September is a new website launched by left-wing groups in Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet states, devoted to finding common cause among activists across the region (the name is a bit of an inside joke about the October, 1917 revolution, embodied in the site's strapline, "It's not October yet, but it's close").
The site's founding document describes the rise of xenophobic, authoritarian far-right movements and the looting of national wealth by oligarchs claiming to be the vanguard of neoliberal economics, as its cause and subject.
In the former USSR, leftism is associated with the old autocratic regimes, and the public discourse is dominated by various flavors of right-wing ideology. September repudiates Soviet-style totalitarianism, but insists that the ideologies of the right — unfettered greed and racist authoritarianism — have impoverished and destabilized the region.
The editorial board is commissioning new work, and also plans to translate and publish works that regional authors have published abroad in places like Jacobin and Open Democracy.
Beyond giving voice to leftist ideas, Lyasheva thinks September has an opportunity to change the way people in the West and in the region think about the countries of the former Soviet Union:
We understand that there are numerous commonalities and interconnections among the post-Soviet countries, in terms of economic interdependence and cultural commonalities. For example, even after two years of war, Ukraine's biggest trade partner is Russia (if we are not counting the EU as one country), and Russia's political and military presence is overwhelming in the region. This creates a basis for structural interconnectedness of the area, which is either ignored in [the West] or subsumed under more general categories of 'post-socialism', 'transitional economies', etc. If we want to know how to act in these circumstances, we need to have a clear shared idea of what is actually happening. But at the same time we do not dream about any sort of 'pan-Eurasian' unification on this post-Soviet basis, and do not have any Soviet nostalgia.
Vladimir Artyukh, an editor at September and a PhD student at the Central European University in Budapest, concurs, saying that he wants the project to challenge certain frameworks that the West has imposed on the the post-Soviet space. Still, he says, September is a project that will grapple with the region's commonalities.
'September': A New Platform for Leftists Across the Former Soviet Union
[Isaac Webb/Global Voices]