Mitleser says

    He is a jorno of a pro-Western site.
    Even if he was not a public figure, they could turn him into one.

  25. Felix Keverich says

    The very fine people who read Sputnik & Pogrom (chief editor: Egor Prosvirnin) crowdfunded a BTR for the Donetsk militia in 2014,

    For real? Where did this BTR come from?

    Dugin urged the killings of people in the Ukraine, “who rejected logos“, i.e. svidomi scum. It cost him his MGU job.

  26. Haruto Rat says

    Sue them if they don’t include you.

  27. These people seem to have their own considerable measure of Verkhovenskys and Stavrogins.


    What is happening? Putin is really reading AK’s blog?

  29. Evgenia Albats, a one-woman SPLC and gatekeeper of Russian “liberal” journalism

    Is she a jew?

  30. Kent Nationalist says

    Her grandfather Efraim Albats was a Jewish Communist (Bund) revolutionary.

  31. You would have noticed that not a single bulkokhrust* supported Management in the Golunov case, despite Meduza being a pro-Ukrainian resource; whereas nearly all sovoks, regardless of where they lived – in Moscow, in Odessa, in Helsinki – were all on the side of Management.

    So all conversations around the idea that sovoks are nothing to fear, that they’re only distinct from ordinary Russian patriots by their selfless love for the USSR and Stalin, are not serious. They are dangerous to a free society, because they are voluntary stalwarts of impunity, corruption, lawlessness, authoritarianism – they are therefore dangerous to the Russian people. Sovoks are ments** in their souls.

    ** Derogatory for policemen.

  32. I dare the CIA to pay them to try pull of some stunt in some random baptist or other evangelical church in the name of fighting for women’s rights to have control over their bodies.

    What would happen if they did this. The American left is extreme left, so they would obviously welcome this, what would the cucks at NationalReview and WSJ say about this though? On the one hand they are supposed to be nominally still church friendly, on the other hand they can’t really criticize something they would have supported if it was done in Russia.

  33. … they can’t really criticize something they would have supported if it was done in Russia.

    Why the hell not?

    France locked up Russian arsonist “artist” Pyotr Pavlensky as soon as he started practising his “art” in their country.

  34. Anonymous lurker says

    And all the western Russia-pundits that kept tabs on his every move and decried his arrests and fines while he was being “artistic” in Russia went silent like snap. Well, to be fair, they went silent when the rape accusations came, since they came from his likewise liberast “artistic” colleagues and couldn’t be easily dismissed as evil kremlings. That was when he fled the country and was granted French asylum.

    …And torched BdF, just like he’d torched the FSB HQ before. However, unlike the soft Russian authorities who pretty much only asked him to pay for the damage, the French locked him up real and also deemed him mentally unstable.

  35. Pussy Riot started out too high, they sought an easy fame and a paid-for exit from Russia. Once in the West there wasn’t much to escalate and becoming a generic exile ‘dissident‘ is harder with their past, with frozen chickens and all. So abortion in Alabama is about right.

    I once sat across a dinner table with a Western academic. We compared similar cases and their treatment based on whether it was in Russia-China or in the West. I won the factual examples hands down, it was almost too easy: nailing one’s balls to a pavement in front of the White House, Pussy Riot in a London mosque, and the perennial coup-de-grace: Kosovo vs. Crimea. He finally said: ‘you don’t get it, we are just different, you can’t compare West and the others, we have 100’s of years of democracy to build on, we are different‘.

    That idea is both an unanswerable killer argument and at the same time narcissistic nonsense that only a 1o-year old would say. The problem is not the argument itself, the problem is that at this point in history even people skeptical of the West think that way. It must be the hamburgers.

  36. for an oppositionist – Ponomarev is actually a sane and lucid guy… 0ne of Poroshenko’s last act as President, done in his last hour actually, was to give Ponomarev ( a selfproclaimed Bolshevik) Ukrainian citizenship!

    And yet Ponomarev opposes Poroshenko and is still criticizing him. This is gratitude lol.

    Opposition politics is mainly a filtering mechanism for non-conformist personalities.

    Similarly, Nevzlin is financing left-wing media in Israel, which opposes the politicians which protect him and some of his assets.

    • The higher you go, the more these nonconformism usually combined with narcissistic and difficult personalities.

    Pugachev has not started campaigning against the English yet – but the news articles for him are always about how he is abandoning his London mistress and children, so they will be “homeless” soon, and that he gave wild mistreatment of them in general.

  37. Gerard1234 says


  38. Gerard1234 says

    The homosexual was busted in a random drug raid.

    So yeah, either he’s using or he’s dealing.

    The “procedural mistakes” are because nobody expected him to be a public figure.

    Thank you for using common sense. Good man.

  39. Haruto Rat says


    No, why? Right now, the message to all young aspiring presstitutes is:

    Doing drugs and want to get away with it? Join the “liberal opposition”!

    In the long run, more druggies won’t do the liberasts any good.

  40. Duke of Qin says

    Now that you mention, this seems to fit a pattern. US state department or CIA can’t seem to recruit opposition who aren’t reflexively enmical to their own nations to such a degree it drives away normal people. They literally can’t, all they ever find to prop up as “legitimate” opposition are incompetent sociopathic status maximizers and grifters.

  41. Opposition politics is mainly a filtering mechanism for non-conformist personalities….

    The higher you go, the more these nonconformism usually combined with narcissistic and difficult personalities.

    My mother-in-law, when visiting from Russia, came across a famous Soviet-era dissident at a Russian deli in my town in the USA. Apparently he has emigrated here. The man was holding up the line by bitterly arguing over nickels and pennies for the price of cheese or sausage, being indignant and rude to the poor girl working there (he did not appear to be impoverished, and our town is kind of expensive). It was quite a spectacle.

  42. Gerard1234 says

    Adagamov under-age rape, that 75 year old Memorial paedophile idiot with a 6 year old adopted daughter ( textbook molestor) with naked photos of her on her computer (defense claim to be for showing to doctor), fraud from Serebrennikov, Navalny’s pal Belikh……………..NONE of these cases were “political victims” – they all had cases to answer for , none of the evidence was fabricated. It doesn’t mean they were guilty ( except Belikh as it was a sting operation), put I don’t think this Meduza dickhead is a political victim.

    Probably showing those photos from a different place put a different investigation under threat, but these freak was probably doing something for his own medical condition or dealing for his boyfriend

  43. First one is legitimate. Second one is a disgusting setup that only a sovok can defend. Third one I haven’t been following. Fourth one is legitimate.

  44. Fox Spooky Mueller says

    It might involve some amount of craziness and paranoia that are not unheard of on the highest level of chess … think for instance the White Russian emigrant Alekhin(sp) who wrote an essay on “Aryan vs Jewish Chess”, the ideas was that the Jewish Chess players are vulgar, materialist pawn grabbers while the Aryan masters play “Solar” chess with beautiful heroic and artistic sacrifices … the essay might have had something to do that he wished to relocate himself in Germany in the 30s …. it belongs together with Richard Wagner’s “Judaism in Music” and Rosenberg’s “the History of Judeo-Boshevism from Moses to Lenin” …

    the Germany thing didn’t pan out se well as hoped, so Alekhin married an rich old cat lady to secure his economy… in his match against Max Euwe after the war Alekhin was besides often drunk, also wearing a woolen sweater featuring a picture of cat, knit by his wife … the Alekhins’ also demanded that their cat should be allowed to step on the chessboard before the games …

    (nowadays the “Solar Chess” has been vindicated by the Alpha Zero AI, who has amazed the chess masters with his speculative, long term strategic pawn sacrifices without immediately calculable benefits)

    Bobby Fischer was even more radical political thinker than Garry.

    When Kasparov and Karpov played their first match, Fischer declared after studying the game scores that obviously the games were faked, the moves couldn’t have been made over the board, but it was a Jewish Commie charade, they were just replaying moves decided in the analysis before the games … how do you evaluate such a claim? on what basis? common sense might say that Fischer was narcistically wounded by the level of the play and couldn’t accept it, but if you are not a GM how are you qualified to offer an opinion?

    Then when Kasparov lost his match against Deep Blue, he was originally deeply suspicious that his arch rival Karpov must have been hiding somewhere, helping the Machine …

    One fringe/crank idea Kasparov supported was the Russian school of “Chronological Revisionism” that for instance suggests that the Bible was written around the year 1000 in Russia … the mathematician who founded the school thinks he was just following the footsteps of Isaac Newton, who also did learned revisions of the accepted Biblical and Egyptian chronologies. … Newton had to invent his orbital mechanics to be able to fix the dates of solar eclipses used in his revisions ….

    I’m fascinated by the combination of genius and craziness…