We talk to Ilya Matveev, a political scientist from Moscow who is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Ilya has been a long-time critic of Putin and had to leave his university job and Russia after the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. He and I went to the same high school in Moscow a few years apart and seem to stand out among our predominantly liberal peers by being left-wing.
We talk about why the Russian opposition to Putin is mostly pro-Israel and pro-war while being ardently anti-war in the case of Ukraine. We also talk about the love that Israel and Zionism get from the political establishments in both Russia and Ukraine. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, nationalism has become the default political ideology. There’s not much else there now. And everyone wants to become a successful nationalist state like Israel.
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