Sergei Udaltsov

Kyiv Post - - Opinion P - – Euan MacDon­ald

“My en­emy’s en­e­mymy is my friend,” goes the old ld say­ing, and at first glance lance Sergei Udaltsov, the Rus­sian po­lit­i­cal ical ac­tivist, would look ook like a can­di­date for Ukraine’s Friend of the Week.

A fierce critic of Ukraine’s chief foe, Rus­sian dic­ta­tor Vladimir­ladimir Putin, Udaltsov was among the lead­ers of protests rotests in 2012 against the Rus­sian pres­i­dent’s nt’s re-elec­tion. He was sen­tenced in 2014 4 to serve four-and-a-half -half years in a pe­nal camp for or­ga­niz­ing a May 2012 protest thatt turned vi­o­lent. He went on hunger strike while im­pris­oned, and was named a pris­oner of con­science by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional. He was re­leased in Au­gust 2017.

Udaltsov says he wants Rus­sia to de­velop from an au­to­cratic state into a so­cial democ­racy.

How­ever, he has said he will not work with a more well-known op­po­nent of Putin, Alexey Navalny, whom he has ac­cused of “flirt­ing with the West,” and it is here that alarm bells start to ring. While say­ing he does not want the re­turn of the cen­trally planned econ­omy of the Soviet Union, Udaltsov seems to be misty-eyed about that odi­ous to­tal­i­tar­ian state, which tor­tured and killed mil­lions of its own peo­ple be­fore it fi­nally col­lapsed in 1991. He says he wants to keep what was good in the Soviet sys­tem — what­ever that may have been. But most dis­turbingly, Udaltsov re­cently went on record as sup­port­ing both Rus­sia’s oc­cu­pa­tion of the Ukrainian ter­ri­tory of Crimea and Rus­sia’s mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in the Don­bas. He has de­scribed Rus­sia’s sham ref­er­en­dum on Crimea join­ingjoinin Rus­sia as a demo­crat­ic­crat vote that ex­pressed the “will of the peo­ple, to be with Rus­sia.” It can be as­sumed that UdaltsovU is not naive — he is very fa­mil­iar with the ways the Krem­lin holds votes and has gone to prison for op­posin­gop them. So his sup­port­suppo for the Krem­lin’s land grab can only in­di­cate thattha he thinks the re­con­sti­tu­tion­sti of the Soviet UnionUn — which nowa­days meansme Rus­sian na­tion­al­ism and Rus­sian im­pe­ri­al­ism — is more im­por­tant than in­ter­na­tional law, democ­racy,de­moc and hu­man rights. In­deed,Indee he is on record as say­ing he is “a Soviet pa­triot and con­sider(s) the de­struc­tion of the Soviet Union the great­est mis­take and a crime,” – which echoes a very sim­i­lar state­ment made by none other than Vladimir Putin. So de­spite his anti-Putin cre­den­tials, Udaltsov’s dis­re­gard for Ukraine’s sovereignty qual­i­fies him to be Foe of the Week and gets him an Or­der of Lenin. With friends like Udaltsov, Ukraine wouldn’t need foes. Or­der of Lenin

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