Former Yukos chairman Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s letter warning of the inevitable “left turn” in Russian politics that would follow an emerging left turn in Russian society was one of the topics of discussion during the weeks preceding the ruling on his case by the Russian Court of Appeals in September 2005.
Khodorkovsky’s reasoning, which primarily looks like the mea culpa of a former beneficiary of unjust privatization and the political program of a future political heavyweight, is certainly worth attention. Alternative explanations for the letter include the influence of a theoretical construction Khodorkovsky found in a journal article, the desperate shortage of new ideas among the anti-Putin opposition, and even the offer of a deal between the oligarchs and Communists. However, certain dimensions of the left turn in Russia’s social situation have deep roots and will have longer-lasting consequences. [...]