Kagarlitsky, Boris 1958-

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KAGARLITSKY, Boris 1958-

PERSONAL: Born August 29, 1958, in Moscow, U.S. S.R.; son of Yuly (a literary critic) and Raisa (a translator; maiden name, Pomerantseva) Kagarlitsky; married Irina Gloushtchenko (a translator), July 27, 1985; children: Georgy. Education: Attended State Institute of Theatrical Art, 1975-80. Politics: Socialist. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: Home—Krasnoarmeyskaya 29, Flat 43, Moscow, Russia 125319. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Postal employee in Moscow, Russia, 1980-82; caretaker in Moscow, 1983-88; IMA Press News Agency, Moscow, political observer and journalist, 1988-90; Moscow Soviet, deputy, 1990-93; Institute for Comparative Political Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, TNI Global Crisis Project, coordinator.

MEMBER: Soviet Sociological Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Deutscher Memorial Prize, 1988.

WRITINGS:

The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet State 1917 to the Present, translated by Brian Pearce, Verso (London, England), 1988.

The Dialectic of Hope, S. Covo, 1989.

The Dialectic of Change, translated by Rick Simon, Verso (London, England), 1989.

Farewell Perestroyka, translated by Rick Simon, Verso (London, England), 1990.

The Disintegration of the Monolith, translated by Renfrey Clarke, Verso (London, England), 1992.

Kvadratnye kolesa, translation by Leslie A. Auerback published as Square Wheels: How Russian Democracy Got Derailed, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1994.

The Mirage of Modernization, translated by Renfrey Clarke, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Restavraëtìsiëiìa v Rossii, translation by Renfrey Clarke published as Restoration in Russia: Why Capitalism Failed, Verso (London, England), 1995.

(With Roger Burback and Orlando Núñez) Globalization and Its Discontents: The Rise of Postmodern Socialisms, Pluto Press (London, England), 1997.

New Realism, New Barbarism: Socialist Theory in the Era of Globalization, translated by Renfrey Clarke, Pluto Press (London, England), 1999.

The Twilight of Globalization: Property, State and Capitalism, translated by Renfrey Clarke, Pluto Press (London, England), 2000.

The Return of Radicalism: Reshaping the Left Institutions, translated by Renfrey Clarke, Pluto Press (London, England), 2000.

Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: Neo-liberal Autocracy, Pluto Press (London, England), 2002.

Editor, Levy Povorot, 1979-82.

SIDELIGHTS: Boris Kagarlitsky has focused his writing on the analysis of Russian politics, economy, and social change. He attempts not only to point out the strengths and weaknesses that he discovers but also argues for reforms that he believes are needed. He began his writing career with the publication of The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet State 1917 to the Present, a history from the beginning of the Communist presence in Russia (U.S.S.R.) until the beginning of the Soviet Union's collapse in the 1980s. Following this, in 1992, he wrote The Disintegration of the Monolith. In this book, Robert Service of New Statesman & Society stated, Kagarlitsky "seeks to mark out the ground for a new, unconfused socialist politics in post-Gorbachev Russia." Kagarlitsky, the cofounder of the Party of Labour in Russia, is a proponent of socialism. He is also often referred to as a radical political philosopher. In these roles, he is committed to demanding of his government many benefits, which include full employment, free health care, free education, as well as an extensive range of civil liberties. Service found Kagarlitsky's book, however, to be "clearer in its slogans than in detail," and suggested that Kagarlitsky needs more corroboration of his facts.

In 1990, Kagarlitsky became a member of the Moscow City Council, which only lasted three years, having been disbanded by Boris Yeltsin in 1993. Recounting his experiences on the Council, Kagarlitsky next wrote Square Wheels: How Russian Democracy Got Derailed, a book that Robert Weissman, for Multinational Monitor, referred to as "a tale equal parts comic and tragic." Square Wheels, as its title points out, sadly recalls the inability of the Council to move forward because of the incompetence of many of its members. Precious time was spent in useless projects, Kagarlitsky reports. Street names were changed countless times and the bust of Lenin was moved out of the assembly hall by anti-Lenin members only to be returned by those who still favored the old Soviet leader. Political corruption soon set in and democracy in Russia came to an abrupt halt before it had time to establish itself securely.

In 1995, Kagarlitsky continued the saga of Russian politics in his book Restoration in Russia: Why Capitalism Failed. Vincent Barnett, for Europe-Asia Studies called this book "an acidic attack on the 'new Russians.'" However, Barnett also found Kagarlitsky's writing quite funny, although the picture that "Kagarlitsky paints is thoroughly bleak." Rather than Russia being restored by a new market economy, Kagarlitsky concludes that it is being ruled by a group of new elites who are playing scam games on the rest of the population. Barnett enjoyed reading Kagarlitsky's analysis of the times, but he was disappointed that the author did not provide any solutions to the many problems that Russia is facing.

In an interview with a reporter for the Multinational Monitor, Kagarlitsky summed up the current status of Russia. "We've come to the point," he says, "where it makes no sense to discuss where somebody wants things to go. We have reached a point where we face a national collapse." He still believes that Russia will survive, as it has in the past. However, there are significantly grand changes that must first occur. He proposes the nationalization of banks and fuel as well as the printing of new money and establishing price controls.

Kagarlitsky has continued his analyses of Russian politics, most recently with The Return of Radicalism: Reshaping the Left Institutions, which supports his philosophy of socialism, and Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: Neo-liberal Autocracy, an updated history of current politics.

Boris Kagarlitsky told CA: "Most of my literary activities have been connected to my political activities. In 1982 I was arrested for editing a samizdat (underground) journal, Levy Povorot, and I spent thirteen months in prison."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Capital & Class, autumn, 1998, Jane Wills, review of Globalization and Its Discontents: The Rise of Postmodern Socialisms, pp. 161-162.

Europe-Asia Studies, December, 1996, Vincent Barnett, review of Restoration in Russia: Why Capitalism Failed, pp. 1417-1418.

Foreign Affairs, summer, 1993, Robert Legvold, review of The Disintegration of the Monolith, p. 206.

International Affairs, July 1993, Mike Bowker, review of The Disintegration of the Monolith, pp. 607-608; April, 1996, Slavo Radosevic, review of Restoration in Russia, p. 405.

Monthly Review, November, 1998, Christopher Rude, review of Globalization and Its Discontents, pp. 52-57.

Multinational Monitor, January-February, 1996, Robert Weissman, review of Square Wheels: How Russian Democracy Got Derailed, p. 46; October, 1998, "On the Russian Collapse," interview with Boris Kagarlitsky, pp. 15-18.

NACLA Report on the Americas, May-June, 1997, review of Globalization and Its Discontents, p. 48.

New Statesman & Society, January 15, 1993, Robert Service, review of The Disintegration of the Monolith, p. 41.

Political Geography, January, 1999, Richard Dodgson, review of Globalization and Its Discontents, pp. 89-91.

Slavonic and East European Review, July, 1997, Stephen White, review of Restoration in Russia, p. 587.

Southern Humanities Review, winter, 1996, Mikhail A. Pozin, review of The Disintegration of the Monolith, pp. 80-84.

Times (London, England), February 24, 1990.

Times Higher Education Supplement, January 26, 1996, George Blazyca, review of Restoration in Russia, p. 24; March 20, 1998, Mike Cole, review of Globalization and Its Discontents, p. 31.

Washington Post Book World, January 29, 1989, p. 11.

ONLINE

Spectrezine,http://www.spectrezine.org/ (August 22, 2002), review of Russia under Yeltsin and Putin.*