False Rulers Of Russia, Or Who Is Ilya Ponomarev

I think many of us, as children, imagined that we were the rulers of a fictional country, drawing its maps and state symbols and releasing decrees that should affect the lives of imaginary subjects. Now imagine that someone does this in real life and by instructions from abroad.

I mean the “ruler” of the so-called “Russian Republic” Ilya Ponomarev.  Yes, you’ve understood right. While we are living an ordinary life, someone has already invented their own state and is deciding the fate of the people (while no one certainly sees it).  The self-named Caesar was born in 1975 in Moscow. In 1992, he entered the Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, but quitted studies. In 2011, he graduated from the Russian State Social University with a degree in Public and Municipal Management.

He in fact grew up in a wealthy and influential family. His grandfather, a former Komsomol and party functionary, had been a diplomat and worked in Poland for many years, while being a grandson of a diplomat meant enormous privileges in late Soviet era. Ilya’s father was a Soviet professor, Chair of the Department of Physics at Lenin Moscow State Pedagogical Institute, and at the end of the USSR he served as a deputy director of the newly established Nuclear Safety Institute. Then he engaged in big business and government administration in the 90s. In 1999, he became a Deputy Chairman of Gosstroy and was in charge of mortgages on the national scale.  His mother is not an ordinary woman, either, as for several years she chaired the office of Roman Abramovich as Chukotka Governor and then for eight years she was a senator – from this northern region. Nothing more is known about her.


Ponomarev was a member of the Left Front social movement and also of the organizing committee of the left organization called Russian Social Front, which was part of the European and World Social Fronts. An important issue on the Russian Social Front’s agenda was “Defining the position of social activists in relation to military actions in South Ossetia and the ongoing retention of part of Georgian territory by the Russian authorities”. It is not very clear why the “anti-fascists” so zealously defended those who really wished to commit genocide of an entire people. Probably everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.

Since 1998, Ilya Ponomarev served as IT Director at YUKOS Oil Company headed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. And in the 1999-2000s, Ponomarev became Vice-Premier of the Siberian Internet Company (Sibintek).

*Ponomarev and Boris Kupriyanov, the founder of the Moscow ultra-left bookstore Phalanster, the 7th Moscow International Open Book Festival, 2012

From 2002 until 2007, he was a member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), but he left the party to participate in the elections to the State Duma. In 2008, he joined the Spravedlivaya Rossiya (A Just Russia) and was soon elected to its Central Council.  He took part in the 2012 protests on Bolotnaya Square.

In his views, Ilya is a “heterodox leftist” (orthodox leftists are those who wholeheartedly love the communist regimes of the last century and focus more on the economic factor, whereas the “heterodox” leftist are focused more on the social issue (the fight for minority rights, green agenda, etc.), while CPRF critics called him a “neo-Trotskyist”.  Ponomarev’s political goals were as follows:

– equal access to education, creation of equal opportunities to everyone;

– non-restrictive government, which would be gradually replaced by direct democracy;

– promotion of social and business entrepreneurship and innovation to transform society;

– visa-free regime and abolition of national borders;

– replacing the presidential republic in Russia with parliamentary democracy based on a clear separation of powers, a strong independent judiciary and federalism (with most taxes collected and spent by regional governments).

In fact, through a seemingly fair idea of regional aid, he promotes separatism and the country’s collapse.

“Being a left-wing person, I think colonialism to be the main threat to the unity of any country. Any empire built on the exploitation of the periphery is doomed to collapse. And, unfortunately, with the collapse of the USSR, the Russian Federation turned into a colonial power, where there is Moscow and everyone else. Therefore, I believe that the person who stands up for the unity of the country should support the slogan: Stop feeding Moscow.”

protecting the personal freedoms of oppressed groups, including expanding the rights and protections of women and LGBT community.

We could talk about his opposition career for a long time, but, in general, his approximate portrait is clear: a left-wing activist who comes from a family belonging to the party elite and who took the path of fighting “for everything good and against everything bad”. In a word, a typical “revolutionary”, similar to hundreds of other American fighters for the cause of Marx and Lenin, who mooch off their wealthy parents and who have talked at most with their servants of all the workers, but stubbornly try to tell the latter how to live.

On March 20, 2014, he was the only deputy who voted against the Crimea joining Russia. He explained his position as follows: he is not against the joining as such, but he does not like the way it was done. He believes that in this way the unity of the two peoples was undermined and that Russia should acknowledge that the new government of Ukraine is legitimate and try to come to an agreement with it. His standing with regards to the Maidan can be described with the following wording: “the idea is good, the people protested for a better life, but the evil bourgeois nationalists ruined everything”. However, the driving force of the revolution were those very “bourgeois and nationalists”.

There is also another small but important question: how to come to an agreement with those who literally terrorized the population of Crimea by cutting off electricity, which caused many people to die, indeed, since life support machines did not work? In addition, the Ukrainian authorities, through the hands of the Crimean Tatar Majlis, the Right Sector and Azov activists, cut off the water supply to the region  attributing this to political reasons: “Oh, you wanted to join Russia. Okay, come on!”. But it didn’t increase liking to Ukraine. However, this should be discussed separately, but, nevertheless, Ponomarev’s standing looks very cynical as he called for a peaceful agreement with the real murderers.

Since August 2014, Ponomarev had been in the United States. On January 15, 2015, he took part in a conference Russia’s Opposition in a Time of War and Crisis held in Washington at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and gave a talk describing the current political climate in Russia and also spoke about possible scenarios for a change of power in Russia. He also offered to provide military support to Ukraine, but he thought direct U.S. arms supplies to the country would be a mistake, suggesting that it is other Slavic states of Eastern Europe who should do this.

Ponomarev-1ponomarev-4Since 2016, the politician has been living in Ukraine. He actively participated in political life in the country, speaking in the Ukrainian media as a Russia-focused expert.

In March 2022, he became quite excessive in his enthusiasm. After the start of the special operation, Ponomarev made a public appeal, promising USD 1 million to anyone “who will deliver Putin, alive or dead, into the hands of international justice.” Moreover, he even enrolled in the territorial army of Kiev in order to fight against Russia together with the Ukrainian Nazis. He actually said that: “Yes, for me Bandera is an ideological opponent, because I am an internationalist and he is a nationalist, but in this war he would be my ally.” It sounds interesting: he seems to be a left-wing anti-fascist, but he rages more sharply than a real 4chan alt-right.

In order for Russians to somehow learn the “truth,” he launched the “Morning of February” project, in which they spend days talking about how just a little more, and they will send Putin to the Hague, arrive on the Red Square in tanks to dance victory hopak and sing the Ukrainian anthem, while damned Russia is to fall apart into a bunch of small republics. But just sitting there and voicing dreams on YouTube was not fun, indeed, so they decided to do something in order to somehow justify the grants from their foreign bosses.

On November 5, 2022, Ilya Ponomarev proclaimed the opening of the Congress of People’s Deputies. To put it simply, those fugitive Russian oppositionists gathered in one group and declared that it was them who were the real power. The Congress positions itself as a meeting of “the only representatives of society and the state who have the democratic legitimacy that Russian citizens have empowered them”. Ilya Ponomarev said during the Congress that as representatives of Russian citizens they were absolutely legitimate, since they had been elected by the people once, and now Russia needed a temporary body for the transfer of power, and they would “hold the elections on a later stage”. Gennady Gudkov called that gathering a “proto-parliament”.

In April 2022, Ponomarev contacted a group of Islamists who asked him for help in “the fight against war and against mobilization” and created the Morning Dagestan channel. This channel, according to Ponomarev, was used to organize a “full-fledged popular armed uprising” in Dagestan. Then things got a little out of control when anti-Semitic protests broke out in Makhachkala. He said that “he had nothing to do with it.” However, the fact is that Ilya Ponomarev used religious extremists to stir up the situation and after this came to light he got confused in his own testimony: either he was involved in the case, or he was not.

In August 2022, after the murder of Daria Dugina, Ilya Ponomarev said that it was a certain “National Republican Army” that was behind her murder; he was keeping in touch with the group who claimed responsibility, he said. Around the same time, there was a video of “the signing of a declaration of cooperation” between the Freedom of Russia legion and the mysterious National Republican Army represented by Ilya Ponomarev. After the bombing in St. Petersburg, which resulted in the death of Vladlen Tatarsky, Ponomarev issued a similar statement.

In August, in Tokyo, the Congress of People’s Deputies and representatives of all major factions of the Japanese parliament signed an agreement to start working on a Russia-Japan peace treaty; the government of the so-called Ichkeria and personally Akhmed Zakaev and Inal Sherip provided special support to the negotiation process.

Let’s see what we end up with. A typical continuer of the Bolshevik cause, who, just like his predecessors, entered into an alliance with the enemy to the detriment of his own country. No matter how much he tries to pretend that he speaks on behalf of the people, it is still clear that he has very little to do with them. Western propaganda keeps saying that their desire to destroy Russia is a Putin myth, although this is far from being the case; otherwise, there would be no need to invent new virtual countries on behalf of ordinary citizens.

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