In this op-ed Evgeny Roshchin explores the issues of collective responsibility and individual political action in Russia in the context of invasion of Ukraine. Roshchin maintains that there simply has not been a people in Russia in the political sense because people did not elect their representatives, did not have any meaningful opportunity to participate in politics, and all horizontal ties among were effectively prevented from emerging by security forces. In this sense, the people lacks political agency, hence the idea of collective responsibility appears highly untenable. Roshchin continues by arguing that only a limited space still remains for an individual political action. A massive exodus of Russian academics, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, media people, young and mid-career professionals could be viewed as this kind of individual political action. Those who left the country denied their government a right to draft them as soldiers to a war they see as unjust. Even if many may have fled for a reason of self-preservation, this still a ‘thin’ manifestation of disloyalty to the sovereign. But for many others exit was a ‘think’ manifestation of their moral and political judgement.

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