Russian Marxists Suffer amid Crackdowns and Brutalization

By Brendan S.

Logo of Marxist Tendency, a Russian Marxist group targeted in the recent crackdowns.

The Russian state has utilized its invasion as an opportunity to brutalize Marxists and progressive opposition across Russia. In a recent example, Alexey Dmitriev, a Russian activist of the Union of Marxists, was either drugged or poisoned then kidnapped by Russian police in Khimki on Wednesday according to Marxist Tendency.


Russian Marxist activist Alexey Dmitriev unconscious after being drugged or poisoned by Russian police this week.

According to a witness on March 10:


“Today at 3 p.m. Aleksey Dmitriev was released from the police department, at 4 p.m. he was supposed to have a trial.

The court started late, at 18:00. I went to court as a witness. Further from my words:

Alexey went down from the 2nd floor, he was terribly ill, his speech was incoherent, he staggered.

His lawyer Dmitry Trunin called an ambulance, the doctors arrived and seemed to be going to hospitalize him - the judge gave the go-ahead and let him go, remaining with Trunin in court. We took Aleksey to the ambulance together with the doctors, but police officer Khavkhanov was constantly circling around them - he then detained me in the spring and wrote out a protocol, because of which they gave me a fine of 15,000. Khavkhanov talked about something with the ambulance driver. After that, the ambulance door opens, and from there the doctor says that Alexei does not need hospitalization.

After that, we are surrounded by cops, and every minute there are more and more of them. About 5 cars arrived in total. All this time, Alexey fell on top of me and eventually falls to the ground and does not get up anymore. The cops surround him and do not say why they want to take him away - the judge let him go. Without explaining the reasons, the cops took Alexei by the arms and legs and again dragged him to court. They didn't let me in there. Alexei first lay on the floor, they did an ECG, but they said that everything was fine with him.”


The Russian state continues to build on its securitization in the wake of the invasion. Since the beginning of the operation, up to 13,000+ protesters spanning all opposition blocs have been arrested in Russia, many of them on charges of “petty hooliganism.” Arguably resembling the US state's response to the 2020 BLM protests, progressive factions have been hit hard in this consolidation of the police state, showing clearly that the Russian state in its current form has no sympathy for the left. Dissent among the Russian left has increased sharply since the beginning of the invasion.

Poster from Marxist Tendency reading "NO WAR! BETWEEN PEOPLES"

Members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation have been some of the most ardent anti-war legislators in the Federal Assembly, taking a stand against the aggression while risking prosecution. On February 25, communist Member of the State Duma Mikhail Matveyev from Samara Oblast tweeted:

“I think that the war should be stopped immediately. Voting for the recognition of the DNR/LNR, I voted for peace, not for war. For Russia to become a shield, so that Donbass is not bombed, and not for Kyiv being bombed.”


Communist Member of the State Duma Oleg Smolin from Omsk Oblast posted on VK on February 25:

“As supporters of democracy we must recognize the right of the peoples of the national republics to self-determination, up to and including secession from the Union…

First, as a Russian intellectual, I am convinced that military force should be used in politics only as a last resort…I feel sorry for human lives - both ours and not ours.”


Communist Member of the State Duma Vyacheslav Markhaev from Irkutsk Oblast posted on Facebook on February 27:

“It is sad to watch what is happening around Ukraine, and it hurts my soul…To my great regret, the entire campaign for the recognition of the DPR and LPR had a completely different intent and plan, which was initially hidden, and as a result, we ended up in a state of full-scale confrontation and war between the two states. We did not have enough restraint or political will to try, after recognizing the republics of the DPR and LPR, to continue to win back our positions peacefully…”


While many global anti-imperialist circles are split on the actions of the Russian state, many Russian progressives have taken a clear stand in their refusal to bend over. The Russian state has clearly antagonized progressives in its mass securitizing operation coinciding with the war. To follow more developments on the suppression of Russian Marxists and progressives, subscribe to Marxist Tendency on their Telegram.