The Russian Opposition: Bloodied But Unbowed
Plus: How We Say Goodbye to Our Presidents.
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: All Trump’s Women
THE NEXT LEVEL🎥: Trump's New Establishment Runs Circles Around DeSantis Stans 🔐 (Live at 7 ET)
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
CATHY YOUNG: The Russian Opposition: Bloodied But Unbowed.
Ever since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the question of regime change in Russia—and of the role of the Russian opposition in this hypothetical process—has acquired a special urgency. But the Russian liberal opposition generally gets little respect except for a handful of brave individuals who are now behind bars for challenging the regime: Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin. The only way an opposition figure can avoid sharing their fate is to remain abroad—but the activists outside Russia are widely viewed as an ineffective, consumed by internecine squabbles, and unwilling to fully confront the reality of Russia’s crimes against Ukraine (or perhaps even harboring a residue of imperialist Russian attitudes, a suspicion widely shared by Ukrainian patriots).
On April 30, leading members of the Russian opposition issued a statement intended to overcome these perceptions and mark a turning point in opposition activism. But is it a genuinely effective step?
🎥 PODCASTS AND VIDEOS 🎧
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
LINDSAY M. CHERVINSKY: How We Say Goodbye to Our Presidents.
In mid-February, the Carter Center announced that former President Jimmy Carter had elected to enter hospice care. His family has yet to publicly share his funeral plans, although they have confirmed some details to reporters.
The public observance of Carter’s passing will be an opportunity reflect the virtues and character that marked his post-presidential life—and perhaps also to move away from what has become recent tradition for honoring presidents. His commemoration can remind Americans what the presidency is supposed to be, reaffirm republican values, and honor his accomplishments and his life of humble public service.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: Who Killed the Category Killer?
On April 23, housewares and home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and planning to liquidate and close all of its stores (and those of its subsidiary chain, buybuy BABY).
As in the demise of Toys ‘R’ Us, cultural or demographic elements might be playing a role here: smaller families, in the case of toys; younger consumers with smaller homes and lower rates of homeownership, in this case—people with less space to fill. Culture-war narratives also form in the wake of these stories: In some corners of the right-wing internet, the “smaller families” element of Toys ‘R’ Us’s failure became something like “childless feminists killed Toys ‘R’ Us.” (The company itself fed such narratives by citing declining birth rates as a potential culprit for poor sales performance in its annual filing the year it declared bankruptcy.) With Bed Bath & Beyond, some have blamed the company’s alleged “wokeness” (diversity and inclusion initiatives, environmental and social governance, and dropping MyPillow) for its bankruptcy. “Performance was a lower priority than equity,” one typical dispatch claims.
Happy Wednesday! Yes, there are more texts, but there is also more video. Fox is leaking Tucker #content like a sieve. While the writers strike, I think I’ve found the solution to our coming shortage of entertainment (above.)
Meanwhile, in the “Free State of Florida™”… Legislators passed a bill that would shield the governor’s travel records. And a bill is headed to the Governor’s desk that would bar attorneys with DACA from practicing law in the Sunshine State.
Special Counsel Jack Smith… Sat in on Pence’s testimony.
The Lutherans excommunicate a white nationalist… Rolling Stone has the story about how Corey Mahler tried setting up a movement within the very conservative Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, and thanks to the Internet, you can watch the excommunication happen online.
Meet Canada’s “True Queen…” Who seems to be running a QAnon cult.
Why aren’t GOP activists pushing the right on pet issues? Semafor’s Dave Weigel explains. I have a theory: it’s hard to push on specifics when your platform is, seemingly, responsive to the cultural zeitgeist. Who’s gonna be the next Bud Light? Make sure you have your Patriot Hammer!
E. Jean Carroll’s Quest for Justice… and the Carnage of Donald Trump’s Misogyny, by our friend Molly Jong-Fast.
The Daily Wire… Wants to make an “alternate economy.” Will it succeed? No. Not with hosts saying things like “Dennis Prager is so warm and so likable, you don’t even think twice about the fact that he’s Jewish” when they’re not beefing with Steven Crowder. (Who they offered $50 million! to before his career imploded.) But they will suck up a bunch of money from suckers because they have scale and the far right grift is easy.
Are the DeSantis people scared of Vivek? The no-shot candidate was the subject of an oppo dump that should be killer for any Republican: He was a Soros fellow, whatever that is. It could be worse, if it’s them, they could be spending money on him like they are on Nikki Haley.
The strange new respect… For RFK, Jr.?
“The man who made January 6 possible…” has landed a job at an influential conservative think tank with the goal of preparing the bureaucracy for 2025. You may remember John McEntee from his days behind the center at UCONN, or when he founded “The Right Stuff”, a conservative dating app. Or when he was fired from the White House, or when he got re-hired as the Trumpian loyalty enforcer, or when he set up a rogue legal team despite not being a lawyer and pressured Mike Pence to steal the election. As Reagan Personnel Director Scott Faulkner once said: “Personnel Is Policy.” Indeed. I guess conservatism now is putting a guy who wanted bureaucrats fired for liking Taylor Swift posts on Instagram in charge of helping set up the next Republican administration.
Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.